First-Generation Student Week is celebrated by Trinity’s Community

SDIO shows continued commitment to creating a sense of community


Samuel Damon

Staff, faculty, and students alike enjoy the First Gen Student dinner.

Nov. 8 is first-generation student day, but the date is stretched out into an entire week of celebrations at Trinity. With the holiday originally created to honor the anniversary of the Higher Education Act’s signing in 1965, the Student Diversity and Inclusion Office (SDIO) commemorates their continued commitment to first-generation students throughout the week of Nov. 7-11.

The number of first-generation students has tended to grow every year, with the most recent first-year class consisting of 15% first-generation students. During the week and throughout the infrastructure of the Trinity community, first-generation students are welcomed into the student body in a number of ways.

Kaila Campos, the SDIO coordinator, said she is passionate about ensuring that the mission of SDIO is clearly communicated through events such as first-generation student week. The office is focused on creating a sense of belonging for every student at Trinity.

“My main goal is always building connections, always giving further into individuals’ identities, so a lot of the time just being first-generation students, that’s all people see. My goal then is to be able to sit there and have conversations and to just connect and to just be that extra resource,” Campos said.

SDIO kicked off the week with a first-generation dinner. While providing the students with food, the first-generation students were asked to record their own stories, sharing what drew them to Trinity and how they have experienced college. Through this, SDIO not only aims to create a video for future students but also to properly document the journeys of students here at Trinity.

This includes students such as Alyzadia Hernandez, a first-year undecided major. As a first-generation student, she can speak firsthand about how she has felt welcomed into the Trinity community. Despite only being here for a short period of time, she said the community has already made an impact on her and her education.

“A lot of my professors understand that being a first-generation, I probably wasn’t as experienced with the work level here, that it probably wasn’t the same at my high school. They understand that and are very lenient with that and are understanding. They help you with that and refer you to all these resources at Trinity [such as] the academic services [and] counseling services. It’s just nice to know that if I’m ever having trouble, there’s always somewhere to go for help,” Hernandez said.

Another event that SDIO set up was a panel discussion focused on first-generation faculty who had been able to thrive in the college atmosphere. With the panel consisting of a mix of faculty and staff that went to Trinity and other universities, the panelists were able to pass on their strategies and experiences to current students that may be going through the same experiences they did.

“With this panel, we’re showing representation and a sense of belonging from your professors, your staff, your faculty that go to Trinity, that have gone to Trinity. I think that doing that really shows a sense of ‘they can do it and I can do it’ and it has that sense of hope,” Campos said.

‘First-Generation Flourish’ on Nov. 10 was the final portion of the week of celebrations. By hosting a community event, SDIO hopes that all students that attended were able to make new connections. With collaborators such as the McNair scholars and various student organizations such as the Bee Club, the event was meant to be a commemoration of students. The event also featured food, tie-dye-related activities and games for all who attended.

First-generation students were uplifted throughout the week of Nov. 7-11, but various programs and resources are available for them year-round. The number of students continues to grow for the university, with first-generation students rising in number alongside that.

“I think I got really lucky with this school because I didn’t realize everything that they offered before. They don’t focus only on getting first-generation kids here but also making sure they stay here. I really appreciate that,” Hernandez said.