Today we feature first-generation college student Anderson Chumpitaz, who will graduate this summer. Anderson majors in Health Promotion and Wellness Management and is from Newark, NJ (Essex County). He gives advice and tells us about his involvement on campus.
Do you have any advice for people who are moving to campus for the first time in the fall?
If you are a freshman looking for somewhere to socialize Mullica and Evergreen are good to hang around because everyone is freshman, also Holly Pointe. I suggest randomly knocking on people’s doors saying, ‘Hey how you doin’, I am a freshman…’ and make friends like that. Put yourself out there.
Sometimes we can be shy and do not want to go out, maybe because our roommate does not want to do stuff or whatever. Go anyway and have fun. The people in your classes too, do not be afraid to ask for their number. You do not know if that person can become your friend for life.
Just be active and go out there. The more you do, socialize and meet people, you will feel like you are more at home because you will have so many connections and connect with the campus.
Have you been involved on campus?
I have been very involved since freshman year. I started with the EOF (Educational Opportunity Fund) program and with that I did my six weeks during the summer. ASCEND always helped us too. Back when I started attending Rowan, there was this club for men to talk about social issues.
[Through the] Harley Flack program I started as a mentee then became a mentor. I am one of the ones who started Lambda Upsilon Lambda on campus. In 2018, I was a part of the first line.
How did EOF help prepare you for your college experience?
I think the main thing that helped was the six weeks over the summer. I started getting involved with a group of kids. We socialized and got discipline. One advantage was that before the fall we already knew everything because we were already taking classes. So when the semester started I knew how to get around. But also definitely the social aspect. Through EOF I socialized a lot and that’s how I knew people who could always help like with a project. When it came to gatherings and activities like Hollybash, I always knew someone to go with. That made me feel like I belonged. I always had someone reach out or have that one friend you do a lot with.
Now you were a Harley Flack mentor, what was that experience like being a mentor for someone?
It was definitely rewarding to help somebody that just came to campus and had no idea what to do. To this day I am still super close to my mentee. I stopped being a mentor last year because I got busy, but we still hang out and keep in touch. Being that resource for them was very rewarding. Sometimes they would need help with a project and I would reach out to the office, this or that person, and it would help them not worry and even socialize. Sometimes they have personal problems and I can relate and be there for them, but if I can’t then I find someone who does. So they can provide that support.
Sometimes coming to college, being first generation, we don’t know anything and can’t call home to ask for advice. Having that mentee/mentor relationship you know there is always somebody there. It feels better to know someone will help you and that you are not alone.
What made you start a brotherhood on campus?
What I noticed when I got here was nothing Latino related. I did not see a lot of people doing Latin programs, so it got my attention. When I saw this fraternity at Montclair and Rutgers that had a lot of events with music, it made me think. Being from North Jersey I am used to the music, the food, it is a part of my culture. So coming here was different, and I wanted to bring that aspect for Latinos to feel like they had a home and could come here to have a good time. The socialization aspect, too. On campus we have about 11 brothers. We started in 2018. With Covid things got more difficult for recruitment like were not able to table like we used to.
What would you say your legacy here is?
I came here with a mission. In EOF they would always say, what you put in is what you are going to get. I was very focused. I did not know what it was like to go to college so there were so many different things that I just started doing. My legacy would definitely be being involved with bringing in the Latino and Latin culture onto campus. I think being able to start it and down the line, we will see big events.
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Story and photography by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major