Pennsylvania State University's First-Generation College Celebration
November 8

2023 First-Generation College Celebration

This year's Celebration will mark Penn State’s fourth consecutive year promoting University-wide events and recognition opportunities for its first-gen community. While events will be happening across Penn State's many campuses, the Student Success Center and First-Gen Advocates student organization will be hosting two signature events at the main campus on Wednesday, November 8. The first is a celebration in the student union with free food, giveaways, activities, and more. Students will be invited to fill out placards with "I'm First-Gen And..." or "First-Gen Students Are..." at the celebration. Later in the day, first-generation students, faculty, staff, and administrators will gather at a First-Gen Community Night mixer. The networking event includes guest speakers, door prizes, a photo booth, and DJ, along with opportunities to connect with other members of the first-gen community at Penn State.

2021 First-Generation College Celebration

This year marks the second time that the Pennsylvania State University will host the National First-Generation College Celebration as a University-wide effort! Penn State’s celebration will be led by the Student Success Center, which supports the success of Penn State’s first-generation students, and First Gen Advocates, a graduate student organization that promotes advocacy, awareness, and mentorship for Penn State’s first-generation undergraduate students.

Penn State's celebration will run from Monday, November, 8 through Wednesday, November, 10, and events will be open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The celebration will commence with the promotion of stories that highlight the resilience of the first-generation community at Penn State. These stories will be shared on the Student Success Center website, social media accounts, and a Penn State News story. On Monday, the Student Success Center and First Gen Advocates will be tabling in the HUB-Robeson Student Center, and students are invited to drop by for giveaways and prizes, including a drawing for a bookstore grant. Monday evening will feature virtual keynote speaker Eric Thomas, who will discuss resilience and the importance of working through transitions and establishing interdependence. On Tuesday, the Student Success Center will host a virtual community panel discussion titled “Voices of the Penn State First-Gen Community”, which will include the personal journeys of various students, administrators, staff, and faculty who identify as first-generation students. Tuesday evening will also feature a Trivia Night hosted by First Gen Advocates. On Wednesday, the Student Success Center will host a student panel titled “We Are First-Gen: Bridging intersecting stories of the Penn State student experience”, which will focus on intersectional identities in the first-generation student experience. The panel will be co hosted with the office for Adult Learner Programs and Services and Veteran Affairs. Panelists will share details of their journeys as first-generation college students at Penn State while addressing the impact and value of intersectionality. Wednesday evening will feature a student networking event for first-generation students hosted by First Gen Advocates.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 created stepping stones to support the educational pathways of low-income and first-generation students to pursue and attain their degree. Penn State is proud to recognize the value and contributions that first-generation students bring to our campuses by celebrating them every day and especially as part of the National First-Generation College Celebration!

2020 First-Generation College Celebration

2020 marks the first year that Penn State University will celebrate National First-Generation Day! Our celebration will be held virtually. We will celebrate virtually from Monday, November 2 through Sunday, November 8, and all events will be open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Penn State's National First-Generation Day celebration will be led by the Student Success Center. We will begin the week by highlighting stories of outstanding first-generation students and the challenges they have overcome on Penn State's news and social media channels. Toward the end of the week, we will have a First-generation Panel that includes students, staff, and faculty sharing their experiences as first-generation students and discussing how we can best support this population at Penn State. We will end our celebration by having a virtual trivia party that will be hosted by the First-Gen Advocates student organization at Penn State. Building on Penn State's tradition as a land-grant institution, Penn State is proud to celebrate National First-Generation Day!

For the latest updates on this celebration, visit our website, follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram, and use #PSUFirstGen to show your support!