From Nov. 8 to 12, St. Olaf is participating in the National First-Generation College Celebration. St. Olaf held their first campus celebration in 2018, and the celebration has continued to expand to include more events throughout the week since then.
“It has been a great way to promote conversation between students, faculty, and staff about what it means to be a first-generation college student at St. Olaf College,” wrote Associate Director of TRIO Melissa Melgar ’04 and Director of TRIO Janis Johnson, in an email to The Olaf Messenger.
“The St. Olaf TRIO McNair Scholars Program and St. Olaf TRIO Student Support Services Program lead the planning and execution of the events. But events are also funded and supported by the Taylor Center for Equity & Inclusion, ACM Graduate School Exploration Fellowship, Piper Center for Vocation & Career, Center for Advising & Academic Support, Admissions, and the Vice President for Equity & Inclusion. The college supports the first-generation celebration week and the President will send an email to the community kicking off the week and announcing all of the planned events,” Melgar and Johnson wrote.
Throughout the week, the Boe Chapel hallway will display first-generation students’ reflections that they have written about their experience. Other events include a panel of first generation students and graduates sharing their stories which will be moderated by Dr. Quintin B. Bullock, President of Community College of Allegheny County located in Allegheny, P.A. The event is a national event planned by the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for first-generation Student Success and will be held on Nov. 8 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
“I think the general purpose of the first-generation celebration is to remind students that they aren’t alone on this campus and that there are other people who are having difficulty navigating college on their own. It is an event to celebrate students for achieving this milestone and coming together to support them,” said first-generation student Paige Hafner ’23.
Event details and registration information can be found at stolaf.edu/firstgen. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate as much as possible in the events that are planned to honor the resiliency of our first-generation students, staff, and faculty.