Student News

UK to celebrate first-generation students Nov. 7-11

Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2022) — At the University of Kentucky, nearly one in four incoming freshmen and one in three transfer students are first-generation college students. 

To support these students, from Nov. 7-11, UK will celebrate "The Power of One: A First-Generation Convention Experience." First-Generation Student Services, a unit housed in the Office for Student Success, will host a week full of fun events that will give first-generation students the opportunity to tell their story, learn more about the resources the university has to offer them and meet other first-generation students who have common experiences. 

The week of events are as follows: 

Monday, Nov. 7

  • First-Gen Faculty & Staff Advocate Salute: Create Your Playlist via WRFL 
  • First-Gen Celebration Tabling/Postcard Station: Thanks for Putting Me First, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Gatton Student Center Atrium
  • Jump In With First-Gen Ball Pit, 2-5 p.m, Gatton Student Center, Room 201 - First-generation students, alumni, faculty and staff are invited to “Jump In” the First-Generation Ball Pit to tell their story, meet new people and grab an excellent photo.

Tuesday, Nov. 8 (Shirt Day)

  • 1G Social Media Take Over - featuring the day in the life of a UK first-gen student
  • First-Gen Celebration BINGO with FGSO, noon-2 p.m., Gatton Student Center Ballroom A,
  • CELT Lunch and Learn: First-Generation Student Panel. 12:30-1:15 p.m., Margaret I. King Library Building
  • Alpha Alpha Alpha Honor Society Induction Ceremony, 6 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Worsham Theater
  • Jump In With First-Gen Ball Pit, 2-5 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201

Wednesday, Nov. 9

  • First-Gen Conversations with UK Counseling Center: How to Process Feelings of Being First-Gen, noon, Gatton Student Center, Room 201
  • Who Are You? Design Your Book Cover for the 1G Café, 4-5:30 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201
  • Jump In With First-Gen Ball Pit, 1-3 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201

Thursday, Nov. 10

  • First-Gen Celebration Tabling/Postcard Station: Thanks for Putting Me First, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • First-Gen Conversations with UK Libraries, 11 a.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201
  • First-Gen Conversations with UK Libraries, 3 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201
  • Jump In With First-Gen Ball Pit, noon-2 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201

Friday, Nov. 11

  • First-Gen Grad and Professional Student Coffee Chat, in partnership with CGPDI, 9-11 a.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201
  • Jump In With First-Gen Ball Pit, 2-5 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Room 201
  • Throwback Movie Night with SAB, “Tommy Boy”, 7 p.m., Gatton Student Center, Worsham Theater

“This celebration allows us to bring to the forefront the experiences of our first-generation students,” said Martina Martin, director of First Generation Student Services. “It serves to promote their strengths and recognizes the unique and diverse perspectives and experiences they bring to campus conversations. Our first-gen students are the first in their families to attend and graduate from college; they are trailblazers, and are role models for their families and communities.” 

Many first-generation students face day-to-day challenges as they navigate social, academic, financial and administrative challenges. Advocating for the needs of first-generation students is the main goal of First-Generation Student Advising.

They offer programs like Wildcats First, a program that serves as a campuswide collaboration dedicated to addressing the academic success, belonging and engagement, health and wellness and financial stability of first-generation college students, and the Alpha Alpha Alpha Honor Society-Upsilon Chapter, an organization that promotes academic excellence and provides opportunities for personal growth, leadership development and campus and community service for first-generation college students. 

Both programs help first-generation students like Simone Beverly find their sense of belonging on campus. 

“The First-Generation Student Services staff has pushed me to be a better student, person and member of my community,” Beverly said. “The first-gen staff has instilled a confidence in me that I will carry with me beyond college and for that I am so grateful.” 

The university is also proud to provide a First-Generation Living Learning Community, a residential experience designed to support these students and assist them with their transition from high school into college life. Students living on campus also have the option to take part in Wildcats First Early Move-In, where first-generation students have the option to move in early and take part in a host of informative sessions and activities prior to the start of K Week.

First-Generation Student Services helps students discover what is wildly possible with the university of and for Kentucky. 

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to follow the weeklong celebration on social media by using the hashtags #WildcatsFirst, #FirstGenForward and #FirstGenDay.

At the University of Kentucky, students are at the center of all that we do. From the moment you become a Wildcat through graduation and beyond, the Office for Student Success is committed to supporting you. Comprised of five areas and 25 units, together, they have one vision — to help students live a life of meaning. Student Success works through an equitable, holistic and inclusive lens to design and deliver unparalleled services and support a diverse community of learners in achieving their wildest ambitions. In the Office for Student Success this is what we do — this is who we are. You can explore resources available to you here. If you have additional questions, you can reach a Student Success team member by calling the helpline 859-218-YouK (9685).