Uniting to Inspire: Our First-gen Community

Cynthia Steel, Acquanetta Pinkard, Alabama State University / The Center / August 01, 2023

Group photo of Alabama State University First-generation staff

In 2022, our first-gen initiatives consisted of a series of activities to celebrate the 2022 National First-Generation College Celebration Week, beginning October 18th, and commencing the week of November 8th-10th. To help make the events successful,  ASU Foundations, the Alumni Association, and Career Services contributed. The events hosted were on the theme of workforce professionalism and voting rights in recognition of our nation’s November 8 voting day.

The series of events hosted on our campus began with the ASU Career Center facilitating a Resume Writing Workshop on October 18th and a Career Fair on October 25th. First-gen participants attending the resume writing workshop were able to leave the session with a professional resume and an understanding of the services offered for students as an ASU Alum. Further, a Career Day Luncheon and round-robin style workshops were hosted in partnership with the Alabama State University Alumni Association on October 31st. The event culminated with a luncheon where presentations were provided on professional dress and table etiquette.

On Tuesday, November 8th, TRIO programs in partnership with University College, hosted a “Rep your Vote Mixer” encouraging First-Gen students to register to vote. Students were able to enjoy fun, food, and music while registering to vote. This mixer also included a resource fair that provided various community and campus resources to display services available to students.

On Wednesday, November 9, 2022, and Thursday, April 20, 2023, all First-generation Graduating Seniors during the Fall and Spring semesters were recognized and awarded for their accomplishment. The scholars were given a Certificate of Achievement and pinned with a pennant as First-Gen alumni..

ASU First-gen student with photo frame
As a First-gen Forward institution, our efforts have evolved to include the First-We held monthly virtual First-gen Scholars meetings to help the students build community with one another, share ideas, and plan for these events. The participants at these meetings also served as volunteers at the different events. Based on students’ responses during the meeting and at the different events, they were very appreciative of our efforts, willing to share what we are doing with their peers, and excited to volunteer at the proposed activities.

The First-gen Scholars Coordinators submitted the appropriate paperwork to establish a First-gen Scholars Club on the campus of Alabama State University and a logo was designed to represent this initiative. We contend that this club will bring more awareness to First-gen students and provide the necessary resources to help them not only survive as First-gen Scholars but thrive as well.

To provide recognition of all First-generation students, faculty, and staff at the different activities, we were identified by wearing First-gen paraphernalia (i.e., First-gen t-shirts); as a result, other entities and individuals wanted to learn more about First-gen and ways to be involved to support our First-gen Initiative.

Presently, to welcome our NEW First-gen Scholars on campus this upcoming Fall 2023 semester, we are making “Welcome Care Packages” to let our students know that we have a First-gen Community at ASU and that we support their journey to success.

For more information on Alabama State University's approach, please visit their website here.