In communities across the country, TRIO programs help students and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to realize their true potential. The educational opportunities provided through TRIO programs help low-income Americans to expand their dreams to include a college education. However, in the mid-1980s, funding for TRIO programs was in jeopardy.
In 1986, Congress sought to reduce the federal deficit by cutting funding for all programs in the federal budget. Among these cuts was funding for TRIO programs, which would have eliminated higher educational opportunities for more than 160,000 students in more than 300 colleges nationwide. TRIO program leaders rallied and persuaded Congress to pass a resolution establishing the fourth Saturday in February as National TRIO Day.
The Purpose and Meaning of National TRIO Day
Thanks to the joint efforts of TRIO program leaders and Congress in 1986, hundreds of TRIO programs retained their funding. Over the years, National TRIO Day has served to focus attention on the millions of students from disadvantaged backgrounds pursuing their dreams via higher education. For many, college would not even be a consideration without the assistance and guidance provided by TRIO programs.
The encouragement that disadvantaged students receive through TRIO is worth celebrating. Numerous TRIO program alumni have become contributing citizens, benefitting their communities and their country.
How Do You Celebrate National TRIO Day?
In years past, many TRIO programs held special gatherings, forums, open houses, and award ceremonies. All of these served to focus attention on the great things that TRIO programs offered to students from middle school through college.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many programs operate, National TRIO Day celebrations may look a little different this year. Still, there is plenty your program can do to celebrate TRIO and the opportunities it provides for many students.
Check out our National TRIO Day activities ideas:
Making the Most of National TRIO Day
TRIO programs allow students from disadvantaged backgrounds to go further than they ever dreamed. For TRIO alumni, for current students, and for their families, TRIO is a way to take a new and exciting path. For many, it is the beginning of a completely different way of life.
National TRIO Day is a way to share the excitement of your program with the community at large. It shines a spotlight on the achievements of program participants and alumni. However, you are able to celebrate National TRIO Day, make it a celebration of student potential!