Lee University recently hosted “First-Generation Week,” virtually, to raise awareness about the barriers and challenges of first-generation students.
The event was co-organized by Dr. Roy Y. Chan, director of the TRIO SSS (LEAP), and Dr. Kevin Ung, director of the TRIO McNair Scholars Program at Lee.
“We believe this event is an opportunity to recognize, support, and empower all students at Lee University and to intentionally cultivate cultures of inclusivity and empathy on campus in the form of responsible citizenship,” said Dr. Chan. “We hope this event will help all students develop a sense of belonging and purpose across multiple domains of life.”
During the celebration week, several short videos were uploaded to Moodle, Lee’s learning management system, highlighting essential campus resources for first-generation and continuing-generation students at Lee. Numerous prizes, such as an apple watch, laptop, scholarships, and headphones, were awarded to students for active participation in the event. Lee faculty and staff members also received a special pin to recognize Lee’s first-gen faculty and staff members.
“This was a great opportunity to recognize and celebrate students, faculty, and administrators who are the first in their family to graduate from college,” said Dr. Ung. “This event provides all students the motivation and encouragement to press forward in the midst of a challenging season.”
Lee University is the only institution in the entire southeastern region and the state of Tennessee with a TRIO SSS and McNair Scholars program that is part of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). In 2019, Lee University was the first CCCU member institution in the United States to host a first-generation college celebration day for students on campus.
This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, “First-Generation Week” took place virtually, in conjunction with several national organizations including the Council for Opportunity in Education and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Hundreds of colleges around the country participated in this national event, with some dedicating the entire week.
For more information about First-Generation College Celebration Week, visit firstgen.naspa.org/.
The Federal TRIO Programs include eight federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for students who face an array of particular challenges to their university success.
LEAP (Learn, Engage, and Achieve Program) began at Lee in 2015 to provide individual success coaching, peer mentors, direct student aid, financial aid counseling, financial literacy education, cultural and academic enrichment opportunities, and other personalized services according to individual students’ needs.
The Lee University McNair Scholars Program is designed to support highly motivated scholars as they strive to achieve their educational goals by providing them with academic, financial, cultural, and social support and cultivates an interdisciplinary community of scholars who prepare for graduate school through seminars, workshops, campus visits, research experience, and academic conferences.