New organization caters to first-generation students


Members of F1rst Bobcat Proud, April 16, at first meeting.
Photo By Ivy Sandoval

Ivy Sandoval

F1rst Bobcat Proud is a new organization on campus as of last month new dedicated to providing support and a community for first-generation students navigating through college.

First-generation students are the first to attend college in their family. The organization hopes to connect with the San Marcos and Texas State community through service and social activities.

The organization came to life after Celebrate First-Gen Day Nov. 8: a nationwide celebration of first-generation college students. The University College Department of Texas State distributed first-generation T-shirts and stickers outside of the Undergraduate Academic Center on the day.

F1rst Bobcat Proud is not the first of its kind in gearing toward first-generation college students. There was a similar student organization in 2014, but it didn’t last. Now that first-generation organization is brought back under a new name with new officers and advisors, there is hope it will thrive.

Michelle Bohn, faculty advisor for F1rst Bobcat Proud, is a first-generation college graduate and Texas State alumna. She felt a sense of gratitude toward the community for helping her grow into who she is now.

“I had a hard time navigating my way through college,” Bohn said. “It wasn’t until I got to Texas State and got involved with our university’s student-centered faculty and staff that I really started making academic progress. They really helped me along.”

Bohn said her reason for becoming an advisor for the new organization was a way of giving back to Texas State for their support. She wanted to provide guidance for current first-generation college students.

“I wanted to get involved not only to give back to my beloved institution, but to reach back to current first-generation college students,” Bohn said. “(We have) a goal of lifting them up and guiding them toward resources and connections.”

Emily Morales Avila, president of F1rst Bobcat Proud, said the organization’s members plan on having workshops by spring 2020 on how to apply for FAFSA, graduate school or how to create a resume.

“We plan on having a minimum of two first-gen guest speakers,” Avila said. “One of the biggest things we want to establish is a sense of community and getting to know and help each other as much as we can.”

Lisa Trevino, nursing freshman and first-generation college student, said although she did not know about the organization, she is glad there is another resource for students similar to her.

“Being first-gen is a lot of pressure; you don’t want to let your family down because you’re the first to make it this far,” Trevino said. “I think (F1rst Bobcat Proud) would help a lot of first-gen students, including myself, because it is a lot to take on.”

F1rst Bobcat Proud hosted its first meeting April 16. students had the opportunity to mingle with officers and gain more information on the organization and its goals.

Although the organization was officially established last month, and the current semester is coming to an end, officers are still hoping to get in a few more meetings.

Starting fall 2019, the meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays in UAC 142. First-gen faculty and staff wanting to help support first-generation college students can sign up through the F1rst Gen Proud website.

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