Celebrating First Gen College Students

Written by Estero Bay News

November 17, 2023

Cuesta College recently participate in the 2023 First-Generation College Celebration to recognize and honor the achievements of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff.

First-generation college students are a crucial and disproportionately impacted group in higher education. Cuesta College’s 2022-2025 Student Equity Plan (SEP) has identified the unique challenges these students face, addressing the need for more support and recognition. In Fall 2022, approximately 25% of Cuesta College students identified as first-generation.

“Our first-generation students have shown immense courage, determination, and empowerment in their educational journeys,” said Mia Ruiz, Dean of Student Success & Support Programs. “We want to highlight their achievements and make them feel proud of their unique path to success.”

The theme of this year’s celebration was “Courageous, Determined, and Empowered: First-Gen Pride.” Starting that kicked off a week-long social media campaign to raise awareness and celebrate the first-generation campus community. Each day, the college spotlighted a first-generation student, sharing their stories and why they are “first-gen proud.”

Additionally, the Student Success Centers at both Cuesta College campuses displayed profiles of first-generation students and employees, showcasing their experiences and accomplishments. The celebration culminated on Nov. 8 with a gathering open to all, featuring music, food, and a sense of unity in celebrating first-generation achievements in higher education.

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