A themed floor for first-generation college students will open in Hedrick Hall in fall 2017.
First to Go, a Living Learning Community, will give students who are the first in their families to attend college an environment where they can learn from one another, according to UCLA Residential Life.
Living Learning Communities are themed floors that allow students with similar interests or backgrounds to live together. LLC resident assistants organize events, plan field trips and provide resources for residents that relate to the floor’s theme.
Violet Salazar, a third-year human biology and society student and resident assistant for Hedrick Hall 2 North, introduced the idea of a theme floor for students who identify as first-generation because of her experience as a first-generation student.
“Nobody in my family had been to college and I was the first one,” Salazar said. “Every time that I came back to my dorm from class I still felt alone, and I couldn’t relate to the people on my floor.”
Salazar said the new floor will provide assistance to first-generation students and connect them to the resources they need to succeed, such as the Career Center, Undergraduate Writing Center, Scholarship Resource Center and Counseling and Psychological Services.
“This will be an environment with peer support and diversity, and an environment that will teach first-generation students how to navigate the campus,” said Symone Morales, the program coordinator for First to Go.
Javier Romero, a second-year human biology and society student, said he did not feel part of his first-year floor community because there were few first-generation students on his floor.
“I couldn’t relate to them,” Romero said. “This floor will provide that extra community, extra support, extra cushion for first-generation students.”
Jareni Polanco, a third-year biology student, said as a first-generation student, college is more difficult for her because her parents were unable to advise her on college applications and other application steps.
“I would’ve appreciated having a themed floor where I could’ve been with people who were going through the same struggle as me during my first year,” Polanco said.
Salazar said she thinks the floor is important because it will be a centralized space for first-generation students.
“Sometimes it feels like you can’t do it, but being surrounded with this community can improve the students’ experience,” Salazar said.