First-generation college students recognized and celebrated
Photo courtesy of Natalie Khait
A first-generation college student can be defined as a student for whom neither parent has earned a four-year degree in the United States.
On Thursday, Nov. 8, Hofstra University created a platform for these students by celebrating National First-Generation Students Day, hosted by the First Generation Pride Committee.
According to Russ Smith, associate director of Residence Life and the committee chair of the First Generation Pride Committee, the purpose of the event was “to raise awareness on campus for everyone about first-gen students.”
“This event shows that we are present and that we are here,” said Breanna Toney, a sophomore marketing major. “First Generation Hofstra shines a light on the students who are alike here.”
The First Generation Pride Committee aims to get students acclimated to college life, since this is the first collegiate experience for both students and their families.
Earlier in the fall, the committee launched the First-Generation Student Living-Learning Community (LLC) in the Amsterdam House of the Netherlands.
“We are making changes for our families and being a starter to push for our families. It gives us something to be proud of,” Toney said.
Once a month on Thursday nights, someone from the University visits the house and cooks a homemade meal for the students.
The LLC also hosts a variety of educational programs on topics such as money management and healthy drinking. Faculty members share their own experiences and converse with students about how they are adjusting.
“The goal of this is to help students recognize that some of the faculty on campus are first-gen and that faculty members are approachable outside the classroom,” Smith said.
Students who participated in Thursday’s event received snacks and entered giveaways for winter hats and Bluetooth speakers.
More than 100 students walked away with a first-gen shirt.
“Hofstra gives me an education but also the First Gen Committee gives me a worldly experience that I couldn’t get in the same way my parents get,” said Amy Sena, a senior pre- med and religion major. “It gave me the tools to continue my life and my career.”