The SUNY Oneonta community came together this week for a full schedule of events and activities in celebration of the trailblazing first-generation students and staff on campus.
The Office of Student Experience kicked off First-Gen Celebration Week by giving away “I AM F1RST” and “F1RST-GEN SUPPORTER” buttons and encouraging students to take part in a campus-wide scavenger hunt to familiarize themselves with the many resources available. Other events throughout the week included informational sessions regarding financial wellness, academic mentoring and coaching and leadership opportunities, as well as a First-Gen “happy hour” for mingling, snacking and fun photo ops.
On Wednesday, National First-Generation College Celebration Day, SUNY Oneonta’s chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for first-generation students, sponsored a “Planting with the Prez” event , where first-gen students could decorate a flowerpot and meet President Alberto Cardelle.
The same day, SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College students and staff unveiled “First Things First!,” a five-episode partnership podcast to “support, educate and build a community around the first-generation experience.” The first episode featured two Oneonta alumni who were first-generation students and discusses the importance of mental health and self-care.
Approximately 43 percent of Oneonta’s fall 2023 first-year students are first-generation college students, meaning neither of their parents earned a bachelor’s degree.
Brooke Hofmann, a first-year student from Long Island, said she appreciated the opportunities to meet and get to know other first-gen students this week.
“It fosters a sense of belonging not just for me, but other students that were present,” Hofmann said. “Being a first-gen student makes me feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Since I was the first in my family to go to college, I didn't know what to expect. I am extremely grateful for my parents for giving me this opportunity and for the academic, financial, and social support that Oneonta gives first-gen students.”