Over the week of Nov. 8, Fairfield University joins in the nationwide collegiate celebration of First Generation Week. The week seeks to highlight and honor the stories and perseverance of first-generation students pursuing higher education. 

Karl Uzcategui, Associate Director of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, recognizes First Generation Week as “an occasion to honor the distinctive journeys and accomplishments of those who are trailblazers in their families.”

“This week is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to creating an environment where all students, regardless of their background, can thrive,” Uzcategui shared.

In honor of First Generation Week, students come together to organize events that educate and enrich the Fairfield community on the importance of first-generation experiences. As such, the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs seeks to provide a forum for dialogue and interaction centered around first-generation issues, with students of all backgrounds being invited to attend a range of events organized over the week.

On Nov. 6 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., SDMA hosted a movie screening that aimed to grant students exposure to first-generation experiences. Uzcategui celebrated the movie as giving “valuable insight into the challenges and triumphs of first-generation students as the movie fosters understanding and empathy within our community.”

On Nov. 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., students will host a “First Generation Day Tabling Event” at the Barone Campus Center. The table is designed to be an interactive station celebrating and supporting the first-generation student body. It also grants an avenue for first-generation students to connect with one another and learn about the resources provided to them through the University. 

On Nov. 9 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the BCC 100, SDMA will host “Navigating Complex Conversations with Lucy Katz Fellows.” The peer-led dialogue will focus on addressing difficult issues surrounding first-generation experience as it seeks to foster deeper connections amongst first-generation students desirous of making a meaningful impact on the broader Fairfield community. 

Lastly, on Nov. 10 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. also at BCC 100, the office will host an open dialogue session where students are invited to meet and openly discuss the needs of first-generation students on campus. The event seeks to encourage free-flowing conversation and honesty about first-generation student needs.

First Generation Week is an opportunity for Fairfield students of all academic backgrounds and experiences to unite in honoring the initiative and accomplishments of first-generation students. 

Fairfield University Student Association President Aliyah Seenauth ‘24 is a first-generation student herself. In anticipation of First Generation Week, she says “if I could recommend anything to the student body, I would suggest reading about the history behind first-generation college student day. Additionally, there is nothing better than listening to one’s lived experience.” The story of each first-generation college student is unique and worthy of celebration. These events provide a forum by which all students can join in the collective celebration of Fairfield University’s first-generation student body. 

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