Photography credits to Damaris Preciado 

Amidst the weather, students were still gathering at all student unions for direction.

In an effort to ease the effects of the recent strikes by the California Faculty Association (CFA) and provide a welcoming refuge for students left in limbo, Santos Manuel Student Union (SMSU) and Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) organized a four-day event called “Comeback and Kick It!” 

The event, held from January 22 to 25, aimed to rekindle the spirit of the student body as they prepared to return for courses and the challenges of the upcoming Spring 2024 semester.

“Comeback and Kick It!” was an all inclusive four-day event that offered students a much-needed break from the chaos caused by the CFA strikes. It provided a space for relaxation, entertainment, and closeness, featuring activities such as a cereal bar in the morning, free pizza in the afternoon, movie screenings all day, and games hosted in the conference and events rooms at SMSU North and South.

The event took place from January 22 to 25, strategically scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the Spring 2024 school semester. This timing allowed students to kick off the semester with a positive and energizing experience after the disruptions caused by the strike that was set to last a week.

The heart of the event unfolded at SMSU North and South, where students got together to enjoy a variety of activities. The student union served as a central hub for the festivities, creating an inclusive space that was to promote a sense of community and support during a challenging period.

“Comeback and Kick It!” featured a diverse range of activities that catered to different student interests. The cereal bar provided a cozy spot for students to unwind and enjoy a variety of cereals, while free pizza offered a satisfying treat during breaks. Movie screenings throughout the week allowed students to relax and escape into different worlds, fostering a sense of connection through shared experiences with their peers.

The primary motivation behind “Comeback and Kick It!” was the impact of the CFA strikes, which left students without classes and a sense of direction at the beginning of the semester. SMSU and ASI recognized the need to provide students with a space where they could come together, relax, and recharge before delving into the academic challenges or if they had nowhere to go during any period of time.

The strikes had caused widespread disruption and uncertainty, and the organizers aimed to counteract the negative effects by creating a positive and uplifting environment. The event was not only about entertainment but also about rebuilding the sense of community that defines the university experience.

CFA announced their strike days before the beginning of the semester because of loss of wages and working conditions. The strike was stated to last the whole week. This was not the case. Due to the weather conditions and law enforcement interactions, the strike was not displaying a positive turn out.

On January 23, just one day later, an announcement was made declaring the cancellation of the strike, with classes slated to resume on the same day. This unexpected development not only disrupted the planned event but also caught students off guard, as many had not anticipated returning to campus so promptly.

SMSU front desk associate, Sandra Rodriguez had spoken on the importance of creating a positive atmosphere for students after the challenges posed by the CFA strikes.

Rodriguez stated, “We wanted to give students a reason to come back to campus with enthusiasm and a sense of togetherness. ‘Comeback and Kick It!’ is a testament to the  student community even if it only lasted a day .”

Another student, Gwen Watson from ASI Programs that planned the event highlighted the collaborative effort between SMSU and ASI in organizing the event and the disappointment it was when classes were set to resume. 

Watson said  “We recognized the need to support our fellow students during this uncertain time. ‘Comeback and Kick It!’ It was disappointing that the abrupt resumption of classes disrupted our plans, but we remain committed to the plan of the event.” 

Maria Torres, Junior, a student that participated in one of the movie screenings shared her experience at the event.

Torres stated, “It’s been a tough start to the semester, but events like these really make a difference. It’s reassuring to know that the university cares about us if we had nothing to do. I just feel like the strike happened at the worse time”

“Comeback and Kick It!” succeeded in its mission to provide students with a sense of community amid the disruptions caused by the CFA strikes. The event demonstrated the resilience and unity of the student body in hopes for a positive start to the Spring 2024 semester. 


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