California State University, Long Beach
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President, VP to Reach Out to African American Churches as Part of Annual Super Sunday

Published: February 16, 2009

Demonstrating their commitment in encouraging more African American students to enroll in college, Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) President F. King Alexander and Vice President for Student Services Douglas Robinson will address local church congregations on Feb. 22 during the fourth annual CSU Super Sunday.

Alexander will speak at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1535 Gundry Ave. in Long Beach during the 11 a.m. service. Robinson will deliver his address at Christ Our Redeemer AME in Irvine at 46 Maxwell during the 10:30 a.m. service.

In all, nearly 40 CSU speakers will address congregations at 68 churches during three weekends throughout California to promote higher education, as well as highlight the role of parental involvement and early preparation in facilitating successful access to college for African Americans.

“Over the past four years, Super Sunday has proven to be an increasingly important component of California State University and Cal State Long Beach’s overall commitment in reaching out to local and regional underserved communities. Because of our, CSU’s and the churches’ efforts, tens-of-thousands of students and their families learn that planning for college should start as early as the sixth grade,” said Alexander. “We believe that good information drives good decisions for children, students, and families. Therefore, it is our responsibility to reach beyond the confines and comfort of our own campuses to put important college-bound information about what students should be studying and learning in order to prepare adequately. It is also pleasing to know that these kinds of unique outreach efforts have been so successful that they are being duplicated in other states throughout the nation as we speak.

“So as long as the need is there, and that need is apparently increasing, we will continue to deliver these messages each year, because the data shows that our efforts are paying off.”

Since the launch of Super Sunday in 2005, system-wide college applications at CSU from African American students have increased 15 percent. Enrollment for fall 2008 alone increased 8.5 percent. Now, nearly one in every 15 CSU students are African American, roughly matching statewide population percentages.

However, there is still much more work to be done. Only 19 percent of African American students who graduated from high school in California are eligible to attend a CSU. Compared to other CSU applicant groups, African Americans are more likely to submit an incomplete application or fall short of admission standards.

In 2005, Super Sunday started with 11 churches in Los Angeles and 13 churches in Northern California. Events are now hosted in 27 churches throughout the Los Angeles Basin and 40 churches in Northern California. Three host churches are in San Bernardino, marking this as the first year CSU leaders will speak to congregations in the Inland Empire.

Some of the themes the speakers will focus on this year include the value of a college education, CSU’s commitment to access for all underserved communities, what the college culture is like, and the role of the churches in the effort.

Following services at the churches, Cal State Long Beach outreach staff and church educational advisers will provide information regarding the CSU application and admission process, financial aid and student support services, as well as distribute information and materials to showcase the CSULB curriculum.

“It is amazing how broad the scope and reach of Super Sunday has become. Now, outreach staff work with the congregations throughout the year on college outreach programs,” said Robinson. “We have also further developed our financial aid workshops and have expanded distribution of college materials to sixth-12th grade students and their parents. The church educational advisers and liaisons who work directly with young students and their families are phenomenal. We are definitely making a difference here in Long Beach and across the state.”