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My name is Sly Worthy Jr., I am a fourth-year, first-generation college student, from Lorain, OH. I am double majoring in Social Work and African American and African Studies and minoring in Education as an honors student. I plan to attend graduate school where I will pursue my master’s in social work and then pursue my Ph.D. or EdD in Education Administration. I firmly believe that education, in any capacity, is the greatest equalizer. Everyone does not have access to this great equalizer in the same capacity which causes gaps that plague our society. One of the populations that are often denied access to higher education is first-generation college students. College was an option for me because I was a scholar in The Young Scholars Program (YSP), where they provided us with many college preparation resources and a generous scholarship. Unfortunately, many people do not get the privilege to partake in programs such as YSP and are often left unattended.
Throughout my years here at The Ohio State University, I have been heavily involved in our Buckeye community. Some of my involvements have included: the Young Scholars Program, where I have served as a lead scholar ambassador for three years and Academic Success Partner for our first-year scholars, the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, where I have served as an ambassador, volunteer and was a part of their Leadership Institute and the Department of Social Change, where I have served as a mentor and a Social Change Ambassador at Trevitt Elementary School. I have also been a part of many student organizations which include: Wish Makers on Campus, the 40th African American Heritage Festival on the Ohio State Reads Subcommittee, Mwanafunzi (Ohio State’s Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers) as their Social Media Chair and more recently their President and Buckeyes First Student Organization which I serve as the Founder and President.
Throughout my college career, I was grateful and had the privilege of being a part of the Young Scholars Program as they have assisted me in every facet of my life throughout college. This was great but I could not help to think about the first-generation college students who did not have these resources and a community. After months of organizing and finding people who were just as passionate about this cause, Buckeyes First Student Organization was created and started the fall semester of 2019. Buckeyes First Student Organization is an organization that is here to support, serve, and provide a community for first-generation college students. We actively find ways to support ourselves on college campuses and provide ourselves with a sense of belonging which research shows is highly correlated with college success. Our organization hosts workshops and discussions on helping us navigate higher education and its complexities. These discussions also allow us to create a brave space and talk about issues that impact our community. Community is very important to our organization so we also have game nights and other fun events where we can build a community and a strong sense of belonging. Our cornerstone day is November 8th, which is National First-Generation College Celebration Day. On this day we do programming, connect current students with faculty and staff who are first-generation graduates, and celebrate the first-gen identity. We concluded our first year with over 80 members and serving 150+ first-generation college students at Ohio State and these numbers are growing. Student Life also awarded our organization with the Outstanding New Student Organization for 2020 and our advisor Ivory Levert received the Outstanding Advisor award.
Buckeyes First Student Organization is seeking funds to expand and sustain our programming in an effort to support more first-generation college students at Ohio State. We would also like to expand into the larger Columbus community and support future first-generation college students. All the funds will be used based on what the population we serve identifies will be helpful to their success, within reasonable boundaries. The executive team oversees and allocates these funds with the guidance of their advisor.
For more information, please email the Buckeyes First Student Organization.
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