Graphic Illustration by Amanda Schultz

GI 2025 brings $1.1 million to HSU despite low enrollment 

Lumberjacks score an additional $1.1 million over other CSUs
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Lumberjacks score an additional $1.1 million over other CSUs

HSU senate meeting brought attention to the challenges the university will be facing over the next six years. The Graduation Initiative (GI) for 2025 has the CSU system eyeing HSU. Recent University senate meetings show HSU has some major battles to win.

Launched in 2016, GI 2025 looks to increase both student enrollment and retention by 10 percent or double what it was originally. However, HSU was recently allotted more money than other CSUs despite the under performance.

“HSU is 18 percent below target enrollment,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Alexander Enyedi said. “However, HSU received a $1.1 million increase to the base budget amount received last year.”

Recently, $436,000 from the GI 2025 funding has been directed to student employment at HSU. Following the housing crisis, faculty works on supporting students on a financial level in hopes of combating the steep housing situation.

“The number one reason for low retention rates is alienation. If students do not have a home, they do not want to invest in their community.”

Armando Peña

Armando Peña, an ethnic studies major and double minor, was one of only four students in the senate meeting’s crowd. Peña voiced his frustration towards the lack of student involvement and his disappointment in HSU.

“The number one reason for low retention rates is alienation,” Peña said. “If students do not have a home, they do not want to invest in their community.”

Currently, HSU is battling a statistical war after a seven percent decrease in applications, enrollment and the freshman class population.

“We have a retention rate goal of 80 percent, which means 80 out of 100 students come back for next semester,” Enyedi said. “Currently, HSU is at 71 percent (71 out of 100).”

Beyond HSU, the community as a whole faces new change. Equity Arcata is a new involvement group consisting of local partnerships with a goal of racial equity.

The group’s vision is to create a community comprised of successful and racially diverse members who support one another, tag lined “Ourcata.”

The recent updates in the Josiah Lawson case catalyzed the emergence of Equity Arcata, who felt compelled to respond to the community.

Lizzie Phillips from Equity Arcata spoke about future plans to release a mobile app, which will allow the reporting of hate incidents and track unsafe patterns within the community.

“People want accountability and transparency in what’s happening,” Phillips said. “Equity Arcata wants holistic accountability and for people to feel safe.”

Although HSU faces a mountain of challenges, the upward journey has already begun. GI 2025 set a goal for universities to have a six year graduation rate of 56 percent.

HSU has already risen that statistic from 46 percent to 52 percent. With improvement on the horizon, Vice President for Academic Affairs Alexander Enyedi believes HSU can overcome the odds.

“It was a reality in 2015, but we hit our enrollment target,” Enyedi said. “I think we can reach the ostentatious goal of 7604 [students enrolled].”

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