Upward Bound supports students over the summer

by Hector Arzate
Flapjack staff

While many have argued that Trump’s policy agenda could negatively affect the lives of all Americans, the Center for American Progress found that his budget would harm employment, health, education, housing, and safety services for most rural communities, small towns, and tribal nations. It’s likely that a cut to these services would have an immediate impact on the local community in Humboldt.

As one of the oldest TRIO programs in the state of California, Upward Bound at HSU has served six different high schools in the local area of Humboldt and Trinity County for almost 50 years, including Arcata High School, Hoopa Valley High School and Trinity High School.

Leo Canez, the Academic Coordinator of Upward Bound at HSU, outlined what students are able to do during their pre-college experience.

“We have the summer academy, a residential experience here at Humboldt State University,” Canez said. “About 35 students live in the residential dorms for five weeks, beginning at the end of June and going all the way until the end of July. They study Shakespeare for their literature course, they have a composition course, a math course and this year they’re studying entomology for their science course. They also have different electives offered. This year we have Greek and Latin origins, street art, self defense and acroyoga.”

Although the proposal’s name is meant to signal change for greatness, some would argue that a 15 percent cut to the Dept. of Education is a far cry from prosperity. The aptly named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” outlines budget cuts to several U.S departments for the fiscal year of 2018, including the Dept. of Education.

The Council for Opportunity in Education estimates that the proposed budget cut would result in a $92 million or 10 percent decrease in funding for TRIO for the fiscal year of 2018-2019, which would effectively eliminate services like Upward Bound for nearly 83,000 students.

While it certainly has an emphasis on the academics, UB tries to create a more well rounded experience for students to have fun, while learning how to be responsible scholars.

“With this program, we have a lot of social activities on the other side of the academics,” Canez said. “We go camping on the Klamath River, we have a masquerade ball, ice cream social, casino night, all these different activities on the weekends and the evenings because they’re here the entire time. So they have to balance, if there’s a swim night happening but they also have homework, they have to take care of it first.”

Harrel Deshazier, psychology major, and former Upward Bound resident mentor, found that he was able to provide multiple sources of support for his students and be a part of rewarding experience for both himself and his students.

“We’re not just doing academic stuff,” Deshazier said. “I’ve never done that many things in a summer, ever in my life. We went camping, on picnics, we went to Oregon for the Shakespeare festival. It was so great because all of them were into it… It just goes to show that underrepresented populations really have so much ability, it’s just the access.”

In order to prepare disadvantaged students, UB aims to bridge the gap that first generation students students have to deal with before arriving as college freshmen.

“They come from families that are low income and neither parent has a four year degree,” Canez said. “So they’re low income, first generation and there aren’t very many resources out there at these schools to provide students with information that they need for things like A-G requirements, SAT/ACT prep, making sure that they choose the right classes, and manage their time. I think that’s one of the biggest things, students being able to manage their time, especially when you come from communities where the kids have a lot of adult responsibilities.”

As a local student at Hoopa Valley High School and alumnus of the TRIO program, Canez always had a natural sense of curiosity and want to learn, but didn’t really value education.

“If it wasn’t for Upward Bound I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Canez said. “My mom finished the sixth grade before she stopped going to school and my father almost finished high school but he had to go to Vietnam. He didn’t finish school, he actually went into the military. They didn’t really excel in school and I didn’t have role models within my own home. As I grew up, they split up and between my third grade year to my freshman year in high school I went to 18 different schools. My goal was to drop out my sophomore year and become a mechanic, that’s all that I saw for myself and my future. I didn’t have anybody in my family who went to college or had any kind of experience with it, so I didn’t think that it was an option for me.”

Despite all impediments along the way, however, Canez began to value learning even more and found that there were more options than he could ever imagine.

“After my freshman year, I was living with a cousin in a laundry room,” Canez said. “I had a thin, little mattress on the floor where they moved the washer and dryer out and the roof would be leaking. When the Upward Bound staff came to my school and said I had to take classes, it wasn’t a big deal for me because I liked learning. But the kicker for me was that I would have a bed, three meals a day, and all I had to do was some school work over the summer and it would be a safe place to be. So that was a no brainer for me.”

