VESTAL, NY – The first ever cording ceremony was held at Binghamton University for first generation students.

A first-gen student is someone whose parents did not receive a college degree.
The BFirst program connects first generation students to a network of faculty, staff, alumni and other students who are also first gens.

The students say the program provides a safe space of understanding and community. Marissa Zelman was a first generation student and the founder of the BFirst program during her time at Binghamton University.

Co-Founder and Chair of the BFirst Committee, Marissa Zelman says, “The first generation college graduate has that double struggle. The hidden invisible identity of being a first generation college student. And so that’s why there’s two strands of red. The maroon red symbolizes courage, willpower and tenacity. And that’s why they have it twice because they have to struggle twice. And then the gold strand symbolizes wisdom, love and compassion, which comes from all that struggle and resilience.”

The BFirst organization provided over two-hundred students with their red and gold cords.