SJSU Honors 95 Employees at 48th Annual Spartan Service Celebration

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Ninety-five staff members and administrators were honored at the 48th Annual Spartan Service Celebration held Oct. 29 in the Student Union Ballroom.

If there was one attribute that fit the honorees, it was modesty. Even people who spent most of their adult lives at SJSU had to be coaxed to stand up and take a bow.

Sitting in the very last row of the packed room was Margaret Soto, an administrative analyst in the Office of the President.

Thirty-five years of service

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

She was among five individuals honored for 35 years at San Jose State, where her five sisters and her father-in-law also worked.

And that’s not all. Her brothers worked Saturdays administering placement tests. So for years, Soto’s family has been touching every corner of campus, from housing, to chemistry, to UPD.

In a video tribute to all honorees played on a giant screen at the front of the room, she was asked to describe her favorite memory.

“Meeting my husband,” she said. Enrique Lopez is yet another family member who worked on campus. “After 26 years, he still makes me smile.”

There were plenty of smiles to go around as SJSU’s vice presidents and athletics director took turns reading the names of every single employee reaching milestones of 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service.

Favorite memories

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

In between the batches of names, the videotape rolled. Staff members who work across campus, and all the way out to Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, recalled their first years on campus and their favorite memories.

For Erlinda Yanez of the Department of Mexican American Studies, it was senior staff members who showed her the ropes when she was brand new.

For John Douglas of Moss Landing, it was the constant influx of new students and researchers from around the world.

For Vic Soares of Facilities Development and Operations, it was giving the athletics field an extra close cut, just the way coaches liked it.

For Lawrence Fan of the Athletics Department, it was being offered a job close to home and leveraging his sports media acumen.

Dreams for the future

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Sonia Lieu of Student Affairs has yet to experience what she hopes will be her best memory: posing for graduation photos with her daughter, an engineering major at SJSU.

So while the details varied, the stories all returned to the same theme. People who come here to work gain a second family in the process, one that cares for them, and they care for just the same.




47th Annual Spartan Service Celebration

Linda Garcia-Young

Linda Garcia-Young (photo by Robert C. Bain)

Much changed in the 45 years that Linda Garcia-Young has worked at San Jose State, but one thing remained the same: The value she places in listening to and helping everyone she meets as an administrative analyst in the College of Social Sciences.

Garcia-Young received a standing ovation as the San Jose State staff member with the longest tenure of the 98 individuals honored at the 2014 Spartan Service Celebration held Oct. 30 in the Student Union ballroom. Review a list of all honorees.

“Linda is an impeccable professional, but even more important than that, she’s a great human being,” said retired Dean Sheila Bienenfeld. “She is the person who troubled faculty go to talk to when they’ve got problems, troubled staff, students, anybody that comes to her with any kind of problem finds a warm, caring and generous soul to listen to them and to do her best to help.”

She knows everyone on campus. She knows who to call and she does it. She shows up every day when times are rough and when times are good. I am very honored to call her my friend.”

The celebration included a video during which individual honorees shared favorite memories. Although the questions prompting these memories varied, one theme emerged: SJSU is a place where staff members make lifelong friends while working together for students.

Helping Students, Shaping Lives

Honorees included Spartan Dining Systems Manager Brian Mitchler, ’87 Nutrition, who recently completed 25 years of service. When asked, in the video, to name his favorite spot on campus, he replied with a very sweet story about his days as a student living in Moulder Hall, which has since been replaced by Campus Village.

Brian Mitchler

Brian Mitchler (photo by Robert C. Bain)

“The reason is that’s where I met my future wife,” Mitchler said. “I remember the day she moved into [her residence] hall. I had already been there for a year so I was kind of established as a hall veteran and I remember meeting her little three-year-old brother at the time, and her step-mother, and helping move things into her dorm.”

“I remember also the first time she came and asked me for help with an English paper, which just so happened to be about her favorite wedding spots…it was at that point that I got an inkling that we might actually have a developing relationship.

