First-Generation Celebration Day • November 8, 2021 • Nationwide

40 Years of Good Trouble: Equity, Access & Success

On Monday, November 8, 2021, we encourage colleges and universities to celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on your campus in any and every way possible. Consider how you can build relationships with colleagues, involve leadership, and use First-Generation Celebration Day as a galvanizing force across your campus community.

Join us in advancing an asset-based national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes. Use November 8 to encourage campus communities to better understand the systemic barriers plaguing higher education and the supports necessary for this important and resilient population to continue thriving.


Grant Opportunity

In support of the 2021 First-Generation College Celebration, the Center and Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) are pleased to continue to offer the Grant Opportunity! These funds are intended to extend an institution's or an organization's ability to reach more first-generation students, engage more members of the community, launch a new program or event, or to provide additional services surrounding the First-Generation College Celebration. Eligible institutions and organizations may apply for up to $500 of unrestricted funds; eligibility requirements are outlined in the Grant Opportunity application. View sample successful grant applications in the document here Document is available for download (.pdf). Apply by Sunday, August 8.

Resources for TRIO

To support the many ways that TRIO plan to participate in the First-Generation College Celebration, COE created a resource to help programs understand each TRIO project’s regulations describe three areas where supplies are allowable costs: supplies needed for project recordkeeping, supplies needed for project administration, and supplies needed for participant development, or delivering services to participants.

Share Your Plans

Communications efforts can and should involve multiple tactics that will help students identify other first-generation collegegoers on campus and boost support within the campus community. Use this template press release to share your planned activities with the media and use #CelebrateFirstGen to share messages across your social media networks.

Ways to Participate

There are myriad ways to participate in the celebration — even virtually.

For the past four years institutions from across the nation celebrated first-generation students, faculty, and staff on November 8 and highlighted the important contributions made within the campus communities. From keynote speakers and brown bag lunches to launching awareness campaigns and new strategic plans, the opportunities for celebrations are endless.

  • Webinars featuring notable first-generation alumni and other speakers,
  • Virtual panel discussions and forums featuring remarks by first-generation college students and faculty who were first-generation about their college experiences,
  • Inclusion of first-generation faculty experiences into classroom discussions,
  • Virtual listening sessions by administration and faculty about first-generation students’ experiences and needs on campus,
  • Creation of multimedia materials (including video messages) of first-generation students for use in admissions and faculty development sessions,
  • Interviews with trustees, administrators, and faculty who are first-generation.

At many institutions, November 8 events have grown to week-long, or even month-long celebrations. We hope you are also planning a celebration for 2021!

2020 Grant Recipients

In support of the 2020 First-Generation College Celebration, COE, the Center for First-Generation Student Success, and The Suder Foundation are pleased to announce the 31 recipients for their efforts to raise awareness and celebrate the accomplishments of first-generation students, staff, and faculty. See the list of 2020 recipients.

In 2019, the grant supported 24 institutions’ efforts to raise awareness and celebrate the accomplishments of first-generation students, staff, and faculty. Read the press release Document is available for download (.pdf) summarizing institutions' celebrations.