With more than 80 percent of Cal State San Bernardino’s student population being first-generation college students, the university held a First-Generation Summit on Nov. 8, where more than 70 students, faculty and staff heard the reflections of alumni, faculty and staff.
The summit, held on National First-Generation College Student Day, was the concluding event of the inaugural university’s First-Generation Student Celebration Week. First-generation students are students whose parents have not received a four-year college degree within the United States.
The event was held in the Santos Manuel Student Union Fourplex. Welcoming remarks were given by Shari McMahan, CSUSB provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, who offered encouragement and support to the students.
“We want you to know that we have your back. We are here to help you through this journey,” McMahan said. “It’s a tough journey. We are here to help you walk through every step of the way.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Paz Olivérez shared her experiences as a second-generation student;  her parents were the first in their families to attend college. Olivérez said her parents were a huge example of the benefits of a college education to her and her brother, who is now a school principal.
She told the students that they, too, would serve as good examples to their own families and to future generations.
Next came a faculty and staff panel session with Ariana Cano, communication studies; Maria Maldonado, Undocumented Student Success Center; Matt Markin, advising and academic services; and Paloma E. Villegas, sociology.
Following the panel session was a networking mixer and resource fair featuring nine on-campus departments and one off-campus program, the University of California, Riverside- School of Medicine Pipeline Programs.
First-Generation T-shirts, buttons and posters were provided at the event. All students, faculty, staff and administrators were invited.
The event was an opportunity to share the many first-generation stories, to celebrate first-generation students and to share resources among the first-generation community. This is the third annual First-Generation College Celebration at the CSUSB campus.
Earlier in the week the campus held an event daily in honor of First-Generation Student Celebration Week. Those events were a student panel session – Understanding the First-Generation College Experience; an Adulting 101 workshop, where students learned to “adult,” such as how to network, develop transferable skills and learn how to articulate their experiences to propel them to success; a workshop seminar on money management to build wealth; and “Embracing Your Social Capital, a Conversation with Associate Vice President Olivia Rosas.”