An Overview of Penn’s FGLI Student Resources This Fall

Penn First Plus (P1P) hosts the Penn First Plus Course Materials Access Initiative, which helps students obtain electronic textbook access codes.

Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

Like a As the new school year begins, many members of the 2025 class will set foot on campus as the first of their families to attend a higher education institution. Because navigating through college can be a daunting experience, Penn offers resources to help students who identify as first-generation or low-income.

Here’s what you need to know about the resources available to FGLI students this coming semester.

Student groups

Penn has nine groups of students specifically for FGLI students who offer both academic and identity support, the latter including groups focused on gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity.

Penn First, founded in 2015, is the oldest student organization of the FGLI on the campus. Jade Gonzalez, college senior and Penn First advocacy chair, said Penn First is planning plenty of events and opportunities for students in the coming months, including a peer mentoring program and a student summit meeting at the FGLI.

Other organizations have been created to explore the intersection between the identity of the FGLI and other marginalized identities. FGLIQ is an organization that supports Penn’s LGBTQ students who also identify as first generation or low income. Seven | Eight is a community for American FGLI Asian Pacific Islander Desi students on campus.

Gonzalez urged students to take advantage of Penn’s many extracurricular opportunities, adding that some clubs and organizations that may charge membership fees have programs to subsidize costs for FGLI students.

“Don’t be so caught up comparing yourself to your peers,” Gonzalez said. “One of the cool things about Penn is we’re all so different.”

Separated from Student Activities Council Fair Held every semester to introduce students to the clubs and organizations on campus, Gonzalez said Penn First and other FGLI affinity groups are planning to hold a specific FGLI fair in September.

Campus offices

Penn also has a number of offices on campus that aim to serve as social centers and resources for FGLI students.

In 2016, Penn First student leaders successfully negotiated the creation of Penn’s first FGLI-oriented space on campus. Installed in the Greenfield Intercultural Center, the FGLI Center consisted of two rooms and was headed by a part-time coordinator. Today, the GIC’s FGLI program runs a pantry and textbook library in partnership with Penn Libraries and is led by full-time program coordinator Toyce Holmes.

This fall, the GIC will be open to all students from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday.

“We’re finding that students might need to come in and print or use our computer lab – you are certainly welcome to do that,” Holmes said. “And we have study spaces that students can visit on our website and book. ”

Penn First Plus, an academic office created to support FGLI students, opened its newly renovated offices at College Hall last semester, ensuring a hub especially for FGLI students on campus. The P1P office will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and students can enter the office with their PennCard.

P1P Executive Director Marc Lo said students can walk into the P1P office at any time to speak to faculty or staff. or to use the study spaces – either by reserving a private study room or by using the public spaces of the office.

“We look forward to balancing student safety with their desire to connect with each other and with us,” Lo said. “We are also going to experiment with what time the office should be open, [and] I think we’ll be soliciting feedback from students.

While Orientation for new students, P1P will organize shopping trips to nearby IKEA, as well as campus tours, preceptorships and welcome sessions that introduce the early years to FGLI resources on the Penn campus.

Academic and personal resources

Both the FGLI program and the P1P have dedicated programs to help students afford the high cost of course materials such as textbooks.

Holmes stated that the FGLI program A given textbook library exists as a last resort for those students who have exhausted their options for obtaining the required course materials. The library, which is in the Van Pelt Library, is a modest collection of books donated by former students. Students can search and request a specific title through the Penn Libraries System.

P1P hosts a similar program for FGLI students enrolled in popular introductory courses called the Penn First Plus Course Materials Access Initiative. Through a partnership with all of Penn’s undergraduate schools, Penn Libraries, and the Office of Student Enrollment and Financial Services, P1P can help students obtain e-textbook access codes.

During the semester, the FGLI program also hosts a pantry for students through a partnership with Penn Food and Wellness, said Holmes. It aims to provide students who may need additional help with feeding temporarily. Most of the food is non-perishable, but the pantry also receives fresh produce grown on Penn Park Farm.

The GIC has also launched a mentoring program for FGLI students called Penn FLASH. Alumni who have identified as FGLI students in the past or who wish to support students from marginalized backgrounds have joined the network as mentors for Penn students.

Similar to platforms such as LinkedIn, alumni can post internship and job offers for FGLI students on the platform, and through the Penn FLASH Projects feature, students and alumni. students can collaborate on specific mini-projects that help students gain work experience.

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