Walking around Cal State Fullerton before fall semester is like entering a deserted ghost town, aside from the few bunnies and ducks occasionally found roaming as if they’re late to class. But on the housing side of CSUF the area was buzzing with excitement from the incoming freshmen, transfer and international students, settling into their new rooms.
Riley McDougall, Dominique Kaye Villamor / Daily Titan
Move-in day started bright and early at 9 a.m. on August 23, the entire area covered with resident check-in booths and tents advertising different services on campus. Lines were out the doors, whether students were lugging large rolling bins overflowing with dorm essentials like clothes, furniture and their pet fish, or just trying to get a quick bite to eat at the Gastronome.
Incoming freshman were taking their first steps into adulthood, leaving behind their families and settling down with new roommates, while other students returned to campus for yet another year of the CSUF experience.
“The main thing I keep telling people, and what I like about the whole move-in day is that there’s a lot of resources here on campus and a lot of ways to get involved, and I think it shows here by all the different tents that are set up and all the different departments that have been involved with move-in day,” said Omar Hernandez, a fifth-year business student volunteering for the day.
Tents and booths filled the plaza as passersby signed up for newsletter subscriptions for the Daily Titan, registered their bikes with the University Police Department or stopped for a cooler break at the water stations. Many other booths set especially for the move-in surrounded the area scouting for the next available student to listen to the services offered on campus.
“For me it’s important for students who have been here for a while to volunteer for these things, to bring a more welcoming environment,” said Daissy Zatiain, a fifth-year kinesiology student who also volunteered.
Volunteers roamed the area sporting vibrant orange shirts to stand out amongst the crowd and helped in various areas including the water stations and parking lot.
The volunteers in the parking lot helped families unload their cars and place dorm essentials into the large rolling bins, then led the families to the dorms. When the parking lots weren’t too busy, volunteers would switch positions, helping to pass out water and keep everyone hydrated on such a blistering day.
But it wasn’t the tents, booths or volunteers that brought the community together, it’s the students who travel far and wide for a single shared interest: An education at CSUF alongside the college experience featured in every cliché coming-of-age movie.
In fall of 2017 CSUF had a total of 3,158 enrolled international students from 86 nations. With a growing student population and 34 CSUF exclusive student exchange programs from all around the world (Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Japan to name a few), the campus welcomes new students every semester.
Although these international students come from different places, they’ve all come to CSUF for similar reasons. Some chose to be Titans to enjoy the sunny California weather, like Lisa Djerf from Sweden who is excited to play golf year-round, while others enrolled for the academics, like Tammy Vorenber from Germany who’s doing her graduate studies at CSUF.
CSUF is an institution for learning academics, as well as life skills to use for the rest of your life. Students from across the globe enroll at CSUF to become a part of the eccentric community, and though some may think it’s just another SoCal school, to the Titans it’s a home, a sanctuary, and a family.
“It’s rare that a community loses a fourth of its members every year and gains a new fourth every year, so we’re always missing the people who are leaving but hopefully they are Titans for life,” said Fram Virjee, CSUF interim president. “But we are also gathering in a new community and I think that’s so exciting.”