A look into Weber State’s first-generation student club

A handful of the students in the First Gen student club. (Weber State University)

Weber State University’s first-generation student club continues to provide a place for students to make friends, get support and have somewhere to belong.

“I feel super welcomed,” Yuquekcy Zuniga, club member and leader, said. “I feel like I have a place and a role to help other people and even just help myself out to be more comfortable putting myself out there.”

The club is open to all first-generation students. A first-generation student is defined by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators as students whose “parents did not complete a four-year college or university degree.”

Weber’s first-generation club is a space where students can receive aid and help each other figure different things out.

“It gives students the opportunity to discuss different unique ideas and helpful hints to get through school,” Amanda Nielsen, WSU advisor and retention coordinator, said. “It gives people an opportunity to socialize with one another and create a sense of belonging at Weber State.”

The club helps bring students together, creating a sense of belonging and community that students might not be able to find elsewhere. Being a part of this club allows first-gen students to connect with others and talk with them about how to navigate the college world.

“It’s always really nice to have, just, like, people there to help you out with literally anything. It could be with advice, or like somewhere that you don’t know where to go on campus, we can help you with that,” Zuniga said about students who are considering joining.

One way the club helps foster a fun helpful environment is through different events hosted by the club. These events are for club members, their friends and family to enjoy and get to know more about one another.

Nielsen says their most recent event was hosted at Surf ‘n Swim down in Layton. Other events that have been sponsored by the club in the past have included movie nights, ice skating and going to university sporting events together.

Events for this coming up fall semester are still being planned and will soon be announced by the club.

Nielsen expressed her passion for the club, as well as the benefits of getting a higher education.

“Getting an education means that there’s an opportunity for doors to open to you to get better jobs and to find gainful employment,” Nielsen said. “It’s a game changer, for me, watching these students thrive, take on leadership positions and experience college. I am just extremely grateful for the opportunity to play a very small role in these students’ lives.”

Nielsen mentioned that lists of first-generation college students at WSU are generated and students are contacted accordingly. The club is also open to join anytime for first-generation students.