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University Welcomes Students Back to Campus for Fall 2021 Semester

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The Cal State Fullerton campus has been uncommonly quiet for almost 18 months. That’s about to change. This week, students will return to campus, bringing with them the excitement and energy that accompanies the start of a new academic year.

“Today, as we return to our beloved campus, I do not pretend that the pain we have endured or the challenges we still face have magically disappeared,” President Fram Virjee wrote in an email to campus this morning. “But, I dare say, if you allow yourself to feel the elixir that pours forth from the in-person Titan experience, it can and will wash some of that stress away and leave a few of those troubles behind.” Virjee went on to praise the herculean efforts and incredible resilience of all Titans — faculty, staff, students and administrators — these past 18 months, highlighting the fact that the university has conferred nearly 25,000 Titans degrees during the pandemic. 

“We recognize that because of the pandemic, this fall will be the first time many of our students will be on our beautiful campus,” said Carolyn Thomas, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Faculty are doing all they can to ensure that our Titans are welcomed and supported in our classrooms. Here is an example pulled directly from the syllabus of Irene Matz, associate professor of human communications studies, that sums up what many professors are feeling.”

“Dear students, we have all been through an unprecedented time in our lives – unexpected, unpredictable and unimaginable. I hope that you and your family and friends have remained healthy throughout this time. Returning to campus and our normal lives will be another transition for all of us. I want you to know, without hesitation, that I am here for you to help you navigate through this period. For some of you, it may be seamless, and yet, for others more challenging. I’m not a trained therapist, but I’m a good listener because I care; and if I’m unable to help you, I do know the services that we provide for our students and can direct you there – personally walking you to the facility if needed.”  

Preparing for the Arrival of Students

“The Division of Student Affairs and the entire campus community have been eagerly preparing for the return of our students,” said Vincent Vigil, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “We will continue to prioritize student success while providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all. We know this has been a challenging time for many, and we appreciate everyone’s flexibility throughout the pandemic.”

“We have planned for the majority of our classes to be in person but with the experience gained in the past 18 months, we will be able to have a large offering in virtual and hybrid modes as well,” said Mark Filowitz, associate vice president for academic programs and enrollment.

In preparation for the return of students and employees, the campus Reentry Leadership Team focused on creating a safe and healthy environment. There will be onsite vaccination clinics and COVID-19 testing. There is extensive cleaning and sanitizing of spaces throughout the campus and upgraded high-capacity air filtration.

In July, the CSU Office of the Chancellor announced that all CSU faculty, staff and students must either be fully immunized or receive an approved exemption before returning to any campus facility at any university location. For the most updated information, visit the Titans Return website.

Changes on Campus

Titans returning to campus may notice new building activity, upgrades and maintenance projects. 

Eastside Parking Structure 2
The Eastside Parking Structure project was completed and opened in September 2020.

Student Housing
The new 182,000-square-foot complex will house 600 sophomore and junior students in a six-story building with four-bedroom, two-bath suites. Ground-floor amenity spaces include a student lounge, multi-purpose room, grad-staff apartments, custodial and landscape warehouse spaces, mailroom, laundry room, Housing and Residential Engagement offices, workspaces, meeting rooms and campus police office.

McCarthy Hall Second Floor Renovation
Construction on McCarthy Hall’s second floor continued through the pandemic. The project includes a full renovation providing modern space for learning and faculty-student collaboration. It creates visibly accessible areas to put science on display through a glass area from the hallway. Construction will be completed during the fall 2021 semester.

Pollak Library Improvements
Renovation of the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the south side of Pollak Library included modernizing spaces and providing much-needed self and group study spaces. The areas are enhanced with new flooring, lighting, plumbing, HVAC equipment and restrooms. The fourth and fifth floors provide approximately 380 additional seats to students and are open for use.

Valerie Orleans