Nearly 40 percent of incoming students at The University of New Mexico identify as being the first in their family to go college. For many first-generation students, being the 'first' is a dream come true.
Despite the excitement, being a trailblazer often comes with challenges that their peers may not have experienced or fully comprehend. Understanding financial aid, hearing new college vernacular, selecting a major, engaging with faculty and asking the right questions are just some of the challenges that first-generation students face, making them feel as if they are alone in this process.
The UNM College Enrichment Program (CEP) partnered with the Office of Advising Strategies, UNM Valencia, the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), Student Support Services (SSS) and the Office of Student Affairs to hold a First-Generation College Celebration to celebrate the success of first-generation students, faculty and staff. The UNM campus community is invited to help remind first-generation students that they are not alone by creating awareness, sharing stories and highlighting resources. First Gen Proud aims to create a culture that encourages students to ask for help and remind them that there are thousands of Lobos just like them.
The celebration is in the SUB Atrium on Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with students, faculty and staff sharing their stories. All are encouraged to wear First-Gen Proud shirts that day, which can be requested online. There will also be a photo booth, resource fair and cake.
In addition to the celebration, CEP is encouraging the campus to participate year-round by:
- Connecting with students
- Teaching a class or advising a student? Take a minute or two to share your journey of being a first-generation student.
- Displaying a First-Gen Proud card
- Displaying a card in your office or on your desk can indicate to a first-generation student that you understand their perspective and committed to their success. Display cards will be available for pick-up beginning on Friday, Nov.1.
- Writing a Dear First-Gen Letter
- Submit letters of support/encouragement to hand out to current, first-gen, UNM students.
UNM joined with instatutions across the country to recognizw the successes and efforts of first-generation students. The national initiative is sponsored by the federal TRIO programs, NASPA and the SUDER Foundation.