CSI welcomes back students to a new era for Cal State LA


Erick Cabrera

ade provided by the old student services building allowed students to eat comfortably on the lawn near the event.

Erik Adams, Reporter

Even with Thursday’s high temperatures, the Center for Student Involvement’s Welcome Home BBQ event was able to greet new and returning students to a more typical in-person campus experience this semester. 

Along the main campus walkway, smoke billowed from the barbeque grill and enticed students with free hot dogs and hamburgers for those who checked into the event. 

Upon check-in, students were then allowed to try any of the several attractions at the event while enjoying music from a live Golden Eagle Radio DJ tent.

With events like this one, CSI aims to “develop [students’] enrichment and promote health and wellness,” said Student Engagement Coordinator Raymond Lu.

Before this semester, Lu said the campus felt “quiet” and “dead” because of the lack of in-person courses. But “coming back now, seeing the campus re-energized and reinvigorated with most of the student body being back, it’s just very rewarding to see the campus so lively again and to be able to put on these events for our students.”

A mechanical bull, a photobooth with props and inflatable obstacle courses were among the offered activities at the barbeque.

“It was a workout,” said Alejandra Sanches, a kinesiology graduate student who had just gotten out of a large inflatable agility game dubbed Meltdown. “The heat of the sun was making everything so hot. That’s the only downside but it was fun.”

Temperatures reached the mid-to-high 90s during the event, which was harsh for some students, but others made the most of it.

“The weather’s a little bit different than Germany,” said Justen Saengel, an international student from the German city of Dortmund. “I like it,” he said. “It feels like summer vacation here. It’s amazing.”

The Fall 2022 semester at Cal State LA is Saengel’s first ever experience in the United States. He said that events like this one help him “get more connected with the university [and] to the people” at Cal State LA.

Others at the event also looked past the heat and saw the gathering as an opportunity to connect with the student body.

“It’s hot out here, yes,” said liberal studies major Shawn Simms, “but at the same time, you get to see new people, you get to meet new people, you get to experience the college life – and you get free food.”

Simms was at the event with Lawrence White Jr., a Cal State LA marketing student. Both students are originally from the Bay Area.

“It’s good to talk to people and to network,” White said. “What if another student you talk to could change your life for tomorrow?”