In addition to the academics, there are multiple out-of-class events, activities, and field trips that make the Puente Project experience a unique and holistic program for our Puentistas. These activities serve to strengthen the interpersonal skills, the team building/‘familia’ environment, and to expand the knowledge and horizons of our Puente students. While field trips, events, and activities may change from year-to-year, there are a few staple, cornerstone Puente Project activities that are part of the Puente Project tradition statewide. These events are a mandatory component of CSM’s Puente Project which all students are required to attend.
|Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|Ropes Course||Mentor Mixer|
|Dia De Los Muertos Festival, Oakland||Latino Social Justice Research Presentations|
|Transfer Motivational Conference||University Campus Tours|
|Noche de Familia||End-of-the-Year Celebration|
The Ropes Course is a team building activity done early in Phase 1 of the first semester. It is designed to support the development of the Puente students’ interpersonal skills as well as solidify a collaborative and ‘we’re in this together’ familia spirit that is at the heart of the Puente Project. It is a great way for students to get to know each other as well as their Puente Project instructors.
Transfer Motivational Conference
Each fall, the Northern and Southern California Regional Centers host a one-day student conference in their respective regions. The purpose of the conference is to introduce Puente students to a university campus, and expose them to leaders in various fields, relevant topics and issues, and the transfer process. At the conference, Puente students attend workshops, learn more about the college admissions process, meet college admissions representatives, and gain a greater understanding of what university life is like. In addition, it also provides CSM Puente students with the opportunity to connect with the hundreds of other Puentistas from Northern California community colleges.
Dia de los Muertos
CSM's Puente coordinators believe that education also happens beyond the four walls of a classroom. Within this context and in the importance of connecting with our outside community and experiencing the richness and beauty of Latino cultural traditions, one of our Puente Project fieldtrips is to the Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival hosted by Oakland Unity Council in Oakland’s Fruitvale Village. This is an annual event that brings together the community to celebrate life, love, and death through various artists, vendors, traditional dance performers, musicians, food, and more. Every year, the highlight of the festival is the traditional sacred altars and memorials that are displayed by various individuals and community groups.
Noche de Familia
Noche de Familia is a cornerstone Puente Project event. It validates the notion that students’ families are an integral part of their education. In addition, it takes into account the cultural relevance of family within the Latino student educational experience. Furthermore, Noche de Familia affords us the opportunity to meet our Puentistas’ families and to share a better understanding of the Puente Project mission, goals, and activities with our Puentistas Families.
A crucial component of the Puente Project entails connecting each student with a mentor, a professional who can serve as a role model and who can offer invaluable advice. The mentor panel provides our students with the opportunity to meet various professionals who will share their academic and professional experiences with our Puentistas.
Latino Social Justice Research Projects
In the Spirit of preparing Puente Project students for transfer and University academics, Phase 2 Puentistas will work on a Latino Social Justice Research Project. The students will self-select a Latino Social Justice topic, conduct research, develop a survey, gather data within their community, analyze and present results, as well as solutions, in a PowerPoint Presentation.
Human Rights Day
Puentistas will participate in Human Rights Day at College of San Mateo by presenting their social justice research projects alongside other English 100 classes to an audience of fellow students, CSM faculty, staff, and supporters. This event encourages students to become leaders on campus and to raise awareness of specific issues affecting our communities.
In support of the transfer mission, Puente students will tour a University campus, learn about the admissions and transfer processes as well as hear from a student panel of former transfer students. Specific universities will vary from year-to-year.
The End-of-the-Year Celebration brings the Puente Project learning community to a close. It is celebrated in May of every year and is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our year together. Family and friends are invited as we all join together in acknowledging and recognizing the academic achievements of our Puentistas, whether it be continuing in college, receiving scholarships, earning their associate degrees, or transferring to a university.