First Gen Week

Celebrating a First-Generation Pathway to Success

image of group at First Gen kick off

UW-Parkside Celebrates First Generation Students

Thursday, December 14, 2023
Mike Hagen and Trent Niesen

Parkside expands the impact of first-generation student celebration. 

Nestled in between the Milwaukee and Chicago corridor, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside is a small public university with a student population of approximately 60% first-generation students and is an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution. Last year, we held our inaugural First-Generation celebration with a single day of activities including a rally with food and speakers. Thanks to the NASPA First-Generation College Celebration Grant, we were able to expand our programming from a single day to a week that impacts the student’s entire college experience and celebrates our first-generation students. 

“I knew there was going to be difficulties coming into college, but I didn’t know that this was something already recognized at the college level.” ~ Erik, Sophomore

Our theme this year was “Celebrating a First-Generation Pathway to Success”. We created folders for participating students which included an itinerary for the week, resource guide for students, and an insert displaying a four-year pathway. For each year of college, the insert listed career checkpoints. Students attended workshops with topics in career readiness, financial literacy, mental health and well-being, and intersectionality. The skills and knowledge received throughout this celebration week provided developmental and sustainable growth for their life-long journey. 

“If there is something that other first-gen students should take away, it’s just do it. At the end of the day, your education is something that no one can take away from you.” ~ Alejandro, Junior

Specific programming included speak-out conversation sessions and workshops focused on the first-generation identity and how it intersects in the higher education space. We hosted a book signing recognizing first-generation Parkside student, Maurice Campbell, who is the author of the sci-fi book Dopeman. Students also participated in a personal finance workshop sponsored by our partners at Educator’s Credit Union. The Active Minds student organization provided resources and talked about breaking the stigma around mental health. Additionally, throughout the week a refreshment travel cart went around campus where students could pick up their “I’m F1rst” buttons, stickers and folders. To cap off the week, first-generation students and spectators received recognition at our women’s basketball game.

“Don’t be shy about asking questions and seeking help, that’s why we’re here.” ~ Dr. Tammy

McGuckin, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs & Enrollment Services


The UW-Parkside community benefited from a full week of transformative events. Students celebrated with their peers and mentors, creating open dialogues around their identities and life stories. We sparked curiosity and inclusivity with non-first-generation students throughout the week, particularly with gatherings like our Kickoff Event and Rally. For the week, we created a recognizable “F1rst Generation Week” brand which will be used in future years, ensuring the sustainability of this program. With the goal of engaging our First-Generation community, increasing awareness, and offering developmental opportunities, UW-Parkside delivered a multi-dimensional First-Generation celebratory experience.

First Gen Week



Housing Celebrates 
Free doughnuts!

7:30 AM  |  Ranger Hall  

First-Generation Week Travel Cart 
10:30 AM  |  Throughout Campus 

First-Generation Week Kick Off Event 
12-1 PM  |  Book & Brew 

MOSAIC Speak Out
How does first-generation identity intersect with other identities that you hold?
5-6 PM  |  OMSA (WYLL D181) 


First-Generation Week Travel Cart 
10:30 AM  |  Throughout Campus   

First-Generation Week Information Table
12-2 PM  |  The Bridge 

Book Signing–Dopeman by Maurice Campbell  (First Gen Student Author)
5 PM-6:30 PM  |  Library 


Active Minds–Changing the Conversation about Mental Health  
11 AM-12 PM  |  The Bridge  

First-Generation Rally 
12-1 PM  |  Book & Brew 


First-Generation Week Connections to High Impact Practices 
11 AM-1 PM   |  The Bridge 

Learn about Educator’s Credit Union   
12-1 PM  |  The Bridge 

Financial Literacy with Educator’s Credit Union 
1-2 PM  |  MOLN L105 

Active Minds–Changing the Conversation about Mental Health
12-2 PM  |  The Bridge   

The First-Generation Experience Pursuing Careers in Clinical and Non-Clinical Healthcare 
5-6 PM  |  Oak Room, Student Center

NOV 10 

Women’s Basketball Game Parkside vs. Thomas Moore University  
5:30 PM  |  De Simone Arena, Sports & Activity Center 







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