First-generation college students are trailblazers: Being a first-gen student means that your parent(s) did not complete a 4-year college or university degree, regardless of other family members’ — such as siblings’ — levels of education.
This academic year, nearly one-third of Southern’s entire student body – undergraduate and graduate students – and more than half of the first-year class – 57 percent – identify as first-gen. And on November 8 — National First-Gen Day — when colleges and universities across the country celebrate their first-generation students, Southern is taking part in the festivities with a special event in Engleman B121 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
While the university strives to support all students on their academic journeys, it also understands that first-gen students may need a bit more support, or different kinds of support. As the institutional commitment to first-gen student success and celebrating first-gen identity on campus is a priority, Southern has recently developed a First-Gen Initiative, which is a community of support from peer mentors, faculty, and staff.
Part of this initiative is a new First-Gen website, which offers resources for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, and parents and families. The site contains information on navigating academics, experiencing campus life, paying for school, and finding support. It also presents the stories of students, faculty, and staff who identify as first-gen, and a portrait gallery of members of the Southern community who also identify as first-gen.
All are invited to explore the First-Gen website and online photo gallery, and those who identify as first-gen are welcome to submit their own stories. First-gen students are also welcome to drop by the University Access Programs office in Engleman B018 and pick up a “First-Gen Southern Owl” button, to show their first-gen pride.