Last updateWed, 18 Nov 2020 1pm

Club & Greek

These Hawks are the #FirstToFly

First to FlyEstablished in 2017, Monmouth University created a sensational on-campus organization called First to Fly: First Generation at Monmouth. The main purpose behind First to Fly is to give recognition and support to the first-generation college students on campus.

Many members within the organization lead as mentors to the first gen students to make sure they achieve academic success, inclusion on campus and transition to the college world as smoothly as possible.

Not only this, but the organization also hosts many educational events and activities throughout the school year to raise awareness for the many hardships and challenges that relate to these first-generation students in hopes to promote campus wide support, partnerships and initiate positive change.

For example, the organization held a virtual networking workshop, where they taught club members about networking, how to improve their own campus involvement, and how to connect with the resources they may need on campus.

Kennedy Johnson is the Secretary of the club. She said “We hosted a workshop on Monday, Nov. 9 as a kickstart to the celebration of the National First- Gen week. Students were given the opportunity to network with other first-gen students, learn about various campus resources and tips.

This organization has made an immense impact on members of the campus community. Natalie McGee transferred to Monmouth after one semester at another institution. She said, “I was nervous to make this transition, considering I am a first generation student, and I felt like I really couldn’t relate to anyone.” The resources that Monmouth and First to Fly gave her have inspired her to become a transfer student mentor, where she aspires to especially guide first generation students.First to Fly 2

It has impacted Johnson as well. She said that it has brought her out of her comfort zone and brought her closer with her peers. “I have to engage with the club members and plan events and normally I am not this hands-on in clubs.” She said it also brought her closer with her friends that are also first-generation students.

Back in March of this year, it was with great honor that First to Fly was recognized by The Center for First-Generation Student Success, The NASPA (The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) and The Suder Foundation, in its 2020-2021 cohort of First Gen Forward Institutions. This cohort shows how dedicated and determined the members of this organization have been to their commitment of success to our firs tgeneration students on campus.

Junior Monmouth University student and organization member, Katie Kraska elaborates more on the details of First to Fly and why it is an organization you don’t want to miss out on. Kraska said that First to Fly is an organization that is geared towards first generation college students but you don’t have to be a first gen student to join. Anyone can join to support their peers!

As for the organization events, Kraska said “When we are in person, we have a lot of fun. Last year we did bowling night with pizza and snacks, we did an ice cream social and this semester we did a virtual bingo night and the winners got prizes.” Kraska added that the turnout to these events aren’t bad, considering that they only had one virtual event so far. The organization has struggled a little to get people to come to the meetings virtually, but continue to try to get as many people as possible.

For more information, be sure to follow First to Fly on Instagram, @firsttoflymonmouth.


PHOTO COURTESY of Anthony DePrimo

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151