Tony Vargas, a state senator from Omaha, visited campus Aug. 13 to see how the University of Nebraska–Lincoln serves students who are the first in their families to attend college.
“We as a Legislature need to support this group of students,” said Vargas, who represents the Nebraska Legislature’s 7th District, covering much of downtown and South Omaha. “We need to figure out what are the things we can do differently to support first generation students. When they complete higher education, it helps every sector — agriculture, manufacturing, entrepreneurship.”
Vargas spoke to a group of 163 Huskers who are the first in their families to attend college. The students have been on campus since Aug. 12, taking part in First Huskers, a four-day orientation program that included tips on how to ace large lecture courses, identify important support services and navigate higher education.
After his tour, Vargas praised the university’s faculty, staff and leadership for their commitment to the effort.
“They approach it with passion and vigor and they care deeply about the students,” Vargas said.
The visit was particularly meaningful as Vargas was a first-generation college student. Now a teacher, he was the first in his family to earn a degree when he graduated from the University of Rochester in upstate New York. He also holds a master’s degree from Pace University.
“I am proud to say that I was the first generation in my family to go on to college,” Vargas said. “I can’t wait to see what these students will do after they graduate.”
All elected officials are welcome to visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campuses. Candidates also are welcome to request a tour.