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USM Marking National First-Gen Week Nov. 6-10

Mon, 11/06/2023 - 09:32am | By: David Tisdale

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will celebrate students, staff and faculty this week who are the first in their families to pursue and graduate with a four-year degree with a slate of activities in conjunction with National First Gen Celebration Day, which is recognized annually on Nov. 8. These events are sponsored by USM’s TRIO-Student Support Services, Center for Student Success, The McNair Scholars Program and Center for Faculty Development.

“Taking time to celebrate the many contributions of USM’s first-generation faculty, staff, and students during the week of Nov. 6 is something all the offices involved are absolutely thrilled about,” said Dr. Ashley Burnside, director of the Center for Student Success. “The week’s slogan states “First-Gen on F.I.R.E.” and that is exactly what the USM first-generation population is. Our first-generation faculty, staff, and students are fearless, intelligent, resilient, and excellent. 

“Devoting a week to the First Gen experience will not only reiterate that but also highlight the many opportunities we have at Southern Miss for First Gen students to plug-in and get engaged.”

The week’s schedule of programming includes the following:

*Monday, Nov. 6,  Noon – Thad Cochran Center (TCC), “IGNITING the F.I.R.E.” Tabling: Kick off First-Gen on Fire Week by checking out our table outside the Fresh Food Company to learn more about the offices and resources available to you and connect with fellow first-gen student leaders.

  • 2:30 – 4 p.m. – “The Little Rock”, The Future of First-Gen is Golden! Paint the Little Rock! Calling all First-Gens to stop by the Ogletree Alumni House to participate in the cherished Southern Miss tradition of painting Little Rock.
  • 6 p.m. – TCC 216| First-Gen Family Feud Game Night: Meet and compete with fellow First-Gen students and test your wits by playing First-Gen Family Feud. Refreshments and other games will be available. 

*Tuesday, Nov. 7, Noon “Set Your Fears on Fire” Activity, R.C. Cook Union, room B: Our fears, regrets, and disappointments are often the only thing holding us back from being our greatest selves, and it’s time to set them ON FIRE. Join us for inspiration to begin the incineration of your fears with a live burning activity.

*Wednesday, Nov. 8,12:15 PM | National First-Gen Day Commemorative Photos, Hattiesburg & Gulf Park Campuses: Faculty, staff, and students at Southern Miss who identify as first-gen are invited to wear your first-gen t-shirt and meet up for a commemorative photo to celebrate National First-Gen Day. In Hattiesburg, join us on the steps of the South End Zone of M.M. Robert Stadium, and Coastal Operations will gather at the Lofty Returns statue on the north side of Hardy Hall on the Gulf Park campus. Photos at both locations will be at 12:30 PM.

  • 4-5:30 p.m.| First-Gen on F.I.R.E Pep Rally| Union Plaza: We are putting the “Celebration” in National First-Generation Celebration Day. Join us for a Pep Rally to celebrate what it means to truly be First Gen on F.I.R.E. with special guests, performances, refreshments, and prizes.

*Thursday, Nov. 9, Noon - “Being Present for Your Future” workshop. R.C. Cook Union room B: Join TRIO-SSS for a workshop with Student Counseling Services to put out the flames of anxiety. Come to learn how to better manage and reduce anxiety in the present as you continue to make progress toward your future.

*Friday, Nov. 10, 12-2 p.m. - Lighting the Way Community Service Project, Cook Library, room 209A: “Give light and people will find the way”, ~ Ella Baker. Join fellow First-Gen Students in “lighting the way for others” during a community service project to aid the Downtown Hattiesburg Association’s annual Candlelit Christmas event.

For more information, contact Dr. Burnside.