New celebration recognizes first-generation students, faculty, and staff
by Abby DeNike '20
As part of Trinity’s 150th Anniversary festivities, campus will participate in the national First-Generation College Celebration. The event began in 2017 by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in partnership with the Center for First-Generation Student Success, and it is celebrated across the country annually on Nov. 8. This year, the national event marks the 54th anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act, which has helped millions of students be the first member of their families to earn college degrees.
Trinity’s First-Generation College Celebration will help create awareness of the prevalence of first-generation students; approximately 12 percent of Tigers are first-generation. Students will be recognized for the role they play in cultivating a student body with diverse thoughts and experiences and the contribution they make to society. The celebration is part of Trinity’s initiative to give first-generation students mentorship, support, and recognition.
Upward Bound Director Simone Carnegie Diaz ’94 expressed the importance of the celebration: “With an inherent tenacity to be the first in their families to graduate from college, first-generation students serve as examples of grit, self-reliance and hard work for us all to follow. As a first-generation Trinity alumna, I am proud to join students, faculty and staff in this statement of diversity.”
From Oct. 29-Nov. 8, all are welcome to join in the celebration leading up to First-Generation Day (Nov. 8) through a series of celebratory events. Sponsorship for the events is provided by Trinity College Advising Corps, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Upward Bound, and the McNair Scholars Program.
Tuesday, Oct. 29 | The Collaborative for Learning and Teaching
12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Sofía Bahena ’06, assistant professor of education at the University of Texas at San Antonio, will weave her personal experience as a first-generation student at Trinity with the latest research in higher education. She will facilitate a discussion on how first-generation students perceive college, the challenges they face, and what faculty can do to support them through graduation.
Thursday, Nov. 7 | Northrup Hall 040
5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Refreshments
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. | Panel
Trinity alumni, staff, and faculty will discuss their experiences as first-generation students and will speak of the contributions and talents of first-generation students at Trinity. After brief refreshments, panelists will share their educational journeys and field audience questions on the impact of first-generation students. Panel members include: Amanda Cantu, Nicolle Hirschfeld, Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos, Nirav Mehta, Myeshia Smith, and Sheryl Tynes.
Friday, Nov. 8 | Fiesta Room, Coates Student Center
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Eat, play, and celebrate first-generation college students! The celebration will include refreshments and giveaways from campus departments, allowing students to come together and establish a sense of community.
Students, faculty, and staff who identify as being first-generation will be provided with a shirt in order to display a visual presence on campus on Nov. 8. Shirts will be available beginning Nov. 4 at the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.
Abigail DeNike ’20 is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a minor in creative writing. She is a writing intern for the Strategic Communications and Marketing department.