UC Santa Barbara freshmen on Tuesday wandered past tables filled with free food and booths overflowing with informative pamphlets, and into groups of fellow first-year students also trying to figure out how this whole college thing works.
Computer-science majors Tricia Tsujimoto and Marisol Salas met near the beginning of the College of Engineering welcome event and, like so many of others, decided to try navigating their new environment together.
“I’m pretty excited to be here,” said Salas, who moved from Tipton, Calif., into a campus dorm last Sunday.
Her newfound friend, Tsujimoto of Oxnard, will join the ranks of student commuters when fall classes begin Thursday.
Tuesday’s event was one of several welcome gatherings leading up to the start of the fall quarter.
The campus green just outside the Chemistry Building filled with some of the 340 freshmen engineering students taking advantage of the lunch and social event, which offered the opportunity to meet with academic advisers and representatives from the Technology Management Program, join student engineering groups and to learn more about the honors and education aboard programs.
Associate Dean of Engineering Glenn Beltz welcomed computer-science, computer- engineering, electrical-engineering, mechanical-engineering and chemical-engineering students, who were chosen from among more than 10,000 applicants — the most ever.
Beltz said the impressive group had an average incoming GPA around 4.0 and boasted high math SAT scores.
“This is, numerically speaking, the best class ever,” he said. “It was extremely competitive.”
Beltz said the welcome barbecue was also the best attended in its five- or six-year history.
Freshman Bernardo Solis of Solvang made the most of the free event by visiting as many tables as possible.
The 18-year-old electrical-engineering student said he was eager to start classes, and has been scoping out similar events since moving into his Santa Ctuz Dorm room on Saturday.
“It’s really cool to see all the clubs around,” Solis said. “Most of the time you have to look for them.”