New students at Allan Hancock College were greeted with a warm welcome during the college's Hancock Hello event Tuesday afternoon, in preparation for the start of classes Monday.

Now in its second year, administrators hope the event, which drew more than 500 students and families last year, continues its track record of success.

"We want this to be accessible and informative," said Stephanie Robb, coordinator of student services. "We want students to know what resources are here for them; the more people we help, the better." Robb added that students who get involved on campus -- namely through clubs, athletics or student government -- have a higher probability of success at Hancock.

Described as an event to help students start their semester on the right foot, Hancock Hello featured 46 different departments, student organizations and workshops designed to familiarize new students with the campus and its resources. 

"Allan Hancock College is very dedicated to the success of our students," said Yvonne Teniente-Cuello, dean of student services. "We've discovered that students who do an orientation, meet with a counselor and create a student education plan (SEP) have higher retention rates. Events like this will connect students right away, so they know they're being supported and nurtured."

Sabrina Ornelas said she chose Hancock because it captured the "start here, go anywhere" mindset she wants to develop. Although some students would be nervous to start their first day of college, Ornelas, a soon-to-be sociology major with a desire to pursue a career in counseling, laughed it off. 

"I'm not nervous," she said. "I'm excited to be here and start a new chapter in my life and find people with the same goals, [especially] at a facility that offers a lot of programs and opportunities."

Second-year political science major and recently-elected student body president Janet Cruz-Reyes recalled attending Hancock Hello prior to her first day of classes. Now volunteering at the event, which she credits with sparking her involvement with the Associated Student Body Government at Hancock, Cruz-Reyes said she feels reinvigorated by the new students' excitement and enthusiasm.

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"I came to Hancock Hello as a very excited incoming freshman. Now I'm here to volunteer with the event," she said. "I'm very happy to be able to give back."

When classes start Monday, first-year student Michael Gomez will be among roughly 12,000 credit-seeking students enrolled at Hancock. Gomez called Hancock Hello a "very welcoming" event, and a good introduction to the campus, and expressed enthusiasm about his first day.

"I'm excited to experience what it's like to be a student, maintain a good GPA and explore a career," he said, adding that he hopes to transfer to an affordable university.