(Feb. 27, 2019) -- What has become a staple within the UTSA community, the third annual First-Gen Fest brings excitement, anticipation, and a profound sense of belonging for UTSA’s growing first-generation student population. The festival takes places Monday, March 4 to Friday, March 8 at the Main and Downtown Campuses and includes a series of events for students, faculty and staff that supports, empowers and celebrates first-generation students.
With nearly half (45 percent) of UTSA undergraduates the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree, the First-Gen Fest has grown from a one day program in 2017 to a week long experience this year.
UTSA school psychology graduate student Jonathan Casas, a first-gen student himself, serves as a peer mentor for the First to Go and Graduate (F2GG) program.
“The First-Gen Fest help students understand there is a community of support for them,” said Casas. “Often, students can feel that they are not noticed at the larger level. First-Gen Fest offers students an opportunity to be seen and let’s them know the university is here to help them be successful.”
First-generation staff member and alumna Crystal Martinez ’17 is eager to kick-off First-Gen Fest to celebrate with students, faculty and staff. She serves as the program coordinator for the First-Generation and Transfer Student Center.
“I am looking forward to seeing all the collaboration and getting students, faculty and staff excited,” said Martinez. “I also appreciate bringing speakers like Roy Juarez Jr. He has gone through many trials and tribulations but is succeeding. The hope is that some first-generation students will relate to his story and also succeed.”
New this year, is the First-Gen Creative Activity and Research Symposium, which offers a platform to undergraduate and graduate first-generation students to share the work they do alongside UTSA faculty.
First-Gen Fest schedule of events:
Monday, March 4
Student, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear their first-gen t-shirts.
First-Gen Fest Kick-Off
Monday, March 4, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Central Plaza and Sombrilla, Main Campus
Join the first-generation Roadrunner community and celebrate with music, food, fun and swag.
First-Gen Progressive Celebration
Tuesday, March 5, 12 p.m. to 3p.m, various locations, Downtown Campus
Learn about the UTSA Downtown Campus and all that it has to offer by participating in this progressive style celebration at the Campus Rec, Frio St. Commons, Library, One Stop and Tomas Rivera Center.
First-Gen Creative Activity and Research Symposium
Tuesday, March 5, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m, Durango Building Riverwalk Room (DBB 1.124), Downtown Campus
Wednesday, March 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
First-generation students brings many assets to a college community. See them exhibit their research or creative activity. Undergraduate and graduate students need to register to participate.
Wednesday, March 6, 1 p.m to 2 p.m., H-E-B Student Union Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus
Join the Platica and share your own first-gen experiences, why college is important to you, and what it means to be a first-generation student.
First-Gen Mix and Mingle
Thursday, March 7, 5 p.m to 6 p.m., Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
Prior to Roy Juarez Jr.’s lecture series, join other first-gen student for conversation, connections and a nacho bar.
Homeless By Choice: Featuring Roy Juarez Jr.
Thursday, March 7, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
Motivational speaker Roy Juarez Jr. will share his story to motivate, inspire and empower students to chase their dream even during times of struggle.
Friday, March 8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
The First-Gen Institute is a free, one-day institute for UTSA faculty, staff and graduate students featuring keynotes by Roy Juarez Jr., Victoria Black, director of peer mentorship at Texas State University and youth activities. Registration is recommended.
Share your experiences at First Gen Fest on social media using the hashtags #FirstGenUTSA, #FirstGenOrgullo, and #FirstGenFest19.
Learn more about the UTSA First-Gen Fest.
Celebrate UTSA’s 50th Anniversary and share social media posts about the 50th using the hashtag #UTSA50.
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