CAL STATE EAST BAY, Hayward, CA (visited 7/17/12)
I was much more impressed with CSEB that I assumed I’d be; I had low expectations but loved the place, illustrating the truth in what I tell students: don’t judge a school based on lack of knowledge or what you THINK it’s about.
Population wise, this is a medium school with about 13,000 students, but the campus is a manageable size, mostly because it has a large commuter contingent. A BART stop is just down the street and CSUEB offers free shuttles to campus; this helps both the commuters and the residential students since it’s so easy to get around town.
About 1,000 students currently live in the dorms which are located along one side of campus and are new, large, comfortable, and attractive. A lot of building is going on around campus; the athletic center and the union are both new. The athletic/ wellness center is next to the dorms and gets a great deal of use. The old iconic building, a multi-story cement monstrosity is currently sitting empty because it is not earthquake safe and will be coming down at some point. This is being met with both positive and negative reaction: it no longer “fits” with the rest of campus and it’s a bit of an eyesore, but on the other hand, that was the iconic East Bay building for so long that alum are not happy thinking that it’s going to be taken down. Currently, there are a lot of slightly-better-than-trailers temporary buildings around campus that house a lot of auxiliary services that had been in the building, and they’re looking for ways to build new places for them. Many are already in new buildings, and they don’t think it will be long before they can get the remaining departments into permanent structures.
This is clearly a very supportive environment in a lot of ways. Programs are hands-on and take a practical approach to the knowledge and theory that students learn in the classroom. East Bay has a lot of first gen students; programs are in place to make sure they succeed; they also do a great job supporting students from low-income families and those coming in from foster care (including providing housing over breaks and food when the dining hall is closed).