A Celebration of National First-Generation Week 2023


National First-Gen Week Banner


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) celebrated National First Gen Day the week of November 6- November 10, 2023, to acknowledge, elevate, and highlight the successes of all first-generation undergraduate and graduate students. November 8th is the annual National First-Generation College Celebration Day, which was chosen to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

This year, the collaborative efforts of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME), the First Generation Student Association (FiGSA), and the First Generation Student Success Advisory Board brought forth a series of engaging events throughout the week, dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating our vibrant first-generation community. FiGSA, in partnership with ODIME, organized a First-Generation breakfast on Tuesday, November 7 between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. On National First-Gen Day, ODIME hosted a drop-by event in the Rubin Campus Center lobby from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST. Attendees enjoyed a range of offerings, including a photo opportunity, giveaways, celebratory stickers, first-gen pins, valuable resources, and delectable treats. 

Later in the evening, Connections students joined forces with first-gen students for a movie social held from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Fuller Labs. As a finale to the week-long festivities, FiGSA collaborated with ODIME's weekly Milk and Cookies program on Friday, November 10, unfolding the heartwarming event from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the OASIS House.


First-Gen Students

First-gen students were posed with the question, "What does being first-generation mean to you?" Here's a glimpse into their insightful responses:

“Having pride in my origins and being able to celebrate how far I’ve come.”

“Being proud of who you are and your origins.”

“Being able to work through hardships to succeed and fit into the college and professional world.”

 “To have a diverse community of other students like you not only on your college campus but also in the country.”

“I want to share as many resources as possible with others in my family, in my community, at WPI, and beyond. This is specifically why I joined FiGSA and especially why I decided to join exec in my sophomore year! So, to me, being first-gen means being resilient, a fast learner, and someone who believes in sharing resources.” – Sara Frunzi, FiGSA President 

We extend our gratitude to everyone who played a role. Together, we have not just celebrated but affirmed the importance of unity, diversity, and invaluable contributions by our first-generation community at WPI. Here’s to our fantastic first-generation community, may your achievements continue to shine throughout your academic journey! 


First-Gen Student

To learn more about first-generation resources at WPI, check out the first-generation page and read more about WPI’s support.

"November 8 was selected as the date for the annual National First-Generation College Celebration to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Higher Education Act (“HEA”) emerged out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. Much like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, HEA was intended to help level a playing field that for too long had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their education, the legislation made key investments in institutions of higher education. Additionally, HEA ushered in programs, particularly the Federal TRIO programs, necessary for postsecondary access, retention, and completion for low-income, potential first-generation college graduates." Learn More

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) promotes and oversees all student-facing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) learning experiences, programs, services, trainings, and initiatives for WPI.