The Resource Center and the First-Generation, Low-Income (FGLI) Advisory Board hosted their FGLI Appreciation Week Tuesday, November 8 through Saturday, November 12. The program included a first-generation reception, a social mobility talk, a cozy hangout event, a CV workshop and a graduation ceremony.
FGLI Appreciation Week also marks the end of the First Things First (FTF) freshman program. Both the FTF and FGLI Appreciation Weeks are designed to promote a smooth and comfortable transition into college life for students who may come from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds.
The week began with a reception for first generation college students in the Woodhead Lounge. The students in attendance had the opportunity to interact and share a space with other FGLI students and FGLI faculty members.
“It was nice to see people socializing,” said a first-year participant. “I saw some of my professors there and some other faculty members that I already knew were FGLI. It was nice to chat with them and know they went through the same thing.”
The second event of the week was the Social Mobility Talks Room, moderated by Resource Center Director Demetrius Colvin and Dean of Academic Justice, Inclusion and Success and Interim Co-Vice President for Equity and Inclusion April Ruiz. Students were greeted with a Thai dinner and encouraged to take part in open discussions about social mobility: how it can be achieved, how it can be problematic and how they feel about the concept overall. Students shared anecdotes about their personal experiences and how such systems can be addressed at the university.
“We wanted to create an intimate space for FGLI students and staff to share how they are doing, how social mobility is affecting their daily lives and [so that we] conversations about how we can build and support one another,” said Kiara Ruesta, Associate Director of the Resource Center.
Ruesta also shared that she was very happy with the turnout at the event, which was better than expected. She was glad that the students could come together and exchange ideas.
“I’m glad people felt comfortable about being vulnerable enough to share their experiences,” Ruesta said. “I felt like people felt confidence in the space.”
The third event of the week was a cozy gathering place, intended as an intimate space that encourages student relaxation and bonding. The students, seated in the resource center lobby, played board games, watched movies, and drank hot chocolate. The cozy meeting place was also a joint event with the winter clothing campaign. Clothes collection boxes and clothes racks were available for FGLI students to take what they needed to prepare for the winter season.
The fourth event, held at the Gordon Career Center (GCC), was an FGLI CV workshop. FGLI students received advice from GCC staff on how to complete and improve their resumes for opportunities inside, outside of, and after graduation.
The sixth event concluding the FGLI Appreciation Week was the FGLI Formal, held at Beckham Hall. Students and faculty who attended could take photos at the photo booth, sip sparkling cider, enjoy refreshments and hit the dance floor.
“I think it went really well,” said Beth Cooper, an intern at the Socioeconomic Status and Disability Resource Center. “We were concerned about renting out Beckham because it’s such a large space. We were worried it would look really empty, but I think we did a good job filling it in… I’m glad so many people came.”
Cooper also shared her feelings about FGLI Appreciation Week as a whole.
“It’s called FGLI Week, but I see it more as an opportunity for FGLI students on campus to come together,” Cooper said. “Especially since we’re on a campus where there’s a lot of upper-class people and people who come from a long line of people who went to college, it can often seem like there aren’t that many people who do.” understand where you are coming from. And this week really serves as an opportunity to remember that you have a community here.”
Gabby McIntosh can be reached at [email protected]