First-Generation Student Lounge to serve as supportive space for students

The new first-generation student lounge is located in 101 Holtz Hall. (Peter Loganbill | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State University revealed the First-Generation Student Lounge on Wednesday. The new lounge will serve as a meeting and gathering place for the First-Generation Student Organization and for first-generation students to come and get to know each other.

“This space is already being used by the First-Generation Student Organization,” said Rebeca Paz, assistant director for the Office of First-Generation Students. “We are hoping more first-generation students will use the lounge as a place to hangout and meet other first-generation students.”

“Students will be able to find others who may be in similar classes or have the same questions,” she said. “By meeting other first generation students in the new lounge, some of those questions or potential fears might be alleviated.”

The lounge is supposed to be just the start of a vast future for the First-Generation Student Organization.

“It’s truly exciting— all of this,” said Madai Rivera, assistant director of student engagement and K-State first-generation student alumna. “To have an identity for first-generation students is just another way of supporting those individuals.”

By adding the first-generation demographic into the student pool and focusing on supporting them, it helps provide an enriching experience for the students.

“This is just another little thing that contributes to public experiences,” Rivera said. “We as faculty and staff are paying attention to our students. We are continuing our efforts to coordinate other activities and make sure we are meeting the needs of those students.”

Even soon-to-be graduate first-generation students are excited that the First-generation Student Organization is actively growing the community.

“It’s a great opportunity for incoming freshmen and transfer students that are first-generation,” Shane Torrey, senior in agricultural economics, said. “Although I’m a senior and graduating soon, this is a great opportunity for other first-generation students to learn and grow as K-Stater’s”

Torrey further explained that as a first-generation student, he felt some of the unknowing emotions when he first entered college.

“As a freshmen it’s always a bit nerve-racking,” Torrey said. “But for next years’ incoming freshmen, I hope they take advantage of the new first-generation lounge to help ease some of those nerves.”

The Office of First-generation Students is actively trying to involve students of all ages to be a part of the organization and their events.

Upcoming, the office will host the second annual first-generation graduate reception on May 17 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Graduating first-generation seniors will receive a green cord to wear during their commencement ceremonies to honor their achievement. For more details visit their website.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article featured a typo in a quote from Rebeca Paz. The word “elevated” was used instead of “alleviated” in the phrase “some of those questions or potential fears might be alleviated.”