The second year of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s First Husker program will help 150 first-generation students get a jump-start on the fall semester.
Created and funded by the Office of Academic Affairs, the First Husker program is designed to offer support to first-generation college students. Participating students move in four days earlier than other students and engage in activities designed to ease the transition to college life and build a foundation for academic success.
Nebraska’s First-Year Experience and Transition Programs organizes the interactive First Husker sessions, which include academic topics such as navigating large classes, connecting with faculty and staff, developing success plans, using learning technologies, and touring research facilities. Other sessions focus on money management, campus leadership, and diversity discussions. First Husker students also participate in social activities led by 10 peer mentors who are successful first-generation college students.
First Husker was created to address the changing demographics of the student body, which is increasingly enrolling first-generation students. About 25 percent of students are classified as first-generation, with neither parent having attained a college degree.
“Studies of first-generation students nationally suggest that they are often at a disadvantage in navigating university campuses,” said Amy Goodburn, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We want our First Husker students to establish connections — to faculty, staff and peer mentors — so that they feel comfortable and know how to use resources to make the most of their university experiences.”
The students arrive on campus Aug. 14. The fall semester begins Aug. 22.
“We’ve spent all year planning for this week,” said Heather Reed, director of First-Year Experience and Transition Programs. “Our staff and peer mentors are so excited to finally meet our First Husker students and get them prepared for a great start to the year.”
Peer mentors for the First Husker program went through a rigorous selection process, which included answering the question, “What would you go back and tell yourself if you were starting your time at UNL again?”
“There are many things I would go back and tell myself if I were starting at Nebraska again,” said Jazmyn Brown. “One of the most important being, it’s OK to be stressed.
“There is an entire office simply for first year students that can guide you on your road through college. You aren’t supposed to know everything coming in to college, so utilizing those resources will be your best bet at a positive college career.”
In addition to First-Year Experience and Transition Program staff, other university units supporting First Husker include University Libraries, New Student Enrollment, University Housing, Admissions, Career Services, Scholarships and Financial Aid, Student Money Management, Academic Advising, Student Involvement, Innovation Campus, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, University Museums, Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services, University Health Center, Campus Recreation and Union Bank and Trust.
In 2015, the inaugural year of the program, 67 students were First Husker participants.
First Husker activities can be followed on Twitter and Instagram #FirstHusker2016 at @UNL_FYETP and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/UNLfirsthusker.