CSU goes to church

by Ana Ceballos

Black high school students attending certain Californian churches on Sundays can expect a different sermon: encouragement to attend California State universities.

CSU officials have been seeking new, prospective black students through the CSU African American Initiative, which targets middle and high school students in hopes of increasing college enrollment rates among the African-American community.

This initiative, started in 2006 during Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. Reed’s term. The CSU reached out to 11 churches and after seven years, more than 100 churches have been approached.

Chancellor Timothy P. White will attend his first Super Sunday, on Feb. 24 at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, followed by an appearance on March 10 at the Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ in Hayward.

Even though this outreach program has no denominational restrictions, it’s taking place overwhelmingly at predominantly black churches.

The events held to promote the initiative reach more than 100,000 churchgoers. Since Reed began as chancellor in 1998, there has been a 30 percent increase in African-Americans earning degrees.

“Education is the key to a better future for California,” White said in a press release. “The CSU’s commitment is stronger than ever to motivate and encourage African-American students to prepare for college and earn a university degree.”

However, CSU Media Relations Specialist Erik Fallis said there is not a specific goal to progress from the 5 percent that makes up the African-American population in the CSU system.

“We want to give California equal representation,” Fallis said. “We want to be a university that doesn’t wait for their students to come and ask for help—we want to come to them.”

Initiative efforts show a 6 percent increase in the amount of applications received by African-American students.

The CSU African American Initiative is one of many initiatives created by CSU officials to increase outreach to misrepresented communities including Latinos, Native Americans, Asian-Americans and veterans.