CSUDH Celebrates First – Generation Studentscsudhbulletin December 4, 2019 0 COMMENTS
By Dayzsha Lino
In celebration of a landmark bill that passed over 50 years ago, students gathered at the LSU East Walkway Thursday, Nov. 7 for the First Annual First-Generation College Student Celebration.
The event was held to commemorate first-generation college students for their perseverance and hard work on campus. Snacks and refreshments were available to anyone who attended, and there was also a red carpet photo-op area for students to take pictures.
The First-Generation College Student Celebration is a national event that was organized back in 2017 by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center For First-Generation Student Success. According to the Center For First Generation Student Success, the celebration is in honor of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.
The goal of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) was to help minorities and low-income families who were effected by institutionalized discrimination and poverty receive the best education possible by providing grants and loans to students who needed them, and creating federal programs such as the Federal TRIO Programs, Ronald E. Mcnair Post Baccalaureate Program, Upward Bound, and Upward-Bound Math-Science.
This year marked the 54th anniversary of the HEA signing, and while this event started two years ago, this is the first time CSUDH has ever taken part in the celebration.
One of the coordinators of the event was Elizabeth Hanna, who is also the director of TRIO Student Support Services. She believes that being the first in your family to go to college is very special.
“Being a “first” in college means that we’ve never been on this path before, so we have questions, we have struggles, we have responsibilities,” Hanna said, “And so in today’s event, I just wanted us to create a space where we can just gather students like this and say, ‘Hey, good job. I see you. We see you.”
Hanna also mentioned that over 50% of CSUDH students (who, as of today, are a population of over 17,000) are the first in their families to go to college. When asked about being first-generation college students, the event’s attendees expressed emotions ranging from stress to pride.
Lindsay Buenfostro, a Psychology major, said that the best part of being a first-generation college student is making her parents proud. “I appreciate all of their sacrifices for me to be a CSUDH student,” Buenfostro said.
Alonso Gomez is an Art and Design major. He and his younger sister, Joseline Gomez, a Advertising/Public Relations major, both attend CSUDH. Gomez said that being a first-generation college student can be tough, especially while trying to set an example for his other siblings.
“It’s tough because you have certain expectations that weigh on you,” Gomez said, “I didn’t know if I belonged here or not. But I still try to be a leading example for my younger sister.”