San José State Opens Doors to New SJSU Cares Office

SJSU Cares

Senior Student Affairs Case Manager Ben Falter shows students around the new SJSU Cares office. Photo by Robert C. Bain.

Editor’s note: The article previously mentioned a ribbon cutting at the SJSU Cares office on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The ribbon cutting has been replaced with an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

San José State University students seeking help with basic needs, such as emergency food and housing, now have a central place to go for help. 

SJSU Cares assists students facing unforeseen financial crises by providing direct support and referrals so students can remain focused on their education. These resources include but are not limited to food, housing, emergency assistance, mental health counseling, mentoring, assistance with natural disasters such as floods and fires, and even responding to burglaries. Students can also be referred to SJSU’s Health and Wellness Center for additional support.

Though the university has offered basic needs services to students as far back as 2008, the new office provides a centralized safe space where students can consult privately with case managers, receive assistance and get referrals to community resources.

Student Affairs Case Manager Victoria Sexton and Senior Student Affairs Case Manager Ben Falter

Student Affairs Case Manager Victoria Sexton and Senior Student Affairs Case Manager Ben Falter at the new SJSU Cares office. Photo by Robert C. Bain.

Funding from the California State University (CSU) system, as well as legislation introduced in the state assembly to support basic needs initiatives, made it possible for SJSU Cares to create a permanent location on campus and add staff to provide additional individualized assistance. California SB-129, amended in 2021, now provides an additional $15 million to the CSU system to support basic needs programs.

“Our SJSU Cares program has been and remains an excellent clearinghouse of all our student support services — including offerings such as the Spartan Food Pantry, housing assistance, CalFresh food assistance and other resources — and we are pleased to now have a central location to access that support,” said Papazian. 

“COVID-19 has impacted many families and students in ways they could not have predicted, and we do not want those hardships to bring a student’s education to a halt,” she added. “Programs like SJSU Cares and the Spartan Food Pantry can help students overcome those hurdles so they can focus on their studies and continue to thrive in college.”

This comes almost two years after a January 2020 press conference, when the university laid out several initiatives and established target dates for providing comprehensive housing solutions for students, faculty and staff. However, those dates were pushed back when the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States. Now, the opening of the new SJSU Cares office is a big step in addressing short-term housing insecurity. 

SJSU Cares works with students in need of emergency housing assistance. Photo by Bob Bain.

SJSU Cares works with students in need of emergency housing assistance. Photo by Robert C. Bain.

“I expect that this central SJSU Cares space will grow student engagement and service effectiveness,” said Catherine Voss Plaxton, associate vice president of health, wellness and student services. “The space is designed to ensure student privacy, but the suite’s exterior will be visible to students coming to Clark Hall for classes, the computer lab and student services. 

“The new SJSU Cares office has glass windows with shaded paneling and is designed to be transparent and easy to find, while balancing discretion in accessing resources,” said Senior Student Affairs Case Manager Ben Falter. 

Falter assists a student at SJSU Cares.

Falter assists a student at SJSU Cares. Photo by Robert C. Bain.

In addition to private offices for case managers to meet students, SJSU Cares now has a collaboration space where community partners from places like The Bill Wilson Center or CalFresh can meet confidentially with students seeking help. 

“What’s more, the SJSU Cares team and their services partners will be co-located for the first time, creating a one-stop location for basic needs support and closer collaboration across the services,” added Voss Plaxton. “Along with the Spartan Food Pantry, the SJSU Cares office demonstrates SJSU’s commitment to ensuring that every student can secure their basic needs while pursuing their degree.”

SJSU Cares has also doubled the size of its case management team. In addition to two case managers, one basic needs coordinator and one housing case manager, the program will add two more basic needs coordinators. One will support students with the CalFresh program and the other will focus on off-campus housing. Falter added that they are also hiring three student assistants and a full-time office manager. 

Assessing student needs

SJSU Food Pantry

The SJSU Food Pantry offers fresh produce, non-perishable foods, menstrual and sanitary items for students in need. Photo by Robert C. Bain.

The program has grown exponentially over the last few years, fueled in part by results from the inaugural SJSU Cares Basic Needs Survey, collected in February. More than 5,600 Spartans, or about 16.2% of the enrolled student body, answered questions about their basic needs.

“Our purpose was to provide a campus-driven and holistic basic needs assessment,” said Falter. “While there are sobering statistics around food and housing insecurity, not many of the results are truly surprising, as our numbers align in many ways with national statistics.”

Of the students surveyed, 45.9% said the pandemic negatively impacted their employment by a reduction in hours, temporary layoffs or termination. Job loss made it difficult for students to pay their rent, leaving them more vulnerable to food and housing insecurity. 

The survey also revealed the average duration of student homelessness was 3.4 days — data that helped the SJSU Cares team align their resources around short-term emergency needs, while also including referrals to community agencies and nonprofits that offer longer-term housing assistance. 

Additionally, data from the survey showed that even those who qualified for loans or other financial aid were sometimes lacking in basic needs. More than 44% of students experiencing housing insecurity had loans or other financial aid options available.

“On a campus where 42% of students are Pell-grant eligible and many live in high-cost areas, it’s not surprising that 41.5% of the respondents shared that they struggled with housing insecurity,” said Voss Plaxton.

“There are many examples in this survey of how students who self-identified as struggling with various basic needs had not benefited from related forms of support. This highlights [the need for] all student services offices heavily cross-promoting basic-needs services and making it convenient for students to find and use these services.” 

To help let students know these services are available, SJSU is launching the Share Your Spartan Heart campaign, starting Nov. 8 and continuing through Dec. 10. The campaign encourages giving to SJSU Cares and the Spartan Food Pantry, while letting faculty, staff and students know how they can support those programs.

While San José State offered many of these basic needs initiatives before the pandemic, the SJSU Cares team said the past year and a half has shined a spotlight on pre-existing inequities that needed to be addressed. 

Falter said the SJSU Cares team remains committed to connecting Spartans to campus and community resources that can alleviate stress associated with housing and food insecurity, thus freeing students up to focus on their education. 

Data collected by SJSU Cares between July and September demonstrated that SJSU was able to provide a total of 85 days of temporary emergency housing: 60 through University Housing Services and 25 using a hotel voucher program. During this time, SJSU Cares dispersed over $27,900 in Student Crisis Support Funds to 24 students to support their basic needs. Falter added that nearly 42% of the requests for assistance they received during that time were due to challenges related to the pandemic.

Learn more about SJSU Cares

SJSU students seeking help with basic needs can fill out the Request for Assistance form, which will prompt a case manager to schedule an appointment with you. SJSU Cares also offers drop-in hours for those in need of emergency rehousing. The SJSU Cares team is also available to give presentations about the services it provides.

The Spartan Food Pantry, which opened its doors in 2019 with support from the Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, is staffed by volunteers. There are pantry donation guidelines for those interested in giving food, menstrual or personal hygiene items. SJSU Cares also accepts monetary donations online.

SJSU Launches Share Your Spartan Heart Campaign

A heart split in two, one side red and the other side white with the blue Spartan Helmet.

Campus-wide effort to increase awareness and support for students in need

As San José State University prepares to open a central office to help students in crisis, it’s also launching a campaign to elevate awareness of the services available through the program.

The Share Your Spartan Heart campaign is designed to spread the word about the availability of emergency food and housing for students and provide multiple ways for faculty, staff and students to support the SJSU Cares program. Students facing an unforeseen financial crisis can receive direct assistance from SJSU Cares while those in need of food, housing, mental health counseling, or other resources can get short-term assistance while working with counselors to assess and address longer-term needs. The new office, which will hold an open house on Nov. 16, is intended to simplify student access to multiple services.

“Affordable housing, food insecurity and other basic needs continue to be of concern here on campus and across the entire Bay Area,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “The Share Your Spartan Heart campaign provides a tangible way for students, faculty and staff to donate whatever they can afford to help our students in need.”

There are four ways faculty, staff and students can participate in the campaign:

  • donate $1, $2, or $5 at registers in the Student Union and the bookstore,
  • give a meal from your dining plan to a fellow Spartan in need,
  • use Boost, a mobile food service app, to order a meal and $0.25 will be donated by Spartan Eats for each transaction, and
  • donate to charitable drives operated by different organizations partnering with Spartan Food Pantry.

SJSU Cares is working with Spartan Eats, the food and dining provider on campus, to administer the Share Your Spartan Heart campaign.

The campaign will be promoted across campus through email, social media, posters, flyers, table tents, the Sammy app and the SJSU website. It begins Monday, November 8, and runs through Friday, December 10.

Advancing Quality and Student Success at SJSU

Paseo walkway on SJSU's campus

SJSU’s campus is alive with activity as students bustle along one of its main walkways, the Paseo de César E. Chávez.

What to know about SJSU’s 2021 WSCUC accreditation review.

More than 36,000 students are enrolled at San José State University. How do we hold ourselves accountable to them and the rest of our community in achieving our mission? The answer starts with SJSU’s commitment to ensuring students succeed and includes an accreditation, which is an independent, third-party evaluation process.

This fall, San José State will begin its next review of our accreditation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission* (WSCUC), the regional accreditation body for universities in California, Hawaii and American territories in the Pacific.

What does WSCUC accreditation mean for SJSU?

Put simply: WSCUC accreditation is our university’s report card of our academic quality and educational effectiveness. In other words: How do we define and assess student learning, and how are we ensuring we are delivering a high quality, effective, equitable and sustainable educational experience?

