FREE Professional Development Webinar
Learn how to use the placement process to build more equitable, student-centered colleges using findings from a national research study funded by the Ascendium Education Group.
Female student in jean jacket climbing stairs to academic building with blurry students in background

Fueling First-Gen Success: New York Institute of Technology's Commitment to Support and Belonging

Felipe Henao, Tiffani Hinds, New York Institute of Technology / The Center / June 03, 2024

New York Institute of Technology 1st gen logo

At New York Institute of Technology (New York Tech), inclusivity isn't just a buzzword; it's a core value in action that permeates every aspect of campus life. New York Institute of Technology has committed to creating a supportive environment that nurtures the academic and personal growth of the 30 percent of students who identify as first-generation and contribute to our diverse student body. More than three years ago we established a campuswide First-Generation Student Task Force composed of faculty, staff, and students; today, it is a standing recognized committee, and the university is dedicated to ensuring that every first-generation student feels seen, heard, and valued.

Awareness & Recognition

This year the committee focused on supporting students with the creation of the First-Generation Student Club. Founded as a student organization and recognized by the Student Government Association for students to connect, share experiences, and access resources, the club is quickly becoming a hub of support and camaraderie, and serves as an extension of the First-Gen Student committee. Through collaborative workshops and social events, members of the First-Gen Club find strength in shared experiences and support each other on their journey towards success.

In addition, New York Institute of Technology introduced a new 15-minute series, 1st Gen Voices, on Instagram Live. This event, held every first Tuesday of the month, provides a, platform for colleagues from various support areas in the university to be interviewed by a student using questions submitted by campus community members, where they share resources and tips geared toward first-gen student success. The conversations are then reshared and posted for non-attendees to access at their leisure. We use this data to track engagement with the reels and help inform future speakers. We aim for the 1st Gen Voices series to continue to foster a sense of belonging and connection among our community at large.

Celebrating the First-Generation Community

The highlight of New York Institute of Technology's commitment to first-gen support is the annual National First-Gen Celebration. This year, the celebration was spearheaded by the two New York campuses (in New York City and on Long Island) and co-sponsored by the Long Island Student Government Association. The event was a resounding success, with over 210 students from both campuses coming together for a day of friendly inter-campus competition, celebration lunch, and a First-Gen photo booth. The sense of community and pride was palpable as students celebrated their achievements. Additionally, we celebrated by providing swag like the First Gen Pin to faculty, students, and staff as well as creating Zoom backgrounds that community members could proudly showcase during meetings.

As New York Institute of Technology prepares to celebrate the Class of 2024, which includes over 250 first-generation undergraduate and graduate students, the college is proud to recognize this momentous milestone with special First-Gen cords. These cords serve as a symbol of resilience, determination, and their commitment to education which defines the first-gen experience.

Looking ahead, New York Institute of Technology remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting and honoring its diverse student body. By creating awareness of the unique challenges faced by first-gen students and providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed inside and out of the classroom, New York Institute of Technology is paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.

New York Institute of Technology's dedication to first-generation student support goes beyond symbolism; it is evident in the tangible innovative initiatives and programs designed to empower and uplift first-gen students before they set foot on campus for their first day of classes. From the First-Gen Club to 1st-Gen Voices and the National First-Gen Celebration events, New York Institute of Technology is proud to pave the way in creating a campus community where every student can feel like they belong and thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances.

For more information on New York Institute of Technology's approach, please visit their website here.