While Canez’s story is unique, it’s a similar story that many students from a first generation, low-income background who come through the UB program share.

“We have the saying that, ‘UB lets you be you,’” Canez said. “It allows you for the first time to truly be who are and that’s what this program is all about… You’re surrounded by adults who want to help you realize your dream and we’ll do everything we can to help you figure out what that is. The entire staff, from the mentors to teachers to the administrative staff, we find out what seed is there in each one of our students’ heart and help it flourish.”

Underfunding of art programs looms

By Andrea Curiel
Flapjack staff

For many involved in a creative program, their involvement is their main method of stress relief. Take away that method of stress relief, and the negative results are endless. Then there are the countless stories of shy, introverted teenagers possibly saved by joining some kind of creative ensemble and coming out of school with irreplaceable friend groups and outgoing personalities. Art programs are crucial to human development. But in many public schools, they’re becoming obsolete.

Braedyn Tawyea, psychology major at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts, was involved in his high school’s music program and thoroughly believes his involvement was beneficial to his overall health and wellbeing.

“I love music so I participated in choir, band, and marching band in high school. I got to relieve a lot of stress when I played or sang,” Tawyea said. “I would say 100 percent that art programs aren’t seen as valuable anymore, which sucks considering how helpful they can be when you’re stressing about core classes and you just want that one fun class to be creative in.”

With President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities,  federal support for the arts is on track to failure. New York Times writer Sopan Deb reports that only $300 million of the $1.1 trillion annual discretionary spending is currently being put towards both endowments, and each endowment receives a multitude of grants from coveted artists for decades, which solidifies the importance in society. Unfortunately, the government thinks otherwise, and some are fully determined to eliminate all “unnecessary” spending.

In K-12 public schools, similar funding concerns have resulted in classroom creativity being overlooked at young ages, and the emergence of increasingly STEM-heavy curriculum.

In high schools, art programs are losing funding, and are treated more as electives instead of requirements. Music programs are forced to fundraise year-round, art and theater classes resort to using scrap materials, journalism and design programs lack the proper technology to generate a decent product.

However, on the other end of the educational spectrum, science labs receive new equipment more frequently than arts programs. Math lessons are more prevalent than music lessons, and it seems as though being unable to write a decent sentence is not a problem as long as you know how to balance math equations.

Ana Judith Puga, a 19 year-old environmental studies major at HSU, is passionate about the sciences but has always had a special connection to the arts.

“I do feel like art programs have decreased because people don’t think funding for art is as important for as other academics,” Puga said. “I took art and music classes in middle school and high school, and our theater class was never a class, just a separate program.”

Recent high school graduate Kasea Horn, 19, believes her lack of involvement in art programs was because of the severe underfunding of them.

“I was involved in photo for two years,” Horn said. “I was never really too involved though because the programs at my school had no money. It’s like art programs aren’t really emphasized in school these days.”

 

Alumni, students, college dropouts — all value college degree

By Treanna Brown
Flapjack staff

Did you know that for every $600 a high school graduate makes, a college graduate makes about $1,300? Those are numbers cited in a recent story at CNN.

There has always been a debate when it comes to rather or not a person should have a college degree and if that degree grants them success in life. For this story, three individuals were interviewed — a post grad, a sophomore in college and someone who has never been to college before. All interviewees were asked the same prompt: How do you feel about a college degree versus no degree. Do you think a person can successfully live life without a degree ? Does a person have an advantage over others because they have a degree?

 Humboldt State University alumna Fabiola Mendoza discussed her experience.

“You can go to college and get a degree and it will give you a leg up in society opposed to someone who doesn’t have one at all,” Mendoza said. “But having a degree doesn’t mean that you’ll be stable, I’ve been in that position before. I was a good student, A-B average, various campus jobs, I was a student activist but I did experience a period of unemployment.”

Mendoza now works in the EOP/SSS department at Humboldt State, with her various connections she was able to join this team shortly after she graduated. But it’s not always that simple.

“You have to find a job market that best fits you because you will find yourself being told you’re overqualified especially in Humboldt County,” she said. “And then you get rejected for the job because they don’t want to have to pay you more than they are offering.”

