A TRIO Style Welcome

How this support service can make your college transition painless and FUN!


Miranda Martinez, Cactus Contributor

There are several clubs here at Central Arizona College, many of which are unknown to students and offer support groups or mentors to help you get throught the difficulties located aroundof being in college. There is long list of clubs, and organizations that offer extra classes to help with the courses and getting your degree. One that is not commonly heard of outside of the circle of people who are either in the program, or were referred to it, is

TRIO Student Support Services.
TRIO Student Support Service, is a program offered here at Central Arizona College to help with students who meet at least ONE of the following qualifications, as quoted from their web page on the CAC website:

•First-Generation College Student – Neither parent (or guardian) completed a four-year college degree before your 18th birthday.

•Low-Income – You qualify under federal financial guidelines.

•You have a documented disability.

TRIO defines itself as a “Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects”.

TRIO also stands behind their mission statement, which is, “TRIO Student Support Services at Central Arizona College seeks to empower students to persist, graduate, and transfer to university while overcoming class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education. TRIO students receive services such as personalized and individual advising, faculty and peer mentors, cultural excursions, TRIO exclusive math, reading, and writing tutoring, and much more.”

I had the honor of interviewing one of my fellow TRIO mates this last week, Alicia Bandala. She happily answered my questions about the TRIO program and how it helped her make new friends and connections here at CAC during the August 2015 Summer Bridge program. She had only praise for the program, speaking about how it helped her, as an 11th grader, transition from Santa Cruz Valley Union High School. She had heard of the program from many of her friends in high school and in 2014 decided to join the program. Later in 2015 she was finally able to attend the Summer Bridge program offered here at CAC.

With the many workshops and activities it offered she was happy to explain to us what she did during the program:

“TRIO is like a one-stop shop for college students. They help you with schedule planning, financial aid, registration, and even tutoring. The Summer Bridge program taught me a lot. Only a week long, TRIO made sure to make every second count. There were workshops on maintaining your grades and GPA, how to manage your time, how to stay in shape with simple exercise, and – most importantly – how to overcome the fears that accompany one during their transition from high school to college.”

She also talked about how the mentors helped her outside of the Summer Bridge program. They helped her with her everything from homework, to finding her way around campus, simply being a friend when she needed one. Besides all the help with classes and resources TRIO offers it is also a good way to make friends and contacts. A group of familiar faces can make this large school less scary for someone who moved here from another state or city.

Alicia also wanted me to point out that not only does the program offer academic and financial help, it also offers many fun and rewarding events. The most recent social event was their “Be My TRIO Valentine” where they played a few Valentine-themed movies and offered food and refreshments, complete with a cookie-decorating session. Events like these occur throughout the semester. Giving students an opportunity to get away from their classwork for the evening, reconnect with friends or simply give them something safe to do on a boring school night. University tours are also a big thing at TRIO, each semester they head to a few University campuses around Arizona. Also, at least twice a semester, they attend cultural excursions. Last semester they attended The Phantom of the Opera at Centennial Hall, and made a trip to the Phoenix Zoo.

The last thing Alicia had to say about TRIO is to check out if you qualify for the program, and visit the TRIO office located on the second floor of the T Building or visit their link on the CAC website. It helps you with your studies and also is a good way to make friends. With fun events, University tours, mentors and tutoring options, TRIO is a wonderful program, and if you qualify, it is a good group to look into.} else {