More than 700 members of the incoming Class of 2014 filled the Loker Student Union Dominguez Ballroom on June 30 for the first day of Summer Bridge Academy and took the first steps to becoming the graduating Class of 2018.
For the next six weeks, the students will be attending classes to improve their math and/or writing skills to meet the CSU’s Early Start requirements prior to starting their freshman year. But beyond the classroom, Summer Bridge participants will be meeting with peer mentors, receiving tutoring from Supplemental Instructors (SIs) and taking part in numerous workshops to introduce them to campus life and the various resources available to them. Fun is also on the agenda, with lunchtime “Hunger Games,” sports and team-building activities planned.
“It’s going to be a nice long summer, but we’ll get through it together,” program director Paz Oliverez said to attendees. “We’ve got a really big team of folks who are going to be working hard for you this summer to make sure that you all get through these classes, so you don’t waste your six weeks with us. You’ll get through, you’ll definitely be successful, and we’ll ensure you start off you’re first semester here with us ready to move on to the next level, because I know that’s what you’re here for.”
Summer Bridge Academy (SBA) is the first component of the California State University, Dominguez Hills’ Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Encounter to Excellence (ETE) program, which combined have been nationally recognized for their comprehensive support of students in the critical first year of college. The programs follow a similar model –a combination of academic advising, supplemental instruction, peer advising and access to resources– however eligibility differs.
In the five years since CSUDH implemented ETE, developmental math and English completion rates have been in the 90th percentile, and retention rates of participating students has been between 80 and 90 percent. As a result of the proven success, University President Willie J. Hagan committed more university dollars to the program, expanding it from 100 students in 2009 to 700-plus for 2014.
Giving a pep talk to the students on their first day of Summer Bridge, William Franklin, acting vice president of enrollment management and student affairs, led them in a call and response of “I can, I will, I must” and encouraged them to take advantage of all the opportunities to ensure they start their college career strong and finish even stronger.
“This is the summer. It’s about to kick off,” he said. “You are on your way to becoming the graduating class of 2018. Sounds good doesn’t it?”