In an effort to inspire black youth to consider college, Fresno State President Joseph Castro will kick off CSU Super Sunday this weekend at Image Church New Generation in southwest Fresno.

“I am excited about this unique opportunity to connect with prospective students and their families, as well as community members who play a critical role in supporting our talented youth in obtaining a college education,” Castro said.

“I am excited about this unique opportunity to connect with prospective students and their families, as well as community members who play a critical role in supporting our talented youth in obtaining a college education.” — Joseph Castro, Fresno State president

What Is CSU Super Sunday?

Launched in 2005, CSU Super Sunday is an annual event held each February during Black History Month. Leaders from all 23 CSU campuses and more than 100,000 congregants California participate each year, said Lisa Boyles, the public information officer for Fresno State.

In addition to Castro, who will talk during the 10:45 a.m. service, several other Fresno State representatives will speak at seven local black churches this month.

Event Much Needed In African American Communities

African Americans make up less than 3 percent of Fresno State’s enrollment, and they have some of the lowest retention and graduation rates. Thus spreading the word about the opportunities at Fresno State is paramount.

“Super Sunday is a way to not only engage prospective students but the community about what Fresno State has to offer African American students,” said Wendy Nelson, Fresno State’s African American Initiative coordinator.

Rev. Paul Binion II hopes CSU Super Sunday will help improve the low enrollment and graduation rates of African Americans at Fresno State and other colleges across the nation.

“We want to see that tide turned and see African Americans enroll and make college a priority,” said Binion, the senior pastor at Westside Church of God.

For every student to walk away with a feeling that college is attainable is the main goal for Saints Community Church, said church secretary Tina McClain-Watkins.

“We’ve had several of our young people here go to Fresno State or other colleges so I think it definitely helps because it is another avenue that they have available to them,”  McClain-Watkins said.

“Super Sunday is a way to not only engage prospective students but the community about what Fresno State has to offer the African American students.” — Wendy Nelson, Fresno State’s African American Initiative coordinator

Access To Invaluable Information

Parents and students will have an opportunity after the services to meet with university outreach counselors to ask questions and receive CSU resources.

The resources include information on all aspects of preparing for college. Their purpose is to help students and families foster a college-going culture at home.

Rev. Lawrence Clinkscales said CSU Super Sunday has inspired Second Baptist Church to be more educationally minded.

The veteran pastor said the church will unveil two new education labs this Sunday. The church designed the labs so students in the community have a safe place to study and complete schoolwork.

“We also plan to host informative workshops to assist families with the paperwork involved in being admitted to college,” Clinkscales said.

Mattie Williams said CSU Super Sunday is so helpful that she wishes it was around when she was growing up.

“Back in the day when we were coming up, it would have been a lot of help for a lot of us that wanted to go to college,” said Williams, a member of Fellowship Baptist Church.

Williams said she does her best to ensure that youth in the church don’t miss out on the opportunity.

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