The sound of palm trees swaying and waves crashing set the scene on Saturday, July 29, 2023 in Laguna Beach, California for the Westcliff University student-organized beach BBQ. All Westcliff students were invited to join in the sun-soaked beach fun, grilling food, playing games, swimming in the ocean, and getting to know each other better. This event is one of many held to foster and strengthen the Westcliff student community. A subject that is held in high regard by the University as Westcliff recognizes the vital importance of community and camaraderie as part of the college experience.
The event commenced late morning with Westcliff staff and student ambassadors warmly welcoming everyone. Held just off Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, on a grassy cliffside park overlooking the beach with stairs leading down to the water, the location was picturesque. It is no wonder that such a place attracts people from all over the world to not only visit but also relocate, a sentiment shared by many international Westcliff students.
The event brought together a diverse array of students, ranging from those who recently joined the University just a few weeks ago to others who have been with Westcliff throughout their undergraduate degree and are now pursuing their masters and even doctorate degrees. The student body also showcased an impressive diversity of nationalities, with international students hailing from India, Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Nepal, and numerous other countries spanning the globe. This created an amazing opportunity to build global connections, learn about different cultures, forge new friendships, and strengthen the Westcliff community. Venka, a computer science major from India, shared his thoughts on the beach BBQ, saying, “It’s great to meet other students at Westcliff, some of whom are from my country, and many who are from other countries, to make new friends and socialize.”
The event’s impact played a crucial role in fostering social communities beyond the day’s festivities. Many students engaged in discussions about forming an Arabic club and other cultural clubs to continue building upon the bonds established at the beach BBQ and bring even more cultural representation to the University. These conversations delved into various topics, including world events, career aspirations, and emerging technologies. As the sun continued to shine and music filled the air, students engaged in games of UNO and Jenga while the delicious aroma of grilled American classics like chicken wings, burgers, hotdogs, and vegan options filled the air. A delightful array of summer fruits added to the perfect meal for such an occasion. As the temperature rose, some students and Westcliff staff made their way down the steps to the white sand beach, where they enjoyed a refreshing swim in the ocean, catching waves and cooling off.
The event was a resounding success, leaving everyone eagerly anticipating the next one. Westcliff University Student Affairs Manager, Tayler Henslick, expressed her excitement about the event, saying, “The student-planned beach BBQ event was an incredible time for students to connect with each other and build a stronger Westcliff community. Watching students play games, laugh, and eat together exemplified so many of Westcliff’s core values and allowed students to experience the essence of what Westcliff means by ‘family’.”
Keep an eye out for more student-led events coming from Westcliff University, as well as athletic events soon returning, and clubs in full swing as many Westcliff students return to campus for the fall session.