Two-hundred forty eight (248) first-time freshmen now call California State University, Dominguez Hills home.
Arms loaded with paper towels, sheets and comforters, pots and pans, and other living essentials (read TVs), family and friends helped the young students get settled into their new apartments during Freshman Move-in Day on Monday, Aug. 18.
It was welcome help, but for individuals like new roommates Deja Maduro and Leandra Reye, the prospect of being more independent was what they said they were most looking forward to about living on campus.
These freshmen won’t be completely on their own however. They’ll be surrounded by a community of nearly 500 continuing and transfer students who are also residing in the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that make up the University Housing complex, plus a dozen resident assistants (RAs) and a team of housing staff.
“Research shows that support systems are very important for retainment and we definitely want to retain and graduate students, so making sure they find a support system, people who they’re comfortable with, that they can study with, that they can turn to if they’re going through personal issues, is important,” complex coordinator Venus Lee said. As such, University Housing offers a lot of opportunities for housing student to interact with each other, starting Day One. For their first night the freshmen were treated to an ice cream social, followed the next night by a “black out party” with movies on one side of the complex, and music and dancing on the other.
Senior and second-year RA Marlin Carnell who has lived in University Housing since his freshman year, said it’s not all fun and games and that among the many programs organized throughout the year, the group conversations are often the best.
“We talk about gender relations, race relations, deep conversations. Sometimes it gets really heated and emotional, but it’s so beneficial to everybody,” he said. “When you’re in an environment where you’re 1) at home, and 2) where your opinion is welcome, it makes you feel more empowered to take that down to campus.”
A computer technology major who expects to graduate in May, Carnell said he has loved his time living on campus.
“I kind of feel like housing has been a little bit of awesome for me,” he said. “I have met some of the closest people I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve learned so much. I feel it’s shaped my character.”
That’s exactly what Dawasha Johnson wants for her son Damidre Tackwood. As she unloaded a hamper filled with household items onto the kitchen table, she admitted that Freshman Move-in Day held a mixed bag of emotions for her. Sad to see her only child leave the nest, she was also excited for his independence and for his future.
“We live not even 15 minutes away from school but I wanted him to be here so that he can understand what it is to be a young man and to be on his own, make his own decisions, and realize mom isn’t always going to be there to help you. It’s challenging, but I’m happy for him.”
Toro Welcome Wagon
To welcome students and their families, campus radio station KDHR, the Office of Student Life, Loker Student Union, Academic Advisement Center, University Bookstore, Kinecta Federal Credit Union and Walmart Neighborhood Market were on hand with music, goodies and information.
Additionally, the Office of Alumni and Family Programs enlisted the services of Waffles de Liege food truck to serve up free breakfast. They also set up a parents and families hospitality suite, offering coffee, massages courtesy of Everest College students, and giveaways such as CSUDH tote bags, Toro Parent lapel pins, and CSUDH pens. Each parent who signed up for the Toro Family Advocacy Network, which keeps them updated on events, lectures, programs, and issues concerning CSUDH, were entered into a raffle to receive CSUDH Mom, CSUDH Dad, CSUDH Grandparent T-shirts or the book “The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only.” The alumni office also supplied each new student resident with a CSUDH pennant for their rooms and welcome note.