First-generation Aspire to Succeed Together, better known as FAST is the NIU student committee that assists the AmeriCorps VISTA on campus raise awareness the interests and needs of first-generation college students among the campus community. FAST will create events that target the interests of first-generation college students, provide information that may be unknown to these students, and simply create a space where they can speak and be heard.
Along with helping current Huskies, FAST visits local middle schools and high schools and share information, experiences as a college students and support for current first-generation high school students. VISTA and FAST are currently visiting the local schools to share college readiness information with future FGCS there and incorporate fun and new activities to engage the students to ensure that the material being presented will impact the students' educational career positively. Topics of the presentations include: "Why College is Important", "How to Pay for College", and "Scholarship Search" among others.
FAST and Adela de la Torre Honor Society (ATHS) are brainstorming ways to help educate parents in the local community on the high school and college experience. Together, they are planning NIU's new program, "Parent University". What "Parent University" consists of is a series of free workshops that serve to provide information to parents in the community that may lack "college readiness" information and/or college access process.
The main goal is for parents in the local community to be well informed on essential information necessary for their students to succeed in their current and future educational stages. In addition, students will also be exposed to information regarding college access and success. Parent University is planned to launch in February at Sycamore High School.
If you are interested in being part of this initiative, please contact Kathryn Olson, AmeriCorps VISTA at 815-753-8159, firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning for more information.