Campus recognizes first-generation students with week-long celebration

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Lola Claire / Hilltop Views

Raveena Devjee, sophomore, visits the writing booth at the First To Goat Fest.

First to Goat Fest was held Nov 8. on Ragsdale Lawn to celebrate first-generation students at St. Edward’s University. The entire week of Nov. 7-11 is dedicated to celebrating students like these who are part of the SEU community. 

This is the second annual celebration for first-gen students on the hilltop, acknowledging their determination and dedication to be the first of their family to attend a university and earn a degree. 

The First to Goat Fest was sponsored by the Student Success Center, but many organizations on campus also contributed to the festivities, including tThe Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Bill Munday School of Business Texas Rising and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Culture.

The goal behind the First to Goat Fest was to make on- and off-campus resources  available to first-generation so  they receive the support they need. 

“First-gen is a priority for (President) Fuentes and it always has been for St. Ed’s, but more so when she got here,” Gilbert Contreras, assistant director and success coach for CAMP students, said. “First-gen students need a lot of support, and sometimes if you don’t know the resources, it’s hard to be successful in college; so our simple message is trying to show first-gen. students all the resources on campus.”

Not every first-generation student starts off with pride in being the first to go to college. 

“I feel like I’ve always known that I was a first-gen. student, but I didn’t know that it was something to be proud of until I set foot at St. Ed’s,” SGA President and first-gen student Ella Ochoa said. “I think it offers me a way to embrace my identity.”

Event organizers cheered and laughed as they explained the significance of the First To Goat Fest. (Lola Claire / Hilltop Views)

On-campus festivals, like First to Goat Fest, allow students to connect with faculty and staff who have had similar experiences.Students are given the opportunity to meet and connect with fellow first-generation students allowing them to network and build a collegiate community on the hilltop.

“I think it’s really cool to see how some of your professors or staff members at this university are also first-gen,” Ochoa said. “I’ve always felt really supported by faculty and staff.”