Celebrate First-gen Week at the University of Michigan-Dearborn

Saulo Ortiz M.Ed., University of Michigan - Dearborn / The Center / November 21, 2019

University of Michigan - Dearborn FGCC Grant

The University of Michigan-Dearborn Celebrates First-gen Week! Approximately 38% of students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn are first-generation college students. The University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-Dearborn) is a 4-year institution serving metro-Detroit with approximately 9,000 total students and a 100% commuter student population.

Since Fall 2018, the University has been supporting first-gen students through a program dedicated to informing, connecting and celebrating this student population.


This year the University took part in National First-Generation College Celebration through a week of events, which included the following:

  • Meet First-gen and Recharge your EnGen: This was an opportunity for students to learn about the First-gen Program and talk about self-care including imposter syndrome and time management. For this event, we tabled in our student center and engaged students walking by.
  • Watch Party 2.0: During the summer of 2019, the First-gen Program recorded a first-gen video campaign. During this event attendees has the opportunity to watch and discuss the video stories of faculty, staff, and students across campus sharing their first-gen stories. Members of the first-gen student committee led the viewing and discussion.
  • First-gen Forum: 10 minute presentations were given by faculty and staff members across campus related to the First-gen experience. Faculty and staff had the opportunity to learn about first-gen topics and discuss them with their colleagues.
  • Library Escape Room: Students were challenged to learn more about the library through clues and puzzles and winners received prizes.
  • First-gen and the Moth: Based in New York City, the Moth is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the art of storytelling for human connection and personal/professional development. During this event, master instructors from the Moth introduced the concepts of Moth Storytelling and worked with individuals to brainstorm true, personal stories.
  • First-gen Resource Fair and Celebration: During this event, campus resources tabled to provide students with information about their offices. Games, food, and giveaways were also provided to celebrate.
  • Throughout the week of events, UM-Dearborn First-gen pens, stickers, buttons, lanyards, and shirts were given out to students. During the week, we also encouraged faculty, staff and students to fill out cards that asked them what their First-gen strength was, why they were proud to be First-gen or how they would support the First-gen community. We had large signs around our student center advertising the week of events, a First-gen bulletin board, and students decorated a large blackboard we have in our student center letting people know about First-gen Week.

University of Michigan - Dearborn FGCC Grant  

There were a number of volunteers throughout the events including individual’s from the First-gen Student Committee and the First-gen Action Committee to realize the week of events.

Additionally, the Chancellor shared a statement about national celebrate first-gen day to send to students. The Reporter, our University news, also released an article where they interviewed first-gen students about their experiences during our First-gen week.

A huge thanks to the Center for First-generation Student Success and the Council for Opportunity in Education for their contribution to UM-Dearborn’s First-gen Week. This would have not been possible without their support.

Check out the Instagram Moment.