Mendoza said that networking is an important part of the college experience.

  “When you graduate you will start at the bottom of the barrel unless you know people,” she said. “You have to work harder to get where you want to  be especially if you’re a minority because a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job. When you graduate college people have this expectation (up until they graduate) that you will automatically be able to find a job once you graduate, but that’s not the case. Everything is about who you know.”

Though even people with no degrees are able to succeed in life, Mendoza said, it’s better for you to have a degree.

Humboldt State University student Amber Johnson said students today experience different kids of success.

“So many teens are now using social media, reality television and music as an outlet for success,” Johnson said. “The circumstances of life are all different compared to past generations, we may have more affordable access to higher education but we are not taking advantage of this.”

Johnson said she feels like this new generation doesn’t take higher paying jobs that a degree can get you seriously.

“I do believe though that with a college degree you’re expanding your knowledge and with that expansion, it makes you want to go after the good jobs,” she said. “With no degree you’re limited to what you can do, and this where the different outlets for success that I talked about come into play.”

Johnson mentioned that wanting a degree first comes from a person’s determination/ seriousness.

Xiomara Motavo, who completed one semester at community college before taking a break from school, agreed.

“I wish I would’ve stayed in school, because now I’m stuck working at Starbuck’s until I find the energy to go through 4 years of school and get my degree,” Motavo said. “ If you have a college degree you’re more a priority than anything else. You’re more inclined to get a job especially if your degree pertains to the job.”

Having a degree, Motavo said, makes it seem like you’re more serious about the job.

“Not just anyone will go to college and get a degree only someone who is determined takes that time and effort,” Motavo said. “When employers look at your resume they can tell that you want the job more than someone who is less qualified than you because they look at that resume as a handbook for you, as an insight on what they are taking on compared to someone who has nothing but irrelevant jobs on their resume.”

Educational Opportunity Program helps first-generation students

By Alexis Parra
Flapjack staff

The Educational Opportunity Program, more commonly known as EOP, at Humboldt State University has been helping educationally and economically disadvantaged students since 1969. The program helps disadvantaged students succeed during and after college. The EOP house can be found on the Humboldt State University campus in Hadley House 56.

EOP Director, Dan Saveliff, has worked with the program for 35 years after he graduated from Humboldt State. He decided that he wanted to work in the EOP office after he saw how much fun some employees were having on the roof of the Hadley House.

“I wasn’t an EOP student so I didn’t know what this house was,” he said. “I saw people sitting on the roof while I was walking to class and they busted out in laughter and I thought to myself that that looks like a fun place to work.”

Saveliff shared how EOP came about and the full purpose of the program. EOP was created by California lawmakers in 1969 much in the response to the Civil Rights movement in California that was happening at the time.

“Protests were breaking out on college campuses, specifically about the lack of access and inequity of access for under-represented people of color getting into the system,” he said. “EOP was created to provide that access.”

Saveliff believes that the true purpose of EOP is to provide access to the CSU for low-income and first-generation students. The key thing about EOP is to give access to a college-education to students who might not have come if it wasn’t through the help of EOP.

To get into EOP, students need to fill out an application and submit with a letter of recommendation.

Tania Maren, Humboldt State Alumni and EOP Admissions and Summer Bridge Coordinator, reviews applications. Maren worked as a student assistant for EOP for five years, then as an admissions assistant for two years, and has now been a coordinator for one year.

Maren believes that EOP plays a big role in students’ transitions into Humboldt State and relates to that because of the fact that she came to school here from Calexico, California. Her EOP mentor and employers were her support system when she needed one and she values that EOP offers this to all of its students.

“I like to see my students grow,” she said. “Sometimes they’ll be complaining that there is nothing to do here, but other times they are also appreciative that there isn’t much of a distraction for them to go out.”

Maren appreciates the fact that classroom sizes at Humboldt State University are small. This allows students to create a one-on-one relationship with their faculty.

Although Maren has so many favorite memories with EOP, she was able to narrow it down to her top one.

“It was an EOP graduation ceremony,” she said. “I was struggling a lot with my science classes…and I was getting to that point where I wanted to go home.” She had the help from her EOP employer Tracy, and graduated as a communications major. During the EOP graduation ceremony they put out a questionnaire and one of the questions was: “What was that ah-ha moment for you?” Her ah-ha moment was when she fell in love with learning all over again.

