SJSU Co-sponsors Event to Honor Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

RBG Memorial event

Dorit Beinisch, Former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, Highlights Panel Discussion

Though it’s been more than a year since her passing, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remains an iconic figure to admirers in the U.S. and worldwide.

To help honor her legacy, SJSU’s Jewish Studies Program is co-sponsoring a virtual memorial event with RBG’s longtime friend and colleague, Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, former president of the Supreme Court of Israel.

Former Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Joining Chief Justice Beinisch will be Alison Brunner, CEO at Law Foundation of Silicon Valley — whose work is dedicated to promoting social justice — and SJSU President Mary Papazian, who will deliver introductory remarks.

“RBG became an icon for so many women and girls around the world as she demonstrated how persistence, resistance, good argumentation and wit can lead to real change,” said Anat Balint, coordinator of SJSU’s Jewish Studies program.

The RBG memorial event, she said, is the first in a series of events celebrating Jewish culture in Silicon Valley.

The event takes place on October 19 at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Pre-event registration is required. Chief Justice Beinisch, Brunner, and President Papazian will discuss RBG’s influences on social change, feminism, Jewish identity and friendship.

“I do not believe I am alone when I say that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is near the top of the list of women whom I have admired and learned from over the span of my lifetime,” said President Papazian.

“She was an extraordinary woman who never allowed barriers to get in the way of the professional and societal progress that she was determined to make. I know it will be a real treat hearing the insights that will be shared at this event.”

Chief Justice Beinisch was the first woman to lead the Israeli Supreme Court, while Justice Bader-Ginsburg was the second woman to join the U.S. Supreme Court. Both were Jewish, and each trailblazer led lives and careers dedicated to creating a more equitable society.

Over the last decade, Justices Beinisch and Bader Ginsburg met on several occasions and developed a professional and personal relationship. After RBG’s passing, Chief Justice Beinisch wrote in Israel’s leading newspaper:

“People regularly note that she was the oldest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, but in my eyes she was the youngest of all. She was young in spirit. Young people admired her the same way they do rock stars, and she even warmly adopted the identity of a famous rapper by means of her initials.”

The event is a collaboration of the Jewish Studies Program at SJSU, Jewish Silicon Valley, the Israeli Consulate to the Pacific Northwest, Congregation Shir Hadash, Congregation Beth David, and Congregation Sinai.

 

SJSU Honors Its History of Social Justice and Activism With Expanded, Campus-Wide “Legacy Month”

October’s celebratory, educational events build off Associated Students’ tradition.

October is always a busy month at San José State University with Homecoming activities, the start of midterms, and a variety of events and activities taking place around campus. One of the most significant recurring themes throughout October at SJSU is Legacy Month, which promises to have an even more prominent role than years’ past, especially as the university continues to repopulate and resume more in-person events.

Faculty, Associated Students and CCCAC plant the seeds

Legacy Month has traditionally centered on celebrated SJSU alumni and 1968 Olympic track-and-field medalists John Carlos and Tommie Smith, and the global impact they have had on social justice and human rights. A small group of faculty and students made sure years ago that the legacy of Carlos and Smith would never be forgotten.

Professor Scott Myers-Lipton of SJSU’s Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences conceived and led the years-long campaign to commemorate the Smith/Carlos legacy. On October 16, 2006 — the first anniversary of the unveiling of the statues — Myers-Lipton and several colleagues, including those from the African American Studies department and Ben Henderson from Associated Students, held a small event to commemorate the day Smith and Carlos raised their fists for justice in Mexico City.

SJSU’s Associated Students, along with key faculty members and staff, created Legacy Week (later, Legacy Month) as a way to honor and remember the social activism of Spartans from previous eras. Photo: Christina Olivas, San Jose State University

The following year, Professor Myers-Lipton asked the César Chávez Community Action Center (CCCAC) to become actively involved in the Smith/Carlos event, which they agreed to do. In the following years, the CCCAC took the lead in broadening the October 16 event to what came to be known as Legacy Week and, later, Legacy Month.

In recent years, Legacy Month events have placed raising awareness of Carlos and Smith’s historic stance atop the medal stand and their struggle for human rights to the forefront. CCCAC’s efforts are also designed to cultivate the next generation of social justice advocates at SJSU. Due to these efforts, the likeness of the two Spartan legends will forever be depicted and remembered by the iconic statue displayed on Tower Lawn.

“As an alumna of SJSU and part of the founding cohort of the CCCAC, I had the honor in 2008 to assist with the coordination of the inaugural Legacy Week at SJSU,” said Diana Victa, who now serves as department manager for the CCCAC.

“What started as a makeshift event in front of the statues now promises to not only deeply honor Smith and Carlos but also our rich history of student activism advocating for racial and social justice. I am proud and excited to see that the university has taken recognition of the power of Legacy Month by broadening it into something even greater for our community.”

