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SJSU Begins 2014-15 Academic Year

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The east wing of the Student Union is open. On the first floor are eight new eateries and beautiful indoor and outdoor seating areas line the first floor (Stan Olszewski photo).

Blue skies greeted more than 32,000 students and 4,500 faculty and staff members for the start of San Jose State’s 2014-15 academic year.

The crowd included 3,500 first-time freshmen, 3,700 new undergraduate transfers, 2,000 new graduate students and 33 new tenure-track faculty members.

The arrival of so many tenure-track faculty members shows the benefit of a stable budget and signals a strong commitment to long-term planning.

Helping newcomers

In addition, SJSU is extending a special welcome to 80 transfers from National Hispanic University. Orientation events held during the summer should help everyone settle in.

If anyone needs a hand, “Ask Me” volunteers are once again stationed outdoors throughout campus. 

Do we have an app for that? Yes, we do! SJSU Guide is loaded with information including a campus map.

Downloading the guide? You’ll find campus WiFi now covers very close to all six million square feet of classroom and office space.

Perhaps the most visible change for those arriving this week–from the parking garages, Park & Ride Lot or alternative transportation–is the construction.

Facility improvements

Yes! Our 150-year-old campus is receiving a major renovation.

The east wing of the Student Union is open. On the first floor are eight new eateries and beautiful indoor and outdoor seating areas line the first floor.

A gleaming new ballroom large enough for 850 dinner guests is open on the second floor.

In addition, the Spartan Bookstore has moved into temporary digs in the east wing while the rest of the Student Union is completed.

Meanwhile, construction crews are putting finishing touches on Yoshihiro Uchida Hall. The exterior walls are up on the Student Health and Counseling Center.

Also on the way are a new dormitory and new landscaping for the Art Building, Sweeney Hall and El Paseo de Cesar Chavez (check out the beautiful new palm trees!).

Major events

Later this term, the Student Union will host two special guests speakers: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and bestselling novelist Khaled Hosseini.

Tower Lawn remains a gorgeous green, thanks to recycled water that has reduced SJSU’s potable water consumption by 45 percent annually.

So Tower Lawn will be the place to be this term for many gatherings including the Spartan Squad kick-off 6 p.m. Aug. 27 and the Student Organization Fair 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 3.

Both of these events are part of Fall Welcome Days, a series of outstanding opportunities to reach out, meet people and learn something in the process.

Also coming up this week is Spartan Football’s season opener against North Dakota. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Aug. 28. Go early, get a Bill Walsh bobble head, and then stay for the fireworks.

Admission to home football games is free for all students with a Tower ID card. The president has extended a very similar offer to all faculty and staff (check your email!).

Staying safe

Speaking of major events, there is nothing like a 6.0-magnitude trembler the day before classes begin to send the message that safety comes first.

The University Police Department keeps in touch with campus via Alert-SJSU (update your contact information now) and offers an Evening Guide Escort Program and Evening Shuttle.

UPD’s website contains lots of prevention and preparedness information. The Spartans for Safety website also consolidates many services available at SJSU.