I remember the first couple of times we took a walk across campus. We found reasons to walk together and I especially remember the first time we got to hold hands walking across campus, how special that was.”

Vice President for Administration and Finance Shawn Bibb, Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Renee Barnett Terry, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein took turns reading the names of all honorees.

“Staff members play an essential role in our community, providing the infrastructure our students need to learn and pursue knowledge,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “I look forward to this event each year, as it is an opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our staff.”


SJSU Staff Olympics Opening Ceremony Begins at Noon July 3

Staff Olympics Opening Ceremony to Begin at Noon July 3 in Duncan Hall Breezeway

SJSU Staff Olympics Opening Ceremony Begins at Noon July 3

In a tribute to the London Summer Olympics, we're offering croquet this year!

By Julie Inouye Wong, Human Resources Administrative & Data Specialist

The SJSU Staff Olympics are here! The Opening Ceremony officially kicks off this year’s games on Tuesday, July 3 from noon to 1 p.m. in the breezeway under Duncan Hall. Departments will show their Spartan pride by presenting their banners and flags in a march around campus. There will be a program and the Olympic flame will be lit. Street Eats will have tasty food available for purchase and booths from Athletics, A.S. Campus Recreation, CONCERN: Employee Assistance Program, and Kaiser will be there offering information and giveaways.

Make sure you come and cheer on your departments and your fellow Spartans at the events. July 9 through 26 , Mondays through Thursdays noon to 1 p.m., will be bowling in the Student Union Bowling Center. In a tribute to the London Summer Olympics, July 30 through August 2 will be croquet noon to 1 p.m. on the lawn across from the Event Center. August 6 through 9 will be volleyball noon to 1 p.m. in SPX 44a.

We have surpassed the number of participants from last year, so we will have a bigger and better Staff Olympics. Join in on all of the fun of the SJSU Staff Olympics!

SJSU Faculty, Staff, and Student Pose for a picture on the grass in The Village Quad

Spartan Wellness Challenge Rewards Healthy Lifestyles

SJSU Faculty, Staff, and Student Pose for a picture on the grass in The Village Quad

Students, faculty and staff members shared experiences and celebrated Spartan Wellness Challenge winners at the closing awards ceremony April 20 in Campus Village quad. (Amanda Holst photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

“It gave me energy” and  “it kept me on track” were just some of the accolades given by participants about the fourth annual Spartan Wellness Challenge at the closing awards ceremony held in the Campus Village quad April 20.

Well U, the employee wellness program, teamed up with AS Campus Recreation, Wellness & Health Promotion and the HR diversity program to encourage participants to maintain a healthy diet, be physically active, and keep up with day-to-day general wellness.

“The main focus was trying to make people more aware of what they are doing in their lives to make them healthier,” Fitness Coordinator Christina Maino said.

Over 130 students, faculty and staff members earned points in teams of four for healthy choices such as replacing fruit juice with a whole piece of fruit, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Teams earned additional points for attending seminars, activities and fitness challenges throughout the six-week course.

Activities included stress-management and healthy body image seminars, a virtual climb of Mt. Aconcagua, and Dance Around the World, a series of workshops that taught Bhangra, Tahitian, Tinikling and Folklorico dances.

“I feel like all of the faculty and staff are coming out of their shells and want to participate,” Maino said. “It’s great to have more people that want to better their health.”

To fulfill a growing demand for student interest in the program, Housing Services sponsored 10 student teams this year.

“It’s about awareness and taking good care of yourself all through college,” Residential Life Coordinator Amanda Dohse said.

At Friday’s celebration, “Phoenix 12” was awarded the top team with an overall score of 1,624 points. Awards were also given out for top female, top male, and team fitness challenge winners.

For Well U Coordinator Julie Inouye Wong, the most rewarding aspects of the program were team motivation and helping to organize the event.

“It is our way of showing the campus community that we value their health and wellness,” Wong said.

Group of students and employees, some wearing large playing cards, in celebration of the Poker Walk fitness event.

