On Friday, Sept. 27, the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at California State University, Northridge will be celebrating and commemorating 50 years of providing historically low-income, educationally disadvantaged students with access to academic services and support as they pursue their degree.
Founded in 1969, EOP was designed to provide the necessary academic support and services to disadvantaged students to foster their success in college and beyond. Programs offered through EOP include transitional programs, (where students are given a head start to acclimate to the responsibilities required in college) resilient scholar programs (offering foster youth empowerment through higher education) and many more.
“When you talk to EOP students, they don’t see EOP as a program, they see it as life changing, as family,” said Shiva Parsa, EOP director at CSUN.
During the 1960s, the social and political atmosphere throughout the country was highly charged by the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement against the Vietnam War. Much of California’s population was changing dramatically to include a greater number of people of color. However, most state universities and colleges did not reflect that diversity Parsa said.
Inspired to play an active role in change, college students, faculty and staff mobilized to increase access for minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students at California colleges.
“Students were the activists, they were the trailblazers,” Parsa said. “They shared a common cause and came together in solidarity to make a difference for those who came after them. They fought for equity and justice,” she said.
The EOP celebration will feature a variety of guest speakers that include CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison, Provost Mary Beth Walker, and professor of Chicana/o studies Jorge Garcia, who will discuss the program’s history. In addition, scholarships will be awarded to EOP students and a video will be shown that will include former trailblazers who dedicated their lives to building the program.
The CSUN EOP 50th anniversary celebration will take place at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts on campus at 6:00 p.m. The event is free, and students and alumni are encouraged to attend.
For more information, visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/eop50event or http://www.csun.edu/eop.