Each EOP student is given an advisor to help them transition into the college-life. Each student has to meet with their advisor once a month until their second semester of their second year of college then they move onto their faculty advisor. Even thought they no longer have monthly meetings, their EOP advisor is always there for any help the student needs. EOP advisors start calling their students as soon as the summer before their first semester in college to help with class registration, making sure they have housing, and lots more.

Roger Wang, originally from Los Altos, California and a Humboldt State alumnus, is the EOP advisor for students who major in either arts or humanities. Wang has only been working as an EOP advisor for a year and two months.

“My job as an EOP advisor is to help these first-generation students who come from low-income backgrounds, not only get to college but be successful, and plan for what they want to do after they get their degree,” he said.

Wang believes that the biggest thing EOP has to offer is the fact that there is always someone that is looking out for you even beyond their college career at Humboldt State University.

Something that Saveliff, Maren, and Wang all have in common is that if they could change anything about EOP, it would be that they would have more funding to either give out to EOP students in need of it. EOP has a grant that is only prioritized to first-year students and transfer students. Whatever is left over from that is later dispersed to other EOP students who weren’t prioritized. At the moment the most a student will get from the grant is $1,000 and they hope to raise that number along with helping more students.

 

 

The HOP to HOOP – Creating On-Campus Orientation for Transfer Students

By Grace Becker
Flapjack staff

After a long year at college, the first week students spend on campus seems a long way in the past. The impact of that first week, however, has the potential to be very influential on the success of a student’s time at HSU.

John Barajas is a transfer student here at HSU. A graduating senior, Barajas has been working over the last two semesters to advocate for and create an on-campus orientation program for transfer students at HSU.

“My experience with orientation wasn’t what I was expecting, and isn’t what I think I or other transfer students need. We don’t know the area just like freshmen don’t know the area, and for most of us it’s our first time at a University too. I think it’s important for transfer students to get the same information when they decide to come here,” Barajas said.

Freshman entering Humboldt State for the first time get a vastly different experience than transfer students. The week before classes start, freshman students get the full HOP experience, exploring the campus with other freshman and learning about the resources available to them during their time at Humboldt State.

Transfer students, on the other hand, don’t get the same level of attention. Over the summer, incoming transfer students do online training with the Humboldt Online Orientation Program (HOOP). It takes a few hours to go through, and while it does provide information about resources and issues at Humboldt State, some transfer students have found issue with the level of attention paid to transfer students.

“You do HOOP over the summer,” Barajas explained. “By the time I was on-campus, three months after I did the online orientation, I had pretty much forgotten everything HOOP told me. And there were some things I wish I knew about that HOOP didn’t even touch.”

Barajas has lived on campus since he arrived in Fall 2014. He was placed in freshman housing, and while he doesn’t regret living there and is still friends with some of the people he met living there, he wishes that he had been able to meet and live with people closer in age to him.

“It would have been nice to have been able to connect with older students, especially other transfer students,” Barajas said. “And I know other transfers feel the same. Having an on-campus orientation for them could really help with that.”

As it turns out, the campus is listening to students like Barajas. The HOP office is currently working to create time and space for transfer students to attend an on-campus orientation like freshman do. Nick Conlin is the Coordinator for Orientation and New Student Programs here at HSU and has been working with Barajas and other students to integrate transfer students into HOP.

“We’re seeing a lot more transfer students enter HSU,” Conlin said. “We’re working to try to provide them the resources they need to be successful here on campus.”

Creating a transfer-specific orientation is a lot of work, something Barajas and fellow transfer student Cat Garibay know very well. Recently they’ve sat down with Conlin to help provide information about what kinds of things transfer students would want and need at an orientation.

“You can’t just give them the same things freshman get,” Garibay explained. “Yeah, info about resources and campus tours could be the same or similar, but transfer students have different things they care about or that pertain to them.”

These things include more career-orientated mentoring, mingling with older students, and attention to detail about mental health and addiction problems.

“It’s going to be a long process,” Barajas said. “But I hope it will really pay off in the end.”