At The Coca-Cola Company, part of our mission statement is to inspire moments of optimism and happiness. What better way to do that for 35 students than by helping them start their education off on the right foot?

Supporting local communities is what we do. From employee engagement through volunteering, to donating syrup drums to be used as rain barrels, to providing grants and donations to worthy causes through The Coca-Cola Foundation – we’re happy to invest in the communities in which we operate. Today we are happy to announce that through a $50,000 (USD) grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, McMaster University has created the Coca-Cola First Generation Bursary. This bursary will provide financial assistance for up to 35 students who are the first of their family to attend university or college.

First generation students often face challenges while adapting to an academic campus life that students with parents who attended college or university may take for granted. Everything from how to manage your course load to effectively writing an essay instantly becomes more challenging when you’re acting as a trailblazer for your family. By providing bursaries of up to $3,500 per student, the goal is to significantly reduce some of those barriers and help these students start off with the support they deserve.

“I came to Canada as a refugee from Colombia when I was seven years old,” Cam Galindo, a fourth year political science student and recipient of the Coca-Cola First Generation Bursary shared. “All my parents wanted for me was to have a chance at a normal life; however, like many immigrant families we struggled to adapt to a new language and culture. The challenges I face as both a first generation student and an immigrant are unique to those whose families are familiar with a post-secondary system because for me, every experience is new. This bursary will help students like me engage more in social gatherings with our peers and afford us invaluable mentorship opportunities.”

Officials from McMaster University, Hamilton Members of Parliament Filomena Tassi and Bob Bratina as well as future recipients Cam Galindo and Yash Diwan joined us at McMaster University in announcing this new bursary. Here at Coca-Cola we’re excited to hear more about the students receiving the bursaries and look forward to following their success over the coming years.