First-Gen exhibition celebration

First Generation Student Organization celebrates success of first-generation students

This past weekend, the FirstGeneration Student Organization displayed a Faces of First-Gen Exhibition to celebrate the academic achievements and journeys of the first-generation students.

Located by the Fine Art Gallery in the David L. Eisler Center, the Faces of First-Gen Exhibition was organized to recognize the success of the first-generation students and celebrate their accomplishments toward graduation. The event also shared a glance of the first-generation students’ journeys, representing their timelines of accomplishments. The celebration also recognized the obstacles the first-generation students overcame for them to embody their mission to graduate.

Photo collages of first-generation students, including Kennith Arthur McDonald, are displayed in the
Fine Arts Gallery. Photos by: Jessica Oakes l Editor in Chief

Vice President of the First-Generation Student Organization, finance senior Lianna Moodie, knows that a lot of students identify themselves as a first-generation student, and that there’s an importance behind that identity.

“At Ferris State University, a first-generation student is defined as an individual whose parents have not obtained a Bachelor’s degree,” Moodie said.  “This definition holds significant importance because being a first-generation student means you are forging a unique path for your family and future generations. By pursing higher education, you become an inspiration, not only to your family and the generations that follow but also to your peers and fellow firstgeneration students.”

The number of students who identify themselves as first-generation students has exceeded over 2,000 as of this year.

Criminal justice junior Janiayah Moore is the president of the RSO and finds it important for the university to celebrate the success of the first-generation students because of their ability to achieve their academic goals.

“The inspiration and motivation, seeing your peers achieve success can help them believe in their own potential and strive for similar goals themselves,” Moore said.  “It can also help them see their goals are attainable and that they can overcome many obstacles they will face in the future.”

In addition to talking about  the importance of the first-generation identity, Moodie finds celebrating the first-generation students important due to their stories and journeys having an impact who hope to graduate with a degree.

“Most first-generation students often find themselves without guidance when they begin their university journey, frequently having to navigate the complexities of campus life on their own,” Moodie said. “I believe it’s essential to celebrate these students because they’ve made a significant commitment not only to bettering themselves but also to setting an inspiring example for both current and future generations.”

More first-generation celebration events are set to occur.  These include Bowling & Pizza at the Big Rapids Bowling Center (Nov. 9, 9 pm), eSports Extravaganza at the CVL eSports Arena (Nov. 10, 5-8 pm), and First-Gen Recognition at halftime at the football game against Wayne State on Nov. 11.  Contact to learn more.