SJSU’s WSCUC Accreditation Liaison Officer Junelyn Peeples, who is also vice provost for institutional effectiveness and strategic analytics, explained the goal for accreditation “is to help higher education institutions evaluate the efficacy of their educational delivery and its impact on student success.”

Furthermore, WSCUC’s approach to accreditation, she added, “aids institutions in developing and sustaining effective educational programs and assures the educational community and the general public that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.”

Every regional accrediting body has core competencies that its institutions must uphold, such as oral and written communication, information literacy and quantitative reasoning. WSCUC’s particular set of core competencies has been developed considering what the public would expect a global citizen to look like upon graduating at any given higher education institution.

Accreditation is also periodically reaffirmed by the WSCUC to allow the university to review and reflect on how it’s doing in relation to standards set for the colleges and universities in our region.

Read more about SJSU’s accreditation history.

Why is it important to SJSU?

“The accreditation process provides us a way to make an evaluation of what we’re doing and determine our direction moving forward: where we’re going to direct our attention, where we’re doing really well, and where we may need to readjust what we’re doing,” said Pam Richardson, professor of occupational therapy and faculty chair of SJSU’s accreditation review committee.

Accreditation is also tied to federal funding and impacts schools and colleges within our university — they would not be able to have accreditation of their professional programs if the university was not accredited.

“WSCUC focuses its attention on how we deliver curriculum and our support services to our students, particularly how students are able to demonstrate their learning,” added Peeples.

“And they do it very collaboratively, so we really engage in the process. For example, if there are major changes in the expectations of what institutions need to deliver, universities are part of the conversation about how to meaningfully focus our attention to make those adjustments.”

“I think [WSCUC] is very forward looking,” said Thalia Anagnos, vice provost for undergraduate education and member of SJSU’s accreditation review steering committee. “They see trends happening at the national level, and then create guidelines to help us stay up-to-date with them. Requiring meaningful assessment practices is a good example of how WSCUC has helped us maintain our accountability to the public and also our own students.”

What is the process of accreditation like for SJSU?

SJSU’s last accreditation reaffirmation was in 2015. Over the last 18 months, SJSU conducted a self study of its activities that involved eight components, including progress on the recommendations from WSCUC’s prior report and follow-up special visit in 2017.

A team of independent evaluators from other universities, including one from another California State University, will review SJSU’s self-study later this fall and then meet with representatives from the university for clarity on any questions they have before they make a campus visit in early spring 2022.

During our site visit, the team of evaluators will meet with the president, provost, chief financial officer as well as students, administrators, faculty and other stakeholder groups from the SJSU community over the course of three days.

The external review team then provides their recommendations about SJSU to WSCUC. WSCUC will determine whether we receive a 10-year or shorter term of accreditation and/or a special visit in a few years, in which case SJSU will work to address any outstanding issues that were noted by the reviewers.

Take a deeper dive into SJSU’s accreditation process.

What is important to note about SJSU’s 2021 self study?

As someone who has experience as a peer reviewer for other institutions’ accreditation, Peeples was energized when she reviewed SJSU’s self-study report.

“I’m really proud that San José State has focused on general education, and the work that we’re doing most institutions don’t tackle because it is such a heavy lift to assess, and this is one of the foundational pieces of how we demonstrate our educational effectiveness,” she said.

“We also are taking a holistic, comprehensive advising approach,” which she explains is reflective of our focus on student success.

“The report also does a nice job of linking our Transformation 2030 strategic plan to our initiatives supporting student success,” added Richardson.

SJSU has also worked to address leadership, campus climate as well as social injustice, equity and inclusion, which came up as recommendations in the last self study. Both Richardson and Peeples recognize progress in these areas, but they also acknowledge more work is still needed.

The true measure of San José State’s education as an accredited institution is that students are graduating with a degree for which they can competently identify the skills, knowledge and understanding of that subject matter in a meaningful way, and that they did it in a timely manner.

What else should the SJSU community know about this process?

Of particular note, explained Anagnos, is that this report was put together by several stakeholders at SJSU from every single division and area of the university — including a 25-member, faculty-led accreditation committee.

“Accreditation is really a collaborative effort, and we’ve been working on it for almost two years,” she added. “By having this kind of self reflection and cross-divisional discussion, we learned a lot about each other, and that’s a really important piece of the process.”

Peeples emphasized the opportunity this gives our community to take a step back and assess not only how we help students but also in what ways we may influence the impact our alumni make once they graduate. “As alumni of San José State University and global citizens, they bring something with them to the world that helps change it, and this is our chance to tell that story and how we make it happen.”

SJSU’s self study is available to view online. Coming soon, student, faculty and staff forums will be held for the community to respond and ask questions about the report and the process.


About WASC

*WASC was created in the early 1960s to “promote the development and accreditation of higher education in the western region of the United States.” Today, WASC accredits public and private higher education institutions throughout California, Hawaii, the Pacific and around the world and is recognized as an accrediting body by the US Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Two Must-See Speaker Series at SJSU This Fall

San José State University is offering a number of opportunities to hear from faculty experts and prominent public figures this semester through two unique speaker series: the Spartan Speaker Series and University Scholar Series.

The Spartan Speaker Series, organized by the Division of Student Affairs, will host five free online events covering topics important to and requested by San José State students, according to Sonja Daniels, associate vice president of campus life.

“The Spartan Speaker Series covers a range of topics or theme areas that we feel are critical to the lives of our students,” she said. “We choose a wide array of speakers from politics to the arts, writers, activists, as well as disability, LGBTQ+, gender and sexual assault advocates.”

Daniels indicated that many speakers are also selected to complement activities related to cultural heritage months, such as Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), Native American Heritage Month (November), Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May), and Pride/LGBTQ+ Heritage Month (June).

The University Scholar Series, hosted by the Office of the Provost, in partnership with the SJSU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, showcases faculty research and scholarly pursuits.

“The University Scholars Series provides a space for the campus community to engage with faculty whose research, scholarly, and creative activity is insightful, engaging and forward-thinking,” said Provost Vincent Del Casino, Jr. “We get to see the breadth of topics, challenges and issues that faculty consider. It is an amazing opportunity not just to hear each other speak but to also create an intellectual community.”


Spartan Speaker Series Event Schedule

Attendees should register in advance to receive the Zoom link required to attend.

Reframing American History with Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m., Zoom

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones will discuss The New York Times’s 1619 Project, an ongoing initiative that aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of our national narrative.

Register for Nikole Hannah-Jones

Exploring Creativity with Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera.

Gabby Rivera. Photo by Julieta Salgado.

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m., Zoom

​​Gabby Rivera, the first Latina to write for Marvel Comics, penned the solo series “America” about America Chavez, a portal-punching queer Latina powerhouse, as well as the critically acclaimed novel, “Juliet Takes a Breath.” Rivera will speak about the importance of prioritizing joy in queer and transgender people of color (QTPOC) communities.

Register for Gabby Rivera

Simu Liu’s Reflections on Family, Career and Persistence

Simu Liu.

Simu Liu.

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m., Zoom

Join Canadian actor, writer and stuntman Simu Liu for “Journey to Success: Reflections on Family, Career and Persistence.”

Liu is known for his performances as Jung Kim in the award-winning CBC Television sitcom “Kim’s Convenience” and Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings,” released in early September.

Register for Simu Liu

Green Girl Leah Thomas on Intersectional Environmentalism

Leah Thomas.

Leah Thomas.

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m., Zoom

Join Leah Thomas, founder of eco-lifestyle blog Green Girl Leah and The Intersectional Environmentalist Platform, a resource and media hub that advocates for inclusivity within environmental education, to learn how to dismantle systems of oppression while protecting the planet. This is Associated Students’ Cesar Chavez Community Action Center Legacy Week speaker.

Register for Leah Thomas

Seeking Voice, Purpose and Place with Janet Mock

Janet Mock.

Janet Mock.

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 6 p.m., Zoom

As the first transgender person to sign a production pact with a major studio, Janet Mock is no stranger to breaking barriers. The Emmy-nominated writer, director and executive producer of the FX drama series “Pose” and the Netflix limited series “Hollywood” and “Monster,” Mock is also a New York Times-bestselling author of two memoirs, “Redefining Realness” and “Surpassing Certainty.”

Register for Janet Mock

 

 


University Scholar Series Events Schedule

All events will be offered in a hybrid (“live” in-person and virtual) format. Please register online to get the most up-to-date event information.

Fascism Versus Fact with Professor Ryan Skinnell

Wednesday, Sept. 22, noon, Zoom and MLK 225

Fascists don’t just come to power — they use rhetoric. One key to understanding fascist rhetoric is to understand fascists’ relationship to truth.

Join Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Ryan Skinnell as he distinguishes between two kinds of truth: factual and fascist. An expert in political rhetoric and public discourse, Skinnell has written, edited or co-edited six books, including “Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us About Donald J. Trump and Rhetoric and Guns” (forthcoming).

Register for “Two Truths and a Big Lie: The ‘Honest’ Mendacity of Fascist Rhetoric.”

Disorder to Diversity with Professor Pei-Tzu Tsai

Wednesday, Oct. 20, noon, Zoom and MLK 225

One out of 100 people experience stuttering, a speech disorder that is genetic-neurological in nature. Associate Professor of Communicative Disorders and Sciences Pei-Tzu Tsai will explore the underlying factors of stuttering and stuttering therapy to develop culturally and linguistically responsive services for individuals who stutter.

