At universities across the country, November 8 marks the annual First Generation College Celebration. But here at APU, we’re celebrating all week long. This year’s slate of events begins on Monday, November 8 – the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 – and continues with five days of events.
First-gen students are the first in their family to graduate from a four-year college or university. Without a parent’s example to follow, first-gen students often benefit from additional resources and support as they navigate to graduation. Nationally, 56% of undergraduates are first-gen college students.
While APU’s celebration includes a few events focused on student success, the schedule is primarily meant to be fun. Think hot chocolate and cookies on the way to class, or a block party to close out the week. The Advising department designed the celebration to provide a sense of belonging.
“A lot of times first-gen students are unsure, did I make the right decision? Should I have stayed home to take care of my family?” said Shanice Lawton, an academic advisor who helped plan APU’s celebration. “I want them to know that you did make the right decision. It’s okay to go and get your education and work on your future career. That’s going to benefit your family even more.”
APU’s week-long recognition also features a panel with first-gen faculty, staff, and alumni, including Assistant Director of Campus Life Eric Johnson and Nursing Professor Ammie Tremblay. Seeing first-gen success can empower students and show them the possibility of a college degree.
APU advisors want students to know that APU is for everyone, regardless of their experience. Though their families don’t have a tradition of going to college, first-gen students belong at APU.
“Education is the one thing no one can ever take away from you,” Shanice said. “You matter, your voice matters, and we want you here.”
Celebrate with us during APU’s five-day First Generation College Celebration:
November 8 – First Generation Dinner (check your emails for an invite)
November 9 – Afternoon snack bar, 1-5 p.m. in the Carr Gottstein entryway
November 10 – First-Gen panel, 6-7:30 p.m. in McMillan Student Center
November 11 – First-Gen hot chocolate bar at locations across campus
November 12 – First-Gen block party, 6-8 p.m. in McMillan Student Center