By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director
What’s the roar coming from downtown San Jose? That’s the sound of 30,500 Spartans heading to campus for fall 2012!
As usual, the academic year began with fantastic weather. During the sunny but cool afternoon of Aug. 21, new students crowded Tower Lawn for the Fall Welcome Days Kick-Off.
The event was SJSU’s way of welcoming 3,445 first-time freshmen, 3,370 new community college transfers and 1,900 new graduate students to campus, very close to matching last year’s grand total.
With music booming, students ate ice cream, lined up for caricatures and took a ride down giant inflatable slides while meeting new people and learning about SJSU organizations and departments.
The next day, thousands of Spartans flooded campus for the first day of classes, searching for parking and perhaps hoping to drop/add a course or two.
The most obvious change was tremendous progress on the construction of the new Student Union. When students left for the summer, there was little more than a foundation.
Now you can see the curvy exterior of the western expansion near the Music Building and a tiered theater taking shape near the Business Tower.
The Spartan Bookstore was crowded with students, who can now charge up to $900 in books and supplies on their Tower Cards. Meanwhile, the University Library is making it easier than ever to borrow textbooks.
Even before stepping on campus, everyone experienced downtown San Jose’s newest traffic features: 7.6 miles of buffered bicycle lanes on Third, Fourth, 10th and 11th streets.
Yes, it’s confusing but the city of San Jose is offering more info on how to navigate the bike lanes, intended to make things safer for everyone.
Another option is to live on campus. Almost 3,600 students have moved in, including all freshmen required to bunk in the bricks, Joe West Hall or Campus Village.
Of course what matters most is what students find in the classroom — expect change! Among SJSU’s key hires over the summer was Dr. Catheryn Cheal.
The new associate vice president and senior academic technology officer, she is charged with helping the faculty explore online teaching.
Another new face is Lisa Vollendorf, who came from CSU Long Beach to become dean of our College of Humanities and the Arts.
Among the many faculty members heading back with new books is Professor Randall Stross, author of The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s Most Exclusive School for Startups.
Innovation was a theme of President Mohammad Qayoumi’s Fall Welcome Address, an annual tradition at SJSU held Aug. 20 this year.
What can you do? Attend the next budget forum Sept. 10 and make a difference by voting in the November elections, especially on Proposition 30.
Not registered? No problem! In the next week or so, you should see voter registration booths popping up all over campus.
Associated Students will help people register in person or online at TurboVote, which makes the whole process as easy as ordering a DVD on NetFlix.
And should you have trouble finding your way around, look for the “Ask Me” booths at all the main entrances to campus, a great example of Spartans helping Spartans.