The Times West Virginian

Local News

July 9, 2014

FSU program helps first-generation freshmen

FAIRMONT — First-generation students began their college experience in the great outdoors last month as part of the Discover Fairmont State program.

Eight students toured the New River Gorge with two faculty members from Fairmont State University and two current students to gain a support system and also learn what to expect from their first year at FSU.

“The purpose was to provide students an opportunity to experience some of West Virginia’s most beloved areas while working with current students, faculty and staff,” said Carol Tannous, director of destination education at Fairmont State.

The group was in the New River Gorge for four days and went on a zip-lining treetop canopy tour, took a day-long whitewater rafting trip and camped overnight along the New River.

“While we did that, we had campfire discussions that focused on the challenges that go along with being a new college student, and what we will be doing then is meeting with the group numerous times throughout the fall semester to check in with them and provide support as they go through their first term here at Fairmont State,” Tannous said.

The trip was free and was funded by a grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, which approached FSU to create a program targeting incoming freshmen.

Discover Fairmont State will continue into the students’ freshman year with informal meetings that will teach them about academic support services, midterms and how to prepare for classes based on course requirements and their professors’ expectations.

Additionally, the grant will provide a book stipend for the eight students for the spring term, as long as they continue to attend meetings throughout their first semester.

“It really is meant as a way of intentionally walking the students through their first semester and their first year so that they have support as they try something new in the whole college experience,” said Tannous.

Faculty and staff at Fairmont State are aware of the large number of first-generation college students in the state, said Kay Widney, vice president for Student Services, and Discover Fairmont State is a way for those students to begin to connect with the school and meet their peers in a small, informal setting.

“Many of the things that those of us in higher education take for granted, a lot of these students are not familiar with — the terms that we use, the concepts, what it means to declare a major, what it means to go through school and obtain a degree in 120 hours,” she said. “It’s just an opportunity to begin to help them understand a little more about higher education.”

Tannous believes students’ success in college is increased by having someone with them who can accompany them through their journey, which was the idea behind the camping trip last month.

“It’s similar to going to college, because when you go to college you know that there are things that are going to come up that feel uncomfortable to you, that are new to you ...

“Part of what happens with going on a trip like the one we created is that students, No. 1, get to very quickly surround themselves with a support source ... I think part of the biggest challenge is stepping off into an experience in the woods with a bunch of people that you don’t know,” she said. “That kind of helps them start to make decisions about reaching through uncomfortable situations.”

Now that the eight students have returned from their experience, they will start their time at Fairmont State knowing people on campus who can help them through the challenges that come with higher education, Widney said.

“Fairmont State, we pride ourselves in our small classroom, our personal connection with students, and I think this is going to begin to reinforce that,” she said.

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive today

    Marion County residents have the chance to save lives today.

    July 25, 2014

  • Boil water notice for the City of Fairmont

    On July 25, the City of Fairmont had a water line break in Barrackville on School St. and surrounding areas

    July 25, 2014

  • UPDATE: Senator won't comment on lawsuit filed against him by brother

    A $1.7 million civil lawsuit has been filed by John Manchin II against his brothers U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Roch (Rock) Manchin.

    July 25, 2014

  • Energy Express 1 - CB.jpg Students at Energy Express gain ‘sense of community’

    Children have been learning at Watson Elementary School, even though it’s summer break.
    Thirty-four students in grades one to six started the Energy Express program June 13 and will participate until Aug. 2. It is run by West Virginia University’s Extension Services and AmeriCorps.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES -TS.jpg WIC participants to get vouchers

    Participants in the Marion and Monongalia County Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) will soon have another way to get access to fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
    Through the West Virginia Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, WIC program participants will be able to receive vouchers for use at their local farmers’ market.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Four new candidates file for city council

    Four new candidates have filed to run for Fairmont City Council this week: Rob Linger in the 3rd District, Richard “Rick” McElroy and Fran Warner in the 5th District, and Jeremiah Rivera in the 7th District.
    The election will be held in conjunction with the Nov. 4 general election.

    July 25, 2014

  • Couple charged with child neglect

    A Farmington couple was charged with child neglect after the wife allegedly sold drugs out of their home with children present.
    Johnnie Brint Thorne, 32, of Farmington, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with conspiracy and child neglect creating risk of injury.

    July 25, 2014

  • Four new candidates file for city council

    Four new candidates have filed to run for Fairmont City Council this week: Rob Linger in the 3rd District, Richard “Rick” McElroy and Fran Warner in the 5th District, and Jeremiah Rivera in the 7th District.

    July 24, 2014

  • WIC participants will soon have another way to get fresh food

    Participants in the Marion and Monongalia County Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) will soon have another way to get access to fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
     

    July 24, 2014

  • Farmington couple charged with child neglect

    A Farmington couple was charged with child neglect after the wife allegedly sold drugs out of their home with children present.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads