Joining a national show of support for first-generation college students

Longwood is taking the opportunity next week to recognize its first-generation college students in connection with national First Generation College Celebration Day on Nov. 8.

Representatives from Longwood’s First-Generation Student Success Working Group of faculty and staff will be greeting students and handing out information and treats at a table on Brock Commons on Monday, Nov. 7, and Wednesday, Nov. 9, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

If your student is “first-gen,” defined as the first person in a family to receive a bachelor’s degree, encourage them to stop by for a dose of heartfelt support and encouragement. If your student is not first-gen, this is an opportunity to find out more about some of their fellow students who may face different challenges from those whose families broke the path to college for them.

The inaugural First-Generation College Celebration was held in 2017 as an initiative of the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-Generation Student Success. Since then it’s become an annual event on Nov. 8, the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which included programs designed to help first-generation college students be successful.

Support for first-gen students at Longwood is available on a daily basis in many forms, including from the more than 60 faculty and staff members who have self-identified as “First Gen Allies,” a number of them first-gen college graduates themselves.

Of course, Longwood is committed to the success of all of its students and makes numerous resources available to everyone, including the Center for Academic Success, which offers tutoring, writing assistance, coaching groups and more.

“I say regularly that we were all first-gen at some point in our family experiences,” said Dean of Engagement Cheryl Steele, who leads the First-Generation Student Success group established about six years ago. “We want students, faculty and staff to recognize and celebrate the presence of our first-gen students and for those students to feel recognized and affirmed.”

—Sabrina Brown