FIRST GENERATION STUDENT ORGANIZATION
The University of North Texas is home to thousands of first-generation students. Dalton Dickson, a college junior, said he saw a need for an organization that all these students could call home so he decided to start the First Generation Student Organization, also known as FGSO.
Dickson, the president of FGSO, said students have a lot of questions about what being first generations means. Some students have an older sibling who has graduated college, or have an aunt or uncle who have their bachelors degree and they don’t know if they technically qualify as first generation, though they do.
According to the Department of Education, first generation students are defined as “those from families where neither parent attained any education beyond high school.”
Source: Department of Education
Parents who went to college have gone through the college application process and can help their kids navigate what can be described as “an overwhelming process” but students whose parents haven’t gone through that can’t always get that help from home.
“It’s not their fault but it’s also not a good situation for the students because it’s basically like everyone is going into it blind" dICKSON SAID.
Source: FGSO instagram account
FGSO has had three meetings this semester. Students were able to get to know other first-gen students, talk about their college experience and about the struggles they face. Dickson said the meeting turnout has met his expectations, they have an executive board and have a lot planned for the upcoming semester.
“FAFSA workshops, that kind of thing, a lot of outreach to high schools in the area, as well as talking to freshman who are already here,” Dickson said.
The First Generation Foundation website states that a 2010 study conducted by the department of education concluded that only 15% of students who continued their education after high school at either two-year institutes or community colleges went on to complete their bachelor’s degree.
FGSO has members who started out at UNT and members who transferred from a community college. Dickson said the organization plans to mentor first gen students going into UNT.
“That first semester can really dictate whether or not you’re going to finish college, whether you’ll finish it on time, whether you’ll actually enjoy it…” Dickson said.
Source: FGSO instagram account
He added that college feels like it is made “without first generation students in mind” because first-gen students aren’t always guided along and told how things work.
“It’s kind of generational knowledge that we didn’t receive,” Dickson said.
He hopes the organization can continue to be home to first generation students at UNT even after he graduates.
Dalton Dickson, president of FGSO
360 video at UNT campus
RECREATING AN INFO-GRAPHIC
original info graphic from Statista
Project 2- 2020 elections
With so many candidates running for the 2020 presidential election, Americans have a lot of proposals to look at. For some, the single issue of student debt will determine who they cast their vote for.
In a seven-day Twitter poll 60% of poll takers said the issue of student debt would definitely influence their vote in the 2020 presidential election. 40% said it would only influence their vote a little and no one said it wouldn’t influence their vote.
“I am a mom and I have bills to pay and food to buy in order for my child to not have to worry if she'll be eating or not” Daisy Rosas, a college student and mother of one, said.
She said she has accumulated thousands of dollars of debt and she never thought it’d be something she'd have to deal with.
In a Google questionnaire, the majority of people said they think a total cancellation of student loans regardless of the family income would work better than the other proposals. Fatima Flores, a college senior, was one of those people.
“I don’t want to have the stress of trying to find a job when immediately we are hit with debt that we can’t pay off yet,” Flores said.
She said this issue isn't completely new to her, she has thought about it in the past. Even students who haven't accumulated debt say it will influence their vote.
"I have no student debts so it has not been an issue for me," Areli De la Rosa said, adding that the issue will influence their vote "very much".
For another responder, this issue is on their "top 7" on their list.
The responder said student debt has been something they have always known about but it hadn't hit home until recently.
Thought this issue will affect who this responder votes for in the 2020 election it won "as much as immigration will" they said.
Whether the issue is at the top of voter's priorities or more towards the bottom of the list, a Twitter poll shows the issue is either extremely important or sort of important but nobody seems to say it's not important at all.
Some students choose to start out at community colleges because it's more affordable and it sometimes results is smaller loans or none at all. After transferring from a Dallas County Community College to a four year university, Gilberto Obregón said student debt became a bigger issue.
"I didn't need to take out loans due to the AFFORDABLE tuition prices dcccd offered" Gilberto Obregón, a college student who started out at a community college, said.
He said he thinks mass loan forgiveness in which the amount forgiven depends on family income is the best option being proposed.
Katherine Ramos, a high school junior, said she thinks eliminating tuition at all public, private and trade schools is the best option.
"It is very important because I will be graduating soon and I have to start planning out what I want to do and how I’m going to do it" Ramos said.
"The cost of higher college is so high. It stops a lot of people from continuing their education" Ashley Patiño said.
She added that the issue will "definitely" influence her vote in the upcoming election.
College graduate Noah Diestelkamp said student debt is something he has though about.
When asked if it would influence his future vote he said "probably not."
A recent college graduate who took the previously mentioned questionnaire said her vote goes to the candidate who looks out for students.
"There are many students who struggle to pay back loans they took out only to further their education. I'm on that boat because I recently graduated, but my DEGREE didn't guarantee me a job meaning i wouldn't be able to pay back my loans," the responder said.
Whether the issue is a top priority or not and whether voters have student debt or not, this is an issue with several proposals. Voter can check out the candidates' proposals on the issue at studentloanhero.com
FACEBOOK LIVE ON TREE LIGHTING EVENT
The tree lighting even was held at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas. It was from 2-6 p.m. There were several food truck vendors, Christmas pictures opportunities and activities fit for kids. Besides the huge Christmas tree, the event had live music and “snow” to set the Christmas mood. To check out upcoming Christmas events at Klyde Warren Park head to klydewarrenpark.org
LIVE BLOG- UNT HOMECOMING BONFIRE 2019
This is a 360 photo of a group of Dallas Casa volunteers at their training. During the training they are taught to work alongside Child Protective Services, lawyers and parents. There were about 40 people present for this class and they will soon become active advocates and start getting cases.
Profile on Dallas casa
Beat project 1