Super Sunday takes the university to church
California State University Super Sunday, a program that reaches out to the black youth about the importance of college education, is coming to local churches this Sunday.
The CSU Super Sunday event started in 2005 with CSU presidents, trustees and the chancellor speaking at 24 churches throughout California. This year 68 churches will host nearly 40 CSU speakers during three weekends.
“CSU is the first in the country to get universities in church,” said Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander.
Participants of Super Sunday will receive various handouts, including a “How to Get to College” guide, response cards, CSU mentor cards and CSU black alumni cards.
Super Sunday emphasizes higher education among blacks, the importance of parental involvement and early preparation for college. It gives young students the resources and connections with people who can help them reach their higher education goals.
“I’m not talking about religion when I’m up there, I’m talking about college,” Alexander said. He explained that each church gives the individual speakers approximately 15 minutes to talk about the importance of higher education.
Alexander said that using the churches as a venue to disseminate information about going to college has drawn attention around the nation as a great way to reach out to black and low-income communities.
“We’re enlisting the help of the churches to get the information in the hands of the children and their families,” Alexander said.
Parents in attendance will receive handouts explaining the importance of their involvement in their children’s education and what they can do to encourage and help them reach college. Financial aid will also be discussed.
“We’re giving them a road map to becoming college eligible,” Alexander said.
Participants will also receive detailed information on what classes should be taken from sixth to 12th grade in order to be accepted into a California State University.
“Unfortunately, most students don’t start thinking about college admission requirements until their junior year when it’s too late,” Alexander said.
Super Sunday began last weekend in Northern California churches, where Alexander spoke to a congregation in Hayward.
According to Alexander, Super Sunday is a “high profile” outreach event, and CSULB is involved in other many outreach programs in the Long Beach area with various youth organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club.
Since the first Super Sunday in 2005, applications from black students to CSU campuses have increased 15 percent, according to a prepared statement. Almost one in every 15 students on CSU campuses is black.
Graduation rates are also higher now than in 2005 and part of those rates can be attributed to the impact that Super Sunday has had, Alexander said.
“We want to encourage them to finish college and not just come,” Alexander said.
According to Alexander, the Super Sunday initiated in Southern California is slightly different from that of Northern California.
“What makes us different from Northern California is that we emphasize the Long Beach College Promise,” Alexander said.
The Long Beach College Promise, which was signed by the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College and CSULB in 2008, aims to make higher education available to all students by guaranteeing acceptance into CSULB to high school and transfer students who meet the minimum CSU admission requirements.
CSULB students are encouraged to come to Super Sunday and help distribute information.
Brianna Bellmare, a sophomore psychology major and member of the Student Union Board of Trustees, will be among the six students who have already volunteered to attend.
“We will be representing the school,” Bellmare said.
Alexander will speak at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Long Beach during the 11 a.m. service on Sunday and Douglas Robinson, the vice president for student services will speak at the Covenant Worship Center in Los Angeles also at 11 a.m.
Joanne Tucker contributed to this article.