California State University, Dominguez Hills opened its doors and dorms last week to more than 100 middle and high school students from central Texas, who are on a five-state college and performance tour, after an employee at the university – and a native of Texas – learned the students didn’t have adequate accommodations while in California.
“When I found out that a group of inner city high school students from Austin, Tex., was traveling all the way to the West Coast to visit local universities and sleeping on gymnasium floors, I knew that we had to do something,” said Tomás A. Aguirre, acting associate director of University Housing at CSU Dominguez Hills. “I’m lucky that I work at a university that prides itself on supporting the community. After sharing the idea with our director and associate vice president, we had an approval from our vice president, Dr. Sue Borrego, within four hours. After that, everyone offered to help out, including our Residential Student Association, housing staff, campus bookstore, Office of Student Life, and University Outreach.”
Many of the students in the Austin All-Star Band have never been out of the state of Texas, much less on a college tour. The students and their chaperones arrived in California on Wednesday and stayed at CSU Dominguez Hills until last Friday. While in the Los Angeles region, the group visited several local campuses, including USC and UCLA, and took sightseeing trips to Pasadena and the beach.
In addition to free housing provided by CSU Dominguez Hills, the group also enjoyed a free welcome barbeque and a tour of campus on Thursday. They performed at CSU Dominguez Hills on Thursday morning in the campus’s Sculpture Garden. The local alumni chapter of the University of Texas at Austin, the L.A. Texas Exes, of which Aguirre is a member, also provided breakfast for the group both mornings.
“Despite the tough economic times, it’s nice to see everyone try to reach out and help someone else,” said Aguirre. “We don’t really draw a lot of students from Texas and even though we knew they would be visiting other universities in the Los Angeles area, no one ever questioned why we should be helping them out. I’m proud to say as far as hospitality is concerned, everything isn’t always bigger in Texas.”
The Austin All-Star Band’s tour also includes visits to the University of Texas, El Paso, New Mexico State University, Stanford University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Arizona State University.