Cal Lutheran students head back to class

Ullman Commons and Starbucks open for business

New students will move into residence halls on Aug. 29.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Aug. 26, 2014) Most of California Lutheran University’s 4,200 students, including a growing number of underrepresented and international students, will begin classes next week.

When students set foot on the Thousand Oaks campus, they will find the $15 million Ullman Commons open for service. The new 20,000-square-foot campus hub includes a main dining hall, a quick-service counter, a Starbucks and a conference center. The facility provides more food options than the former dining hall, including Asian wok, Mongolian grill and vegan stations. The Starbucks is open until midnight and has three times the seating of the chain’s typical cafes. Located at the center of campus, the environmentally friendly commons features glass curtain walls and second-floor balconies overlooking Kingsmen Park and the academic corridor.

More than 550 freshmen and 240 transfer students will begin traditional undergraduate classes Sept. 3. As a result of Cal Lutheran’s efforts to recruit students from across the country and around the world, one out of five new students comes from outside California. New international undergraduates hail from 14 countries including Belize, Brazil, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

Nearly 49 percent of entering freshmen are in ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented on college campuses, up from 42 percent last year. One-third of freshmen are the first members of their families to attend college.

International graduate students come from a larger number of countries than last year including Brazil, China, India, Iran, Japan, Mongolia, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine.

While online MBA students began Aug. 11, most of the nearly 1,400 graduate students will start Sept. 2 or 3. This includes students in the new Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program in Woodland Hills and at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, the Berkeley campus that became part of Cal Lutheran this year.

The Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program, which begins Sept. 2, is offering a communication major at the Woodland Hills Center for the first time.

New students will move into residence halls on Aug. 29 and begin a five-day student orientation, longer than at most colleges. Students will participate in longstanding traditions like painting the CLU rocks on Mount Clef Ridge and new activities including the dedication of a class tree and a Sunday Funday event featuring food trucks, games and music. On Sept. 2, nearly 500 freshmen and new transfer students will fan out to five Ventura parks to paint and plant in a new twist on the annual You Got Served program.