Creating a Virtual Celebration for #FirstgenGraduates

The Center / March 27, 2020

As a follow up to campus-wide closures, graduation ceremonies are also being canceled. This is being met by first-generation college students, respective families and support systems with incredible sadness and loss. The graduation ceremony is a visual representation of the time, commitment, effort, and dedication put into completing a degree -- the final stamp of approval and opportunity for loved ones to celebrate this great milestone together.

The Center has collected and created resources in hopes of supporting a potential virtual celebration acknowledging #FirstgenGraduates. Feel free to access the examples below and tailor specifically to your institution and first-gen student program.


Presentation Slides

In creating virtual presentation slides, students could have the opportunity to upload a photo (or photos) of themself as well as add content to their respective slide. Google Slides allow you create a real-time editable and shareable environment.

You may consider including directions on the initial slide:

  • To add a New Slide, Select Slide in the Menu Bar > New Slide
  • Input the following fields:
    • Full Name
    • Preferred Name
    • Preferred Pronouns
    • Area of Study (major and minor)
    • On-campus Involvement
    • Community Volunteering
  • Feel free to add a fun backdrop, get creative!

*All imagery was sourced from, a free stock image repository.

Creating Shareables

Shareables are a great way to publish visual content across social platforms acknowledging first-gen students and their accomplishments. Each editable version was created in Adobe Photoshop but can be replicated utlizing other platforms such as Canva. Additionally, if you know the student's handle, you could tag them in the social post allowing them to engage with the content and share with their circles.

Based on varying social platforms, you may utilize one of the three versions below:

Creative Writing

In addition to the visual celebrations you may consider a more personal, creative writing approach where first-gen students write a note of thanks to parents, family members, support systems, and/or mentors.

Further, parents, family members, support systems, and/or mentors may be inclined to also write a letter of support/praise/celebration to the first-gen graduate.

If of interest, first-gen students, parents, family members, support systems, and/or mentors could recite their letter while being filmed utilizing a personal device, upload to YouTube or Vimeo allowing for the content to be more widely shared.

Album Ideas

Facebook: If you have a Facebook account, you can create albums dedicated to acknowledging your first-gen graduates.

Instagram: If you have an Instagram account, you can create collages, photo albums (select multiple when posting; up to 10 photos or videos). Be sure to tag individuals and group accounts.

Flickr: Simply create an account, upload photos, and create shareable albums.

*When sharing photos of students across public platforms, be sure to consider privacy restrictions and/or policies upheld by your institution. If first-gen students are sharing the content with you, please ask whether they agree to the public use of their photo and likeness.

Social Posts

To continue to raise awareness, offer validation, and engage a larger audience please consider utilizing the following hashtags:


For more information on supporting your first-generation students during this challenging time review this growing resource.
Please email the Center ( with any questions or suggestions.