"Today, I used critical thinking skills to advocate the the importance of continuing your education by coming to Sonoma State University," said David Suits, an FYE freshman.
Hopes were high on this rainy day. After weeks of planning and collaboration the day was here. It was Shadow Day 2012! At 9am students from Roseland University Prep (RUP) began to arrive. They walked across the campus to the Student Union where they waited to find their group leaders.
Every year, the CCE hosts Discovery Day in the fall and Shadow Day in the spring with RUP students whose grades levels range from freshmen to juniors. The purpose of these two events is to get the RUP students ready for their freshman year by experiencing first-hand what becoming a college student is like.
For Shadow Day, freshmen from SSU are paired with juniors from RUP to get the high school students and give them tours of the campus and answer any questions relating to their first year as a college student. Most RUP students are the first in their families to go to college and this time in their life can be especially stressful if they don't know what college life is like. Sue Reese, the College and Career Coordinator for RUP and chaperon for the day explained that, "[Shadow Day] is important because it makes college a real option for them, not a vague idea. Their parents feel more comfortable having them stay close to home so this would likely be their choice, so they need to be able to see themselves attending SSU. Most of the students had been to the campus numerous times but reported that this time was different."
After being paired off, many of the students took off to the different locations across campus. Some went to the bookstore, the library or to go eat at the dining facilities. While giving a tour, Michelle Welling, an FYE student leader, explained that, "Showing the students around makes me proud to say I'm a Seawolf. It felt good to tell them to come check out the Rec Center or that I love my geology class so come look at Darwin Hall."
Daniel Mandieta, another FYE leader, said, "My favorite part was walking around campus with the students. We hung out and talked about our personal lives and got to know each other." When asked how he was making an impact on the RUP students he said, "This experience is especially important for the high school students who are not aware of our college. I've given them information that will help them determine if this is the right college for them."
There was also an opportunity to give students a taste of a real college class. Dr. Daniel Malpica was hosting a discussion about prison systems and the injustice around Latino and Blacks who occupy these jails at an alarming rate. We all watched an Inside Story Americas video which explained that many jail systems today are like businesses. It cost less to go to UC Berkeley for two years than to maintain one inmate in jail for a year. There are an incredible amount of prisons being built in America but according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, crime has gone down since its peak in the early 90′s.
At the end of the day, the students and their leaders came back into the Student Union to debrief about the day. David Suits, an FYE freshman, had positive things to say about his experience in the FYE class and being a mentor to high school students, "This experience helped me mentor a high school student the way I wish I was helped out when I was coming here for the first time. Someone to give me all the pointers as to where the buildings are, how things worked and other inside tips. I made sure the kids really understood all of the finer aspect of coming to college."
When asked what his favorite part of today was he replied, "Meeting my shadowers and getting to know them."
The CCE would like to thank the RUP high school students, the FYE freshman and FYE instructors Dr. Daniel Malpica and Chiara Bacigalupa for making this another year successful of collaboration. Stay posted for what's to come next.