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UTSA is making the transition from home to college more comfortable for new students with a First-Generation Living and Learning Community.

Over 4,000 Roadrunners will arrive on campus next week to move into their residence halls, most of which will be living away from home for the first time. For many of the first-generation students showing up at Move-In Weekend, it will be the first time they—or anyone in their family—has experienced living on a college campus.

Located in Alvarez Hall, the new residence wing will house 40 first-generation students along with two first-generation residence hall assistants, a first-gen peer mentor and a faculty coach who was also a first-generation college student once. This will help foster the diverse community at UTSA and also provide these new students with plenty of support and guidance on their academic journey.

“Our goal is to give all of our students a sense of belonging,” said Brandon Cruz ’16, a UTSA alumnus who was also a first-generation college student. Cruz now serves as the senior program coordinator for the UTSA First-Gen and Transfer Center.“UTSA is their home away from home, and we want them to feel comfortable and know they’re part of the family.”

At UTSA, nearly half of the undergraduate student population is first-generation, and they are often not aware of all the resources and opportunities available to them. To cultivate an exceptional student experience, the First-Gen and Transfer Center will provide many resources to the students throughout the year that go beyond the classroom and campus.

“We’re giving them the guidance and knowledge to utilize as they make decisions on their college path,” Cruz added, “tools that apply to their academic and social success.”

The wing also allows the students to bond through their special connection of being the first in their families on a path to graduate from college.

The first-gen students and thousands of more Roadrunners will move into their residence halls at UTSA on August 17 and 18 for Move-In Weekend. This is held during Roadrunner Days, which marks the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.

Courtney Clevenger