Continuing, growing the tradition

Now, as campus efforts to address systemic racism have emerged as an ongoing priority, Legacy Month is growing in hopes of engaging even more members of the campus community. Jahmal Williams, Director of Advocacy for Racial Justice in the Office of the President’s Community & Government Relations group, said the month-long effort offers a variety of ways for students and others to gain an understanding of and an appreciation for the racial struggles that will always be a part of SJSU’s history.

(L-R) Tommie Smith, Dr. Harry Edwards and John Carlos pose for a photo on Oct. 17, 2018, in front of the statue on the SJSU campus that honors their iconic, black-gloved protest at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of that historic event. Photo: Josie Lepe/San Jose State University

“Fighting for racial and social justice is in the fabric of our campus,” said Williams. “Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Harry Edwards, the entire Olympic Project for Human Rights and so many others stand as icons in history. Their efforts should not only be studied, but celebrated and reflected upon by every student, faculty and staff member who grace our campus. We owe it to our pioneers for justice and to our community to embed this work into our university and the lives of those who will always be part of it.”

In addition to the events around October’s Legacy Month — which include a two-day conference spearheaded by SJSU’s Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change — a new symposium is planned for mid-November titled Transforming Communities: A Movement To Racial Justice. The event, which Williams hopes will become an annual tradition, is a joint effort between SJSU and local government, non-profits, organizations, schools and businesses with an end goal of creating a racially just and equitable city, county and region. An array of presentations, lectures, workshops and keynote speakers are expected.

Here are some of the ways San José State will celebrate Legacy Month this October and honor those Spartan alumni who have paved the way for future generations with their activism and commitment to human rights:

Legacy Month Kickoff

Monday, October 4  |  Noon
7th Street Plaza

Honor the rich history of student activism of SJSU. Stop by the CCCAC table to receive a free t-shirt.


Legacy Month Speaker: Leah Thomas

Wednesday, October 6  |  7 – 8:30 p.m.
Zoom Registration – Leah Thomas

Leah Thomas is an environmentalist, passionate about advocating for and exploring the relationship between social justice and environmentalism. She is the founder of eco-lifestyle blog @greengirlleah, @thegreensgirlco and The Intersectional Environmentalist Platform.


Press Conference: Racial & Social Justice at SJSU

Tuesday, October 19  |  11 a.m.
Smith and Carlos Statues

Hear the announcement of the release of the booklet “Racial and Social Justice at SJSU,” which documents 10 actions taken by SJSU students, including the actions by Tommie and John, to build Dr. King’s Beloved Community.


Continuing the Legacy of Tommie Smith and John Carlos

Tuesday, October 19  |  Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Smith and Carlos Statues

Join the SJSU campus community to reflect on the significance of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s historic action 53 years ago in Mexico City, and its relevance to today’s struggle for racial and social justice.


Ableism in Social Justice Spaces

Spartan Legacy Training Academy

Tuesday, October 19  |  1 – 2 p.m.
Zoom RSVP – Ableism

As activists and advocates, we are often so busy organizing we forget to take the time to look at what our spaces look like and who we design them for. Learn more about what we can do in our own spaces to combat ableism.


Smith/Carlos “Teach-In”

Tuesday, October 19
Wednesday, October 20

SJSU faculty are encouraged to register and select from a variety of related topics to engage students on the university’s legacy of activism or to choose their own! These informal discussions or lectures on issues related to SJSU’s legacy of social justice and activism are designed to inspire and engage.


Legacy Month Movie Night: With Drawn Arms

Wednesday, October 20  |  6:30 p.m.
Tower Lawn

Enjoy a night on the lawn as you learn the story of the ’68 Olympic Games protest firsthand. Tommie Smith takes you through a journey of his experience that helped define a movement and changed the course of his life forever. Bring your friends and your favorite blankets.


It is Time: Voice of Athlete Activism

Thursday – Friday, October 21 – 22  |  9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
More information and RSVP – It is Time

Join the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change for a two-day virtual conference to learn about the history and legacy of athlete activism at SJSU and beyond, including keynote panels, change agent organizations and educational teachings with ISSSSC’s Words to Action workshops.


SJSU Legacy Run – A Celebration of our Community

Also part of Hispanic Heritage Month

Saturday, October 30  |  9 – 11 a.m.

Starting and ending at the Smith/Carlos statues on Tower Lawn, this new fun run will circle the perimeter of the university, highlighting SJSU’s roots and heritage in activism. A number of running groups from San José and the Bay Area will join SJSU’s Track and Field and Cross Country teams, and students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the community are all invited to register and participate.

SJSU Receives $1 Million Grant From Adobe as Part of Inaugural Anchor School Program

The growing partnership between downtown San José neighbors, San José State University, and Adobe got stronger on Wednesday, with San José State being named an inaugural member of Adobe’s new Anchor School Program. As part of the program, SJSU will receive a $1 million grant and will work with Adobe to determine how the grant will be used. 

