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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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First-gen students celebrated in Aggie park

Senior+Aaron+Sandoval+and+sophomore+Sebastian+Martinez+passes+out+breakfast+tacos+to+students+at+the+First-Generation+Celebration+Bash+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+7%2C+2023.
Photo by Ashely Bautista

Senior Aaron Sandoval and sophomore Sebastian Martinez passes out breakfast tacos to students at the First-Generation Celebration Bash on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.

Free breakfast tacos, gig’em cookies and complimentary t-shirts shirts were distributed at the Routh First-Generation Center celebration at Aggie Park on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Routh First-Generation Center, a part of the Office for Student Success, hosted its annual celebration to provide support to students who are the first in their families to attend college or whose parents have not received a bachelor’s degree. The event had games, such as cornhole, spike ball and lawn tic tac toe, with music playing throughout.
The focal point of the celebration was the shaded booths hosting resources from different departments, including the Academic Success Center, Math Learning Center, Aggie One Stop, International Student and Scholar Services and Education Abroad and Resident Life.
Director of the Routh First-Generation Center Leticia Palomin, Ph.D., said in her position she provides resources and support to students through their college years.
“Twenty one percent of our undergraduate population is first [generation],” Palomin said. “When we talk about future careers, it is [about] connecting them with their Aggie Network [and] expanding faculty relationships across campus.”
What drew many students to the event were the freebies that included tacos, chips and salsa, donuts, towels, water bottles, school supplies and t-shirts. Human resource development sophomore Ana Garza said the event matched her expectations, and she is happy to wear clothing to represent being a first-generation student, so others can know there are students like her.
“[This event] shows us that we do deserve to be here because a lot of students do have imposter syndrome,” Garza said. “We feel sometimes that we might not be good enoughbecause of our background and how we don’t have much knowledge of higher education.”
Construction science junior Daniel Monreal said he felt welcomed and supported at this celebration as a first-generation student. Monreal said he came from a background where going to college was not a priority in his family, so he is thankful for the resources the event provided.
“I did not know about a lot of the programs they have, so I was really happy to find that out,” Monreal said. “There are a lot of programs that you can lean on if you do need the help and resources.”
Palomin said she and her team invited different resources at A&M to prepare first-generation students for life after graduation. A sense of belonging and acknowledging students’ success are the reasons for hosting events like this one, Palomin said.
“Being able to celebrate their success with the entire campus community … and we do all this for them so they can feel connected to [A&M],” Palomin said.
Business administration sophomore Daniela Coronado said the event is a way for students to feel included.
“This event will benefit students because they will get to know more [about] how much they are appreciated and not alone … because sometimes we can feel like an outcast,” Coronado said.
Allied health sophomore Zaid Torres said he was surprised by the overall experience in Aggie Park.
“I have been receiving a lot of emails about this event … so I came to check it out, and it’s actually nice,” Torres said. “This celebration is pretty fun, and I like the food here too.”
Technology management senior Kaili Manthei said she went to the event last year and brought a friend this year because she valued how the event was organized. Manthei said she appreciates how she can turn to these organizations that are there for her benefit because she is not able to lean on her parents for information relating to school.
“[This celebration] is very great for networking, especially for first-generation students who sometimes don’t know about all the organizations on campus we can use,” Manthei said.
Monreal said his parents immigrated to Caldwell from Mexico, so he stayed disciplined in his academics so that he could come to A&M.
“I’m here now, thankfully, and I’m trying to make my family proud and make all their sacrifices not in vain,” Monreal said.

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