On April 14, approximately 8,000 prospective California State University, Northridge students brought their families to Explore CSUN.
The event, which has taken place for more than 20 years, was open to students who have been accepted to the university for the 2018-19 academic year, according to Juana Maria Valdivia, director of student outreach and recruitment. Explore CSUN, which helps these students decide if they want to enroll, featured informational workshops, campus tours, games and informational booths from academic colleges, student services and campus organizations. The event was hosted by Student Outreach and Recruitment, which provides advocacy services to students at more than 100 high schools.
“This has been the largest Explore event that we’ve ever had,” said Valdivia. Her favorite part of Explore CSUN, she said, was “seeing the thousands of families come on this day who are super excited and proud for their son or daughter as they will attend CSUN in the fall.”
Many families and students expressed their ongoing excitement throughout the event. Malissa Janes, a transfer student from College of the Canyons, said she was happy to learn about the many health options CSUN has to offer.
“I’m really excited to finally be a part of a real campus, as opposed to something really small,” Janes said.
At the University Student Union, students and families were able to wind down with games and food between tours and workshops.
Some of the workshops included financial aid information in English and Spanish. One of the bilingual workshops, I’ve Been Admitted — What’s Next? explained the next step for transfer students, scholarship basics and an informational booth from the Oasis Wellness Center.
Valdivia stated that after attending Explore CSUN, a great majority of students are planning to attend CSUN. “I want them to leave feeling that this is a welcoming university,” Valdivia said. “This is a welcoming and inclusive university. Last year, we offered the first financial aid workshop in Spanish. This is the first year we hosted the ‘I’ve Been Admitted – What’s Next?’ workshop in Spanish because we have learned that we have a large Spanish-speaking population of students with their families.
“We’ve learned from student demographics that there’s about 44 percent of incoming students that are first-generation Latino students. So there is definitely a need to service this population by providing some of today’s activities in Spanish.”
Many students at Explore CSUN were a part of that underrepresented group and the booths, tours and workshops did their best to be inclusive for all attendees like Eddy Gorra, a recent immigrant and incoming freshman from Guatemala.
“I never expected to be here. I’m from Guatemala so I had to learn English. Gorra said. “Coming here, there’s so many new things.”
Students, faculty and staff who attended Explore CSUN agreed that CSUN made its best efforts to provide a welcoming campus atmosphere for incoming students.
“This is the best [Explore CSUN] ever,” said Cheryl Spector, director of CSUN’s Academic First Year Experiences program.“They’ve made it better for people attending. It’s interesting that more people are willing to say, ‘I don’t even know what to ask you.’ They feel comfortable here already.”