The Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) have served the California State University, Northridge community since 1969, and this month its leaders are pausing to reflect on the program’s history — and inviting the campus community to celebrate 45 years of changed lives.
The celebration is scheduled to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16, on the Matador Bookstore lawn and will include games such as a giant, inflatable obstacle course, free popcorn and drawings for goods and services such as free oil changes. Student groups involved with EOP, such as MEChA and The Black Male Initiative, also will participate.
Event organizers hope to raise awareness among CSUN students, faculty and staff about EOP’s history and the resources available to students, said Leslie De Leon Tzic ’08 (Graphic Design), multimedia coordinator for EOP and celebration co-chair.
“We’re hoping to inform the student body about what we do here on campus today,” she said. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 45 years. It’s a big milestone for us.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Harry Hellenbrand, whose academic affairs division incorporates EOP, will speak at approximately noon during the celebration, De Leon Tzic said. EOP Director Jose Luis Vargas will give opening remarks.
“The program is evolving,” De Leon Tzic said. “We’ve grown beyond academic support services. We also provide mentoring — anything to ensure the student will have a successful college experience. We try to make sure students are aware of the resources available to them.”
Twenty-two CSU campuses currently support EOP programs. CSUN, then San Fernando Valley State College, launched its own in 1969 to deliver access and retention services to students. EOP serves historically low-income, educationally disadvantaged, first-generation college students — assisting about 500 to 600 Matadors each year.
EOP transitional programs help bridge the gap between high school and CSUN, as well as assisting transfer students making the move from community college. This summer, the university’s Summer Bridge program for high school students celebrated its 30th cohort. A new program connects EOP staff with parents and guardians, providing guidance on how to better support their college students.
De Leon Tzic said there is a great deal to celebrate this month as EOP leaders and participants reflect on the thousands of CSUN students served over four-plus decades.
“There’s a culture of learning, support and mentoring,” she said. “That’s why the program is successful.”
The EOP 45th anniversary celebration is open to the CSUN community. For more information, visit csun.edu/eop/celebration.
In addition to the anniversary festivities, EOP also will host its annual Free Speech event for the campus community, celebrating the right of free speech through art, music, spoken word and other performances. The Free Speech event is scheduled to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, in Matador Square. For more information, visit csun.edu/eop/freespeechevent.