Center offers support, advocacy for first-generation students

The Center for Opportunity and Social Mobility is housed in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center.
The Center for Opportunity and Social Mobility is housed in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center.

Approximately 30% of undergraduates at Radford University are first-generation students. The Center for Opportunity and Social Mobility (COSM) opened its doors at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester with this in mind.

“It’s not just about supporting,” said COSM Director Jessica Twiest. “It’s also about advocating for our first-generation students, faculty and staff and celebrating the fact that these folks are also on campus.”

First-generation college students — the first people in their immediate families to pursue higher education — often must navigate the college education process on their own. The COSM was designed to cater to the unique set of challenges that these Highlanders face.

Twiest describes the COSM as a space that provides a supportive community amongst students that aligns with Radford University’s pursuit for student-centered facilities. It is a place where students can study, use computers, hang out with like-minded individuals, take advantage of resources and expand their knowledge.

The COSM also spotlights its work with special events. In celebration of National First-Generation Student Day on Nov. 8, 2021, the COSM will host a series of events, including a first-generation student reception, a photo booth and T-shirt and bookstore gift-card giveaways.

In October, the COSM hosted a Fall Palooza celebration designed by junior business marketing major Lydia Burke, a COSM work-study student. The event, open to all students, featured of fall-themed crafts and food, was an example of how the COSM brings student visions to life and promotes academic well-being.

“Honestly working in the Center for Opportunity and Social Mobility has really helped me within my major,” Burke said. “I have gotten experience in marketing, leadership and making connections with the people who come in here.”

With its continuous commitment to pushing students forward, the COSM will also begin hosting workshops on test anxiety, note-taking skills, financial aid and scholarships to ensure knowledge gaps among first-generation students are filled.

“The center is just the place for folks to be,” said Twiest. “You are welcomed here, and you are valued here.”

For more information, follow the Center for Opportunity and Social Mobility on social media.


COSM Social Media:

Facebook: COSM @ Radford

Twitter: cosmradford

Instagram: cosmradford

Nov 5, 2021
Michelle Acosta