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Sankofa: A First-Generation Family Engagement Program

Welcome to the Sankofa First-Generation Family Initiative, or Sankofa! This website aims to mentor and empower parents/families with the tools they need to understand how college works through the lens of a college student and what university resources exist at Southern. Selected resources are organized by highlighting information that helps students be successful during their first and second years at Southern. This site's information assists parents/families with meaningful tips to help their students with academic, financial, social/emotional, and other challenges unique to college students. 

The word “Sankofa” originates from the Ghanaian languages of Akan Twi and Fante. When translated to English means “to go back and fetch or retrieve it.”  The symbol of Sankofa is a bird looking back as if it's taking an egg from its back. It represents the critical need and importance of acknowledging and reflecting, going back to our roots to fully bring the knowledge of those that came before us to the present, with the hope that we will thrive and reach our fullest potential. Earning a college degree transforms lives and communities.
We know that students will draw on many forms of support to make it through their educational journeys, but the most influential and most important supporters are those who love their students the most- their parents/families!


Mission of Sankofa

The Sankofa First-Generation Family Initiative is an innovation to show how much Southern’ s University Access Programs (UAP) department values the strong impact of parents/families on individual student success. Sankofa seeks to recognize parent/family influence and increase family engagement to help more students graduate from college. Sankofa aims to deepen familial emotional support through developing knowledge of the college experience, particularly for students who the first in their family to go to college. Sankofa will empower parents to have critical conversations through ongoing communication that helps create empathy and shared commitment to the sacrifices and determination required to earn a college degree.  

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Vision of Sankofa

The Sankofa First-Generation Family Initiative will provide parents/families another level of support as they are helping their students stay the course and better navigate the unique challenges that arise in college. Parents/families will better understand how to help with well-being of their student. Sankofa will also empower parents/families to encourage their students to use campus resources as much as they need to be successful. Parents will be success partners and learn to develop a new relationship with their student(s) as your student becomes an adult. 



OwlChats is a series of opportunities for you to learn more about the college experience, Southern, and your student. OwlChats will be virtual bi-weekly meeting and will focus on topics such as the importance of health and well-being, how to pay for college and money management after college, and how student involvement in college often leads to career opportunities after college. You can get a more in depth look at the course if you Click Here. With the help from the University Access Programs staff, faculty from other departments, as well as student ambassadors, you will deepen your knowledge about college while strengthening your relationships with your student to ensure their success in college. Registration is currently CLOSED and OwlChats will resume at a later date (Last Updated: October 8th, 2021).




Stay Updated

To get frequent updates about our events and programs, as well as campus life join our Sankofa: First-Generation Family Engagement Facebook group.