Duquesne celebrates first-generation students

Courtesy of Duquesne University | Duquesne holds a first-generation college student celebration every year, with this being the fourth one. There were snacks and drinks available to students in the Union.

Samantha Hauck | Staff Writer

Nov. 10, 2022

The fourth-annual First Generation Celebration for Duquesne’s first generation students took place on Tuesday from on the 3rd floor of the Duquesne Union.

For some students at Duquesne, they are the first person in their family to go to college and face many challenges.

First-generation students were able to go to the the Union to grab candy, popcorn from the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company and other free merchandise as a token of the university’s appreciation for these students.

Ashley Kane is the Assistant Director for Student Programming and Freshmen Development. Kane organized the event for first generation students to recognize and show support for them.

“I think it’s important to celebrate students that are first generation,” Kane said. “If you are first generation, it’s not something that you necessarily talk about most of the time because most of the time, no one in your immediate family went to college, so I think when your college actually celebrates it, it can kind of be like an ‘aha!’ moment for some of the students.”

Kane herself was a first-generation student and knows that one problem can be not knowing where to go for help. Her undergraduate school did not have much acknowledgement toward first-generation students, so she wanted to change that at Duquesne.

“I think we have a great community built to support first generation college students.” Kane said.

Raechel Mabie, a Resident Director at Brottier Hall, helped out at the event to show them that they are appreciated.

“I think it is important to engage them and to let them know they aren’t alone in this experience with being first-generation students, and being the first in their family to experience something like this,” Mabie said.

Freshman pharmacy student Grace Bowers is a first generation student at Duquesne University. For Bowers, it is important to her because she wants to set a standard for her little sister and her family. The main appeal of Duquesne for her was the campus and how it was an easy adjustment into college life.

“You don’t really have anyone to guide you through it, so it’s a little more difficult to do it, but it just proves that you can do it no matter what,” Bowers said.

“It just makes me feel seen and like I am included in it. It isn’t a huge thing, but to people like me, it’s a personal experience.”