Discovery Day is a service-learning project between an SSU class and a Roseland University Prep (RUP) or Roseland Collegiate Prep (RCP) freshman class. This day-long event is meant to fulfill multiple goals such as creating student-student bonding, sharing college preparation tools, and introducing high school students to campus life. By targeting freshman, we encourage students early enough in their high school education to start thinking about attending a four-year college or university.
Before Discovery Day, Sonoma State students learn about the kids’ schools and neighborhoods, discuss the lives of the kids, perhaps challenges they face such as immigration/poverty issues and the resources they bring such as language skills, resilience, diversity, etc. On Discovery Day, SSU students provide a meet and greet activity for the and RUP/RCP students. The students will “discover” the college experience through various kinds of activities such as participating in a campus scavenger hunt, which allows RUP/RCP students to explore Sonoma State's beautiful campus and see all the resources that are available to students. Another activity is the student-panel which gives RUP/RCP kids a chance to ask any questions about SSU regarding student-life, academics, financial aid, etc. SSU students who participate in the panel shared their personal experiences, how they have managed to afford tuition, and what resources they have utilized as first-generation or low-income students. “Other than grades, the main reason why kids don't make it to college is that they can't afford it. Discovery Day is overall a fantastic opportunity for high schoolers because not ideal financial circumstances are addressed and given a solution.” RUP/RCP students are able to connect with others who were in the same situation as them which inspires them to achieve their goals too.
After a day of activities revolved around college discovery, students say their farewells, and email exchanges are highly encouraged to keep students connected and allow RUP/RCP students to have future resources and mentors. The day is then finalized after RUP/RCP students return to their school and a reflection activity is conducted with SSU students.