Student Success

FIU hosts lineup of events honoring national First-Generation College Celebration Day

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First-gen students and the team of staff dedicated to facilitating their success gather in the student union on National First-Generation College Celebration Day on Nov. 8

Every year, FIU hosts a variety of events and workshops to mark the national First-Generation College Celebration Day during the week of Nov. 8. 

One in three undergraduates at FIU are among the first in their families to earn bachelor’s degrees, and the university is home to a robust, institution-wide network of year-round initiatives that support them academically and financially. For this commitment, FIU was designated a First Scholars Institution by NASPA and the Center for First-Generation Student Success this year.  

In honor of this important milestone, the university pulled out all the stops for First-Generation College Celebration Day, and even added a few new events to its annual roster.  

The 2023 celebration lineup included: 

  • The annual Sunday brunch for first-gen students, alumni, faculty, staff and community supporters, at which FIU conferred its first First-Generation Advocate awards to members of faculty and staff who students agree go above and beyond when it comes to supporting this group of students and the unique challenges they face 
  • Three workshops for students hosted in partnership with programs across the university: 
    • "Self/Personal Branding on Social Media" hosted by FIU Career and Talent Development 
    • "First-Generation Struggles" – a discussion on mental health hosted by FIU Counseling and Psychological Services 
    • "The Path to Graduate School" panel discussion hosted by the University Graduate School 
  • A new workshop for faculty and staff that explained who first-gen students are and how to support their needs 
  • An inaugural networking reception, where first-gen students mingled with members of faculty and staff who were also the first in their families to earn degrees 
  • The annual university-wide celebration in the student center on November 8th, which featured giveaways, trivia, and informational booths highlighting university resources available to first-gen students 

Further evidence of its commitment to these first-gen students’ academic achievement, FIU boasts a 91.8% first-to-second year retention rate among this population. The university is also ranked among the Top 20 public institutions committed to social mobility by U.S. News & World Report 

During the celebration, senior Kassandra Velazquez said that for her, being a first-gen student means “being the inspiration that my grandparents and parents have, and turning their lifelong efforts into my biggest achievement, which is graduating college.” 

Velazquez will graduate in December with a dual degree in Psychology and Women’s & Gender Studies, and she plans to pursue graduate school next. 

Those interested in supporting first-gen initiatives at FIU or learning more about the programs available may visit the FIU First-Gen Initiatives website