The CSU African American Initiative kicked off its’ 9th Annual CSU Super Saturday College Fair, which brought all 23 California State University Schools together at CSU Dominguez-Hills (CSUDH) on August 8, to provide over 2,000 young people and their families with important information about attending college.
The event started off in the Toros gymnasium, where students were encouraged to pursue their collegiate and professional goals in spite of the challenges they may face. CSU Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Loren J. Blanchard delivered the keynote speech, along with speakers Willie Hagan, CSUDH President, 64th California District Assemblyman Mike Gipson and CaCera Richmond, representative for Southern California McDonald’s, who sponsored the event.
“My role is to encourage young people to look at four year universities such as Cal State Dominguez Hills, considering who is next in line to be the next President Obama or Cesar Chavez,” Assemblyman Mike Gipson stated. “These are young people who have endless possibilities, they will in fact be the oxygen once they walk into the room,” he continued.
CSUDH President Willie Hagan noted the necessity to increase college enrollment among African Americans. “We need to have a lot more African American men and women in college. We want them to go to college and succeed, and we have a lot of information to help,” Hagan stated.
Hopeful students and their families attended multiple workshops to learn more about financial aid, college applications, scholarships, and navigating through college. Arnecia Bryant, associate director for the Loker Student Union at CSUDH led the “College and Career Pathways for Females” workshop, which encourages young women to attend college and find mentors on campus to help guide their collegiate careers. “This journey will require [young women] to learn their voice and how to promote their voice amongst a plethora of people on the college campus,” Bryant stated.
High school juniors and seniors in attendance were particularly interested in knowing about the average SAT/ACT scores, GPA required, housing for freshman, and if their major of interest was offered at the CSU schools. A few families even brought their small children, sharing that it’s never too early to prepare for college. The day also included campus tours, outdoor activities such as rock climbing, and iPad mini prizes for a few early birds in attendance.
Dr. Tony Ross, Director of Strategic Initiative at CSU, wanted students and their families to know that college is affordable and to set a standard of achievement without excuse. “We’re not hoping and we’re not wishing, we expect students to go to college and graduate,” Dr. Ross stated.
CSU Super Saturday is organized by the CSU African American Initiative, whose mission is to create community partnerships with faith-based organizations throughout California to not only prepare underserved, African American middle and high school students for college, but to increase enrollment and graduation rates as well.