University Community Brings Hope to Students

University Community Brings Hope to Students

Entering the world of undergraduate admission back in 2020 felt surreal. A career that was supposed to include interacting face-to-face with prospective students and travelling to high schools and college fairs turned into a year of face-to-screen interactions. I found the times I was able to come to campus and talk with other staff and faculty, our conversations were the same: “We can’t wait until we can be closer than six feet apart,” “We miss seeing students in-person,” “Being virtual just is not the same.” I felt at a loss because I was not able to offer my potential students a meaningful in-person experience that was offered to me when I was amid my college decision-making process. When I would “chat” with a student at a college fair, all I could think about was, “How can I be here for you?” and “What can I do to make sure you know that I care deeply about your college decision?” I wanted so desperately for these high school seniors and college transfer students to know they were not alone, and that our admission team would do all that we could to help them. However, in talking with some students during tours or virtual appointments, I realized they already knew that. And I learned the admission team was not alone because we had the FPU community helping us bring hope to these students.

As an admission counselor, I have been able to witness the extraordinary efforts of the FPU community working together in multiple ways to bring hope and anticipation to the start of the new fall semester. As many students and alumni can attest, Fresno Pacific University’s personnel strive to create meaningful relationships and connections with both prospective and current Sunbirds. It was for this reason specifically that I became a student at FPU, and as I talk with many friends and colleagues that attended this university, “relational,” “community” and “intentionality” are some of the most common words to describe the individuals at FPU.

As I work with students in the admission process and share the plans about being back in person for fall, it is as though I can see their beaming faces filled with excitement over the phone because they can have a true, in-person college experience. Something that has made all the difference in the world for these students is the FPU community. Students have shared that whether they participated virtually, in-person (socially distanced) or in live events on our virtual platform, Conduit, they had the most welcoming interactions with staff and faculty. I fondly remember a moment of university partnership during the Christmas season. The undergraduate admission team worked with the Hiebert Library staff, the University Marketing and Communication Office and professors Marshall and Pam Johnston (and Max the pug) to continue a holiday tradition treasured by past and current Sunbirds—and that incoming students could enjoy through Conduit—the reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Latin.

The university partnership reminds me of Ecclesiastes 4:9, which illustrates how much we can accomplish when we work together. As students are attending in-person registration, parents feel at ease knowing that there is a community of people who will be there for their child and that the environment is welcoming and intentional. There has been a renewed appreciation for authentic connections with students.

The FPU community had to create meaningful and interactive engagement in a virtual setting not just with current students, but also with prospective students. Through it all, our staff and faculty never stopped making themselves available. While there is still uncertainty that lies ahead, our university community gives students hope when looking toward the future.


Joy Rubio

Undergraduate Admission Counselor