The Firsts

A community for first-generation students and students of color


The Firsts for First-Generation Students LLC - icon of a two-headed crocodile, an Adinkra symbol of unity in diversity, giving a common destiny.

The Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE) invites incoming first-year students who are first-generation and/or students of color to live in a close-knit and dynamic community with peers committed to academic success at the University of Minnesota.

The primary focus of The Firsts is to increase visibility around the first-generation college identity and cultivate community through the shared experiences of navigating academic life at the University of Minnesota. "The Firsts" LLC is intended for students whose parents have not obtained a college education and who are the first in their family to pursue a college degree.

This LLC is designed to promote academic success by providing holistic support and cultivating an encouraging community. The Firsts assists in family and community connections and aids in navigating the worlds of school and home while building honor and visibility among the diverse UMN first-generation community.

Finally, students who live in The Firsts LLC gain an extra layer of support in navigating UMN, increased connections to staff, and a greate support system of first-generation resources and peers.

This community is open to first-year residents.


  • Individualized academic coaching and holistic support from MCAE staff
  • Academic grade checks at semester midpoint and end of semester (fall and spring)
  • Wellbeing programming including MCAE group fitness classes and stress management
  • Ongoing social and community-based events
  • Regular study nights with MCAE peer tutors
  • MCAE LLC alumni engagement
  • Intentional connections with various on-campus resources



Dr. Fernando Rodriguez
Director of the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence

Additional Information

Programming is sponsored and organized in connection with the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE) and the Community Advisors (CAs) on the floor who are excited about enhancing your living experience.

Community Size

MCAE Living Learning Community has a limit of 100 students.


Students are given the option to room with members of their individual community or with a member of another community. For example, you are welcome to participate in the Huntley House for Black and African American men and request to live with someone from CASA SOL.

Second-Year Internships

Students who participate in one of the MCAE Living Learning Communities will be eligible to apply for one of MCAE’s second-year internship opportunities. The application process to become an intern begins in the spring semester. Your level of participation in the MCAE LLCs may serve as part of the criteria for being selected as an intern.

MCAE Living Learning Community Requirements

Students who select one of the MCAE LLC communities on their housing application will receive a follow-up email with application details.

Interested students should consider the following requirements:

  • Must be a first-year student
  • Must share an identity as a first-generation student, American Indian, and/or a student of color
  • Must submit a completed MCAE LLC application. Students who select one of the MCAE LLC communities on their housing application will receive a follw-up email with application details.
  • Must commit to participate in academic coaching and holistic support from MCAE staff
  • Must commit to attending regular community meetings and events
  • Must be fully present at MCAE LLC events, remain open to new ideas and experiences, and make an effort to get to know other members of the MCAE LLC community