California State University East Bay

Demand more from CSUEB

November 13, 2014

Our university is located in a great spot and many would be jealous of what’s in our backyard. To the north is the activism of Berkeley and Oakland, to the south is the cutting edge of the tech industry in San Jose, and to the west is San Francisco, a world city. If you drive east for a few hours you’ll hit Tahoe and the snow, and a few hours north takes you to Napa and some of the best wine in the world.

But we use hardly any of it to our advantage. California State University, East Bay, the university upon the hill, is so isolated from its surrounding environs and I don’t get why. It shouldn’t be. We should be one of the best CSUs in the whole system.

Cheryl Burns, one of our career counselors on campus, made an excellent point early in September about our job fair in a letter she submitted to the Silicon Valley Business Times. It was a letter even our President praised.

She argued, even dared, the big tech companies in Silicon Valley to attend our fall job fair. Names like Apple, eBay, Facebook, and Twitter were mentioned in her article. Unless they showed up last minute they did not take up her challenge.

The job fair last month instead attracted primarily local police departments, Kaiser Permanente, the FBI and then places like Chipotle and Starbucks. According to a report released by the school’s Planning for Distinction committee over the summer, plans have been considered to invest more into our school’s masters programs, and that included far more than just criminal justice.

So ideally we should have more than just police departments and the FBI on campus. Our school is known for the MBAs that it produces, so why can’t our university go out there and tell them that we’re just as good as the other schools they visit?

At recent job fairs at San Jose State University, of which they have three per quarter while we have one, they had Lockheed Martin, Sandisk, IBM and Hitachi. At Santa Clara University they had the same companies plus companies like Apple and eBay, according to the Silicon Valley Business Times and their website.

It’s hard to not feel as a student that you’re being let down in some way. I’ve had the pleasure to work with some of the brightest student leaders on our campus over the past few years and I know that the kids at our university are smart. We make this university what it is. There are many students here who are worthy of jobs at Apple or Lockheed Martin.

In addition to job opportunities, our international study programs are also pretty poor. Actually, they’re nonexistent. We don’t have any native study abroad programs; they’re all sponsored by outside groups and charge exorbitant amounts of money. There are plans this year to launch our first study abroad program, but the details are yet to be finalized.

According to Kelly Moran, director of the Center for International Education on campus, around 30 students studied abroad last year through programs offered by other organizations. The non-profit NAFSA: Association of International Educators says on average one percent of US college students study abroad. If that’s true then CSUEB has much more room to grow.

The problem is not that our university is not able to provide more services for its students and getting them more invested in their campus and their career. The problem is that I don’t think we recognize this as an enormous issue that this university has. I think now is as good a time as any to start a dialogue on how as a whole CSUEB can raise its profile and become better than it already is.

We have the potential, it’s just a matter of letting employers know that it’s here and giving students the kind of opportunities our peers at other universities have.

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