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OU Student creates new organization to bring community to first-generation students

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Mackenzie Wright

OU sophomore Mackenzie Wright created the "First Generation Student Association."

An OU student has started a new organization for first-generation students.

Mackenzie Wright, an administrative leadership sophomore, is responsible for creating the group known as the First Generation Student Association.

Wright, who is a first generation student herself, says she has a passion for helping others and making an impact on first-generation students is something she wants to do as a career in the future.

“Going into my freshman year I felt super lost and alone because I lacked a community that was like me,” Wright said. “It was easy to compare myself to legacies or students from affluent areas with high schools who have lots of resources and I just couldn’t relate to students, especially those who were unaware of the privilege they held because of it.”

Wright said she was fortunate to have great mentors, but knows some students are not as lucky, which is what inspired her to establish a space for students to find those resources. 

Wright said the main reason she started the First Generation Student Association was because of a lack of community for first-generation students.

“Without awareness, it was personally very easy for me to feel no one on campus could understand how I feel as a first-generation student and I started to get really lonely and frustrated because I lacked a community that could understand why I was struggling, particularly with things like impostor syndrome,” Wright said.

Along with that, Wright said she noticed all of her first-generation friends had different resources from one another.

“OU offers two programs for first-generation students that I’m aware of—First to Go OU and Project Threshold,” Wright said. “My freshman year I had no idea what first to go OU was, but I was involved in Project Threshold. I wanted to create a more direct line of information for first-generation students because we all have various walks of life and have learned about different (resources) that we could all benefit from learning about.”

Wright said she has two main goals for the organization that she plans on implementing: creating a community for first generation students and creating an environment fostering personal and professional development in those students. She said the meetings will switch between targeting the two goals.

“So for creating a community those will be just fun hangouts, for the beginning of the year that might look like a barbecue at (Reaves Park) or other casual, fun activities on campus,” Wright said. “For development that looks like ally training, a session on business professionals or resumé editing, a resource fair, or even a cross the line or the privilege walk.”

The organization is currently accepting applications for vice president, secretary, historian and social media, public relations and graphic design, treasurer and family leader executive positions for the 2019-2020 year, according to the organization’s website.

The applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 21.  

Senior news reporter

Bailey Lewis is a journalism junior and a senior news reporter at the Daily.

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