First Generation Program Spring Events

Nick Kaempf, UAAP

The MIT First Generation Program (FGP) hosted 75 students at a Regional First Generation Student Reception on April 8. Attendees included a mix of students from MIT and four other Boston-area schools: Brandeis, Harvard, Tufts, and Wellesley. The reception provided students with the opportunity to network with first generation students from other elite institutions and to connect around their common identity and experiences.

Student representatives from each school spoke to the group about what it is like to be first generation at their institution, as well as the various initiatives and programs that their first generation student groups or organizations are undertaking on their campuses.

MIT First Generation ProjectIn his remarks, Walter Menendez, a member of MIT’s FGP student advisory board, acknowledged that “first generation students wrestle with their present and past simultaneously,” but he assured the attentive students in the audience that “they are allowed to have ambition and to want more, and do not have to give up part of themselves to get it.” Menendez concluded by urging the students to continue the important work of expanding the first generation student communities at their schools.

On May 11, FGP held a recognition ceremony for MIT seniors who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. These students, along with a handful of first generation MIT faculty, enjoyed the opportunity to gather one last time before the end of the semester, and to celebrate and reflect on their achievements as soon-to-be MIT graduates!

Students also received official FGP 2015 Commencement sashes to wear at graduation. The sashes represent a new tradition at MIT: Commencement regalia specifically created for first generation MIT graduates.