By Esther Cruz
On Aug. 26, administrators and faculty welcomed new students to Cal State Dominguez Hills at Freshman Convocation.
In attendance were faculty members of each department and administrators, including Dr. William Franklin, vice president of student affairs, Associated Student Inc. President Jordan Sylvestre, and alumna Bree Nguyen, who graduated with a business degree in 2012.
The event provided freshmen with visuals of CSUDH alumni, graduates and current students sharing their campus experiences.
“Once a Toro, always a Toro,” was the mantra for the day.
One student implored freshmen to “Get rid of your social media.” He stated that once he dropped Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, his grade-point average improved.
Franklin encouraged students to get involved with the campus community, adding that they may one day hold office in student government, as Slyvestre does now.
Franklin introduced Sylvestre, who gave a speech touching on his experiences as a Toro and pledging his willingness to help the incoming class adjust.
“I am here to help you all in your journey,” he told the students.
He closed his speech with: “Class of 2020, welcome home.”
Nguyen, who now works for Facebook, encouraged students to continue their college educations.
“There will be challenges, but it will depend on the choice you make to face those challenges,” she said. “This is a place for success.”
After the showcase, freshmen had the chance to interact on a more personal level with faculty and administrators by attending the cookout and carnival arranged by the university.
At the barbecue, freshman Michael E. Berry said the Loker Student Union is his favorite place on campus, a convenient and nice place to study and sip a Jamba Juice.
Berry hopes to get active on campus by joining a club.
“I want to make a difference by helping the community in general,” he said.
Freshman Alejandra Reyes hopes to make the soccer team one day and “get more involved in clubs to help the community.”
Her favorite campus spot?
“The library,” she said. “It’s big, and it’s also quiet — to be able to study.”
Franklin said freshmen convocation, as well as the summer bridge program, help improve retention and graduation rates by making freshmen feel part of the campus community from the start.
“We believe that when students feel connected to the campus, and feel like they belong, when they feel that someone is invested in them, they do better,” Franklin said.
He encouraged freshmen to get involved with on-campus activities and student life.
“Get involved, and read, read, read,” he said. “Make sure you start strong and finish strong!”