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Story Diversity

President Coley: Reflections on CSU Super Sunday 2023

President Soraya M. Coley, Cal Poly Pomona​

Cal Poly Pomona's President Soraya Coley reflects on the message of CSU Sup​er Sunday and its impact on the lives of students and families.

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As the California State University enters its 18th consecutive year partnering with more than 100 predominantly African American churches throughout California, I am deeply moved as I remember dozens of conversations I've had with prospective students and their families at our annual ​CSU Super Sunday event.

"I can't afford to go to college." “What if I didn't get very good grades in high school?" “I'm not sure what course of study I want to pursue." “What will I be able to do with my degree?" “Is it too late for me to attend college?" “Can I work to support my family while being a college student?" “What classes does my child need to take in high school in order to attend college?" “What if I can't attend college right after high school—can I do so in a few years?" “Is your university a welcoming place for my child?"

Prospective students and their families often have questions like these, and yet they don't know where to direct them. Super Sunday provides a safe space where they can freely explore such questions.

Bringing the CSU to community churches—our faith-based partners—serves as a signature event of the university's year-round ​ African American Initiative, which aims to increase the preparation, support, retention and degree attainment of African Americans. It's an opportunity for potential students and their families to feel welcomed, which can be the first step toward a transformative college experience.

At this year's Super Sunday events on February 26, 2023, future students and their families can pose questions to my fellow campus presidents, their senior teams, outreach directors and staff members. They will hear personal stories and experiences, advice and college-related information, such as the application and admission process, as well as scholarships and financial aid available to Cal State students.

But perhaps most importantly, university representatives will engender hope, nourish students' aspirations, and extend a message that all are welcome in the CSU and we will support you in the pursuit of your educational dreams.

When engaging in such events and activities, I often reflect on the words and sentiments in Dr. Martin Luther King's final Sunday sermon in which he acknowledged the many advancements in society that also sit beside the continued efforts to deny access and opportunity to all.

In the climactic conclusion of his speech, he declared: "We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

At the same time, Dr. King proclaimed that this does not happen through some natural force of gravity and never on its own. He declared: “I submit that nothing will be done until people of goodwill put their bodies and their souls in motion." He made clear that we collectively must continue working to bend that arc.

The CSU Super Sunday is just one of many efforts aimed at bending the arc of access, inclusion, opportunity and success of African Americans.

For more than a decade, the CSU has partnered with faith-based leaders to host Super Sunday during the month of February.​ CSU leaders bring an empowering message to churches throughout California about the importance of preparing for college. CSU Super Sunday takes place throughout California on February 26, 2023.