EOPS treats students to food and fun


Los Medanos College student Chris Melgar tries his luck playing on a giant Connect Four game board made of wood at the EOPS 50th anniversary celebration Tuesday, Oct. 1.

By HILLARY HETRICK, @hillarymhetrick

The Outdoor Quad was swarming with students as Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) commemorated their 50th anniversary Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students were welcomed by friendly EOPS staff and student workers. 

At a sign-in table, students were verified and received a yellow wristband so they could receive free food. Free games and a photo booth were among the festivities offered at the event. There was Monopoly, Jenga, Operation and Checkers, to name a few. At one table, a giant Connect-Four game made of wood stood for students to try their luck playing against EOPS student workers. 

The photo booth that was present at the EOPS was run by Smile City vendor John Davies. There was an array of photo props to entice students’ creativity as they posed for photos. Students also had the choice of receiving their photos in color or black and white.

EOPS/CARE Assistant Director Steven Freeman Jr. was one of the staff members coordinating the event. Freeman was proud of EOPS’s successful 50 years. The success of EOPS is evident by the services they provide and their overall popularity. 

“It’s proof that when you do good work and students care about our program, the program succeeds,” Freeman said.

Blake Blake, a student present at the event, spoke highly of the services EOPS provided her with, 

“They’re very helpful,” Blake said, “I wouldn’t be where I am in school today if it wasn’t for their help.”

Noemi Cobian, another student present at the event, was positioned near the free nachos were going to be served and pouring two flavors of tortilla chips into serving trays. She is one of several students that benefit from the program. 

“They help me with [getting] books…, you get priority with your classes, so you get first-pick before anybody else,” Cobian said, “There’s a lot of benefits to it.”

CalWorks Coordinator Cameron Stanton was at the table where students enrolled in EOPS could get a ticket to enter a raffle.

In regards to the objective of the event, Stanton explained,

“This [event] is more like a game day. People can learn more about EOPS, play games, get some food.”

Assistant Director Freeman also shared some more information about how EOPS helps its enrolled students succeed, 

“Last year, 25 percent of all people who graduated were EOPS students.” 

One reason for this profound success is because meeting with an EOPS counselor a few times a semester is mandatory. 

“You have to check in with a counselor three times each semester, so no matter how long you’ve been in the program,” said Freeman, “we’re constantly checking up on you.” 

EOPS helps students stay on track with their progress in college courses. 

“If your grades are dropping,” Freeman explained, “we’re following up with you.” 

EOPS also helps with book vouchers, school supplies, priority registration, transfer application fees and more, allowing students to have their needs met on a more personal level. 

“Sometimes it can be difficult to focus on school, so just having someone on campus to really encourage you, to motivate you, keep[s] things going,” said Freeman.