Those were some of the questions examined by students at California State University, Northridge’s ninth annual Freshman Celebration, which showcased work created by first-time freshmen enrolled in University 100.
Most of the projects were inspired by the 2014 Freshman Common Reading book by Drew Magary, The Postmortal: A Novel. The book follows the journey of protagonist John Farrell. In the year 2019, a newly discovered “cure” to aging is given to him, causing his body to stop maturing at 29 years old. Social change and issues arise as the cure gains popularity across the globe, leading to much political and moral debate.
More than 1,000 students enrolled in University 100, a first-year freshman seminar dedicated to ensuring long-term academic success, participated in the Freshman Celebration on Dec. 3 and 4 in the University Student Union’s Grand Salon. The event featured projects from 26 classes on display in the Grand Salon and 25 classes on Moodle. The Academic First Year Experiences program pulls together various freshman-learning programs taught by faculty and staff from a range of university departments and divisions. Students are encouraged to submit projects as part of the culmination of their work at the end of the semester, and prizes are given.
“The celebration gives freshmen students the opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learned this fall to an audience that extends far beyond their individual classrooms,” said Cheryl Spector, director of CSUN’s Academic First Year Experiences program. “Students are justifiably proud of the creativity and research skills evident in so many of the projects.
“Displaying evidence of their learning at the celebration helps students see themselves as members of a scholarly community.”
Stephanie Badra said she enjoyed working on her class project, “U100 Confessions: the Cure for Success.”
“It gave all of us as freshmen something we have in common,” Badra said. “It was fun.”
This year’s grand prize for an on-site project went to professor Ellyn Gersh Lerner’s University 100 Honors class for their project, “How Do We Begin to Talk about Tough Topics?” The class created picture books about social issues. The Virtual Celebration grand prize went to professor Debbi Mercado’s class for their video, “Living Without the Cure,” which featured interviews with individuals 50 and older offering their perspective on aging. The People’s Choice award went to professor Shadi Ganjavi’s University 100 class for their “Postmortal Action Figure.”
For more information about the Freshman Celebration, visit the Freshman Celebration website.