By Jenny Mangandi
"Discovery Day was a huge success and I really enjoyed the whole day...The scavenger hunt allowed me to practice the leadership skills learned throughout the University 222 course. I learned a lot about Patrick, Brandon and Pablo, their goals, hopes, and expectations in college. It really shocked me. It was an eye opening experience," says Sonoma State University (SSU) student Michael McGee. Lindsey Sotomayor stated that, "The high school students I was matched up with were fun and very respectful. I had a good time showing them around...they loved the campus and I hope they come to SSU when they graduate! The leadership skill I used was leading by example and working as a team. I learned that the students not only were listening to what I was saying but following my actions as a college student. We all worked together as a team as each one of us contributed to finishing the scavenger hunt! I was proud to tell them and show them that I was a part of the SSU community. When the students first showed up they were hesitant about coming to SSU but when we were all finished their minds were already set on becoming Seawolves...it was a nice change to see!"
Another SSU student, Gina Ingoglia agrees. "I really enjoyed this experience because I was able to offer those students more advice in regards to college. I was in AVID all four years of high school and could relate to their concerns with money, boarding, books, and food. I learned that more kids should be offered the experience to tour a college campus because just being there opens their minds. Exposure is key and I could see, at least in my group, that being at Sonoma State was beneficial for them and encouraged them to go to college."
Many believed that Discovery Day helped them see how their position as a college student can influence a whole new generation of potential incoming freshmen. Adrian Gould said that "At the end of the day, the event coordinator asked the students if they wanted to eventually go study at SSU, and surprisingly 95% of the students raised their hands and cheered." Alexandra Garbe said that what she "learned while being with these students is how lucky I am that going to college was always going to be an option for me while some of these students might not be able to (have that option)."
Michael, Lindsey, Gina, Adrian, Alexandra and more than 50 other SSU students worked with more than 60 Roseland University Prep (RUP) students on Discovery Day on the beautiful campus of Sonoma State University. This day provides younger students with their first exposure to higher education while providing college service-learners with an engaging opportunity for leadership and service.
RUP students agreed with SSU students about the value of Discovery Day. "It's been great...I like the way the dorms look and the library because it's big. I also like the Art Building because I want to be an art major. I do plan to apply to SSU when I apply to colleges." Roseland University Prep (RUP) student Katherine Rangel shared. RUP student Marlen Calvillo said, "This was my first college tour, I liked the Bookstore and saw things around campus that I wouldn't normally see at my high school." Discovery Day incorporates important levels of reciprocity and SSU students and RUP students all benefit from the experience.
Freshmen from RUP spent a day with SSU students who love SSU and are determined to recruit the next pack of Seawolves. RUP students joined SSU service-learners from University 222 in a brief introduction and ice-breaker. They then formed groups to embark on a scavenger hunt which better accustomed them to the SSU campus while allowing interaction between both the high school freshmen and college students. After the scavenger hunt, everyone met up at the Cooperage and shared what they "found" around campus. Students then got a chance to grab their lunch, generously sponsored by SSU President, Ruben Armiñana and Provost Andrew Rogerson, and walked over to the baseball field to watch a softball game out on the grass. While watching the softball game, students discussed the scavenger hunt, all the walking they had to do, and all the buildings they saw on campus like the Green Music Center and the Schulz Information Center. Some students enjoyed the scenery of the campus, like the Butterfly Garden and seeing the memorials as they passed through the lakes. One of the students talked about liking how SSU has a lot of programs like Join Us Making Progress (JUMP) and didn't hesitate to ask how to get involved in such a program as soon as she got to college. Some students knew that they plan to go into a specific major, some were considering several possibilities, while others were still completely undecided.
When the RUP students left, UNIV 222 students came together to shared their thoughts. Casey Sears stated that, "This was a fun experience! I loved seeing the passion to go to college that was already instilled into these young high school students! I enjoyed being a leader and showing them the ropes of SSU. I was able to model the way and show them what it's like to go to college and all the opportunities that follow. I think I made a change in the students' lives, for them to realize that college is a great goal to set for themselves. I feel like I was a good leader because I showed them my passion for higher education and in turn sparked a new outlook on the college experience! All in all, I wish that I could have had this experience my freshman year of high school and I hope I made a difference in these students lives."The Office of Admissions & Student Recruitment at Sonoma State has developed a longstanding relationship with the staff and students of Roseland University Prep so RUP students who meet the CSU requirements are given direct admission to Sonoma State University.