University 100

  • Students viewing projects at the 2017 Freshman Celebration in the Grand Salon.

    Freshman Celebration 2017

Freshman Celebration 2017

Welcome to the Freshman Celebration 2017!

Welcome to Freshman Celebration 2017

The Freshman Celebration is an annual CSUN event that showcases work created by first-time freshmen enrolled in University 100 at Cal State Northridge. The event has a dual format with traditional projects displayed live at the showcase and virtual projects displayed digitally. The virtual projects this year were posted using Portfolium, a digital portfolio network that students can use throughout their college career and beyond to showcase their work, projects, and activities.

This year we hosted our 12th Freshman Celebration on November 29 & 30 (Wednesday and Thursday) in the Grand Salon in the University Student Union. a record-setting 1300 people attended over those two days; 1242 of them were students.

The Projects

In keeping with past practice, we have posted a gallery of project photos on our photo blog at (No log-in required.)

You can view the virtual Celebration projects online in Portfolium at (No log-in required.)

2017 Awards

Four classes received awards for their projects this year. Students who visited the Celebration in person voted for the People's Choice Award (traditional project) during the Celebration.  Those who viewed the Portfolium projects voted for the People's Choice Award (virtual project). Two panels of CSUN faculty and staff judges also reviewed the projects. The judges named two Grand Prize award winners: one for a traditional project and the other for a virtual project. The winning classes were scheduled to enjoy a pizza party (or equivalent breakfast-friendly fare) in their classroom during the last week of classes; but as luck would have it, the campus was closed due to smoke and high winds. That has never before happened, and we hope it never happens again!

On-Site Project Awards

Judges' Grand Prize, On-Site: "Closing the Gap Between the World and Me," Nate Nguyen's class.

Display of brochures created for the project "Closing the Gap Between the World and Me"

Project description: In order to close the gap between our worlds, our U100 class participated in service learning by volunteering in local communities and researching social issues affecting college students. The results are these brochures that demonstrate what we have learned. We hope that you too will learn about our students and communities.

People's Choice, On-Site: "The Dreamers' Carnival," John Kubler's class.

Welcome to the Dreamers' Carnvial Ball Toss--Step Right Up!

Project description: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s personal narrative brutally exposes how the resurgence of racism today shatters a minority person’s hopes and “Dreams of Being White”—of ever achieving equality through the shallow values of suburban security. But step right up—pick your favorite colored ball, and try your luck to land it inside the center “white” cup. Only balls in the white cup are winners!!!

Portfolium Project Awards

Judges' Grand Prize, Portfolium: "Considering 'Between' and Bridging the Divide," Debbi Mercado's class: three projects.

Project description for all three projects for this class: Our photo essays respond to one of three themes in Between the World and Me: the experience of straddling the line "between" two cultures; the negotiation of different rules and expectations "between" two cultures; or the transformation that takes place when a person or experience opens up our world.

Mercado, project 1: "How CSUN Opened Doors for Me."

Video's opening frame shows the inviting entrance to Oviatt Library.

Mercado, project 2: "The Perfect Mexican Daughter."

Project slide features Day of the Dead images as part of the Latino Equality Alliance.

Mercado, project 3: "Between the Old & New."

Project slide features views of CSUN, a world that was at first "new" and lonely for this freshman student.

People's Choice, Portfolium: "I Thrive Therefore I Am," Dinah Nucum's class.

Video still shows a student talking on the phone with her mom.

Project description: Our theme centers on the American Dream inspired by Coates's book, Between the World and Me. Here you will see the work of the Arts, Media, and Communication majors. The winning video shows how the American Dream differs for people of differing backgrounds, and attempts to call attention to the struggle many students go through when they attempt to achieve the so-called dream--which may be a lie after all.

Grand Prize Judging Criteria

Traditional Projects

  • Critical thinking (including appropriate credit to sources, if applicable)
  • Significance of content and/or meaning
  • Creativity, artistry, and aesthetic value

Virtual Projects

  • Critical thinking (including appropriate credit to sources, if applicable)
  • Significance of content and/or meaning
  • Creativity, artistry, and aesthetic value
  • Adherence to time limit
  • Accessibility (captioning)

Thanks and More Thanks

In addition to the U100 students and faculty who worked so hard to create and display their class projects, the following individuals were essential to the success of this year's Celebration:Ellyn, Lisa, Kim, Cheryl, Kelly, and Debbi--key people for the 2017 Celebration

  • Sharon Aronoff 
  • Nairee Bedikian
  • Nyla Dalferes
  • Francesca Dimaisip
  • Susanna Eng-Ziskin
  • Kim Henige
  • Jamie Johnson
  • Kelly Kroeker
  • Ellyn Gersh Lerner
  • Hannah Luna
  • Debbi Mercado
  • Lisa Riccomini
  • Janett Silvers
  • Cheryl Spector
  • Ellen Stohl
  • Heidi Wolfbauer

And thanks are due also to the students who volunteered to help us set up the exhibit space, distribute refreshments, wrangle helium balloons without letting a single one fly up to the ceiling--and who returned at the end of day 2 to help us with clean-up.  You're all amazing!

About the Freshman Celebration

The first Freshman Celebration at CSUN took place in 2006 with participation limited to Freshman Connection students. In 2007 the Celebration was opened to all students enrolled in a fall U100 class. As enrollment has continued to grow, so has the Celebration. 

Each fall, freshmen taking University 100 are invited to participate in a campus-wide celebration of their first-semester academic achievements. This showcase, the Freshman Celebration, is modeled on CSUN's Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research and Creative Works Symposium. The event is essentially a two-day festival, during which students and visitors come and go throughout the day between approximately 9:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. The student projects often (but not always) respond to the current year's Freshman Common Reading, which in 2017-2018 is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Traditional projects including posters, sculptures, and a wide range of interactive exhibits, are displayed in the University Student Union during the two days of the Celebration. Virtual (Portfolium) projects include videos, slideshows, blogs, and more.