Each year, thousands of first-generation college students mark family history by setting foot onto college campuses and unlocking the door of their dorm rooms. Some of these students have parents that do not have bachelor’s degrees, while others are the first in their extended family’s history to go to college. In the past, Eckerd has not kept track of how many first-generation students are on campus, nor has it given them resources they need to thrive on campus. This year, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion plans to change that by elevating the first-generation community on campus.
On Aug. 23, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion held a meet and greet for first-generation students and faculty to get to know each other. The event was organized by Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion Programs Morgan Harthorne, Research Analyst for Institutional Effectiveness Chelsea Creaturo and Assistant Professor of Sociology Lisa Miller.
The meet and greet served as a kick-off to this years program to bring awareness to first-generation students. They announced a directory for first-generation students that includes faculty and staff that were first-generation students, as well.
“It's been a team effort over the summer to try to figure out what we can do for students. The main thing is connecting them to the community… we can give students a directory, a list of people they can go to with questions or advice, people that kind of know where they’re coming from,” Creaturo said.
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion was bustling with people at the meet and greet. First-generation students and faculty got to know each other and share their experiences. Junior Alicen Nico, first-year Daniella Lejarza and Miller were all present and excited about the program.