A few weeks ago, while hosting our first of two Voices of Tufts Diversity Experiences, I missed an event on campus that I was really sad to skip. The event was hosted by the First Generation (first-gen) Student Council - the annual "I’m First" picture campaign. It's an opportunity for first-gen students, staff, and faculty "to share what being first-gen means to them"
The ironic part of this story is that during this event, the admissions office was hosting the Voices Experience for Arts and Sciences and Engineering Students. Over the two programs, 200 of the 337 students we brought to campus were first-gen. While nothing is ever perfect and we, sadly, couldn't bring all the qualified students who applied to the program, we do believe in access work at Tufts. Exposing students to the general life of a college student and the diversity that exists at Tufts is important. One of those many diversities is being a first-gen college student.
If any of the students were like me during high school, I didn't fully grasp what college life was like. I had an aunt who had just started college my senior year of high school, and another aunt ten years my senior who went across the country to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), but that was the entire context I had on college life. I now would say that college life is about opportunity- hopefully an opportunity to learn from multiple perspectives. Sharing those perspectives happens both in the admissions process AND once you're on campus. We, as a college, and a society benefit from such sharing of different life experiences. It allows us to see through another person’s eyes for those brief moments and teaches empathy.
To show our solidarity with our First Generation Student Council, the admissions office wanted to add our stories to the narrative. Nearly one third of our office is first-gen, so here you go...