Press Releases

University of North Dakota’s official press release archive.

UND to hold inaugural celebration of first-generation students on Nov. 8

First-generation students will discuss unique barriers to success in college



UND is set to celebrate first-generation university students in a first-ever event on Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the Memorial Union.

The First-Gen Day Celebration is sponsored by the office of UND TRIO Programs, which oversees federally funded programs supporting income-eligible students and students whose parents did not complete a four-year college education.

The celebration will be held in the Small Ballroom of the Memorial Union on Nov. 8. It begins at 11:30 a.m. and continues until 1:15 p.m. A student ID is not required, and members of the public are welcome to attend.

The celebration will include a student panel discussing “Why does First-Gen matter to a student’s success?” Light refreshments will be provided, as will student resources and UND-branded backgrounds where students can pose for photos. Attending the event will be pre-college, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as UND staff, administrators, and faculty members. The celebration will become an annual event at UND.

“UND TRIO has a long history of serving First-Generation students,” said Derek Sporbert, TRIO director. “This event will provide the unique perspective of students at each stage of their academic careers. We at UND are proud of our first-generation students and look forward to continuing to support them and celebrating their successes.”

According to Sporbert one-in-five UND students are first-generation. These students face hurdles the majority of their peers do not, including:

  • Growing up in an environment where college is not frequently expected or discussed. First-generation students are breaking long-standing cycles in their families.
  • Not being able to turn to their parents for answers regarding a college education. First-generation students then tend to wander academically when attending postsecondary education.
  • Lacking familiarity with college or university life, including language used on campus. Not being familiar with terms such as “major,” “credits” and “Financial Aid,” among others, leads to many first-generation students falling between the cracks and not competing their education.
  • Experiencing “Imposter Syndrome” where students don’t feel comfortable or at-home in a college environment.

UND TRIO advisors assist students on overcoming these hurdles through academic and personal advisement, individual professional tutoring, career exploration, assistance with financial aid forms and GRE preparation. Advisors also assist students in addressing specific hurdles to student success such as housing and roommate issues, childcare concerns, academic concerns, and family questions, among others.

“Our advisors serve as the place that students can come to address all their concerns,” Sporbert said.

UND operates five distinct TRIO Programs that enable students to progress through middle school to doctoral studies. These programs include Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Program, Educational Opportunity Center, Upward Bound and Talent Search. Program descriptions can be found on the UND TRIO Programs webpage.