First Husker program kicks off with 67 students

· 3 min read

First Husker program kicks off with 67 students

Students flood into Memorial Stadium during a UNL's annual Big Red Welcome event. This year, UNL will launch the First Husker program to offer support to first-generation college students.
Craig Chandler | University Communications
In this file photo, students flood into Memorial Stadium during UNL's annual Big Red Welcome event. This year, UNL will launch the First Husker program to offer support to first-generation college students.

Sixty-seven first-generation college students will get a jump-start on the fall semester by participating in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's inaugural First Husker program.

Created and funded by the Office of Academic Affairs, the program is designed to offer support to first-generation college students. First Husker students move in four days earlier than other UNL students and participate in a variety of activities designed to ease the transition to college life and build a foundation for academic success.

UNL's First-Year Experience and Transition Programs organized 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 will participate in social activities led by older peer mentors who are successful first-generation college students.

First Husker was created to address the changing demographics of UNL’s student body, which is increasingly enrolling first-generation students. About 25 percent of UNL 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 UNL experiences."

The students, who arrive Aug. 16, will participate in First Husker activities prior to the Aug. 24 start of the fall 2015 semester.

“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?"

"If I could go back, I would change my whole mindset about the workload," wrote Shai-ann Augustine, a junior business major and First Husker peer mentor. "Since being in college, I learned that the keys to success are organization and time management. There's a lot of work to be done, but if you set aside time to complete required tasks then you can also have a lot of fun."

In addition to First-Year Experience and Transition Program staff, other UNL 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.

First Husker activities can be followed on Twitter and Instagram #FirstHusker2015 at @UNL_FYETP and on Facebook.