WVU Tech Celebrates First-generation College Students!

Jeanette Bane M.A., West Virginia University Institute of Technology / The Center / November 08, 2019

West Virginia University (WVU) Institute of Technology’s campus in Beckley, WV was busy celebrating first-generation students, faculty, and staff the week of November 4th. This was the first time we stretched our events to last an entire week. Both campus and community partners were involved to make this a dynamic, energetic week!

To kick off the week, we partnered with local art teachers to instruct a Paint-A-Piece class. The class painted the University’s mascot. We wanted our first-generation students to have a keepsake of the place where they started their family’s first college journey!

On Tuesday, November 5th we hosted a first-generation panel discussion. Our panel participants included the Provost, a math professor, our TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Director, and a current student. The discussion focused on overcoming barriers and success tips for first-generation students.

On Wednesday, November 6th our campus came together for a celebration of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the history of TRIO programs, and first-generation students. At this event, we had TRIO trivia for the audience to take part in. The guests heard from the TRIO SSS Director, the Provost, a faculty member, and a current WVU Tech student. Speakers talked about their first-generation experiences and how TRIO programs make a difference. The artwork that was painted on Monday was on display for visitors to view. The program concluded with fellowship and light refreshments. Click here to read the local news coverage of this event.

Thursday’s event was all about teaching first-generation students the ins and outs of adult money management for life after college. We partnered with our local BB&T Bank for representatives to present on budgeting, mortgages, and credit scores.

We wrapped up the week’s festivities on Friday with an advocacy table. Students stopped by the table to sign our first-generation banner and had the opportunity to write a letter to a member of Congress thanking them for their TRIO support.    

We had a great time celebrating our first-generation students. To help advertise the events, we dedicated a website to first-generation students. We distributed stickers to faculty and staff to wear throughout the week. The stickers help students identify who they can go to for advice and help. We also featured current first-generation students, as well as employees, daily on social media. Their stories are retained on the website, as well.

To learn more about West Virginia University Institute of Technology's approach, visit their website here.