Sarah Geegan


College: Undergraduate Education

This Week Is First Generation Week at UK

Published: Feb 18, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2013) This week, the University of Kentucky will recognize a core group of students on campus, first generation (1G) students. First Generation Week will celebrate and reflect upon the enhanced efforts to recruit, support and empower first generation college students at UK.


To be first generation means neither of a student’s parents has completed a baccalaureate degree; 30 percent of UK undergraduate students are first generation. In 2011 the provost created The Office of First Generation Initiatives to lead campus-wide efforts in recruiting, retaining and enhancing graduation rates of this important population at UK. The office also connects first generation faculty and staff with students.


Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall said that he based the week on the National TRIO Day of service, which is meant to focus the nation's "attention on the needs of disadvantaged young people and adults aspiring to improve their lives, to the necessary investment if they are to become contributing citizens of the country, and to the talent which will be wasted if that investment is not made," according to a 1986 congressional resolution.


"I starting thinking about how we could do something on campus to celebrate first generation students," Deffendall said. " In response to this National TRIO Day, the celebration, reflection and events surrounding the concept of being first generation came to fruition."


Partnering with the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of First Generation Initiatives, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, Education Abroad at UK, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Student Success and the Office of Institutional Diversity, the week will kick off its first event with a resource fair. Interim Provost Tim Tracy will welcome the attendees to this event.


From a faculty and staff standpoint, the week will offer events to assist individuals in working with and supporting first generation students. Brown bag lunch events will focus on highlighting ways to enhance educational experiences for first generation students within the classroom and the department.


As 1G programs such as the First Scholars Program, the Robinson Scholars Program, Student Support Services and the Living and Learning Communities continue to have tremendous success, the week offers much to celebrate.


Below is a complete list of events for First Generation Week. For more information on the Office of First Generation Initiatives, click here.


Monday, Feb. 18:

First Generation Week Kickoff Rally 

Noon-2 p.m. in the UK Student Center Small Ballroom

Kick off First Generation Week with free T-shirts for first gen students, a resource fair, and free food and drinks.

First Generation Living Learning Community Open House

3:30-5 p.m. in Blanding III Residence Hall on South Campus

Come to see the innovative space and programming provided to first-year students in this living learning program.


Tuesday Feb. 19:

My 1G Experience – Education Abroad with Seth Riker
Noon-1 p.m. in the Niles Gallery of the Little Library
Join CELT for a brown bag discussion about first generation student success at the University of Kentucky. Bring your lunch and prepare to engage with faculty and staff about how first generation students contribute to the teaching and learning experience.

First Adventures in a Global Marketplace
3-4 p.m. in 207 Bradley Hall
Sponsored by Education Abroad, come learn about this exciting new program in London, England, May 14–June 5, 2013. Students can meet the program director, review the itinerary and hear about scholarships before the deadline to apply Feb. 27.

Dream Big: Achieve Even More with Amir Windom
6-8 p.m. in the William T. Young Library Auditorium
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Diversity Education presents "DreamDaze: Dream Big, Achieve Even More with Amir Windom, Music Executive for Atlantic Records and Former Manager of T. I., Trey Songz & Kanye West."


Wednesday, Feb. 20:

My 1G Experience – Lessons from the Road
Noon-1 p.m. in the Niles Gallery of the Little Library
Join CELT for a brown bag discussion about first generation student success at the University of Kentucky. Bring your lunch and prepare to engage with Holly Hapke and Kahlil Baker as they share their lessons from the road as first generation faculty and staff.  

Two One Seven Open House

3:30-5 p.m. in 217 Funkhouser

Come and see the partner space created for first generation students in AMSTEMM, First Scholars, Robinson Scholars, and the First Generation Living Learning Community. Meet first gen students in these programs and visit with the staff.


Thursday, Feb. 21:

My 1G Experience – Researching the First Generation Student
Noon-1 p.m. in the Niles Gallery of the Little Library
Join CELT for a brown bag discussion about first generation student research facilitated by Neal Hutchens and Wayne Lewis from the College of Education. Bring your lunch and prepare to engage with faculty and graduate students about the field of first generation student research.

Student Support Services Open House

3:30-5 p.m. in 6 Alumni Gym

Student Support Services is a federally funded program designed to work with students who are first generation, low-income, and have a documented disability. Come and learn about the holistic approach to working with students designed to aid in retention and graduation. SSS is a federal TRiO program. 

MOVIE NIGHT: “First Generation”
7-9 p.m. in 200 Funkhouser
Narrated by Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, FIRST GENERATION tells the story of four high school students — an inner city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter of migrant field workers — who set out to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to their families and communities by pursuing a college education.

Free pizza and popcorn courtesy of the Office of First Generation Initiatives


Friday, Feb. 22:

 “I’m First”: My First Generation Story

10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the MC3 lab in 107A Grehan

Visit the recording booth in the multimodal communication consulting center to record your “I’m First” video. Students are encouraged to take the pledge and share their story. Sponsored by the Office of First Generation Initiatives and the Division of Instructional Communication. For more information about this project visit
First Scholars Faculty Mentor Reception

4-6p.m. in the Boone Center

First Generation Faculty are invited to participate in a mentoring program for juniors in the First Scholars. Faculty mentors who have already volunteered will receive an invitation. To be a part of this special initiative, please contact Brittany Courtney at




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

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