University of New Mexico's First-Generation College Celebration
November 8

2020 First-Generation College Celebration

The University of New Mexico (UNM) Main and Branch Campuses-Gallup, Taos, and Valencia proudly announced the 2020 First Gen Proud Celebration with the official launch of a dedicated website. A collaborative celebration between the campuses will offer several opportunities during November for students, staff, and faculty to attend virtual events focusing on asset-based student success.

The online celebratory activities and speaker series will kick-off with the national joint NASPA and COE virtual First-Generation Celebration, November 6, 2020. The inspirational UNM First Gen Proud speaker series will include a sharing of stories of success from Kyle Ethelbah, COE Board past-president, Michelle Lee, student success manager, UNM Gallup, and specifically for faculty, Dr. Tim Alvarez, president, Otero Junior College.

Uniting the campuses, the celebration will have online activities encouraging interaction among students, staff, and faculty. A week-long Letter Writing Campaign is planned where the staff and faculty may write words of encouragement, support, and/or advice to current first-generation students on their road to graduation. Other activities include a live online interactive workshop, “Finding Poetry in First Gen Life” led by community poet, Mercy Marrujo. An engaging live online trivia night titled “The First Generation to College Edition!” will offer information about the first-generation college experience. The November events encourage all the UNM campuses to become involved by using the specially designed First Gen Proud Zoom backgrounds and taking a selfie with last year’s First Gen Proud shirt using the hashtag #UNMIAMFIRST.

2019 First-Generation College Celebration

On November 8, 2019, The University of New Mexico held a campus-wide celebration and awareness of first-generation support, resources, and a sense of unity for students, staff, and faculty. Setting the tone was gained by branding “F1rst Gen Proud” with the hashtag #UNMIAMFIRST. The branding was used in promotional material and encouraged to use in email signatures. The festive celebration event held at the Student Union Building connected students to tabled campus resource programs, a fun photo booth, a support letter exchange from staff and faculty to the first-generation students, and the event offered a panel with rich discussion on first-generation experiences followed by a celebratory cake. The collaborative celebration also encouraged staff, faculty to wear their F1rst Gen Proud t-shirt in class or in their administrative offices to show their students they were not alone, and to highlight the day, a group photo was taken with those wearing the t-shirt. Adding to the momentum, post-card-sized signs were distributed throughout campus to staff and faculty to place in their workplace setting to share they were first-generation students and/or were supportive of first-generation students.

For the latest updates on this celebration, follow @unm on Twitter and use #UNMIAMFIRST to show your support!