Southern Illinois University, Carbondale's First-Generation College Celebration
November 8

2020 First-Generation College Celebration

Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) is recognizing First-Generation College Celebration Day (Nov. 8) with several days of special activities.

"With workshops, a documentary, a two-day technology session and more, the university will celebrate these groundbreakers–the first people in their immediate families to attend college–and recognize the challenges they face and their determination to succeed," said Lanel Love, assistant dean of students, director of SIU’s First Saluki Center and a double alumna of SIU who is the first in her family to graduate from college.

Learn about being a first-generation student with “A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students," an inspirational documentary that tells firsthand stories of eight first-generation college students–their pasts, cultures, hopes, fears, and dreams. Five are aspiring teachers, and three are successful educators; all are dedicated to careers in education. Other events include: “What’s the Next Step,” which will offer information about graduate school options. The First Saluki virtual lunch table is a live virtual lunch experience every Thursday that offers a chance to connect with other students and discuss physical and mental well-being with staff from counseling and psychological services. “Resiliency: I May Bend, but I Will Not Break” is a workshop that will help first-generation students discover just how resilient they really are. Trio student support services is hosting a virtual Trivia Night with prizes, and “Breaking Barriers: First-Gens in Tech” will addresses opportunities in the technology field.

2019 First-Generation College Celebration 

On November 7, the First Saluki Center partnered with Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale Leadership Development Program and an SIU Carbondale-registered student organization, M.A.R.P – U, to provide a luncheon with guest speaker Dr. Bruce DeRuntz, a first-gen college graduate, SIU Carbondale professor in the department of technology, and leadership development program director. The luncheon focused on the challenges of being a first-gen college student and the skills, abilities, and confidence of first-gen college student leaders. On November 8, the First Saluki Center provided an informational table which included resource/scholarship information for first-gen students, the history of the National First-Generation College Celebration, and free giveaways, such as "I’m first" buttons and lapel pins, draw string bags, and FREE pizza.   


2018 First-Generation College Celebration

First Scholars is partnering with TRIO to have informational tables on November 8 in several locations at SIU. A video with Upward bound, First Scholars, and TRIO students talking about the struggles of being first gens, and the service and benefits their unique programs provide. Such video will be looped in the TV screens of the Student Center on November 8. In addition we will have a First Gen Selfie Booth. We will distribute First Gen Awareness Day buttons, tips for success for first gens, and information about first gens.

For three First Scholars this event will be part of their senior service project. Thus, these scholars are involved in all aspects of the planning and execution of First Gen College Awareness Day events. We will wrap up the day with a discussion panel session of self identified first gen faculty and staff, led by first scholars and TRiO students. Academic and Student affairs personnel will be invited to this session.

SIU, Carbondale's First-Gerenation College Celebration


2017 First-Generation College Celebration

Last year, the First Scholars held two informational events to create awareness about first-generation students at SIU. There were two banners where faculty, staff and students were invited to sign the banners as well as take pictures with signs supporting and encouraging first-generation students. To raise awareness, there was a tri-fold with first-generation definition, and data. Also, quotes from first-generation students, about what "being a first gen" were collected. In addition, two Saluki string bags filled with supplies, a professional padfolio, "migo" water bottle, tips for studying, and lots of snacks, were raffled among first gen students. Last, First Scholars students identified professor as first gen and interviewed them. Their pictures and interview answers were on exhibit during that day.

For the latest updates on this celebration, follow @firstgen_ctr on Twitter!