Beginning this summer, students in UC Santa Barbara’s Freshman Summer Start Program will be able to live in a residence hall other than San Nicolas Residence Hall, a change that Program Director Ralph Gallucci hopes will grow interest in the program in the coming years. 

Students in FSSP have historically lived in San Nicolas Hall. Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Students in the Freshman Summer Start Program (FSSP) ⁠— a program that allows first-year UCSB students the chance to move in early and take one session of summer classes with the aim of easing them into UCSB ⁠— have historically lived in San Nicolas Hall, and in recent years, have stayed in that hall for their entire first year. 

But this year, 100 slots in San Miguel Hall, San Nicholas’ neighbor, will be open to FSSP students who are interested in moving into another residence hall during the school year. Those 100 students will live in San Miguel during the summer and move into one of the other six residence halls ⁠— Anacapa, Santa Rosa, Manzanita Village, Santa Catalina, San Rafael or Santa Cruz ⁠—  once Fall Quarter 2019 begins. 

This change, said William Jankowski, associate director of UCSB’s Residential & Community Living, was made so that students who wanted to live in other residence halls would still be able to participate in FSSP.

Jankowski explained that every year, his department receives requests from FSSP students to live in residence halls other than San Nicholas for the academic year, particularly from students wanting to room with individuals who are not in FSSP and who are living in other residence halls. Non-FSSP students typically move into different residence halls the week before Fall Quarter 2019 begins. 

“In the past, students have had to choose [between FSSP and their friends],” Jankowski said.  “We’re excited this year that we can allow students to move into a different residence hall after FSSP, and opening up FSSP to San Miguel allows us to do this.” 

While students in FSSP are typically known for remaining together in San Nicolas for the entire year, this change is not unprecedented, according to Gallucci. 

When the program first began in 2002 with 210 students, most students moved out of San Nicolas for the following fall quarter. The ultimate goal was to fill both San Nicolas and San Miguel with 800 to 1000 students for the summer, who would then move to different residence halls in the fall, he explained.  

However, Gallucci said that “around six or seven years ago,” Housing & Residential Services changed the program to keep students together in San Nicolas for the year. 

“They wanted to try a different system, thinking that perhaps living together for a whole year would consolidate those friendships,” he explained. 

As the program has grown over the past 17 years, with a projected total of 540 students this year ⁠— a number on par with last year’s cohort of 540, which was about 10% of the class of 2022 ⁠— the UCSB Summer Sessions office and Housing & Residential Services have worked together closely to accommodate the program’s growing popularity.

“It’s slow going, because it’s hard to convince all the students that this is such a good program, because a lot of students think it’s academic boot camp,” Gallucci said. “They don’t realize how fun it can be as well. Our students have the highest GPA of any group on campus, 3.57 this past summer … they graduate at triple, sometimes quadruple, the rate of non-FSSP cohorts.” 

Gallucci calls this year’s expansion to San Miguel a “test year.” Both Gallucci and UCSB’s Housing & Residential Services hope that more FSSP students will be able to live in San Miguel as the program continues to grow in the coming years.

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