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National Awards for Student Programs

UC Riverside Earns Awards for Student Programs

The Pit Stop in Parking Lot 30 is one of several programs that connect students with campus life -- and success.

(February 20, 2008)

REACH students Jimmy Ancheta and Danielle Davis work together during their REACH training session on the UC Riverside Ropes Course. Enlarge

REACH students Jimmy Ancheta and Danielle Davis work together during their REACH training session on the UC Riverside Ropes Course.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- As commuting students stream onto campus and rush to their first morning class, many pause at the Pit Stop on Parking Lot 30. Twice a month at the checkered flag, hundreds of students find free food and friendly information to help them connect with campus life — and success.

The Commuter Pit Stop, now in its second full year, is one of an array of UC Riverside programs to win national awards of excellence recently from the National Association of Student Personnel Adminstrators (NASPA). The organization of student affairs administrators in higher education serves more than 11,000 members at more than 1,200 campuses. Scott Silverman, coordinator of UCR Student Life Programs, said the university received the national recognition for reaching out to students in new ways to help them succeed.

UCR’s winning programs in different categories of the national awards include:

• A Silver Award of Excellence for the Pit Stop and other commuter programs offered by Student Life Programs. Three-quarters of UCR’s students are commuters, Silverman said, and by many accounts, the more they connect and become involved with the campus community, the better their chances at success.

• A second Silver Award of Excellence for the First Year Success Series and other programs for first-year and transfer students offered by Student Life. The Success Series offers about 120 free workshops every quarter to first-year and transfer students to help them develop strategies for academic and personal success. Whether the topic is time management, research skills, or how to be a better Highlander fan, the workshops aim at helping the first-year and transfer students explore UCR, get connected, and find helpful resources and programs. Such support is crucial because nearly 24 percent of UCR’s students are the first in their families to attend college, Silverman said. This year Student Life Programs is adding “Hungry for Knowledge,” in which first-year and transfer students will have an opportunity to have lunch with a faculty member of their choice. The goals are to improve communication and demystify the faculty, Silverman said.

• A Bronze Award of Excellence for REACH, or Reaching for Education, Affirmation, Community, and Harmony, a three-year-old program offered by the Dean of Students. Students receive training as peer educators and then organize and offer outreach educational programs in residence halls and other places, Jennifer Miller, a student development educator, explained. The 45 REACH students determine the needs and design the programs themselves, she said, offering resources and referrals on such topics as suicide awareness, hazing, hate bias, sexual violence and violations, and academic integrity. Campus counseling program members also attend every workshop.

Miller said the awards are the first UCR has received from the national administrators organization. UCR will collect its awards in early March at ceremonies in Boston.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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