Freshman convocation attempts to motivate students, while silent protesters do the same

Anthony Carpio

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Freshman convocation encouraged students to be determined and face their fears, while silent protesters focused on other issues, during Thursday’s assembly.“The goal of your presence here at Cal State Northridge is to have fun, to learn, but most importantly, the goal that each and every one of you we hope has, is to graduate from CSUN in four years,” President Jolene Koester said to students.

Koester discussed perseverance, a subject further explored by CSUN 2011 Outstanding Graduate Lyudmila Gogolushko, who talked about her struggles with being handicapped and how it did not stop her from chasing her dreams.

“No matter what, there’s always a way of getting out and onto the right pathway,” Gogolushko said. “It’s okay to fail a few times. It’s okay to get stuck and call for back up, because no matter what, you have to learn to persevere in any situation.”

Students for Quality Education (SQE) organized a group of about 20 people to protest the unveiling of the matador statue earlier that day and moved their efforts to the convocation.

Armond Hardwick, protester and member of SQE, said the group was there to make freshman aware of the school’s misplaced priorities.

“They have built the new performing arts center, the sports center, and now the statue,” he said. “I hope to make our point visible, where people sort of think about the issue.”

Jeannette Walls, key note speaker and author of “The Glass Castle,” freshman common reading, talked about growing up homeless and the demons she faced as an adult.

“When times are good, and when anybody can just mosey on along and look like you’re really talented, it’s how we fall that separates us from those who make it and those who don’t,” she said. “And everybody falls. If you haven’t fallen hard, you will. There is no shame in falling. The only shame comes if you think that you don’t have what it takes to get up.”