The First-Generation, Limited-Income (FLI) Network celebrated National First-Generation College Student Day, or FLI Day, on Nov. 8. The event, which took place on Keyser Quad, featured a tabling event with the Life Design Lab, a winter swag giveaway and a display about a collaboration with the organization Art with a Heart for a new art installation at the Center for Student Success.
Composed of FLI students, faculty and allies, the FLI Network works to support the first-generation and limited-income communities and raise awareness about this community on campus through holding events like those on FLI Day and other workshops.
Sophomore Irene Kang, who works with the Network, reflected on what the FLI network means to the Hopkins community in an interview with The News-Letter.
“Historically not everyone knows that when people come to college, they can come without support from families or friends. People may not realize that others [might] not necessarily have the same family experience coming into Hopkins,” she said. “We are trying to reframe what an average Hopkins student looks like.”
The celebration included giveaways of scarves and pins marking FLI pride, hot chocolate, coffee and games. Kang explained that they hoped to incentivize students to attend the event and engage with the Network in order to be aware of this community.
People were able to share their identities on cards or send words of encouragement to fellow students. Students who are part of the FLI Network, Johns Hopkins Underrepresented in Medical Professions (JUMP) or other Center for Student Success programs were also able consult with writing workshops for both academic and professional development purposes.
Students sat down at round tables to explore their artistic creativity through painting short planks. Ali Mirsky, director of community service and public art at Art with a Heart, explained in an interview with The News-Letter why painting was chosen.
“The patterns are supposed to be representative of your identity or cultural background or just an intricate pattern you enjoy,” she said. “All the planks would be collected into a rim and fixed onto a mirror. Ultimately we would collect two mirrors and place them in the Hop-In lounge. In the future, when people walk in, they will find resonance about their identities just through these arts.”
Freshman Mariel Lindsay called the event successful in an interview with The News-Letter.
“It’s been going really good! I like that it makes us feel celebrated,” she said.
Mariel believes she has been supported by the University during her time here. She noted that Success Coaching Program in Academic Advising has been particularly helpful.
According to freshman Mia Hernandez, such events helped her feel more assured about college life.
“As a FLI student, sometimes we feel excluded and isolated, so it’s nice to come out here, be here and know that there are other students facing similar stories. It’s good to know that you are not struggling by yourself,” she said. “I thought that programs like JUMP and Hop-In did a great job connecting all of us.”
Kang described her hopes for the future of the FLI network.
“I personally think that the FLI network is still growing. We are still a relatively new group. The University has supported [us] a lot, and I think we can only grow from here through more workshops and events that are not only for FLI but [also] for everyone to enjoy,“ she said.