SJSU News http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today SJSU Today offers the latest news and shares the stories of the people at San Jose State University. Thu, 28 Aug 2014 05:16:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/?v=3.8.1.1 Dwight Bentel Hall: Repairs Continue http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/dwight-bentel-hall-repairs-continue/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/dwight-bentel-hall-repairs-continue/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 00:26:26 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27270 Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall (Bruce Cramer photo)

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – Dwight Bentel Hall will be closed through Aug. 29 due to water damage. The building is home to San Jose State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication,

University officials have temporarily relocated classes and faculty offices. In addition, officials will temporarily relocate Spartan Daily, the student newspaper. The DBH closure affects approximately 28 faculty members and 1,250 students. 

Construction crews have been renovating the 103-year-old building over the summer. The water damage, discovered Aug. 19, occurred in DBH’s east wing. The cause was a leak in a steam distribution system that runs beneath the building.

SJSU’s Environmental Health and Safety staff conducted an immediate review. Materials were removed, the affected area was sealed off, and efforts were initiated to eliminate residual moisture using industrial fans and dehumidifiers.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 32,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

 

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San Jose Mercury News: Laser Surgery Shows Promise in Halting Seizures in Epilepsy Sufferers http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/san-jose-mercury-news-laser-surgery-shows-promise-in-halting-seizures-in-epilepsy-sufferers/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/san-jose-mercury-news-laser-surgery-shows-promise-in-halting-seizures-in-epilepsy-sufferers/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:09:13 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27250 Posted Aug. 20, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Joyce Tsai

PLEASANTON — Justin Wan is not one to radiate unfettered optimism or make bold statements about his future.

More than 10 years of battling epilepsy will do that to a person who never knows when the next seizure will strike. Wan can’t drive, swim alone or live by himself. Crossing streets, taking a bath, riding a bike and new environments in general can pose unforeseen perils and pitfalls.

This time last year, Wan, 20, often couldn’t make it more than week without an epileptic attack and his senses were dulled by heavy doses of anti-seizure medications. But today, the only outward sign that he suffered from debilitating seizures is a small staple scar on the top of his head, hidden by a headful of thick black hair — where surgeons in December inserted a tiny laser that zapped out a lesion in his brain. He hasn’t had a seizure since.

“It was on this side somewhere,” the San Jose State junior said, feeling around with his fingers on his cranium’s right side.

Read the full story. 

 

 

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SJSU Begins 2014-15 Academic Year http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/sjsu-welcomes-32000-students-to-the-2014-15-academic-year/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/sjsu-welcomes-32000-students-to-the-2014-15-academic-year/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:48:06 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27240 Today-Inpost-backtoschool-082714

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.

 

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President Delivers Fall Welcome Address http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/president-to-deliver-fall-welcome-address/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/president-to-deliver-fall-welcome-address/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:16:49 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27226 Mohammad Qayoumi

President Mohammad Qayoumi

Media contact:  Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi delivered the Fall Welcome Address at noon Aug. 27 in the new Student Union ballroom. The address was open to the campus community and media. In addition, the event was streamed live on the web. A transcript is accessible from the university website.

An annual tradition, the Fall Welcome Address marks the beginning of the 158th academic year. On Aug. 27, President Qayoumi urged the SJSU community to build on its rich heritage of regional stewardship, social justice, shared mission and student success.

Specifically, the president encouraged students, faculty and staff to tackle today’s defining issues with the same persistence, grit, and self-determination exemplified by Spartans throughout SJSU’s history.

President Qayoumi also touched on campus governance, underrepresented communities, facility and technology upgrades, tenure-track faculty, and the Special Task Force for Racial Discrimination recommendations.

 SJSU map, directions.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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Dwight Bentel Hall: Important Update http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/update-dwight-bentel-hall/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/update-dwight-bentel-hall/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 05:03:48 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27190 Dwight Bentel Hall

Dwight Bentel Hall (Bruce Cramer photo)

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – Dwight Bentel Hall, home to San Jose State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will be closed to students Aug. 25 and 26.

Students in classes scheduled to meet in DBH for the first time on Monday or Tuesday should go directly to the new Student Union Ballrooms A and B (Monday) or Ballroom A (Tuesday).

Report to the table identified with your classroom number (for example, DBH 133) to receive instructions from faculty members. Staff will also be outside DBH to direct students as needed.

Water damage

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, construction crews identified water damage to corridor and restroom walls in the east wing of DBH.

Moisture was also reported in some offices and hallways. The cause was a leak in the steam distribution system that runs beneath the building.

After the damage was discovered, SJSU’s Environmental Health and Safety staff conducted an immediate review.

Materials were removed, the affected area was sealed off, and efforts were initiated to eliminate residual moisture using industrial fans and dehumidifiers.

