NORTHRIDGE, CA -- The Educational Opportunity Program is celebrating its 47th year. EOP helps support low-income, first-generation college students. The program reflects the diversity found on the CSUN campus. In commemoration of the annual event, the program provides history booths and music to keep the festivities alive.
Students attend the celebration for numerous reasons. Some come for the food, others for the games, but most come to enjoy the company of one another.
“Not only do we come together to celebrate our educational achievements,” said Lesley Barajas, an EOP student at CSUN, “But we get together to also celebrate the program's achievements as a whole.”
The festivities include teaching the program’s history in a fun interactive way. The guests are able to play games where they are given tickets in exchange for free fruit cups or popcorn.
EOP has not always been welcomed by everyone. While some institutions believe EOP provides students with the right resources to succeed in college through mentorship and by implementing financial assistance and academic programs, there are some people who feel the program is not needed.
“Even today, in 2016 there is not an even playing field in the K-12 system,” said Shiva Parsa, CSUN EOP Interim Director. “There are high schools that don’t have as many resources.”
There are some people who do not know what EOP is. That is why the events are open to all students who want to learn more about the program. Some students on campus say EOP is not promoted enough for the entire campus to be informed of what the cause is.
In 2004, the EOP program was threatened by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Governor of California. He had targeted EOP in eliminating it, along with other outreach programs in hopes of attempting to balance the state’s budget. Schwarzenegger’s budget also authorized a $729 million reduction from higher education and a $165 million diminished from educational child-care programs. Not only did the former governor’s plan cut educational programs, but also he wanted to raise tuition and fees for California university students. Undergraduate student fees were to increase by ten percent and 40 percent for graduate students.
The views on outreach programs will differ depending on each person. Although some think EOP is not necessary, others believe it has been life changing.
“I think it’s fair but at the same I don’t,” said Cynthia Marin. “Because the students who did try hard and who did struggle to get here and are here, shouldn’t be in the shadows because of people who didn’t try.”
What made this year’s CSUN EOP celebration different than previous years was the honoring of the passing of director, José Luis Vargas. He died earlier this year but was recognized as one of the most respected CSU EOP directors.
By, Sharon Carrillo
Contributions from The University of California Admissions, Cal State Fullerton, The World Socialist Web Site.
Photo, Luis Garcia
Video, CSUN EOP
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