New freshmen prepare to move into campus at the 12th Annual CHA Trunk Party

Rosemary Perez will be the first person in her family to attend college when she attends Benedictine University this fall.

Thanks to the Chicago Housing Authority’s “take flight college send-off” trunk party, the 19-year-old, who will be majoring in psychology, will be able to cross the majority of dorm essentials off her list.

“It was awesome because I didn’t know how I was going to get a lot of these things,” Perez said.

The 12th annual event, organized by the ACH and its partner Springboard to Success, was held at the United Center on Tuesday to support college students living in public housing and give them some of the items they will need for college.

“At its core, this is a celebration of the children of CHA housing who are embarking on an important life stage of going to college and their first step into adulthood,” said Kristen Hamer , CHA’s Director of Corporate and External Partnerships.

In its first few years, the send-off event hosted only about 30–40 college-bound students who lived in CHA buildings. But this year, 175 students received basic necessities such as towels, sheets and a shower basket, as well as new laptops.

“It’s really nice to be able to have the support of the ACH, especially considering how difficult it was to get into college,” said Aoloni Fisher.

Fisher, 18, will attend Dominican University, where she plans to major in psychology. She said that although she’s a little nervous about starting college, she’s looking forward to having fun.

Springboard to Success board member Angelina Romero said being able to host the event at the United Center gave students the opportunity to bring more family members to celebrate with them, as it previously there were capacity restrictions.

Marcus Casul, who will be attending Illinois State University to study criminal justice, was glad he didn’t have to worry about getting dorm items for his move in the coming weeks.

“It’s a blessing,” said the 18-year-old. “I’m glad they helped me with this because it takes a lot of money out of me not having to spend extra money on these things.”

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