Third Annual Letter Day Program Inspires Incoming Freshmen

California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) will host the third annual Runner Letter Day, a letter-to-first-year-students initiative, on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at the Student Union entrance.

Studies show that around midterms, first-time freshmen might begin to feel homesick, doubt their ability to succeed, or just need a supportive message to get them through the remainder of the quarter. As freshmen go into their sophomore year, enrollment tends to decline. Runner Letter Day was designed to provide support to our freshmen in the form of an encouraging letter or note from faculty, staff, alumni, student leaders, family, friends and/or high school teachers and counselors. 

“The significance of the effort is to connect first-year students with the university and show them there is a campus wide community of support and encouragement for them at CSUB,” said Emily Poole, Assistant Director of Campus Programming.

Letter-writing is an art form that has been lost in our social media age. This program takes a personal approach as someone hands a student a handwritten letter and offers a more meaningful form of communication that will create a lasting connection. 

CSUB reaches out to students’ families through the Roadrunner Parents’ Association, as well as to local high schools from which students graduated, the campus community, and the Alumni Association to engage letter-writers. “It really is a collaboration between our campus and off-campus community.  My office alone couldn’t write 1,500 letters.”

Letters were turned in on Wednesday, October 7. The goal was to find 140 faculty, staff, alumni, and student leaders to write 10 letters to 10 students. Letters received from family, friends, and high school teachers/counselors will be added as an additional letter for students to pick up on October 14th. Letter writers often get really creative, sometimes adding a Starbucks gift card, their contact information or an inspirational quote.

This year, Runner Letter Day is expecting over 1,400 first time freshmen. It will be an exciting time of encouragement, as the class of 2019 pick up their letters from loved ones, mentors and even complete strangers reminding them that they can do this and where to find help, if needed.

“There’s not one first-year student who will not get a letter,” said Poole. “Every single freshman will get a letter.”

For questions regarding the letters or event, contact Emily Poole at epoole1@csub.edu or (661) 654-2711.

 

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