Humboldt State University no longer exists. On Jan. 26 at the hour of high noon, the California State University’s (CSU) Board of Trustees voted in unanimous agreement to allow HSU to become the state’s third official polytechnic university. Instantly, students all across campus within mere minutes after the vote could find that every website, social media, and program owned by HSU had changed their titles to Cal Poly University Humboldt.
However, the name change is far from the only changes to come for Cal Poly Humboldt. Aside from furthering the school’s expansion into more hands-on learning approaches, the university also hopes to strengthen and add a plethora more to its collection of STEM majors including cannabis studies, applied fire science & management, data science, energy systems engineering, engineering & community practice, geospatial information science & technology, mechanical engineering, and software engineering.
According to Provost Jen Capps, a substantial amount of funding towards this transition will also go to new student housing developments on campus, more diverse staff employment, and increasing tribal membership from the 13 local surrounding tribes. By 2029, they hope to at least double the current average enrollment rate.
There’s no doubt that the change will spark a new era of existence for what was once Humboldt State University, though in the opinion of many students this development feels like nothing more than a simple name change.
“It’s just a name I guess, it’s the same school,” said Brandon Patino, a major in environmental science & management, while playing pool with his friend in the Students Activity Center. His friend agreed and expressed honestly his own lack of knowledge regarding the whole change.
“Honestly, I’m graduating this semester,” said Nataly Cruz, a major in zoology, explaining that the change will barely affect her. “Not sure if this is true but we’ll be graduating as Cal Poly [alumni].”
Her friend, on the other hand, expressed a level of excitement regarding the university’s official change to a polytechnic.
“I think the name gives it a type of prestige and I like that,” said Kamaya Killebrew, a major in cellular molecular biology. “I hope they hold true to the name.”
Killebrew further explained that she hopes the school continues its hands-on approach to teaching as it was one of the key traits that drew her to enrolling to begin with. While speaking with her friend, she said that the two should obtain HSU labelled merchandise before it’s all gone.
As should be expected, not everyone was as happy about this announcement. Over the past months, arts and humanities majors have been particularly anxious about this change as traditionally polytechnics largely focus on STEM majors. Many believe that this change could lead to even less budget and enrollment rates being allocated to these departments.
Other anxieties such as tuition prices and alumni diploma validation have also sprung up, especially on Cal Poly Humboldt’s Instagram announcement post.
“Can y’all keep tuition the same until I graduate please and thanks” commemted Anna Caro, a major in marine biology.
While California polytechnics on average do run slightly lower than the average CSU university, it is hard to tell whether this change is general will cause prices to stay the same or rise over the coming years.
In another comment, Jenny Martinez Cortes, an alumni in Spanish language studies and communications, asked whether or not their diploma under the name HSU would still be valid. The official Instagram stated, “Very. Arguably more than ever.”