Walking For Fitness With Walk Across America

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Students are standing at the perimeter of the campus, three of them wearing an over-sized card from a deck, ace of spades, Jack of diamonds, and Queen of clubs

Poker Walk student volunteers from the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega participated in The Poker Walk, a community walk around the perimeter of the SJSU campus, which kicked off Walk Across America last month (photo by Paula Avandia).

Well U is at it again. This time, SJSU’s employee wellness program is challenging students, faculty and staff to travel across the United States, step by step, using nothing more than a pedometer.

HR Administrative and Data Specialist Julie Inouye Wong has been overwhelmed by the response she’s getting for Walk Across America, a program specific to SJSU, created by Well U and  Kaiser Permanente. The Poker Walk, a community walk around the perimeter of campus, kicked off the six-week pedometer challenge last month.

“It showed people how easy it is to incorporate walking in their work or school day,” Wong said.

According to Wong, the main motivation behind Walk Across America, now in its fourth week, is awareness.

“Our main goal to is to get people more aware of their physical activity level now so they can work on improving it,” Wong said.

More than 270 faculty, staff and students are registered for the challenge and are tracking their steps in teams of four with the hopes of reaching a new milestone each week.

“The goal is to make it to New York City for a celebration at Times Square,” Wong said.

Senior communication studies major Julie Berkovatz heard about the challenge from a Guardian Scholars counselor she works with at the Educational Opportunity Program offices.

“There are days where I am way below,” Berkovatz admitted. “I will come home from school and look at my pedometer and realize that I’ve only done 4,000 steps.”

Berkovatz lives only a mile from school and has started to walk instead of taking the light rail to help meet her goals.

“I’m realizing that you don’t have to set it up as an actually activity,” Berowitz said. “You just do it throughout your day, so it’s not that bad.”

According to Wong, the American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps, or five miles, daily in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a lot of work in order to track your steps, but in order to get something out of it, you have to put something into it,” Wong said. “You have to do your part in order to reap the rewards of the benefits the program provides.”

The Walk Across America Challenge continues through Dec. 7. To see the progress of the teams, visit the Walk Across America page.

Human Resources Hosts Spartan Baby Shower

More than a dozen expectant employees attended the shower, which provided timely info on relevant benefits and services (photo by Dillon Adams).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Managing work-life balance is a huge part of what Human Resources does for SJSU employees, so when brainstorming how best to provide info on benefits and services to expectant faculty and staff, Associate Vice President of Human Resources Maria Elena De Guevara and her team came up with the perfect idea.

“There are a lot of forms to fill out and a lot of information,” De Guevara said. “We thought how fun it would be to create a campus baby shower for our expectant parents.”

Well U, an employee wellness program launched by Human Resources last summer, hosted its first Spartan Baby Shower Nov. 10 on the fifth floor of Clark Hall. Well U focuses on the overall wellness of SJSU employees, hosting health-minded events including the Poker Walk and Staff Olympics. De Guevara said it is just as important for Human Resources to share in the life changes facing expectant faculty and staff.

“Part of being well is feeling that your employer is supportive of you as an individual or new parent,” De Guevera said. “We want to create a sense of community with all the new parents.”

More than a dozen expectant parents attended the shower, which focused on providing “accurate, timely and helpful information,” said Director of Human Resources Administrative Services Joan Torne.

Human resources benefits representatives, the Employee Assistant Program (EAP), and Kaiser Permanente gave presentations. In addition, the Spartan Bookstore donated Gold Points for raffle prizes and provided party favors. Games and cake rounded out this congratulatory event.

The New Parents Support Group, formerly the New Mommy Group was at the shower to offer support to expectant parents. HR administrative and data specialist Julie Inouye Wong found the New Mommy Group to be useful when she was a new parent.

“When you are a working parent, you have different emotions about sending your child to childcare,” Wong said. “It is nice to have people to be in the same boat.”

According to Wong, Human Resources plans to host a baby shower every semester as a way to show employees that they are valued.

“We want to make sure that we have a healthy, happy workforce,” Wong said.