November 8 is recognized nationally as First-Generation College Celebration Day, which is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating students who are the first in their families to attend college and promoting educational access.

Elijah Heslop
Psychology and Philosophy major, Computer Science and Data Science minor 
Columbus, Indiana

What does being a first-generation student mean to you?
While there are many challenges to being the first person in your family to go to college, it presents several opportunities. For example, I’ve learned to be more resourceful and resilient. I feel a lot of pride being a first-generation student and in knowing that I am breaking down barriers for future generations of my family to be able to dream big and make their dreams a reality. 

Why did you choose to come to Butler?
After looking at several Indiana colleges, Butler felt just right. Being at a small university, I have had more opportunities to excel in the things I am interested in.

What resources are available for first-generation students on campus?
There are several student support services on campus, such as the Career and Professional Success (CAPS) office, the Center for Academic Success and Exploration (CASE), and Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS). Meg Haggerty, Director of New Student and Family Programs, is also developing several opportunities and resources for first-generation students this year.

Who has influenced you the most during your time at Butler?
As a Student Orientation Coordinator (SOC), I’ve spent time with Meg Haggerty and Josiah Hatfield, Assistant Director in the Office of New Student and Family Programs. They support me in all facets of being a student, including my overall well-being and professional growth. 

What piece of advice would you share with incoming first-generation college students?
I encourage students to get involved and find a support system at Butler. I developed a community at Butler by engaging with my professors and staff. Additionally, my involvement within the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN) has helped me grow as a leader and connect with peers and professionals in the Indianapolis area.