Becoming a Husky at Bloomsburg University from a First-gen Perspective

Mindy Andino, Ed.D., Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania / The Center / September 08, 2021

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, a medium-size regional comprehensive public university, has four top-priority goals and focus areas for first-generation students this year. These areas are: 

  • retention of first-generation students; 

  • increased awareness on campus of first-generation students;

  • creating and fostering a sense of belonging for first-generation students; and

  • intentionality for programming to target first-generation students. 

Through a deep analysis, interview process, questionnaires, and more, Bloomsburg University recognized that retaining first-generation students is imperative and a priority for both academic affairs and student affairs.

At Bloomsburg University, being first-generation is something that few students, faculty, and staff understand and is a point that constantly needs to be communicated forward. With both the President, Dr. Bashar Hanna and Provost, Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson being first-generation college students themselves, the push to assist and communicate the needs of first-generation college students has been expanding since they took office.

Retaining first-generation students is imperative and a priority for both academic affairs and student affairs.

At Bloomsburg University, creating and fostering a sense of belonging for first-generation college students this ‘21/‘22 cohort year will be accomplished through three main methods: 

  1. connecting current first-gen students with first-gen alumni in their field through in-person meetings and virtual coffee hours; 

  2. hosting biweekly first-gen coffee hours in the student union where first-gen students can interact with one another, faculty, staff, and administration and engage departments that will have tables set up at these coffee hours; and 

  3. hosting a “thoughts before words event," during which thought leaders of the state system come to Bloomsburg University and speak in conjunction with other university and Bloomsburg town officials on the impacts first-generation students have made on the local area and the state as a whole.

This ‘21/‘22 academic year, intentionality for programming for first-generation college students at Bloomsburg University will be targeted toward: career services for first-generation college students currently in college, assisting first-generation college students in learning that college is the place for mistakes and growth, and instilling in first-generation college students that Bloomsburg University is serious about its support and appreciation for its students and their path toward graduation. Each of these targeted programs will be conducted during the fall and spring terms of this academic year.

During the time these three intentional programs are not occurring, students will be offered the opportunity to team build and participate in community service hours. The three local businesses that will be participating in this intentional programming for first-generation college student success are AGAPE, the Danville chapter of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA), and the “adopting a road” program in the town of Bloomsburg. These three service activities will allow first-generation college students to work with one another, build resumes and co-curricular transcripts, explore various leadership roles per the day of service, and provide constructive means for students to engage positively in their free time.

For more information on Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s approach, please visit their website here.