University of Memphis' First-Generation College Celebration
November 8

2023 First-Generation College Celebration

On Nov. 7th-10th, the University of Memphis Office of First-Generation Student Success (OFGSS) will hold several events to recognize and celebrate our first-generation students, faculty and staff. Events include Tie-It Tuesday (all students can come by, participate in how to tie a tie demonstrations and receive a free neck tie or bow tie), Sapphire Awards (first-gen awards ceremony with dinner and dancing for all attendees), First-Gen Gamers Night (Video games, board games, social activities in the University Center the mentors will also share out a free link to the new First-Gen Gamer's Guide to College created by our OFGSS peer mentors to help other first-gen students navigate their way through college with all the insider tips and tricks), and first-gen faculty/staff Friday where we highlight all of our first-gen faculty/staff on social media and deliver mugs and first-gen lapel pins to first-gen faculty/staff registered through our website link for first-gen champions.

2022 First-Generation College Celebration

The Office of First Generation Student Success at the University of Memphis will be celebrating our first-generation students all week from Nov. 7-11th in honor of the National First Generation College Celebration. Some of our special events and activities include the annual Sapphire Awards to kickoff the week. At this event, donors, alumni, faculty, staff and all first-gen students are invited to a sit down dinner and awards ceremony to recognize the achievements of our first-generation students and programs. On Tues, the OFGSS will several events including Tie-It Tuesday where every student will receive a free tie following a how to tie a tie demonstration by our Empowered Men of Color student organization. This will work alongside a Career Closet (full of suits, ties, professional attire that is free to all first-gen students with an event pass), we will also hold pop-up Advising and FAFSA kiosks in our University Center in partnership with Financial Aid and Advising to help students register for the Spring and to get their FAFSA submitted. On Wednesday, the Career Closet will be open again while supplies last and we will be doing free professional headshots through our partnership with Teach for America in the University Center from 10-2PM. Thursday will kickoff with the Lifesize Game of Life: College Edition (this is a game and resource fair all in one and we will be giving out our First to Roar t-shirts to all participants). Friday will end our series of events with the First-Gen Faculty/Staff Swag Stop (pick up "I'm First Too" buttons , lapel pins and shirts in front of the OFGSS location. As always, we will also be signing up students at our pop-up kiosks and events for the OFGSS Peer Mentor Program and sharing our resources with any and all students who participate or drop by.

2021 First-Generation College Celebration

Dates of Celebration - November 8 - 12

To kick off our week of First-Gen Celebration, the UofM will host the First -Gen Sapphire Awards. This ceremony invites all first-gen students and families in First Scholars, Opportunity Scholars, TRIO/Student Success Programs to recognize the achievements and impact of our students and first-gen advocates. (not a dinner this year due to COVID concerns). Following this event, we will have social media campaigns and pop up events throughout the rest of week including info tabling daily to share resources and information about our new Office of First-Gen Student Success (OFGSS) and the Faces of First Gen Photo Project - this is a daily photo booth to capture images of all of our first-gen students - the booth will send automatic downloads to student phones so long as they tag the OFGSS on Instagram or Twitter or follow our social media sites so we can connect them to the first gen office. All images will also be used then to decorate a first-gen mural in the new office space. One of our social media campaigns will also be First Takes with First Gen Athletes - highlighting athletes who are also first gen

The big event at the end of the week is the Game of Life College Edition - life sized game of life (fill the large lawn in front of the University Center with giant game pieces) with a large spinning wheel and action items.

The participants will go through the game of life (i.e. pick a major - with Career Services, go through college scenarios from housing, finding a campus job, passing courses to the final goal of graduation). We are using this event as a way to get multiple departments involved and connected to our students. Every department that wants to be a stop on the game of life will bring in their own swag and flyers.

Alpha Alpha Alpha - student honor society for first-gen students will also be tabling with us throughout the week to enroll new students.

2020 First-Generation College Celebration

The First Scholars program at the University of Memphis will be posting online and through our social media about our latest project: Faces of First-Gen. This is a photo project led by our students to show the diversity of our first gen faces and also the impact of first-gen students. We will do this through their images and their words as they also describe what it means to be first-gen to them and their families. Each portrait will be taken by a First Scholars alum and feature our students and also include a quote from each student about their experience as a first-gen student. Our goal is to show that though we come from a wide array of backgrounds, we are all first-gen, and we all have a voice that we want to use to continue to close the gaps and create a broader first-gen community and support network on campus.

2019 First-Generation College Celebration

For the 2019 First-Generation College Celebration, the University of Memphis will harness the momentum garnished from the 2018 celebration and host the First-generation Student fair, again, aiming to reach at least 500 first-generation students.

2018 First-Generation College Celebration

The University of Memphis will host a First-Generation Celebration featuring a First-Generation Lunch and Learn located in the University Center. First-generation students will be invited to join first-generation faculty and staff. Faculty and staff will be positioned at tables, and students will have the opportunity discuss topics such as what it means to be first-gen, how to navigate campus resources, as well as share their personal stories of identifying as first-generation and overcoming different obstacles throughout college and beyond. Through these discussions, first-generation students will not only connect with faculty and staff, but also discuss and develop methods for self-advocacy and success both on and off campus. Following this celebration, first-generation students will also be invited to Incredible Pizza where they will be able to network with other first-generation students and celebrate their achievements.

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