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Volunteers and housing team help start the school year off right at Pioneer Heights


Incoming freshmen carry personal belongings into their new student apartments. (Photo Alanté Millow)

  • September 30, 2013

The beginning of a new school year brings anxiety to some first-time college students, but Cal State East Bay’s residential housing team helped Pioneers living on campus make a smooth transition.

“I’m sort of nervous to start school,” said new student Aaron Aguirre during a freshman move-in day. “I don’t know anyone here, and it’s just all a whole new experience.”

As freshmen moved into their new dorm rooms, the residential team provided students like Aaron with a “Jump Start.” Freshmen were invited to move in a few days early to orient them to college life. The residential housing team, along with several staff, faculty and students — including the men’s basketball team, volunteered their time lugging freshmen’s belongings into their new homes.

Participants toured Pioneer Heights and other university community buildings and received a lesson on CSUEB’s public transportation options through a scavenger hunt. The freshmen scurried through the streets of San Francisco in small, supervised teams, using public transportation to get around and take photos of various landmarks.

Another activity, “Family Welcome,” offered during freshmen move-in days gave relatives a chance to meet Housing and Residence Life staff before they departed and left their child on campus.

“(Family Welcome) also allows us an opportunity to speak to families about staying connected with their students through the year by sending care packages and letters of encouragement to help them through the transition period and help with retention,” said Martin Castillo, director of Student Housing.

At the end of move-in week housing sponsored a free barbecue for residents, followed by an old-fashioned block party on Sunday organized by the Residence Hall Association. Pioneer Heights was filled with multiple options for food and games during the day followed by a welcome back dance in the evening.

“We make this a social event to help students interact,” Castillo said. “We intentionally look for shy students who might need a little help connecting to others.”

For the first couple days of fall quarter, the association provided free donuts, coffee and juice for students heading to their first classes of the year.

“I’m so excited to start school,” freshman Kirsthen Silva said. “Everyone has been so welcoming, and I’m not scared anymore. I’m just ready to start my new life.”

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