Mansfield, CT—In early August, a group of incoming freshmen and their parents packed into the University of Connecticut’s J. Louis von der Mehden Recital Hall for the closing ceremony that wrapped up six-weeks of intensive preparation for their first semester of college.
In its 49th year, 161 students participated in the Student Support Services/CONNCAS Summer Program (SSS) at UConn’s Storrs Campus, designed to give first-generation, low-income, and/or underrepresented students access to the university and ongoing academic and personal support services to aid in their success as freshmen at UConn. Students from towns throughout Connecticut participated in the program this summer.
State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), whose district includes the main campus of the state’s flagship university, was honored to serve as the guest speaker for the ceremony.
In her remarks, Senator Flexer noted that it was a personal point of pride to speak at the ceremony, as she too was a ‘first-generation’ college student. Senator Flexer and her sister, Hoween, were the first in their family to attend college. Both are UConn graduates.
“What I learned very quickly when I was first a student here at the university, and you will learn this too, is that it was all the more extraordinary that I was here and I knew that it was because of my parents,” said. Sen. Flexer. “It was because my parents pushed me so hard and made sure I had every opportunity that they never had, and many of you are here today because of your parents, or because of a teacher or another mentor that stepped up in your life and made sure you had the opportunity to attend this amazing institution of higher education.”
Senator Flexer noted the difficulties that first-generation and low-income students often have transitioning to the campus environment, lacking some of the advantages that other students take for granted, like financial security or a support network of family members who have already navigated the process.
“The support and advisement that you’ve gained here over the last several weeks of this program are going to be very critical to you, and as has been mentioned, you’ll have more support than any other student that is coming to this campus in the next couple of weeks. I encourage you to use that support, because it will be critical to your success,” said Sen. Flexer. “I know that you are all going to be incredibly successful, because of the support you have received through this program and because of what you’ve learned here in the past several weeks.”
About the Student Support Services program:
According to UConn, approximately 300 students are accepted to UConn through SSS annually. The program is funded in part by a U.S. Department of Education TRIO SSS grant, a Connecticut College Access and Success Program grant from the Connecticut Office of Higher Education, and the university.
The summer program introduces students to the rigors of university academics, and helps them to develop the discipline and skills required to succeed in higher education. Students are assigned to a SSS Counselor or Regional Coordinator who provides them with advising, support, and advocacy during the summer program and throughout their tenure at UConn. SSS also offers a variety of program services and resources during the academic year to support students’ continued success at the university.