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Friday, October 22, 2021

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SDSU freshman criminal justice major and Guardian Scholar Ikemba Dyke SDSU freshman criminal justice major and Guardian Scholar Ikemba Dyke
 


Staying Connected

SDSU’s EOP program helps students stay connected to academic support.
By Aaron Burgin
 

“The commitment they have towards their students to ensure they continue to succeed is great. They also allow me to still feel connected to my university as well as the EOP family.”

Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, San Diego State University’s Office of Educational Opportunity Programs and Ethnic Affairs (EOP) finds its charge more important than ever.

Telephone and Zoom counseling, online workshops, and check-ins via weekly video conference are among the ways the office has adjusted to its students’ changing needs.

EOP serves students from low-income backgrounds and historically underserved communities, including socioeconomically disadvantaged students and former foster youth—student groups in many ways hit hardest by the fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our EOP students are amazing and resilient,” said EOP Director Miriam Castañon. “However, this pandemic has come to pose additional challenges for our students in that they do not all have the luxury, like other students, of their own room or their own quiet space to study at home.

“It’s crucial that we continue to offer our services and support them through this time,” she said.

EOP has continued a number of its core services in the virtual realm, providing academic, mentoring and emotional support for its students.  

EOP students are able to access their EOP counselor via phone, email or Zoom to discuss matters of concern. Students also receive a weekly EOP email newsletter, full of resources, and Learning Support Center tutoring is now conducted online through a platform called GoBoard.

Workshops are provided through the centers from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays. The topic for the April 22 workshop is “Coping in the Time of Quarantine: Stress Management, Impact of Social Distancing and More.” A Zumba class is also in the works, Castañon said.

The efforts don’t go unnoticed by students like Martha Rodriguez, a junior film major at the SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film who has been involved with EOP since arriving on campus.

Rodriguez said the office is fulfilling its charge as it did before the pandemic.

“EOP became a family to me my first day I started at SDSU. They have been with me through success and my failures,” Rodriguez said. “In times like these, EOP has motivated me and brought hope when I couldn’t find any. I am always reminded that they will always have my back no matter what, even when times get tough.”

EOP has undertaken special efforts for SDSU Guardian Scholars, students who are current or former foster youth, wards of the court, under legal guardianship or unaccompanied homeless youth.

EOP has a virtual check-in option every Friday via video conference for the scholars, and the Guardian Scholar Seminar, held for freshmen and fall-semester transfer students, also is offered virtually. And students are receiving emails with information on resources both through Guardian Scholars and EOP.

Students say they appreciate the efforts to help them navigate the temporary normal.

“The commitment they have towards their students to ensure they continue to succeed is great,” said Ikemba Dyke, a freshman criminal justice major and Guardian Scholar. “They also allow me to still feel connected to my university as well as the EOP family.”