Recipient of the 2020 SJSU distinguished faculty mentor award, Tsai has worked at a summer camp for kids who stutter and at a gender-affirming voice and communication clinic at the Kay Armstead Center for Communicative Disorders. She has also established a fluency specialty clinic.

Register for “Learning from Stuttering: A Path from Disorder to Diversity.”

Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion with Susanna Khavul

Wednesday, Dec. 1, noon, Zoom and MLK 225

In the United States, 50 million adults and their 15 million children have no access to formal financial services. Mobile money has made low-cost transfers, payments and financial services available to more people.

Join Susanna Khavul, professor in the School of Management for the Lucas College of Graduate School and Business, executive director of the Global Leadership Advancement Center and visiting professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, as she shares how innovative high technology firms compete in a global economy — and how mobile finance could be part of the solution.

Register for “Is Mobile Money a Digital Gateway to Financial Inclusion?”

Learn more about the fall 2021 Spartan Speaker Series and the University Scholar Series.

 

What’s New at SJSU: Updates to Campus Services, Events and Resources

Students walking through the SJSU gates on campus.

The Spartan community is back on campus for the first time in a year and a half, and the campus looks a bit different, including several changes made to facilities. Here’s a preview of what to expect this fall.

Air Filtration

San José State optimized building ventilation systems to maximize outside air intake (fresh air) and installed MERV 13 filters to filter re-circulated air and remove as many aerosol particles (i.e. very small particles containing the virus) as possible, in accordance with EPA recommendations for indoor public spaces.

In places that have been determined to have poor ventilation or have a use case scenario that would warrant increased ventilation beyond what the building system could provide, SJSU will deploy a portable air filtering HEPA unit.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

As of Aug. 2, all floors of King library are open to the SJSU community. To access the study spaces and research collections on floors six through eight, you will need your Tower ID.

Hammer Theatre

The beloved Hammer Theatre is welcoming back patrons this fall with a full list of exciting in-person performances. Visit the Hammer Theatre website for more information on these performances and what you need to know regarding COVID-19 safety protocols before you attend a show.

Sustainability

There are now solar panels and 50 EV charging stations at the South Campus Park & Ride; 25 of them have dual charging capability. There are currently eight to 10 charging stations on main campus that were installed this summer with four-hour maximum use.

Solar panels were also added to provide electrical power to the CEFCU Stadium area, lightening our carbon footprint while providing some shade during events.

Dining

Panda Express in the Student Union has upgraded their wok station to speed up orders. In addition, you can now place your order and schedule a pickup through the Boost app to save time when you’re on the go.

San José State is introducing Burger 408, its first “ghost kitchen,” featuring delicious burgers, fries and sides, fried chicken sandwiches and tenders, and more. All orders are made through the Boost app and picked up at the window at the Student Union.

In spring of 2022, Halal Shack will replace Steak and Shake and will offer authentic and delicious Halal food for the entire community.

Athletics

SJSU opened the new South Campus Multi-Level Parking Structure and Sports Field Facility, including a 2-acre recreation field with a state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface and art honoring the “Speed City” athletes and track and field coach Bill Winter. The four-level, 1,500-stall parking structure overlooks the new field, which features a dedicated public walkway around the perimeter.

Fans planning to cheer on the 2020 Mountain West champion Spartan football team will notice a new state-of-the-art scoreboard at CEFCU Stadium. Don’t miss the first home game on Saturday, Aug. 28, against Southern Utah.

Health and Well-being

YOU@SJSU is a wellness learning and resource tool for students, including tips and tools for everything from mental and physical health to friendships and finding balance. Students can also set personalized goals and track their progress in achieving them with interactive support included in the app.

SJSU Cares will open a new space (anticipated in fall) on the first floor of Clark Hall. Students can receive the confidential support to address basic needs through individual meetings with case managers, on-site connections to partner agencies that support self-sufficiency, and workshops.

The Office of Sustainability and SJSU Cares have partnered to establish the Clothes Closet, a new resource for SJSU students providing a steady source of gently worn clothing and new essential items such as underwear and socks. It is also tentatively scheduled to open in fall.

Technology and Cybersecurity

Outdoor WiFi will blanket almost all of the SJSU campus in WiFi 6, the latest standard for stable, reliable wireless broadband connectivity. This will activate more spaces around campus for learning and studying.

A new SJSU Events Calendar is mobile friendly, more visible and plugged into social media, allowing events to be searchable via hashtags and listings to be populated directly into Google Calendar and Outlook. The “I’m interested” feature provides logged-in users with recommendations for upcoming events based on ones they’ve already attended.

Fall Welcome From President Mary Papazian

President Mary Papazian

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to the SJSU campus community on Thursday, August 19.

Dear campus community,

I am delighted to welcome SJSU’s students, faculty and staff to the fall semester and the 2021-2022 academic year. And, after operating in a mostly virtual environment for nearly a year-and-a-half, I am especially pleased to welcome many of you back to campus.

I know the City of San José and our downtown community echo those sentiments and also look forward to the vibrancy and energy that our campus community brings to the city.

While many of us share in the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the return to campus, I know there remains anxiety for others, particularly with the emergence of the Delta variant. We are still in the midst of a public health crisis, so as we do repopulate our campus, I want to assure everyone that we will continue to remain vigilant and flexible with our policy guidance, with the health and safety of our campus community remaining our highest priority. Continue to wear a mask, get vaccinated before the September 30 deadline, and visit the Health Advisories website for the latest COVID-19 information and FAQs.

I very much appreciate how nimble our campus community has been throughout this period, and I am confident that we will continue to navigate the changing environment with kindness, understanding, and a caring attitude that focuses on the health and safety of all members of our community. We truly are in this together.


In lieu of a traditional, in-person Fall Welcome address this semester, I instead invite you to view a series of short video messages I have prepared, each of which touches on various aspects of the upcoming academic year. You can also read the complete Fall Welcome address on my blog site.

I would also encourage you to watch the brief video messages provided by our Academic Senate Chair, Alison McKee, and our Associated Students President, Anoop Kaur. I appreciate that they took the time to record their own special message for our campus community, and I know they will each bring value this year in their respective roles.

Our SJSU Together campaign features an astounding variety of “welcome back” activities for our campus community this fall, so I hope you will take advantage of some of the many opportunities to reconnect with your peers, colleagues and classmates.

As we begin the Fall 2021 semester and new academic year, let us all be reminded that there is a reason—many of them, in fact—why San José State University was ranked by Money magazine last year as the #1 Most Transformative University in the nation.

As I note in my full Fall Welcome, rankings are wonderful, and it is always nice to be recognized.

But we know who we are. We are Spartans, and we transform lives. It really is that simple.

Welcome back to campus, everyone. I hope you have a rewarding semester!

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary A. Papazian
President

SJSU Welcomes Spartan Community Back With SJSU Together Campaign


After nearly 17 months of remote learning and telecommuting during the COVID-19 pandemic, San José State University is preparing for the return of students, faculty and staff to the campus this month.

As part of the SJSU Together campaign, a wide variety of activities and events are planned to celebrate the community and invoke a sense of pride. Spartans can also expect to see a host of new and upgraded facilities and resources on campus that took place over the last year and a half.

Here are a few of the ways San José State is gearing up for the start of the new academic year.

Celebrating Faculty and Staff

Aug. 9 through Aug. 25

San José State’s faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the campus kept moving forward during this unprecedented year. Now, some will be returning after more than a year away, while others will be setting foot at 1 Washington Square for the first time.

That’s why SJSU has organized activities to honor its employees, including outdoor yoga, group walks around campus, social gatherings outside with new and familiar colleagues and much more.

Events to note:
Aug. 11, 3:45 – 5 p.m. New Employee Social, Bell/Rose Garden
Faculty and staff who joined SJSU since Mar. 17, 2020, can meet colleagues in person and connect.

Aug. 25, 3 – 4 p.m. | Faculty and Staff Social, Bell/Rose Garden


Weeks of Welcome (WOW)

Aug. 16 – Sept. 22, times and activities vary

At the start of each academic year, SJSU organizes campus-wide programming spanning the first five to six weeks of instruction. The goal is to welcome returning students and greet and support new students in their transition to the Spartan community.

Students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of events and activities in areas including academics, wellness, social justice*, career, Spartan spirit, social/community building and campus resources. Programming this year will be a mix of hybrid, fully online and in person.

*Social justice activities refer to those that promote students’ development or self advocacy and voice and engage in topics around social justice and community transformation.

Events to note:
Aug. 16, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | New Student Convocation, virtual
SJSU’s formal welcome of our new Spartans and their parents, family members and/or supporters.

Aug. 19, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Weeks of Welcome Kick-Off, 7th St. Plaza
Pick up your schedule for all Weeks of Welcome events and enjoy snacks, music and SJSU giveaways.

Aug. 23, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Weeks of Welcome Kick-Off, Tower Lawn

Aug. 24, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Weeks of Welcome Kick-Off, Housing Quad


SJSU Loves SJ

ongoing

The SJSU Loves SJ initiative is a partnership between San José State and Visit San Jose, the Downtown Association, Japantown Business Association, and San José City Hall to help increase students’ connection with and appreciation of the culture of San Jose’s vibrant surrounding community. The university plays an important role in the economic vitality of downtown San Jose, and there are many local venues and landmarks students, faculty and staff can explore just steps from campus.

Events to note:
Aug. 19, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Student welcome event, Swenson Gate on 4th Street and the Paseo de San Antonio
Student social event on the first day of classes, includes snacks and giveaways from local businesses.

Aug. 19 – 20, dusk – 10 p.m. | Lighting of City Hall Tower and Rotunda, 200 E. Santa Clara St.
San Jose’s City Hall plaza will be lit up with SJSU’s blue and gold colors at dusk.

Aug. 23, 9 a.m. | SJSU flag raising at City Hall
Marks the return of the SJSU community to downtown and celebrates our partnership with the city.


(Re)Discover SJSU

ongoing

Now in its second year, (Re)Discover SJSU is a digital campaign that invites the San José State community to utilize their informational website and social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) to learn about and share campus programs, services and events.
The dashboard updates regularly throughout the academic year with new opportunities to explore and engage with the campus community.


New Campus Facilities and Services

In addition to welcome festivities, here are a few of the new things to expect on campus this year.

Landscape

Behind the scenes, university personnel have been planning ahead to ensure Spartans, many of whom have yet to set foot on campus, feel properly welcomed to SJSU. This includes banners decorated with colorful art and the SJSU logo — some featuring the word “welcome” stated in multiple languages — hanging along the pedestrian paseos spanning the length of campus.

Health and Well-being

YOU@SJSU is a wellness learning and resource tool that provides students with tips and tools for everything from mental and physical health to friendships and finding balance. Students can also set personalized goals and track their progress in achieving them with interactive support included in the app.

SJSUCares will open a new space (anticipated in fall) in Clark Hall. Students can receive the confidential support to address basic needs through individual meetings with case managers, on-site connections to partner agencies that support self-sufficiency, and workshops.

The Office of Sustainability and SJSU Cares also partnered to establish the Clothes Closet, a new resource for SJSU students providing a steady source of gently worn clothing and new essential items such as underwear and socks. It is tentatively scheduled to also open in fall.

Technology and Cybersecurity

Outdoor WiFi will blanket almost all of the SJSU campus in WiFi 6, the latest standard for stable, reliable wireless broadband connectivity that can host far more devices than previous standards. This will activate more spaces around campus for learning and studying, as well enabling a future strategy for an IoT-based Smart Campus.

A new SJSU Events Calendar is mobile friendly, more visible and plugged into social media, allowing events to be searchable via hashtags and listings to be populated directly into Google Calendar and Outlook. The “I’m interested” feature provides logged-in users with recommendations for upcoming events based on ones they’ve already attended.

Duo Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is now live for all SJSU accounts. MFA significantly reduces the potential impact from ransomware and phishing attacks.

SJSU partnered with industry-leading software security companies to give our campus population free access to security software for their home devices.

Athletics

SJSU welcomes the new South Campus Multilevel Parking Structure and Sports Field Facility, including a 2-acre recreation field and art honoring the “Speed City” athletes and their famed track and field coach Bill Winter. The four-level, 1,500 stall parking structure overlooks the new field. The field itself is a state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface and features a dedicated public walkway encircling its perimeter.

Fans planning to cheer on the 2020 Mountain West champion Spartan football team will notice a new state-of-the-art scoreboard at CEFCU Stadium. The first home game is Saturday, Aug. 28, against Southern Utah.

Facilities

There are now solar panels and 50 EV charging stations at the South Campus Park & Ride; 25 of them have dual charging capability. There are currently eight to 10 charging stations on main campus that were installed this summer with four hour maximum use.

Solar panels were added to provide electrical power to the CEFCU Stadium area, lightening our carbon footprint while providing some shade as well.

Panda Express in the Student Union has an upgraded wok station to speed up orders. In addition, you can now place your order and schedule pickup times through the Boost app to save time.

San José State is introducing Burger 408, its first “ghost kitchen,” featuring delicious burgers, fries and sides, sauces, fried chicken sandwiches and tenders. All orders are made through the Boost app and picked up at the window at the Student Union.

In spring of 2022, Halal Shack will replace Steak and Shake and will offer authentic and delicious Halal food for the entire community.

Inaugural Economic and Social Impact Report Shows SJSU Contributes $4.1 Billion to California Economy

As the most transformative university in the nation, San José State’s impact on the lives of its students, faculty, staff and alumni is apparent in a multitude of ways. Thanks to a new economic and social impact report conducted by Beacon Economics using 2018-2019 fiscal year data, SJSU’s contribution to the state of California is quantifiable — generating more than $4.1 billion in total economic output for the Golden State. 

As the only public university in the Silicon Valley — a haven for investment in global innovation, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge technology — SJSU’s return on investment is transformative for the city of San José, the region and the state. For every dollar in state funding, SJSU generates $24 in economic output in California. 

“This report highlights the tremendous value our campus brings to our communities and neighborhoods,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “Our local businesses thrive, our arts districts crackle and our civic pride swells, all due to the tens of thousands of students, staff, faculty members and other university supporters and stakeholders who populate and visit our campus.”

The report shows Spartan pride is present throughout the state, with SJSU supporting 25,462 jobs in California. A little more than 52 percent of those jobs are in the Bay Area — meaning SJSU generates employment opportunities that support the region while also maintaining and expanding existing jobs at other companies through SJSU-related spending. Overall, SJSU generates $2.4 billion in economic output for the Bay Area.

It’s not all about the money

SJSU’s impact is much more than just dollars and cents. SJSU’s true value, a direct reflection of the university’s mission to help students achieve their higher education goals in pursuit of a career, is showcased throughout the 84-page report. 

The university’s student population is 83 percent people of color and 42 percent first generation. As a top seven public school in the West, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 rankings, underrepresented students are gaining access to a world-class California State University (CSU) education at an affordable rate. This leads to upward social mobility, the foundation of the #1 Most Transformative University ranking by Money magazine.

“With a degree from a university located in the heart of innovation and creativity, students are laying the foundation for generations of their families and communities to not only have their voice be heard but also be the leading voice in important conversations in our world,” said Vincent Del Casino, Jr., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Beacon’s report says, on average, SJSU undergraduates graduate with $15,720 in student debt, less than half the average debt of California college graduates ($34,861). In turn, SJSU graduates are recruited by the world’s most influential companies, some of which are in Silicon Valley.

“SJSU’s alumni demonstrate that spending tens of thousands of dollars more on education is not necessary to achieve success or to work for competitive companies,” writes Beacon in their report. 

“SJSU’s College of Engineering provides more entry-level engineers to Silicon Valley’s Cisco Systems and Apple than any other university, and SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business is the largest provider of business graduates to Silicon Valley.”

Local impact is global impact

Undergraduates are also well equipped with research experience as early as their first year of college. SJSU is a top 200 research university in the nation in spending, second in the CSU system. Along with pioneering research collaborations, SJSU’s cutting-edge exploration in areas like wildfires and marine science — through the nation’s largest wildfire research center, the Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, respectively — help students begin to transform the world during their time in downtown San Jose. 

“Given the far-reaching nature of Silicon Valley, research done at SJSU on a local level truly has a global impact,” said Mohamed Abousalem, vice president for research and innovation. “Our emphasis on having students participate in research early in their academic careers leads to experience with top-notch faculty that helps prepare them for success once they graduate.”

SJSU’s research, curriculum, and activities are community-centered. Spartans give back in a variety of ways, including:

  • CommUniverCity, which contributed $982,900 worth of community service in one year alone. Since its inception in 2005, CommUniverCity has contributed over $8.4 million in service to the local community, engaging over 115,000 residents directly.
  • Partnerships with the City of San Jose expand arts and cultural resources to city residents through the Hammer Theatre and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.
  • The Center for Development of Recycling provides research and technical support to the Counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo on their recycling programs. Students contributed over $1.7 million in in-kind services to the counties.
  • Giving community members a second chance at building their lives. The Records Clearance Project (RCP) allows Justice Studies students to provide legal assistance to low-income community members. With a 99 percent success rate, RCP has helped residents remove over $120,000 worth of debt and helped dismiss over 1,600 convictions for more than 550 individuals.
  • The Beyond Sparta program. Beyond Sparta engages all student-athletes with the community to not only provide service, but also provide them opportunities to professionally develop their own skills.

Editor’s Note: Beacon Economics’ full report is available on the SJSU Economic and Social Impact Report website.

Recognizing SJSU’s COVID-19 Campus Heroes

Many in the Spartan community have not set foot on campus for more than a year. But during the pandemic, the university remained open, and some reported to work on campus every day to keep it clean and beautiful for when SJSU students, faculty and staff would return. Meet Lila Garcia and David Johnson, two of SJSU’s COVID-19 heroes who cared for the campus during the pandemic.

SJSU Launches Inaugural Sustainability Faculty Cohort

Sustainability Faculty Cohort.

Ten SJSU faculty have been selected for the Sustainability Faculty Cohort: top row, l-r: Lecturer Roni Abusaad; Lecturer Sung Jay Ou; Assistant Professor Tianqin Shi; Assistant Professor Faranak Memarzadeh; second row l-r: Associate Professor Edith Kinney; Associate Professor Minghui Diao; Lecturer A. William Musgrave; Lecturer Thomas Shirley; bottom row l-r: Lecturer Igor Tyukhov; and Associate Professor John Delacruz. Image courtesy of the Office of Sustainability.

San José State Justice Studies Lecturer Roni Abusaad is excited to incorporate a module on the environment and human rights law as part of his Human Rights and Justice course this fall.

“This is an evolving area of human rights law and a great opportunity for students to understand the interconnectivity of all rights and connect theory to current issues like climate change,” Abusaad said at a May 24 faculty presentation.

Abusaad is one of 10 SJSU faculty members who are prepared to lead the way in the university’s inaugural Sustainability Faculty Cohort, who will include sustainability modules into their curriculum this fall. The cohort complements existing extracurricular and co-curricular initiatives offered through the Office of Sustainability, the Campus Community Garden and the Environmental Resource Center and offers a chance for faculty to become campus leaders in sustainability education.

The Center for Faculty Development, the Office of Sustainability and CommUniverCity hosted an informational workshop for SJSU faculty this spring to offer information about sustainability and how they could apply for a stipend to develop a sustainability module for their courses.

“There are many different definitions of sustainability,” said SJSU Professor of Geology and Science Education Ellen Metzger, who helped organize the initiative. “In our workshop, we defined it in terms of the three ‘e’s: economy, equity and environment. We used those three pillars to invite faculty to envision where their discipline might connect to one of the themes of sustainability.”

The workshop also highlighted the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015 as part of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs provide a “global blueprint for dignity, peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future” and supply a framework for interdisciplinary teaching and learning about sustainability. Earlier this year, the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, which measure worldwide progress around SDGS, ranked SJSU in the top 30 universities among U.S. universities and in the top 500 internationally.

While students have many opportunities to learn about sustainability on and off campus, the faculty cohort ensures that Spartans can learn discipline-specific applications in areas such as hospitality and tourism management, business development, mechanical engineering and more.

“Higher education has a transformative influence on society, and if we want to empower students to become agents of change, it’s going to require us rethinking how we do things,” said Metzger.

“Universities, both in terms of teaching and research, are really well-poised to lead this reframing. What do we want the future to look like? If we want to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we must accept that nothing will change unless education changes.”

The desire to become campus sustainability leaders is evident at SJSU. More faculty applied to participate in the inaugural cohort than could be accommodated this fall. Metzger said that the applications demonstrated a hunger to emphasize sustainability in all disciplines — great news, considering that the Office of Sustainability hopes to continue the cohort program indefinitely.

The Campus Community Garden is just one of the many sustainability initiatives at SJSU. Photo by David Schmitz.

“Our campus has made amazing progress to make our facilities sustainable, from incorporating recycled water in all of our non-potable uses to installing solar panels on every suitable surface. I think this initiative builds on that foundation,” said Senior Utility and Sustainability Analyst Debbie Andres, ’07 Chemical Engineering.

Participating faculty will receive a $500 professional development grant courtesy of PepsiCo and are encouraged to share their experiences with other faculty at future Center for Faculty Development workshops.

“We have always offered amazing courses in every college that focus on sustainability, showing that it can and should be incorporated into every department,” continued Andres. “But we have never had a formal cohort dedicated to curriculum development. We saw how successful and well-attended our workshop was and we plan on this being the start of annual workshops.”

“Together faculty can help students develop the skills, knowledge and outlooks that will help them see themselves as change agents and offer opportunities to make a difference,” added Metzger.

Learn more about SJSU’s sustainability initiatives.

Spartan Gold Standard: Remembering Lee Evans (1947-2021)

Above: Watch NBC’s TODAY segment “A Life Well Lived” on Lee Evans that aired Sunday, May 23, 2021.

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran on the SJSU Athletics website.

Best known as a 1968 two-time Mexico City Olympic Games track and field champion, Lee Evans, ’70 Physical Education (1947-2021) died at age 74 in Nigeria.

At 21 years old, the Madera, Calif., native was a pillar of San José State’s world-renowned brand known as “Speed City.” As a slender 158-pound college student by his own admission, he won gold medals in the men’s 400 meters and the men’s 4×400 meter relay at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games in world and Olympic Games record-setting times. Mr. Evans is the university’s first and only two-time Olympic Games gold medal winner.

Lee Evans was the first person to run 400 meters under 44.0 seconds with his winning time of 43.86. And, Mr. Evans ran the anchor leg of the victorious USA 4×400 relay team that crossed the finish line with a clocking of 2:56.16. The gold-medal winning 400-meter time remained a world record until 1988 and the 4×400 relay world mark stood until 1992.

Lee Evans with coach Bud Winter

Lee Evans (right) with coach Lloyd (Bud) Winter. Courtesy: SJSU Athletics

The winning performances were in the shadow of controversy. Evans had considered withdrawing from Olympic competition following San José State and USA teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos were expelled from the Olympic Village. After Smith won the men’s 200-meter dash with Carlos finishing third, both athletes raised a clenched fist in the air during the victory stand ceremony. Approaching the victory stand following his 400-meter victory, Mr. Evans, silver medalist Larry James and bronze medalist Ron Freeman wore black berets as their sign of support for the Olympic Project for Human Rights.

For his gold medal-winning performances, he was named Track & Field News’ U.S. College Athlete of the Year. From 1966 through 1968 and again in 1970, he was ranked #1 in the world in the 400 meters by Track & Field News. Mr. Evans also was ranked in the top-10 in the 400 by Track and Field News in 1969 (second), 1971 (ninth) and 1972 (third).

The 1970 San José State graduate was captain of the Spartans’ 1969 team that won the NCAA Division I Men’s Outdoor Track and Field championship in Knoxville, Tenn. While at San José State, Mr. Evans also was a member of the Spartans’ 1967 world-record-setting 880-yard relay team that included Tommie Smith, Ken Shackelford and Bob Talmadge.

Editor’s Note: Watch SJSU’s profile of the SJSU Speed City legacy

“Social Justice Advocate”

His track and field notoriety runs parallel to his humanitarian contributions in the United States and, particularly, in the African continent.

According to Dr. Harry Edwards, the founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and San José State graduate, “Lee Evans was one of the greatest athletes and social justice advocates in an era that produced a generation of such courageous, committed, and contributing athlete-activists.

“He was an originating founder and advocate of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and what evolved in the late 1960’s into an all-out revolt among Black athletes over issues of injustice and inequality both within and beyond the sports arena. In no small measure, today’s athletes can stand taller, see farther and more clearly, and reach higher in pursuit of achievement and change in both sport and society because they stand on the shoulders of GIANTS such as Lee Evans.”

From left to right: Ken Noel, Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, Harry Edwards, San José State student body president James Edwards.

1967 – The Olympic Project for Human Rights first/organizing meeting. From left to right: Ken Noel, Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, Harry Edwards, San José State student body president James Edwards. Courtesy: Dr. Harry Edwards

Mr. Evans shared his knowledge and experiences in track and field with interested parties of all ages domestically and internationally.  There were college coaching appointments at San José State, the University of Washington, and the University of South Alabama.

He served as the director of athletics for Special Olympics International from 1988 to 1990. Evans provided technical assistance to Special Olympics programs in the United States, its territories and 90 countries around the world.

The United States Information Service (U.S.I.S.) agency appointed Mr. Evans as a track and field clinician for Sports America as a leader of coaching clinics throughout the world, particularly, in developing countries.

Editor’s Note: Read the 2018 Washington Square feature on Lee Evans

The Humanitarian – Nelson Mandela Award Recipient

A Fulbright Scholar, Mr. Evans spent much of his post-competitive life on the African continent as a track and field coach and a humanitarian. He was a professor of biomechanics at the Cameroon National Institute of Youth and Sports and an associate professor of physical education at the University of Ife in Nigeria.

Mr. Evans coached the national track and field teams of Qatar, Cameroon and Nigeria.

In 1991, he was a recipient of a Nelson Mandela Award given to those who “…stood for the values of equality and friendship and respect of human rights, against apartheid and any form of racism.” In the 1980’s, Mr. Evans was focused on the Madagascar Project which included providing a fresh water supply, power, and electricity; creating economic self-sufficiency through profitable cash crop farming; improving the transportation system; and access to medical care.

Lee Evans in 2016

Lee Evans at a Hall of Fame banquet in 2016. Evans won two gold medals at the 1968 Olympics. Courtesy: SJSU Athletics

More Honors

A member of the San José State Hall of Fame, he also is enshrined in the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, U.S.A. Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, the city of San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, and the African American Athletes Hall of Fame. Mr. Evans also was a 1994 recipient of a NCAA Silver Anniversary Award honoring exceptional student-athletes for their life’s work 25 years after completing a college career.

“The first time I walked into the old gym at SJSU as an undergraduate, I learned of the legend of Lee Evans,” said Marcos Breton (Class of 1986, journalism) and a Sacramento Bee columnist. “The records of Mr. Evans were emblazoned on the wall along with Tommie Smith, John Carlos and other world class sprinters and Olympic champions who were Spartans. His Olympic gold medal will always be a source of pride for all Spartans. I’m honored to have met a kind and truly humble man and like many, I’ll never forget the grace with which Lee Evans represented his country and our university.”

SJSU Among Top Universities in U.S. in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

A picture of Tower Hall

San José State University’s streak of impressive showings in national and international rankings continues with today’s release of the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. SJSU finished in the top 30 among U.S. institutions and top 500 worldwide.

The third edition of the worldwide rankings — which measure university progress around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — included SJSU for the first time. SDGs were adopted by all member states of the United Nations in 2015 in an effort to establish a global partnership to end poverty and other deprivations while also preserving the planet. Universities can participate in some or all of the 17 SDGs.

SJSU participated in five SDGs: Good Health and Wellbeing; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Life Below Water; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Partnership for the Goals — a mandatory category for all 1,115 institutions across the globe who participated in the rankings.

“Sustainability and equity remain two of the big priorities of our time, not only here at our campus but also around the world,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. 

“Our good showing in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings reflects how SJSU has become an innovative leader in these areas. It is a tribute to our interdisciplinary approach and commitment on the part of so many in our campus community.”

Along with continued progress in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion — including action steps the university is taking to address systemic racismPapazian said SJSU is striving toward a future whereby all students graduate with a firm understanding of what it means to be sustainable. This entails students learning through curricular, and co-curricular, activities how their actions and choices can have a positive or negative impact on the sustainability of our environment. 

The university is also working to help faculty members incorporate sustainability into their curricula, she added.

The results

SJSU’s best showing was in the Life Below Water SDG, finishing in the top 10 in the U.S. and #62 in the world. In this category, THE focuses on how “universities are protecting and enhancing aquatic ecosystems like lakes, ponds, streams, wetlands, rivers, estuaries and the open ocean.” SJSU’s scores in water-sensitive waste disposal and research — led primarily by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories — helped elevate the university high in the rankings.

“SJSU is truly transformative for students, faculty and staff, not only in the classroom but also for our communities and the environments we live in,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr., who, along with SJSU’s Office of Institutional Research, led the charge in submission of materials for the ranking. 

“This ranking is a testament to the partnerships we continue to foster and grow and the impact we are leaving behind for not only this generation, but future generations as well.”

San José State finished in the top 15 in the U.S. in Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and top 25 in Sustainable Cities and Communities. Among participants worldwide, SJSU was in the top 200 in both categories.

According to THE, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions focused on “universities’ research on law and international relations, their participation as advisers for government and their policies on academic freedom.” 

SJSU’s university governance measures and work with local, state and national governments played a role in the top 15 U.S. ranking.

Sustainable Cities and Communities, according to THE, highlights the “interaction between universities and their communities, urban and rural” and how higher education institutions must “act as custodians of heritage and environment in their communities, a sustainable community must have access to its history and culture in order to thrive.” 

SJSU’s expenditures and support in the arts and heritage were the strongest factors in the ranking.

This is the first major ranking for SJSU in 2021. Last year, SJSU was named the #1 Most Transformative University by Money magazine based on the magazine’s exclusive value-added scores for graduation rates, post-graduation earnings and student loan repayment.

Virtual Admitted Spartan Days Provide an In-Depth Preview of the SJSU Experience

Admitted Spartan Days

Admitted Spartan Days launches online on April 10.

While the pandemic has shifted much of the college search for prospective students online, San José State University has excelled at creating virtual experiences to showcase all that SJSU has to offer. Starting April 10, newly admitted students can choose from more than 100 virtual presentations and workshops to get the information they need to enroll in fall 2021. 

By making resources available online in both real time and pre-recorded videos, future Spartans can navigate the offerings at their own pace and determine if SJSU is the best fit for them. Cathy Hernandez, ’24 Software Engineering, attended the virtual Admitted Spartan Days in spring 2020—and the experience sealed the deal for the Los Angeles native.

“Everywhere else I applied, I had seen or visited in person,” said Hernandez. “But I realized that SJSU was a really solid option for me after I followed SJSU social media and attended the online Admitted Spartan activities. It was really nice attending all the online events with my parents in our living room.”

Hernandez signed up for virtual campus tours, Q&As with her college and department, and a few other informational sessions. An aspiring software engineer, Hernandez was impressed with the Charles Davidson College of Engineering’s offerings, as well as the benefit of the university’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

She searched for fellow Spartans using the hashtag #SJSU on Instagram to find other engineering majors and ask student ambassadors questions about life on and off campus. By late spring, she was convinced that San José State was a good fit, even though her start at SJSU would be atypical due to the pandemic.

“I know this isn’t the college experience I had been anticipating, but I still feel like I am getting a good education, one where I enjoy learning,” said Hernandez.

This year’s Admitted Spartan Days virtual events will kick off with welcome sessions  from college deans and videos that introduce students to life at SJSU. The two-week event will continue with virtual tours, Zoom workshops and presentations. Additional webinars will highlight student success centers, athletics, university housing, financial aid and scholarships, career planning, student advising and more. 

To access the full list of virtual Admitted Spartan Days events, visit sjsu.edu/admittedspartandays. 

New Campus Master Plan Aims to Revitalize San José State Campus and University Properties

Aerial image of SJSU campus

The university invites community members’ input in transforming the institution to meet tomorrow’s needs. 

San José State is launching a new Campus Master Plan (CMP) to anticipate the future spatial needs of the university. This is a process that occurs every few decades and will revitalize the physical development of the main and south campuses, the university’s off-campus properties and connections with the City of San José through 2040. 

The CMP guides a strategy for future growth applicable to campus land use and building, the public realm, mobility, and infrastructure. 

It builds upon goals outlined in the school’s Transformation 2030 strategic plan and serves as the university’s long-term planning guide for accommodating projected student enrollment and all related educational programs and administrative services. 

“The campus master plan is a vital component of our university’s civic engagement,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian.

“Though today’s SJSU student won’t be studying or living on campus in 20 years, they may very well be a city council member, a local resident, a parent of a prospective student, or a business owner, and thus feel a personal stake in how the campus develops over time. The same may be said of our current faculty and staff. So I hope all members of SJSU will come to understand this and consider how they might contribute to the campus master planning process.”

Map of SJSU Campus

Image: Map of the SJSU campus

Share input on the CMP

There will be extensive community outreach during the next three years as the plan progresses, and the community is invited to participate in this process. 

From now through March 31, the CMP’s Virtual Open House will help visitors learn more about this important campus project and provide opportunities to share input.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes increasingly vital for us to take into account what we’ve learned, what we can shed, and what we will successfully leverage from how we’ve adapted,” said Vincent Del Casino, Jr., SJSU Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and co-chair of the CMP Advisory Committee. 

“We appreciate the opportunity to engage with our community and join together on a shared vision of how we will reimagine the built environment of the campus.”

There will also be several live, online community meetings and opportunities to ask questions, provide input and be a part of the process of re-envisioning the university.

Gaining community feedback is a vital educational opportunity for the university and its constituents, as it will help guide the refinement of the CMP and ensure parties that are crucial to the successful development of the campus are involved. 

The CMP is also an opportunity for students to learn more about their campus, the way it works as a place, and its structural environment. The plan will take a long-term outlook—beyond the short term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—taking into account what is possible for campus life, post-pandemic, when we are allowed to gather and meet in person.

“Being the oldest university in the West with an urban campus, and the synergy and richness that comes with being located directly in the San José community, there are challenges we face in terms of space, age of buildings and land use,” said Charlie Faas, CFO and Vice President of Administration and Finance and co-chair of the CMP Advisory Committee. 

“This Campus Master Plan provides a unique opportunity to further transform Money magazine’s #1 Most Transformative University in the country to meet the modern and future needs of our campus community.” 

Spartan Speaker Series to Focus on Racism, Mental Health, Gender and More, Kicks Off Feb. 10

This semester, the San José State community can take a deep dive into topics such as racism, activism, mental health, gender and identity. The Spring 2021 Spartan Speaker Series at SJSU kicks off virtually on Wednesday, Feb. 10, with comedian, host and producer Baratunde Thurston. The entire series is free and open to the public.

Baratunde Thurston
Deconstructing Racism with Baratunde Thurston

Thurston will give his talk, “How to Deconstruct Racism and Laugh at the Same Time,” at 7 p.m. via Zoom. An Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show and even advised the Obama White House, Thurston is the author of the New York Times bestseller “How to Be Black.” He’s also the executive producer and host of “We’re Having a Moment”—a podcast examining the intersection of the global pandemic, the fight for racial justice and the spotlight on policing in the U.S—as well as “How to Citizen with Baratunde,” which offers different perspectives on how to improve society collectively.

Student Affairs, who produces the series in collaboration with the César E. Chávez Community Action Center (CCCAC), received requests for speakers focusing on racial justice, journalism and the media. “Baratunde Thurston is a wonderful choice to represent these topics,” says Adrienne Jensen-Doray, assistant director of Student Involvement. “He addresses the social and political landscape in the U.S., as well as trauma and healing. He also provides perspectives on life as an entrepreneur and a podcaster—two topics of interest to many of our students.”

When planning the series as a whole, Jensen-Doray says themes such as “racial justice and mental health and wellness were critical, given the needs and interest of our students and current events. We also considered heritage months, such as Black History Month, Women Herstory Month and Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month.”

Thurston will conclude his presentation with a Q&A.

Alok Menon

Exploring Gender and Identity with ALOK

Later in the month, Alok Vaid-Menon (ALOK) will serve as the keynote speaker for the 15th anniversary of the CCCAC. In “Beyond the Binary,” on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., ALOK, a gender non-conforming writer, performance artist and mixed-media artist, will explore themes of gender, race, trauma and belonging. They are the author of “Femme in Public” and “Beyond the Gender Binary.” In 2019, they were honored as one of NBC’s Pride 50 and Out Magazine’s OUT 100.

Since its inception in 2006, the CCCAC has sought to connect SJSU students with civic engagement opportunities that deepen educational experience while promoting a lifelong commitment to activism and social justice, which are at the heart of the legacy of César Chávez.

“As we move into thinking about the next 15 years for the CCCAC and the world, it’s important we bring a keynote speaker that represents a community not often given the platform to influence the next generation of social justice leaders,” explains Diana Victa, department manager of the CCCAC. “ALOK is the best fit because of their leadership in spreading awareness of gender identities, specifically gender non-conforming folx.”

Thea Monyee

Bridging Mental Health and Activism with Thea Monyee

The CCCAC will also present the “A Conversation with Thea Monyee: Sustaining Joy in the Midst of Social Change: Bridging Mental Health and Activism,” on Tuesday, March 2, at 3 p.m. Monyee, a poet and marriage and family therapist, self identifies as a “Black Woman Creative.” She has appeared on HBO, BET, Spectrum, OWN, Fox Soul and TV One, and her work stems from her commitment to healing, which she believes can only occur in a liberated and non-oppressive society.

“It was very important to us to address mental health this semester,” says Jensen-Doray. “Monyee does this through an activist lens, which we hope will resonate with students.”

Simon Tam

Making Trouble with Simon Tam

Finally, the series will conclude on Wednesday, April 14, at 7 p.m. with a talk by Simon Tam. In “Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court,” Tam will share how he helped expand civil liberties for minorities through the unanimous victory of the U.S. Supreme Court case, Matal v. Tam, in 2017. “He offers a unique perspective on identity and justice, as well as the intersection of arts and activism,” says Jensen-Doray.

Tam is the founder and bassist of The Slants, an all-Asian American dance rock band. He also leads the nonprofit The Slants Foundation, which supports arts and activism projects for underrepresented communities. Tam’s talk will include a musical performance, and he will take questions from participants after his talk.


Attendees of any of the talks should register ahead of time in order to receive a Zoom link.

“I hope those who attend multiple events in this series notice the commonalities and prevalence of specific advice—whether it is about forging your own path, building resilience or mentorship and the role mentors have played in our speakers’ lives,” says Jensen-Doray.

She also adds that Student Involvement seeks input from SJSU students, faculty and staff to identify pertinent themes and speakers-of-interest for the 2021-2022 series. Those interested can provide feedback here.

San José State Celebrates Black History Month

Every year, San José State honors Black History Month by offering events, speaker series, workshops and lectures that recognize Black and African-American heritage, cultures and contributions to society. This year’s events will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are hosted by a number of different departments across campus. While these events are held in February, the university remains committed to fostering a culture of anti-racism and addressing systemic racism on and off campus throughout the year. Events this spring include, but are not limited to:


Black History Month Open Mic

Thursday, February 4, 6 p.m.

Join The Black Leadership Opportunity Centre, Student Union, Inc. and Mosaic for the February Open Mic night in honor of Black History Month. For more information, check out Mosaic’s YouTube video stream or contact the center at mosaic@sjsu.edu.


Center for Literary Arts Presents: Kiese Laymon

CLA

The Center for Literary Arts presents Kiese Laymon in conversation with Keenan Norris.

Thursday, February 4, 7 p.m.

The Center for Literary Arts is pleased to present Kiese Laymon, the best-selling author of Heavy: An American Memoir, in a reading and conversation with San José State Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature Keenan Norris.


SCARRED JUSTICE: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968

Poster of the three protestors who were killed.

Monday, February 8, noon

Fifty-three years ago, on the campus of South Carolina State University, the South Carolina Highway Patrol opened fire on a group of civil rights protestors, killing three and wounding 28. Join the Department of African American Studies and the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library for a special film screening of Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968 with discussion to follow.


SJSU Reads: Confession of Copeland Cane with Keenan Norris

SJSU Reads.

Tuesday, February 9, noon

San José State Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature Keenan Norris will read an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, The Confession of Copeland Cane. Set in East Oakland, California, The Confession of Copeland Cane introduces us to a prescient and startlingly contemporary voice, one that exposes the true dangers of coming of age in America: miseducation, over-medication, radiation and incarceration.

Norris’ 2013 novel, Brother and the Dancer, won the James D. Houston Award. He has also published the chapbook By the Lemon Tree and served as editor for the critical volume Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape. The Confession of Copeland Cane will be published in June 2021.


Teach-In Panel Discussion: Dr. Angela Davis and the Indispensability of Black Feminism and Socialism in 2021

Barbara Ransby, Neferti X.M Tadiar and Bettina Aptheker.

Tuesday, February 9, 3 – 5 p.m.

This second event of the Human Rights Institute Lecture Series will feature a virtual teach-in panel discussion of Black feminism and socialism by internationally-known scholars Barbara Ransby; Neferti X.M. Tadiar; and Bettina Aptheker, ’76 MA Mass Communications. Each guest will present a brief but provocative talk before engaging directly with questions from the viewing audience.


All-African People’s Revolution Party Film and Dialogue Series

All-African People's Revolution Party.

Tuesdays, February 9, 16, 23, and March 3

Co-sponsored by the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American (AAACNA) Studies Center, celebrate Black History Month by joining the All-African People’s Revolution Party Film and Dialogue Series, featuring short films, speeches, guest presenters, and more covering a variety of contemporary issues with discussion to follow.

  • Feb. 9: Africom and Militarism
  • Feb. 16: #ENDSARS and Police Violence in Africa
  • Feb. 23: Power of Words
  • Mar. 2: Cuba and Sanctions

Spartan Speaker Series: Baratunde Thurston on How to Deconstruct Racism and Laugh at the Same Time

Wednesday, February 10, 7 p.m.

Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House, and cleaned bathrooms to pay for his Harvard education. He’s the executive producer and host of We’re Having A Moment, a limited-run podcast series that captures this defining moment of pandemic, policing, and race in the U.S. He’s also the creator and host of Live On Lockdown, has hosted the iHeartMedia podcast Spit, wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black, and serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library.


Shaun Leonardo: ConSortiUm

Thursday, February 11, 5:30 p.m.

Shaun Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work negotiates societal expectations of manhood, namely definitions surrounding black and brown masculinities, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. His performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth at the Brooklyn-based, nonprofit Recess—is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment.

ConSortiUm is a ground-breaking collaborative group that generates opportunities to include artists, curators, students, faculty, staff, and other allies from across the CSU campuses in visual arts-based dialogue. The CSU system represents the largest public four-year college system in the country, with more than 480,000 students enrolled at 23 campuses. Formed in Spring 2020 in response to the distance learning implemented by the CSU during the Covid-19 pandemic, ConSortiUm members are dedicated to responding to current societal issues and the pressing demand for an end to systemic and overt racism in California and beyond.


ISSSSC Sport Conversations for Change presents: We are Family – Sport, Politics, Culture and the Black Family

Thursday, February 11, noon

Over the past year, race, racism, and anti-Black racism has been at the forefront of national and international conversations and centered Black people and DEI initiatives in the management and operations of businesses and organizations. This event, hosted by the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change, will examine these issues and the experiences of Black athletes, coaches, sport professionals and their families. ISSSSC will celebrate Black History Month 2021 with scholars and leaders to discuss the significance of Black people in sporting spaces, examine the role Black athletes and coaches have played in political conversations, identify the influence and commodification of Black sport figures in cultural spaces, and explain how these experiences are affecting the representation, identity and diversity of the Black family.

Panelists:

  • Travis Boyce, chair and associate professor of African American Studies, SJSU
  • Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, assistant professor of sociology, Virginia Tech
  • Billy Hawkins, interim department chair and professor of health and human performance, University of Houston

Human Rights Institute Lecture Series: Keynote with Dr. Angela Davis

Dr. Angela Davis.

Thursday, February 11, 5 p.m.

The culminating event for the SJSU HRI Human Rights Lecture Series, featuring the 2021 keynote human rights lecture from UC Santa Cruz Distinguished Professor Emerita Angela Davis. Following the lecture, join for a discussion of how these ideas are shaping political struggles in our region and across the country.


Sneaker History IS Black History

Sean Williams showcasing his sneakers on a stand.

Monday, February 15, noon

Sean Williams, a sneaker expert and consultant, will deliver a talk on the history of sneakers and its importance to Black history, with a Q&A session to follow. This event is hosted by the Department of African American Studies.


Department of Economics Provocative Lecture Series: “Why the Study of Economics Neglects Race, and What Can be Done About It?”

Wednesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Gary Hoover, economics professor and the executive director of the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, will speak about strategies for bringing race into the teaching and study of economics. Hoover received his PhD in economics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998 and is the co-chair of the American Economic Association Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession. He has also served as the vice president of the Southern Economic Association. He is the founding and current editor of the Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy. He has been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

Hoover is also available on Friday, February 27 to meet with students and faculty members in small groups. Email SJSU Economics Professor Matthew Holian to book a time.


Frederick Douglass: Living History Presentation

Thursday, February 25, 11 a.m.

The San José State History Department is hosting a Chautauqua-style Living History performance, featuring James H. Armstead, Jr. as the iconic abolitionist Frederick Douglass. This event is free and open to the public. The departments of African American Studies, Communication Studies, the Black Leadership and Opportunity Center, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the College of Social Sciences are co-sponsoring this event.

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Beyond Words: Doing Justice – An Interview with Judge Thelton Henderson

Thursday, February 25, 7 p.m.

The Department of African American Studies co-sponsors an interview with Judge Thelton Henderson, who served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Throughout his career, he has made transformational decisions on affirmative action, environmental protection and police and prison reform. In 1997, he ruled that Proposition 209, California’s anti-affirmative action initiative, was unconstitutional. This event is hosted by the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).


Professional Development Workshop for Writers of Color, featuring Lynette Wanzer

Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.

Join the Diasporic Peoples Writing Collective for a two-day online professional development workshop for writers of color with writer Lynette Wanzer.

The interactive workshop covers finding free and low-cost professional tools that can strengthen your submissions, contest entries, grants and MFA applications, as well as creating a literary submissions calendar, drafting effective personal statements and a literary C.V., identifying trusted submission sites, grants, fellowships and residencies in markets that welcome writers of color.


