A Student Organization for First-Generation Students
Western Illinois University (WIU) is a mid-sized institution comprising approximately 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, 50% of who may be first-generation students (FGS). This chapter outlines the process for creating this student organization, how it was implemented, and key takeaways. It explores Western 1st Generation Society (W1GS), a registered student organization at WIU for FGS. The students held elections for President and Treasurer and registered W1GS as an official student organization. During social meetings, W1GS members attend campus events, visit a board game shop, eat dinner at a local grocery store, and participate in group study sessions. The intended developmental outcomes are implemented and assessed through advisor observations, co-creation of weekly agendas, and posting to the organization’s Facebook group. Using the Learning Partnerships Model and experiential learning theories requires both strong communication between the advisors and trust that the development of each student is taken seriously.