First Wave focuses on Three Pillars, what we call the “3 A’s”: Academics, Arts, and Activism. These three pillars set the foundation for our scholarship program. The expectation is to have our First Wave students embody all three areas. The goal is to focus on these three areas and help our students develop goals and build skills that increase their leadership in the classroom, as an artist, and as a global change agent.
First Wave is a scholarship program and students are held to high standards regarding academic performance and success at the university. The Academic Pillar of First Wave was built on and dedicated to the strong impact from the founding cohorts, who had to prove this program was important for higher education. This was not an easy task, but one these First Wave students met and exceeded inside the classroom and beyond. While our program has made its mark in higher education, our commitment to our students academic success remains our top priority. The programs academic support is embodied in the following: Academic Advising, Academic Resources, and Faculty & Curricular Engagement
First Wave aims to improve and develop students artistic capacity and talent through a cohort and community driven experience. Under this pillar we envision a space where artistic expression comes into conversation with academic theory, without being censored or tied to traditional canon-driven arts, expressions or outcomes. First Wave students artistic development is often defined by their ability to explore available resources on campus and beyond. The artistic freedom and autonomy offered to First Wave students means that while First Wave offers select artistic resources, an equal part of their artistic development comes from utilizing university and community engagement opportunities.
Students’ history of community-service, and social justice work are a primary reason why they are accepted into First Wave. OMAI broadly defines activism as a “commitment by our First Wave scholars to be engaged in activities positively impacting the campus and the broader city, state, regional, national and global communities through volunteerism, service-learning and social justice work.” This definition lends itself to students being able to work in the areas most suited to their interests and passions.