First-Generation Spiritual Formation

Eden C. Tullis, South Seattle College


This article examines the correlation between identifying with a specific faith, religion, or spirituality and being a first-generation college student at Seattle University (SU). The Office of Campus Ministry at SU was utilized to inform this research. At the end of this project’s duration, recommendations were given to the entire staff of Campus Ministry. The findings were also presented at NASPA’s Western Regional Conference in November 2014. For this particular research, “first-generation college student” was defined as someone whose guardians and/or siblings did not attend a four-year institution. It was even encompassing of students with guardians who may have went to college at a non-traditional age when the first-generation student was a child in the K-12 system. To assess this correlation, survey results were collected, and three students were interviewed. The themes that emerged were exploration, responsibility, and the Jesuit context. By receiving assistance from Campus Ministers and/or other staff members at SU, these students felt more comfortable in examining their spirituality, transitioning to college as a first-generation student, or engaging in interfaith dialogue that would further support or develop their other identities that intersected with spirituality or religious affiliation.

Keywords: first-generation, spirituality, intersection

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