Repairs underway

SJSU will assess repair efforts throughout the week and provide updates as needed. Initially, repairs were to be concluded in time for the first day of fall semester.

Construction crews spent the summer renovating the overall structure, originally completed in 1911, and renovated and re-opened in 1991. The temporary closure affects approximately 28 faculty members and 1,250 students.

“The good news is that we are well on our way to bringing one of our most historic buildings into the 21st century,” Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein said.

“We are doing our very best to honor the legacy of the late Dwight Bentel, founder of our top-notch journalism program.”

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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Supreme Court Justice to Speak at SJSU http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/supreme-court-justice-to-speak-at-sjsu/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/supreme-court-justice-to-speak-at-sjsu/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 23:34:05 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27165 Sotomayor poster

“My mother believed education was the key to everything in the world,” Justice Sotomayor said.

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – As Professor Maria Luisa Alaniz read Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography, she recognized a strong connection between the associate U.S. Supreme Court justice and San Jose State.

“Her story is the story of our students,” Alaniz said, so she put these observations in writing in a letter of invitation to Sotomayor. Her thoughts must have struck a chord.

The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor will speak at 4 p.m. Oct. 20 in the SJSU Student Union. She will sit down for an on-stage conversation with UC Berkeley Professor of Law Melissa Murray. Murray teaches constitutional law and clerked for Sotomayor on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

The event is open to the public. All students, faculty and staff members with ID may obtain one ticket each at no cost from the SJSU Event Center Box Office beginning Sept. 2. Non-SJSU affiliates may purchase a ticket for $10.

Beating the odds

The speaking engagement will punctuate this semester’s Campus Reading Program, which includes four events and a series of discussion groups focusing on Sotomayor’s book, “My Beloved World.”

In nominating Judge Sotomayor to the highest court in the land, President Obama pointed out that her life story was the embodiment of the American dream,” a New York Times book review said.

“She grew up poor in a Bronx housing project at a time when gangs were carving up the neighborhood, learned she had juvenile diabetes when she was 7 and lost her father a couple of years later.

“She would go on to Princeton (where she won the prestigious Pyne Prize), Yale Law School, the Manhattan district attorney’s office and ultimately the Supreme Court, where she became the nation’s first Hispanic justice.”

Resiliency

Professor Alaniz observed Sotomayor’s persistence reflects that of many SJSU students.

In my 26 years of teaching, I have been amazed by the resiliency of our students, who work so hard to get through school,” she said.

Once reluctant to share her personal story, Sotomayor is now eager to help young people following in her footsteps. For this reason, event organizers will reserve the first 20 rows of seats at the campus event for students.

Sponsors include the Educational Opportunity Program, Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center, College of Social Sciences, the Department of Mexican American Studies, the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Studies, the Campus Reading Program, and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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Santa Cruz Sentinel: San Jose State Researcher’s Never-Seen Sharks Featured on ‘Shark Week’ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/san-jose-mercury-news-san-jose-state-researchers-never-seen-sharks-featured-on-shark-week/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/san-jose-mercury-news-san-jose-state-researchers-never-seen-sharks-featured-on-shark-week/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 22:06:07 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27162 Posted Aug. 12, 2014 by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

By Kara Guzman

After 60 days on a commercial fishing boat, 1,000 miles from land, San Jose State researcher Paul Clerkin discovered never-before-seen sharks, which will be featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” on Tuesday.

Clerkin, 29, first ventured to the southern Indian Ocean with the fishing crew to catalog their shark bycatch in 2012. In two months, he encountered 23 types of sharks, eight of which were new species.

Clerkin, a master’s student researching at Moss Landing Marine Labs, returned to the boat in March, this time with a Discovery Channel film crew for “Alien Sharks.” Clerkin said he’s not allowed to say how many new species he discovered this year, but he’s pleased with the trip’s success.

View the full story. 

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Khaled Hosseini to Receive Steinbeck Award http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/khaled-hosseini-to-receive-steinbeck-award/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/khaled-hosseini-to-receive-steinbeck-award/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 22:42:41 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27130 Hosseini poster

Khaled Hosseini will speak at SJSU Sept. 10.

Media Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Best-selling Afghan-American novelist Khaled Hosseini is the next recipient of the John Steinbeck Award: In the Souls of the People.

Join the The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies for a special evening with the author at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 in the SJSU Student Union. Hosseini will sit down for an on-stage conversation with KGO Radio Host Pat Thurston. Tickets are on sale now at Eventbrite and the SJSU Event Center Box Office.

“I am greatly honored to be given an award named after John Steinbeck, not only an icon of American literature but an unrelenting advocate for social justice who so richly gave voice to the poor and disenfranchised,” Hosseini said. “Both as a person and a writer, I count myself among the millions on whose social consciousness Steinbeck has made such an indelible impact.”

The Steinbeck Award

Authorized by the Steinbeck estate, the Steinbeck Award is presented to artists and activists whose works exemplify the spirit of Steinbeck’s social engagement.

Kite Runner cover

“The Kite Runner” has spawned a movie, play and graphic novel.

Previous recipients include Joan Baez, Ken Burns, Dolores Huerta, Garrison Keillor, Rachel Maddow, John Mellencamp, Arthur Miller, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Bruce Springsteen and Studs Terkel.

“Like John Steinbeck, Hosseini has created powerful portrayals of those who are disconnected and dispossessed. Amir and Hassan, Mariam and Laila, Abdullah and Pari–those characters are well drawn and deeply felt,” said Ted Cady, Steinbeck Center board member.

Hosseini is the author of three novels: “The Kite Runner” (2003), “A Thousand Splendid Suns” (2007) and “And the Mountains Echoed” (2013). Inspired by Steinbeck, Hosseini creates characters tested by political and economic turmoil of historic proportions. In Hosseini’s case, it’s the wars that have ravaged his native Afghanistan for far too long.

Ties to San Jose State

Hosseini’s ties to San Jose State run deep. He was introduced to “The Grapes of Wrath” as an Independence High School student. His teacher, Janet Sanchez, ’73 English, will be in attendance when he accepts the Steinbeck Award. She mentored student teachers at SJSU for many years.

Hosseini went on to attend Santa Clara University and the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, but SJSU’s role in providing opportunity to many first-generation college students stuck with him. The main character in “The Kite Runner” attends SJSU.

Professor of Communication Studies Matthew Spangler’s adaption of the novel for the stage won five San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards in 2009. The play is on tour in the United Kingdom. The novel was the fall 2006 selection for the SJSU Reading Program.

“This tremendously powerful book raises questions about the capacity of human beings to destroy and redeem lives, and the actions that lead to both,” Professor Elba Maldonado-Colon said.

A Line of Teachers

At a private reception before the Steinbeck Award event, President Mohammad Qayoumi’s wife, Najia Karim, will present Hosseini with her poem, “The Wrath of Grapes.” Hosseini’s mother was one of Karim’s teachers when she was growing up in Afghanistan.

President Mohammad Qayoumi will formally introduce Hosseini to the audience. Both men have been active in efforts to aid their homeland. The Khaled Hosseini Foundation provides humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan by working with the United Nations Refugee Agency to build shelters for families.

“I’ve tried through the foundation to reach those people I’ve been writing about,” Hosseini said in a video on the foundation’s website. “I’ve chronicled their sufferings and their misfortunes…Those are real people and I’ve benefited from their stories so I have found it just and fitting that I should do something for them as well.”

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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SJSU Hosts Cyber Camp http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/sjsu-hosts-cyber-camp/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/sjsu-hosts-cyber-camp/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:41:58 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27114 cybersecurity camp

More than 70 camp participants will attend the Western Regional camp and the executive roundtable (Robert Bain photo).

Media Contact: Rudy Pamintuan, USCC media relations, 312-961-4710

U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) and San Jose State University (SJSU) will host a cybersecurity roundtable discussion featuring national experts from technology, government and academia beginning at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at San Jose State University in the New Student Union Ballroom. The event will be held in conjunction with the 2014 U.S. Cyber Challenge Western Regional Cyber Camp, taking place Aug. 11-15 at SJSU.

The 2014 Western Regional Cyber Security Executive Roundtable Discussion will allow camp participants to hear firsthand from employers, including Silicon Valley companies, about how to prepare for a career in this critical field, as well as what specific roles these organizations hope to fill in their workforce.

“We look forward to the dialogue between industry experts and the elite talent at our cyber camp,” said SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi. “This is a unique opportunity for camp participants to not only learn hands-on in the classroom, but also interact with executives in the industry and understand the workforce needs of this exponentially expanding sector.”

Hands-on experience

Executive participants include Dr. Ernest McDuffie, lead for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE); Darren Ash, Deputy Executive Director for Corporate Management and Chief Information Officer, Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Stuart Solomon, Vice President, Technical Services and Client Operations, iSight Partners; and Chris Bjornson, Chief Information Officer, Accenture Federal Services. Other participants will also include representatives from Facebook and (ISC)2. The roundtable will be moderated by Karen S. Evans, National Director of U.S. Cyber Challenge.

Throughout the week-long camp program, curriculum includes in-depth workshops on a range of topics such as reverse engineering malware, writing exploits, tactical attacks and penetration testing, all taught by academics, SANS Institute senior instructors and other cybersecurity experts.

The week will finish with a virtual “Capture the Flag” competition and awards ceremony Friday, Aug. 15, inside the New Student Union Ballroom. The ceremony will include remarks by President Qayoumi; Admiral Patrick Walsh, US Navy (Ret.), Senior VP, iSight Partners; and Karen S. Evans, National Director of U.S. Cyber Challenge.

Industry connections

The camp is supported in part through sponsorships by (ISC)2 Foundation, SE Solutions, iSight Partners, Threat Space, NIC, CyberAces, the Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM), Avue Technologies, SANS Institute, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal CIO Council, Cyber Ninjas, Kearney & Company, Deep Water Point, The Coleman Group, VMD, Valente & Associations, AMBIT, REI Systems, VISA and Accenture. Local sponsors for the western regional camp include Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, PG&E and the STC-TRUST.

More than 70 camp participants are attending the Western Regional camp and the executive roundtable. Attendees to the invitation-only camps were selected based in part on their scores from Cyber Quests, an online competition offered through the USCC in April that drew more than 1,600 participants from almost 700 schools nationwide.

The 2014 Cyber Summer Camp Series features two national weeklong camps and two statewide camps. The camps are part of several initiatives underway through USCC, a national campaign focused on identifying and developing cybersecurity talent to meet the country’s critical cybersecurity workforce needs.

For more information about the Cyber Camp program and each of the specific camps, visit USCC online at www.uscyberchallenge.org

About U.S. Cyber Challenge

U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) is a program of the Council on CyberSecurity, a 501(c)3 organization, and has the mission to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. USCC’s goal is to find 10,000 of America’s best and brightest to fill the ranks of cybersecurity professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation. www.uscyberchallenge.org

About San Jose State University

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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SJSU Outdoor Adventures Unites Students http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/sjsu-outdoor-adventures-unites-students/ http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/2014/sjsu-outdoor-adventures-unites-students/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:47:35 +0000 http://blogs.sjsu.edu/today/?p=27105 Today-Inpost-outdoor-adventures-071014

Backpackers at Hetch Hetchy Damn after trek from Rancheria Falls, Yosemite National Park 2013 (Jay J. Manalo photo).

By Kelly Curtis

Sunset in Hetch Hetchy Valley. Granite hillsides reach toward a lavender sky, pine trees sway in the breeze and tents dot the needle-covered flat at Rancheria Falls backpacker campground. After a six-mile hike, leader Kristine Kirkendall and her group of San Jose State students relax around a fire. They are in Yosemite National Park with the Outdoor Adventures program.

Kirkendall, ’89 Speech Communication, ’11 MA Sports Psychology, is the Associated Students Campus Recreation manager and director of Outdoor Adventures, where students sign up for off-campus trips such as backpacking, kayaking and hiking. The new perspectives gained on these adventures are helping shape a more united SJSU community.

Phil Priolo White Water Rafting 2013 (Phil Priolo photo).

Phil Priolo white water rafting 2013 (Phil Priolo photo).

On her first adventure, senior Janine Tram, learned how much people rely on modern technology. “In nature, people need to do things on their own,” said Tram. “Backpacking in Yosemite taught me it’s hard to live off the land. Now I don’t take home amenities for granted.”

“Experiential learning: take people away from ordinary life, technology and social confines. Make them practice new skills,” said Kirkendall. “Setting up a tent or building a fire for the first time is challenging, but these new experiences grow the whole person.”

Phil Priolo, also a junior, joined Outdoor Adventures because he was seeking more friendship than traditional sports offered. The adventures helped him connect with others because there wasn’t a sense of competition.

“Usually, I’m a wallflower,” Priolo said. “But in an outdoor activity I can be social. It’s a safe environment.”

Kirkendall said social skills are where students grow the fastest. She believes that even though nature is rugged, it’s a place where students don’t feel judged.

“Outdoors,” she said, “students can express themselves. The normal social barriers don’t exist. You have to look people in the eye, speak to them and problem solve.”

On campus, social groups are often founded on cultural differences. Kirkendall acknowledges this is healthy for a diverse student body, but Outdoor Adventures is about uniting the SJSU community.

Erika Ghose overlooking Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Yosemite National Park 2013. (Kevin Brown photo)

Erika Ghose overlooking Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Yosemite National Park 2013 (Kevin Brown photo).

“On trips, everyone is responsible for their own food,” she said. “People show up with Taiwanese lettuce wraps or Korean noodles. Someone always has curry. They share everything. Sharing makes a stronger community.”

Erika Ghose, a junior, lost count of her adventures. Her appreciation for what she calls “The Big Quiet,” has helped enlarge her circle of friends.

“On campus, we rarely make deep connections,” Ghose said. “On adventures, I see the other side of people, the raw person. I hear their stories and experience the world with them.”

As if an appreciation for nature, more self-confidence and a greater sense of community weren’t enough, Ghose said the outdoors help her decompress from academic life.

“The Big Quiet,” she said, “is the stillness and peace of nature. I can’t help but sit and listen, which sounds ironic. Who listens to the quiet? It’s something that’s understood away from the city and the chaos, out in the sun and the mountains, surrounded by trees.”

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