First-Generation Student Support

The George Washington University First-Gen Week

Friday, November 1st - Friday, November 8th


Friday, November 8th marks the 3rd annual National First-Generation College Celebration when colleges and universities celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff. For the second year, we are excited to offer multiple events throughout First-Gen Week, and we hope you'll learn and celebrate along side us. Click the button below to view the First-Gen Week list of events.

First-Gen Week 2019


Banner reading FW First Generation

The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) recognizes that there are many definitions for what it means to be a first-generation college student. The University defines first-generation college students as those whose parents did not complete a four-year degree.


If any of the following statements apply to you, then you're welcome at any and all DSA events or programs for first-generation students:

  • You identify with the above definition.
  • You feel as though you have a similar life experience to those who identify with this definition.
  • You’re looking for a place to build community and support that will help you integrate into life here at GW.
  • You would like to be an ally and support those who are the first to complete a four-year degree.

We are excited to welcome you to GW and look forward to how the strength and experiences you bring will enrich our community.

Programs to Support First-Generation Student Success

Founding Scholars

Founding Scholars, GW’s newest pre-orientation program, welcomes incoming first-generation college students to life at GW through activities on-campus and outings in DC. Students will build community with other first-gen students, connect with faculty & staff, and learn valuable academic and campus resources. By addressing the unique characteristics of the first-gen population, the goal of Founding Scholars is to reduce barriers between first-gen students and continuing first-generation peers thereby catapulting students to a successful start to their college experience.

Founding Scholars participants will:

     > Explore what it means to be a first-generation (FG) college student at GW 
     > Build community with their FG peers
     > Connect with faculty/staff and the District
     > Learn about valuable academic and campus resources to set them up for success while at GW.

Registration is closed at this time and will open again in Spring 2020.

First-Generation Student Social

This Welcome Week networking event kicks off the school year that allows first-generation students to meet and make connections with peers, staff, and faculty who are here to support them! Invitations are sent to campus partners. Attend this event to meet faculty and staff who will be important to your GW experience. Invitations are sent to campus partners such as:

First Friday Workshops and Dinners

Held on the first Friday of every month, these free dinners and workshops help build a stronger first-generation student community.

Prior to the dinners, the DSA hosts skill development workshops. They will be informal in nature and will be a mixture of presentations and discussions. Staff from other offices assist with presentations; all students who attend will be given tangible resources that will enhance their college experience! Workshop topics include (but are not limited to): academic support, managing your finances, healthy eating on a budget, career coaching and more (student suggestions are welcome).

The dinners offer a casual setting where all first-generation students will get the chance to get to know other first-generation students and build an invaluable network of peers.

Fall 2019 First Friday Workshops and Dinner Schedule:

Workshops: 5:15-6:00 pm | Dinners: 6:00-7:30 pm 

See Engage or the First-Gen Focus for locations. Dinner is on the 5th floor of the Marvin Center unless otherwise noted. 

September 6th

Workshop topic: How to Navigate the Student Org Fair, located in Marvin Center 311

Dinner: Located in Marvin Center 311

October 4th

Workshop topic: Academic Advisors: Who are they, and what do they do?
Workshop location: Phillips Hall 411

Dinner: First-Generation Affinity on the 7th floor North of District House

November 1st

First Friday Dinner Tailgate with President LeBlanc! 
The first-generation college student community is invited to a special First Friday Dinner with President LeBlanc on November 1! In celebration of First Gen Week and the start of the GW basketball season, the November First Friday Dinner will be a pre-game tailgate at the F Street House. Show off your school spirit and come dressed in GW buff and blue attire. After the tailgate at the F Street House, we'll all head to the men's basketball game. RSVP required. View the event here to RSVP. 

December 6th

More info and RSVP information to come!

Questions: Contact Brittany Abraham at [email protected].

First-Gen United

This is GW's only student organization for First-Generation college students. This student organization is made of and for first-generation college students. Being a first-gen student is something to celebrate, and this student organization seeks to assist first-generation college students in three areas: Social Support, Advocacy, and Academics. In order to get in contact with the First-Gen United organization, please email them at [email protected].

First-Year First-Generation Residential Community

Join the First-Generation Residential Community in Thurston Hall!  This living community brings together first-generation students on a residential floor to live, learn, and grow together in their first year at GW. Living in this community will provide the residents with dedicated resources and opportunities. Residents will:

  • Learn to manage the transition from high school to college
  • Develop academic skills via targeted programming and access to dedicated faculty in the halls
  • Connect with the greater first-generation community at GW
  • Experience exclusive programs and events in and around DC

This community provides a unique environment to foster connections among first-year first-generation college students experiencing a similar transition.

Questions? Contact Brittany Abraham, Program Coordinator for Community Support, at [email protected] or Marcella Wong, Area Coordinator - Thurston Hall, [email protected]

Other Initiatives

First-Generation Equipment Bank

Through the generosity of a donor, the DSA is able to offer professional clothing for interviews, cookware, and laptops for usage. Applications are sent out within the first few weeks of every fall and spring semester.

Contact Brittany Abraham at [email protected] for more information. 

First-Generation Faculty & Staff Alliance

There are a number of staff and faculty at GW who were first-generation students or in their roles and lives work as allies to first-generation students. These staff and faculty are willing to support and assist first-gen students. After all, they know what first-generation students are going through! Alliance members are invited to connect with students at the annual First-Generation Student Social event.

Faculty and Staff: If you are a member of the GW family who identify as a first-generation college student please fill out the following form to join our First-Generation Faculty & Staff Alliance and connect with the first-generation students. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Brittany Abraham, at [email protected].
Email Listserv

Information about DSA events for first-generation students, opportunities in other offices where students can seek support, and updates from the university are shared through the listserv. As a first-generation student, you will be automatically added to this listserv. If you are not getting emails and feel you should be, please feel free to reach out to Brittany Abraham at [email protected].

Other Resources

The Store

The Store is a student-run food pantry at the George Washington University that is managed by GW Class Council and the Division of Student Affairs. Over the past couple of years, the awareness of food insecurity has increased on college campuses. Many students skip meals and go hungry because they cannot afford enough to eat. Our mission is to alleviate food insecurity at GW by offering food items to ensure that every student has enough to eat. For more information, please visit our website by clicking here.

2121 H St. NW
District House, Rm B121
Washington, DC 20052

The Multicultural Student Services Center

The Multicultural Student Services Center (MSSC) focuses its work on underrepresented undergraduate students who are racial, ethnic, and identity-based minority students. The work overlaps with graduate students, international students, and other students who develop an interest in learning around diversity and inclusion. The MSSC offers cultural heritage events, diversity training, tutoring services, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere!

2127 G St. NW
Washington, DC 20052

Office of Student Success

The Office of Student Success is responsible for the implementation of the recommendations in the strategic plan to increase undergraduate retention and graduation rates. The Office of Student Success offers academic support programs and more for students.

If you have questions, please contact [email protected].

714 21st St NW
Washington, DC 20052