UMaine launches First Gen Celebration Week

The University of Maine Division of Lifelong Learning has partnered with the Division of Student Life to launch the UMaine First initiative and inaugural First Gen Celebration Week. 

The event, supported by the Alton ’38 and Adelaide Hamm Campus Activity Fund, will take place Nov. 4–9. 

First Gen Celebration Week is an opportunity to bring awareness to first-generation students at UMaine, the challenges they face and the supports necessary to help them succeed. 

Last year marked the launch of the First-Year Student Success Initiative, recognizing the significant effect the first-year experience has on retention. As the first in their families to go to college, first-generation students often face unique barriers to higher education. The goal of UMaine First is to help these students feel supported at the university and set them up for success. 

“We know that at the University of Maine we retain first-gen students at a lower rate than the rest of the student population,” says Monique LaRocque, associate provost for the Division of Lifelong Learning. “We believe we can do better. It is important for first-gen students to know that roughly 25% of students at UMaine, as well as many faculty and staff at UMaine are also first generation. UMaine First seeks to build awareness of this larger community, and to empower first-gen students to advocate for the support and resources they need to be successful and thrive at the university.”  

Nov. 8 has been deemed the annual National First-Generation College Celebration day to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. UMaine will extend this celebration throughout the week with refreshments, prizes, entertainment and conversation in the Memorial Union. 

“We encourage all first-gen students, faculty and staff to join us during First-Generation College Celebration Week. Be a part of this inaugural event. Be UMaine First proud,” LaRocque says.