Super Sunday

President Mary Papazian will provide a Zoom presentation at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Sunday, February 28, as part of California State University’s annual Super Sunday event, an effort to engage and serve underrepresented students. Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Day will visit the Maranatha Christian Center, masked and socially distant, on the same day.


For more information about SJSU’s Black History Month events, please contact the Mosaic Cross Cultural Center at mosaic@sjsu.edu or The BLOC at africanamericanblackssc@sjsu.edu.

 

 

College of Engineering Celebrates 75 Years with Events All Semester Long

Collage of the College of Engineering with a 75th Anniversary badge

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San José State University is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021.

“A special mission of this celebration is to let our students know that they are part of a historic college community, and they can be proud of our heritage of innovation,” said Dr. Sheryl Ehrman, the Don Beall Dean of Engineering. “Accordingly, we’re creating opportunities to educate them and the public about some of our key engineering alumni who are shaping the world now, and to share our pride in this global and diverse community of students, faculty, and staff.”

Dr. Ehrman added, “While it has admittedly been difficult to plan festivities during the pandemic, we believe we have enough offerings to sustain engagement with our students and alumni even while everyone is online in the spring, and we are hoping for more in-person celebrations in the fall.”

The College will debut new web pages this semester, with a robust timeline and historic photos, some contributed by alumni.

During January and February, students are participating in a college-wide student video competition with the theme: “My club/my major/my department is the best because…” Students can be as creative as they like in their submissions. Students, faculty and staff will vote for their favorite entries and five winners will be announced in late February during National Engineers Week.

Multiple speaker series focusing on engineering careers, the industry landscape of Silicon Valley, and engineering activism for social justice will be featured February through May.

For late April, the college plans to publish a double issue of its alumni magazine, Engineering at San José State, with a feature from every department.

A student clubs showcase, with breakout rooms, will be a new feature of the virtual Annual Engineering Awards ceremony in May. Other plans for the year include engineering movie nights and special lapel pins for graduating seniors. Visit the College’s website to read about more developments.

San José State Offers Four Virtual Weeks of Welcome From January 25 – February 26

Students pointing to the SJSU sign on a building while wearing masks.

Photo: Jim Gensheimer / San José State University

Every semester, San José State University hosts Weeks of Welcome programs and events to welcome new and returning students to campus, and provide support for new students as they transition into San José State. This spring, 91 Weeks of Welcome events, hosted by 43 offices and departments, will take place online from January 25 to February 26 to accommodate shelter in place restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs are divided into seven categories: academic, campus community, campus resources, career, social justice, Spartan spirit and wellness. Students can log on via the Weeks of Welcome homepage or through the Sammy application.

There are three main pillars behind the Weeks of Welcome (WOW) that align with event categories.

“We want students to connect with the university and their peers to create that sense of belonging, which will hopefully contribute positively to their success and to retention as well,” said Adrienne Jensen-Doray, assistant director of Student Involvement at San José State. “We also want students to be exposed to campus resources; by highlighting those resources and services during Weeks of Welcome, we can provide a foundation for incoming frosh and transfer students who may not know where to look. Finally, we want to focus on student learning, so whether that results in an academic or social justice-themed event, we hope students can engage intellectually, inside and outside of the classroom.”

Following the fall 2020 WOW virtual events, the Weeks of Welcome Working Group disseminated a survey assessment to participating students. Of those surveyed, 83 percent reported that they felt more connected to SJSU, 88 percent learned more about campus resources and 71 percent said that the events encouraged them to stay enrolled. Whether they were engaging in academic panels, career resource workshops or social events, survey data showed that students were hungry for opportunities to interact with their peers, faculty, staff and the greater campus community.

“It’s been really exciting to see the enthusiasm that faculty and staff have when offering these programs, being innovative and creative while figuring out how to shift what they’re doing into the virtual space,” said Jensen-Doray. “We hope that Weeks of Welcome helps students connect with the university and their peers and generates excitement about what it means to be a Spartan.”

“The goal of Weeks of Welcome is always about welcoming our new and returning students to each semester,” said Sonja Daniels, associate vice president of Campus Life. “This fall we were able to launch virtually a very successful program to engage our students and help build that sense of community with others. So whether a social or cultural event, the ability to get academic and resource information or events that support Spartan Pride, we have many events for students to attend virtually. WOW further has become a campus tradition and we are excited for the events we will present this spring!”

The Weeks of Welcome kick off on Monday, January 25, with multiple online events each week through the end of February. While most events are best attended live, some may be available as recordings after they conclude. To register for events and learn more, please visit the Weeks of Welcome website.

SJSU Honors Fall 2020 Graduates

Photo credit: David Schmitz

San José State University is proud to honor and celebrate Fall 2020 graduates as they complete their studies and earn their degrees. On December 18, SJSU will launch the Fall Class of 2020 graduate recognition websites. Eight of the university’s colleges will have their own recognition website, which includes slides of each graduate, congratulatory videos and other memorable content. Graduates will also receive a cap and tassel, diploma, diploma cover, and commencement book in the mail prior to the launch of the websites.

The Fall Class of 2020 graduate recognition websites are not a virtual commencement ceremony and do not replace a live commencement ceremony experience. SJSU invites all graduates from Spring and Fall 2020 who could not participate in a live ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, to return to campus and walk across the stage in-person at a future commencement ceremony.

“When the history books are written, and the current pandemic is a distant memory, this year’s graduating class will be remembered as a class with everlasting grit and determination,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. “The Class of 2020 will be remembered for staring down the innumerable challenges they faced and for completing their long journey amid extraordinarily difficult circumstances.”

The Fall Class of 2020 graduate recognition websites will showcase the accomplishments of SJSU’s nearly 4,000 fall graduates. Each college’s site will include personalized slides that “speak” the graduates’ name, degree, and applicable Latin honors for all Spartans completing undergraduate and graduate degrees and those earning credentials from the Connie L. Lurie College of Education. The sites will also feature congratulatory messages from President Papazian, Provost Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., deans of eight colleges and community members.

Graduates can view their slides as well as their fellow graduates, download and save them to their electronic devices, and share them on their social media accounts and with friends and family throughout the world.

“The class of 2020 won’t simply be remembered as a generation in a global pandemic, but how this generation initiated change; the sacrifices made along the way, and the tremendous resilience of many communities,” said Associated Students President Zoebeida Delgadillo. “Congratulations to the Fall 2020 class. Thank you for continuing to pave the way for future generations to succeed and excel amongst it all. The future will be owned by those who overcome adversity and seek to empower a brighter and safer future.”

The Fall Class of 2020 graduate recognition websites will be on the SJSU homepage from December 18 through mid-January and will remain on the commencement website for one year.

San José State University Receives First International Sustainability Ranking and Listed Among Green Colleges Nationally

Photo by David Schmitz.

Once again, San José State University’s sustainability rankings have made headlines.

This fall, San José State was listed as one of the Princeton Review’s Green Colleges for 2021 and one of the Sierra Club’s top 50 2020 Cool Schools. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) named San José State a top overall performer in sustainability, with special recognition of the CSU Single Use Plastics Policy and the Housing Crisis Mitigation Plan. To top it off, this week, SJSU has received its first international ranking in sustainability, listed in the top 15 percent of universities for the 2020 UI GreenMetric World University Rankings, an initiative of Universitas Indonesia.

What are the criteria for being “green” or “cool?” Princeton Review surveyed 416 schools on everything from solar-powered dorms to clean energy career preparation. The Sierra Club included SJSU among the top 50 of 312 schools to receive a valid Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) rating, which provides a framework for understanding sustainability in higher education. The GreenMetric rankings were established in 2010 to establish a way to measure sustainability across universities worldwide, taking into consideration university enrollment and size, campus location and green space, energy use, transport, water use, recycling and waste treatment.

“We follow the United Nations’ sustainability goals, which define it as not just taking care of the planet, but taking care of the people on the planet,” Debbie Andres, ’07 Chemical Engineering, SJSU senior utilities and sustainability analyst. “People often think of sustainability in terms of science and engineering, but you can really incorporate sustainability in every college, in every discipline.”

Andres collaborated with multiple departments across campus when submitting data for sustainability rankings. She worked with Ben Falter of the SJSU Cares program and senior student affairs case manager, to submit data about the Housing Crisis Mitigation Plan, which includes over $3 million in grants for student housing insecurity and basic needs support from the California State University system, as well as the development of new housing for undergraduate and transfer students. In addition, the State of California transferred a surplus, obsolete building to SJSU, which will be used to develop up to 1,200 housing units for faculty and staff, graduate students, and students with families.

“Yes, we use recycled water, but we are also trying to make it easier for students, faculty and staff to live nearby and go to school,” said Andres.

Andres added that the Princeton Review’s 2020 College Hopes & Worries survey found that 66 percent of nearly 13,000 college applicants consider a school’s environmental commitment when deciding where to go.

“San José State is the oldest CSU, the oldest university west of the Mississippi, and we are also a feeder school for the biggest tech companies on the planet,” said Andres. “It’s really important for us to reflect that we care about the environment and sustainability, just like many companies in Silicon Valley. It’s important that future students know that we are doing things that are very important to you—we are doing what’s right for the environment.”

Andres said that 30 percent of SJSU classes are designated sustainable, though that number could be higher now that courses are being offered online due to the pandemic. She has partnered with resources across campus, including the Gender Equity Center and the Black/African American Student Success Center, to offer sustainability-related programming. Currently enrolled students can visit the Office of Sustainability website to browse courses across all ten colleges that offer topics in sustainability, read the 2020 Sustainability Report and discover easy ways to make their lives a little greener.