NSULA TRIO SSS First-Generation Celebration

Jamie Flanagan MEd, / The Center / November 22, 2019

NSULA FGCC Grant Dodgeball

TRIO Student Support Services of Northwestern State University collaborated with the First Year Experience Office to coordinate efforts to celebrate National First-Generation Day.

The two offices have been working more closely over the past year to encourage and highlight first-generation students across campus. There have been more opportunities to work together and educate our campus community about the importance of support services for this student population. We began coordinating efforts to celebrate National First-Generation Day during summer 2019.

Northwestern State University has been focusing to increase awareness of first-generation students and providing better support service. During the last academic year, FYE began a social media campaign called First Gen Fridays. They would highlight different individuals, faculty, staff, and students, each week. During the freshman orientation, TRIO has participated in first-generation parent and student sessions to discuss life in college along with how families can support their students. We discuss the challenges and resolutions that are available to promote academic, financial, and social success while at our institution. TRIO offers multiple events and activities to promote support services on our campus for first-generation students.

There were several contributors for our first celebration. First Year Experience assisted with logistics, refreshments for the forum and food for the tailgate. Additionally, they worked with dining services to provide a free beverage on November 8,2019, marketing to donate first-generation buttons, and the Alumni Foundation. The Center for First-generation Students Success and the Council for Opportunity in Education awarded a grant which supported the purchase of t-shirts for the event. The TRIO staff coordinated the events as well as soliciting a speaker for the forum.

Our National First-Generation Celebration events included a forum of first-generation panelists of varying backgrounds, age, professional levels, and race. The panelist and moderator discussed their experiences as well as with how they handled their obstacles while in school. A current TRIO student also participated on the panel. A former TRIO graduate submitted a video to speak to the students. They encouraged first-generation students to seek assistance and not be afraid of their next level of success. The discussion was well received with great questions from the audience. The students enjoyed being introduced to professors and administrators that were just like them in college.

The dodgeball tournament was held on November 8, 2019. First-generation faculty and staff played against first-generation students. To read more, click here. Everyone that participated wore their National First-Generation t-shirt which was purchased through the First-Generation College Celebration Grant Opportunity. It was a way for students and faculty/staff to engage in a relaxed competitive setting, exercise, and have a good time. The students won the competition and will be rewarded with a meal with the President of NSULA and his wife. The event was supported by the intramural dodgeball team at NSULA. Also, on this day, Café Demon (Starbucks/Sodexo) offered free Grande beverages to any first-generation student wearing their first-generation button.

The last event was the first-generation tailgate at the home game. A delicious meal was provided along with ambiance to enjoy fellowship among other team supporters. Students enjoyed the camaraderie.