Second in a series celebrating 50 Years of EOP at CSUN.
CSUN’s Educational Opportunity Program was designed to open doors; to help historically low-income, historically educationally disadvantaged, first-generation students to enter college and then to succeed.
On Sept. 27, CSUN EOP celebrated its 50th anniversary — and its smashing success — at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center (The Soraya) on campus.
Now a statewide program, CSUN was one of the CSU’s first five EOPs and has grown into one of the largest and most respected programs in the nation, helping more than 30,000 students over the last 50 years. EOP provides admission and academic assistance to eligible undergraduate students, as well as recruitment and counseling for high school students throughout the region. EOP also offers financial assistance.
“College IS for me, and for anyone who wants to attend. All you need is a little bit of guidance,” EOP student Jairo Balderas said.
The Wall Street Journal ranked CSUN as having the second-highest diverse learning environment in the country, something that would not have been possible without the high-impact and highly successful EOP.
“What a historic milestone we’re all sharing this evening,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “The work done by EOP and dedicated staff is so important because it addresses the heart of CSUN’s mission. This program makes a significant difference in the road to advancement for our students.”
Harrison noted that she recently attended a CSU-wide EOP 50th anniversary celebration in Long Beach. CSUN had the largest contingent from any of the CSUs, with 67 attendees from Northridge.
EOP Director Shiva Parsa, who was celebrating her 30th year with CSUN EOP the night of the celebration at The Soraya, spoke of the activists who fought for educational access.
“Tonight, we’re celebrating the trailblazers, the alumni, the current students, the staff, the faculty and what EOP has accomplished throughout the years,” Parsa said. “The trailblazers took risks — they risked their futures to fight for access; they were true activists. They were from different backgrounds, races, cultures, but they came together, in solidarity for their mission.”
During the anniversary celebration, EOP awarded the José Luis Vargas and Raúl Aragón scholarships to Jose Miramontes and Itzel Pacheco, respectively, and the Margaret June Brown scholarship to twin sisters Zahraa and Yazmine Dickens.
The program culminated with a 12-minute video highlighting the history of EOP at CSUN, which included a tribute to the late director, pioneer and EOP alumnus José Luis Vargas ’74 (Sociology), M.A. ’75 (Educational Psychology and Counseling).
As the video noted Vargas’ impact, it also could have been speaking of the program itself: “During his time with EOP, [Vargas] mentored thousands of students and helped them believe in themselves and succeed in higher education.”
EOP has received campus support over its incredible 50-year history, allowing the program to expand its services and serve even greater numbers.
For more information about EOP at CSUN, please visit csun.edu/csun-eop.