JUTN’s First Generation Students gathering scholarship fund donations

KNOXVILLE—First-Generation students is a group dedicated to providing assistance and resources to those who are the first in their families to attend college. They work extensively on Johnson University Tennessee campus to see that their fellow students succeed.

Adam Ruvo’s official title may be president, but he sees his role differently than what he says most would associate with that title.

“How I like to think about my job is as more of an encourager,” Ruvo said. “Making sure that as a group we stay together, not just saying I’m the president and I’m going to do things by myself but seeing how we can incorporate everyone in this group.”

Ruvo works with their sponsor, Kelly Estes, to bring about change and community amongst the first-generation students at Johnson University Tennessee.

“I try to give ideas to Kelly. Kelly and I work closely together on what we can do differently. Whether it’s that week or that semester, we work on how we can better the group, and how we can impact more people.”

One of the many challenges faced by first- generation students is finances. Estes and the students have been raising funds with Johnson professors and other organizations to be able to provide scholarships to deserving students.

“It’s really cool, because we didn’t even want this to happen — it just did,” Ruvo explained. “Every year they allocate funds at chapel or they’ll talk to professors about giving to a certain organization. For the past couple of years, it’s been the first gen group.”

Ruvo said the goal is to have enough money to help financially support the first gen students who are having a hard time getting started at the university.

“We’ll have surveys for when you’re first coming in to evaluate first gen college students,” Ruvo said. “That way we’ll have those checklists, so that when we look at it we can say, this student really needs it. Whether it’s a bad background, or some reason that we really feel that we need to give that person a scholarship, we can do that.”

The first-generation students also hold regular events throughout the semester to help their students adapt to college life.

“Every semester we have the registration event for those who need help with registering for classes,”
Ruvo said. “We’ll have the head of the registrar’s office come in and talk to first-generation college students, or whoever wants to join, about how to register. That’ll be done around the week before registration.”

If you are a first-generation student at JUTN and are looking for ways to get involved with this group, contact Ruvo at adam.ruvo@johnsonu.edu.

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