Canisius University Recognizes First-Generation Students with Series of Special Events

November 4, 2021

BUFFALO, NY – Canisius University is celebrating its first-generation of students with a series of special events and activities leading up to and following National First-Generation College Student Day on November 8.  The celebrations are being organized by the ALANA Student Center at Canisius, with support from the Griff Center for Student Success, Student Life and Event Services.  They are aimed at recognizing students who come from families where their biological parents did not complete a four-year college degree.

The week-long series begins today, Thursday, November 4 at 12:00 noon with a Career Workshop.  Olivia Winkfield, a graduate assistant in the Canisius Career Center, will provide an informational presentation to first-generation students about the professional resources available to them throughout their college career and beyond.  Those resources include career exploration, resume building, internship planning, networking, and interview preparation and practice. 

On Monday, November 8, which is National First-Generation College Student Day, ALANA will host a snack-and-go for students, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. in the Commuter Lounge, located on the lower level of the Richard E. Winter Student Center.  The event is an opportunity for first-generation students to become acquainted with one another in a relaxed setting. 

First-generation students attending the snack-and-go will also learn about the formal establishment of an Alpha Alpha Alpha (or Tri-Alpha) chapter at Canisius.  Alpha Alpha Alpha is a national honor society for first-generation college students.  It was founded in March 2018 with the purpose of recognizing academic achievements of first-generation college students, creating enthusiasm for scholarship, promoting leadership, and providing support networks for first-generation students within and across college chapters.

Canisius’ first-generation celebration continues on Wednesday, November 10 with a Trivia Night, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the Grupp Fireside Lounge, located on the second floor of the Student Center.  The event will test students’ knowledge about famous and successful first-generation college students. 

The first-generation series of events concludes on Thursday, November 11 when the ALANA Student Center hosts Pints with Professors, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Regis Room, located on the second floor of the Student Center.  The evening offers an opportunity for first-generation students to meet and connect with Bennie D. Williams, assistant dean of students and director of the Multicultural Student Center at Canisius.  Williams was a first-generation college student. 

In addition to the ALANA Student Center’s series of events recognizing and educating first-generation students, the Andrew Bouwhuis Library at Canisius University is giving a voice to the stories of first-generation college students by making a new selection of books available to readers through November 15.  The curation features stories by such first-generation college students as Barack Obama, Julia Alvarez and Ocean Vuong. 

The ALANA Student Center at Canisius provides African American, Latinx American, Asian American and Native American students with services that help them to succeed at Canisius and after graduation.  In addition, the office assists the college in introducing the entire student population to issues involving cross-cultural patterns, participation in the life of the college, and self-concept concerns. 

One of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius prepares leaders – intelligent, caring, faithful individuals – able to pursue and promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.