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Cougars Give Back on National TRIO Day


In 1986, a congressional resolution established the fourth Saturday in February as National TRIO Day to commemorate the annual achievements of federal TRIO programs in communities across America. 

TRIO programs are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.  

More than 35 years later, TRIO programs around the country use National TRIO Day as a day of service, and Cal State San Marcos is no exception. For the last several years, CSUSM’s four TRIO programs (TRIO Talent Search, TRIO Upward Bound, TRIO Student Support Services and TRIO McNair) have teamed up to give back to the community near the end of February. 

Before the pandemic, students and staff from all four TRIO programs would meet in person on campus to build community among the pre-college (Talent Search and Upward Bound) and college students (TRIO SSS, McNair), which would often result in an informal way of mentoring. Students would learn more about TRIO programs and the history of TRIO Day, and enjoy group games and icebreakers before heading out to the community site for that year.   

One of the most recent host organizations was TERI (Training, Education and Resource Institute) in Oceanside, where the group helped paint walls and freshen up the facility of an organization that aims to improve the quality of life for children and adults with developmental and learning disabilities.   

Because of the pandemic, this year, as in 2021, TRIO programs at CSUSM provided a virtual space for students and staff in all the programs to come together and give back through creative projects.  Over the course of two hours, students and staff created get-well cards, thank-you notes, crossword puzzles and more to be delivered to:  

 “Each year, the organizations let us know how much they appreciate the work and joy our students bring to them,” said Heather Northway, director of TRIO Student Support Services. “The students and staff also express how much the day means to them and how they look forward to participating year after year.” 

Media Contact

Brian Hiro, Communications Specialist

bhiro@csusm.edu | Office: 760-750-7306