Celebrating first-generation college students: Edwards College presents “doughnuts with deans” event

The Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts celebrated first-generation college students on Nov. 7 with free doughnuts.

National First-Generation Student Day has been nationally celebrated for about six years, and this is Coastal Carolina University’s third year holding this event.

Director of Undergraduate Research Aneilya Barnes assisted students to sign up for CCU First, a free organization offered at which advocates, celebrates and supports first-generation students. She also informed students about who constitutes as a first-generation student; she defined it as a student whose parents did not complete a four-year degree, even if their siblings have completed one.

According to Coastal’s website, about 27% of students on campus classify as first-generation.

Freshman Emily McLean said she was aware she was a first-generation student, although she had never celebrated the accomplishment. She said not only is she proud to be a part of the community, but also appreciates all the recognition and support from the University as a whole.

Barnes and other members of the dean’s office including Dean Claudia Bornholdt and Associate Deans Joe Oestreich and Easton Selby helped students to get signed up for CCU First via email. This organization is offered on campus for CCU students although there are other nationally recognized organizations that exist for these students.

“There is a national student organization that has worked to bring attention to the student body, recognizing their assets and acknowledging that they are as academically prepared to succeed as any other student,” Barnes said.

She said the main goals of the organization for first-generation students and allies are to create a sense of community and give them access to all available resources on campus. In addition to the organization, this event helps to celebrate and recognize those who may not realize that they qualify or have access to the same kinds of resources as other students.

“We on our campus make sure that we make these students visible, recognizing that we celebrate them, their assets, and all that they have going for them,” she said.