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Celebrating Each Other

Jullie Williams, Nashville State Community College / The Center / December 21, 2023


NSCC First-gen student

What do all first-generation students have in common? They love to get together and celebrate with other first-gen students! At Nashville State Community College (NSCC, Nashville State), we are excited to expand our focus on this population of students as part of the First Scholars Network. On November 8th, the college held celebrations on each of our six campuses where students had the opportunity to fill a gift bag with school supplies, enjoy a cupcake, and show their pride in being First. The office of student life created buttons for both students and staff to wear to show their pride in being a first-generation student, and to encourage students and staff to share their journeys with each other. A goal for the spring semester is to create a flyer that faculty and staff can post on their office door showing that they are a fellow first-generation student. Hopefully, this will help students feel comfortable sharing their concerns or fears about being a college student, but also allow them to see that success is possible.

 

NSCC first-gen week
Earlier in the fall, Nashville State surveyed faculty and staff to gauge interest in working with the first-generation student population. Over 100 NSCC employees stated they wanted to work with these students and over 50% of respondents said they identified as first-generation students. The institution will be creating avenues for staff to mentor and guide these students through direct support or through college-wide activities designed to bring everyone together for fun and educational purposes. A first-gen student organization was created under the leadership of Gail Harris, Communication's Professor, who is working with interested staff to have leadership for the group located on each campus. The “Me 1st" organization has the mission to foster mentorship through coaching by creating opportunities for cultural experiences and community connections. The group organized a toy drive and is planning a cultural trip for 2024. Creating a robust student organization will be one of the most powerful ways to encourage and guide this population of students who often don’t know who to go to or feel comfortable asking for support.

Nashville State’s goal is to ensure that students have easy access to information and resources that can help them stay enrolled and have a successful semester. The college employs two Student Resource Managers who provide students with access to mental health support, textbook and transportation assistance, and food and personal items through the Campus Cupboard. By providing for these basic needs, students can focus on having a successful semester. These resources and staffing will also aid us in our work to support and empower first-generation students.


For more information on Nashville State Community College's approach, please visit their website here.