RWU holds second annual First-Gen Day Celebration

RWU will be holding its second annual First-Gen Day celebration Tuesday, Nov. 8. According to the RWU website, the holiday is celebrated on Nov. 8 to mark the anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that “sought to level the playing field for Americans from minoritized and low income backgrounds.”
Between both the Bristol and Providence campuses, there will be five events to celebrate the holiday.
Events kick off at 2 p.m. with a virtual First-Gen Families session hosted by Director of Institutional Diversity Equity and Inclusion Michael Walsh.
Walsh said this event will involve talking with current RWU first generation college students about the process they went through to gain access to the university and the variable that came into play during that process. One of those variables, Walsh said, would be if they had the support of their family members in gaining access to the university or did not.
According to Walsh, 359 out of 4,307 students (8.34%) at the Bristol campus are first generation college students with the Providence campus having 87 first generation students, meaning that a little over 10% of RWU’s students are first generation.
At 3 p.m. the next event will be held in the Mary Tefft White room in the Library, the next event called “Equitea: The Chosen One: A First Generation Ivy League Odyssey” by Echo Brown. That event is hosted by RWU’s Equitea Book & Media Club where members of the RWU community can discuss Echo Brown’s book “The Chosen One: A First Generation Ivy League Odyssey.”
Afterwards, also in Mary Tefft White, at 4:15 p.m. there will be an Alumni Panel Discussion where RWU alumni reflect on their experiences as first generation students and share advice with current students.
Events in Bristol end with the 5:30 p.m. President’s Networking Reception where “President Miaoulis will be addressing the group, but more importantly it’s an opportunity for folks to connect and celebrate the day,” said Walsh.
On Nov. 9 at the University College at 5 p.m. there will also be a First-Gen Pep Rally with giveaways, refreshments and a RWU first-gen photo booth.
Local and state elections will also be happening that same day. Walsh said the holiday is traditionally celebrated on Nov. 8 each year and the university wanted to tie into the national date which is why it is on Tuesday, but the university also recognizes how important the elections are.
“We hope folks can go to the polls or potentially go later,” said Walsh. “If not, there’s an opportunity to connect with us virtually and so through that we hope folks can be a part of one component of the program.”
“We don’t expect everybody to be a part of every aspect, but if you can find time in your day to be with us for one hour, that would be most outstanding,” said Walsh.