3-Day First-Gen Celebration at Virginia Western Community College

Kitty Walls M.A., Virginia Western Community College / The Center / November 23, 2019

Virginia Western Community College FGCC Grant

Virginia Western Community College celebrated our first-generation college students with a 3-day, campus-wide celebration from November 11 – 13, 2019.

We began on Monday, November 11, 2019, by thanking our Student Veterans, many of whom are first generation college students, and kicking off our 3-day celebration with the whole campus community. We set up in one of the campus courtyards, played music, and shared what it means to be a first-generation student and resources available to them, while handing out hot chocolate and donuts!

Tuesday, November 12, was our main event, the Open Mic! This is our 3rd year of having a 1st Gen Open Mic. This year we were able to hand out shirts ahead of time so that faculty, staff, and students could show off their first gen status and support by wearing their “I AM FIRST” shirt for the Open Mic.

Students sang a variety of songs karaoke style, a few students sang acapella, and some students shared their personal stories. They shared messages of inspiration, overcoming bullying, making true friends, and having people here at the college who care about them and support them. We had one student perform a dance routine, and even had a rap battle!

Virginia Western Community College FGCC Grant

Administrators and staff shared parts of their personal first-generation stories. These stories illustrated to students that many of the faculty and staff here on campus have walked the path they are now walking. Students were told that no matter what the educational background of their family, they have the support from our whole campus as they walk the path to graduation.

Our third event, GET LINKEDIN!, was held Wednesday, November 13, in our Hall Associates Career Center. We had a professional photographer who took free professional headshots for students. We discussed how to set up and utilize a LinkedIn account, professional networking, job searching and other resources available through the career center. We wanted to be sure our first-gen students know that our college will help them even after graduation!

The whole campus came together to celebrate the promise of first-generation college student success. We shared food, music, friendship, and laughter and through this our students’ motivation and hope for the future were renewed.

Check out the Twitter Moment.