HU Connect

Photo of students relaxing

HU Connect welcomes first-generation, low-/limited-income students and students of color to a vibrant and supportive campus community that helps them to succeed at Hollins University and beyond. HU Connect is committed to the scholarship, belonging, and excellence of its participants. Through our pre-orientation programs, mentorship opportunities, academic support, and campus/community partnerships, HU Connect strives to cultivate confident leaders of tomorrow.


Below are students who are first-gen and limited-income students. All are involved in student life at Hollins.


Photo of Tori Carter

Tori Carter, Halifax County, Virginia

I am a creative writing major and a communication studies minor and studied abroad in Osaka, Japan, during spring 2020. I have been a Student Government Association senator, vice president of Cyborg Griffin literary magazine, and mentor for the Early Transition Program. The most meaningful experience for me is joining student government and learning more about myself in leadership positions.

Photo of Carsen Helms

Carsen Helms, Monroe, North Carolina

Here, I am not a student number on a large campus. I am Carsen Helms, the girl who plays varsity basketball and lacrosse, is active in the Physics Club, attends workshops and practices leadership theories through the Batten Leadership Institute, and is finding and using every resource at Hollins to pursue a career in the technical field. These are unique opportunities specific to Hollins that push me to learn more and do more. Hollins is helping me get to do all I want to do.

Maria Junco-Rivera

Maria Junco Rivera, Cocoa, Florida

ETP is a welcoming community where I can easily explore my identity as a young Latina woman while being a resource for other students of color who are exploring their own identities. It’s family dinners, movie nights, the retreat, and seeing all of our diverse personalities come together in amazing ways!


  • Of the active undergraduate students (including Adult Horizon), 25.9% are first-generation students.
  • Approximately 38% of our degree-seeking undergraduates for 2018-19 are Pell Grant/limited-income students.

Pre-Orientation Programs

First generation and low/limited income (FLI) is a pre-orientation and yearlong support system for FLI students. FLI students have the opportunity to arrive on campus early and move into their residence halls before other new students. They team up with upper-class student guides who work closely with them during pre-orientation and throughout the academic year to build relationships, connect with valuable resources, and learn important tips for success. The guides answer questions and provide encouragement to help new students grow in confidence and become campus leaders.

Meet this year’s FLI Guides

Early Transition Program (ETP) is a leadership experience that takes place before the opening of the university and extends throughout the school year. ETP is open to all students from underrepresented groups and marginalized communities. ETP students work with upper-class peer mentors who are trained to ease the transition into college and provide support during the student’s educational journey.

Meet this year’s ETP Mentors

Both pre-orientation programs are offered to students at no cost.

Why attend a pre-orientation program?

  • You’ll arrive early to campus
  • You’ll enjoy a fun-filled and informative first experience as a college student
  • You’ll meet other new students from underrepresented groups, including first-generation students, those with low/limited income, and students of color, along with current student leaders, faculty, and staff
  • You’ll become familiar with campus locations, programs, services, and opportunities
  • You’ll get to know the Roanoke Valley
  • You’ll meet with the group weekly throughout the term
  • You’ll be part of a strong support system that lasts throughout the year
  • You’ll establish lifelong relationships