“We are very excited for the opportunity afforded by this gift from Adobe,” said President Mary A. Papazian “Adobe has long been a leader in the San José community, investing in programs that help advance the important learning of our students and research of our faculty.”

SJSU plans to use the grant to enhance the university’s mission to provide access to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

“We are excited to receive funds that further our efforts as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPASI),” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr. 

“We can provide our faculty with the resources to engage in new forms of pedagogy and practice that infuse principles of digital and creative literacy. Among our goals is a faculty fellows program that identifies and trains champions committed to closing the equity gaps for all our students.”

Adobe will also provide 100 scholarships of up to $15,000 to students of color to be distributed amongst SJSU, Bowie State University, and Winston-Salem State University — the other two inaugural members of the Anchor School Program — as well as students at other universities. 

A variety of resources and opportunities to help students and faculty prepare for careers in tech, including evolving curriculum and hands-on work experience through Adobe programs like Experience Days and the Adobe Career Academy, is included in the program. Student-athletes will also be able to access micro-internships to enable them to balance their athletic and professional aspirations.  

“Longstanding change requires a conviction to innovative solutions and a willingness to lead,” said Brian Miller, Adobe’s chief talent, diversity & inclusion officer. “Our Anchor School Program gives us the opportunity to partner with universities to develop unique solutions that expose students to careers in tech and prepare them with the creativity and digital skills of the future. We will strategically invest in providing students with training, career readiness, internships, financial assistance and digital tools to fuel their professional careers at Adobe or elsewhere.” 

In 2020, SJSU was recognized as an Adobe Creative Campus for its commitment to using technology to provide students with a transformative path to success.

Camino Chronicles Arts Series: a Celebration of Mexican and Latin American Music Influenced by California History

Historically, the Camino Real connected Spanish missions along the state of California. Image by Chandler O’Leary.

How can music reframe the story of the ancient road we know as El Camino Real?

Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz and the folk Americana band the Ronstadt Brothers will celebrate California history through their music on October 1-3, during a weekend of activities presented by San José State University’s College of Humanities and the Arts, The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, TomKat MeDiA, CaminoArts and Symphony Silicon Valley (SSV). The Ronstadt Brothers will also offer a moderated conversation on the business of music.

“CaminoArts celebrates the folk and classical music of Mexico and Latin America through an excavation of El Camino Real, the historical indigenous trade route used by the Spanish to colonize Mexico and what is now the U.S. Southwest and South America,” said Marcela Davison Aviles, managing partner and executive producer at TomKat MeDiA, a production company founded by Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor to inspire creativity for the common good.

“We brought this idea to the Center for Steinbeck Studies as a way to catalyze writing a new fourth-grade curriculum about the history of El Camino Real.”

Gabriela Ortiz.

Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz.

Ortiz’s new composition, a concerto for flute and orchestra entitled “D’Colonial Californio,” will make its world premiere at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, with SSV at the California Theatre, and again at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3.

Her work is a joint commission underwritten by the TomKat Foundation and presented in collaboration with TomKat MeDiA, SSV, CaminoArts and San José State as part of a broader initiative to examine California history through arts and education.

Admission to the Ronstadt performance is free. Tickets for the symphony performance are on sale through Symphony Silicon Valley.

“The stories and songs inspired by El Camino Real — the transcontinental pathway forged by Indigenous peoples and later colonized by the Spanish and other European powers — set the stage for the Camino Chronicle Arts series,” said Kat Taylor, founding director of the TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF) and one of Camino Chronicles’ sponsors.

“We’re thrilled to illuminate the work of Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz, Mexican American singer/songwriters Peter and Michael G. Ronstadt, concert flutist Marisa Canales, the musicians of Symphony Silicon Valley under the baton of Maestra JoAnne Falleta, and project music director Benjamin Juarez Echenique,” she added.

“And we’re doubly delighted to thank San José State University and the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies for believing, as John Steinbeck did, in the unique power of harmony, dissonance, cadence and rhythm of diaspora and migration.”

The symphony will also perform “New World Symphony” by Antonín Dvořák, a piece that was especially meaningful to John Steinbeck, added Steinbeck Center Director and Assistant Professor of American Studies Daniel Rivers. Canales, who also is a co-founder of CaminoArts, will serve as soloist for both the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon performances, under the direction of Grammy-winning conductor Maestra Falletta.

Ronstadt Brothers

The Ronstadt Brothers will be performing at the Hammer Theatre on Oct. 3. Image courtesy of Marcela Davison Avilas.

The Ronstadt Brothers will perform the world premiere of their new album “The Road,” commissioned by the Camino Chronicles Project and underwritten by the TomKat Foundation, at the Hammer Theatre at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3. The event is free and open to the public.

“This full-length album from the Ronstadt Brothers centers on the theme of roads, migration and the existential experience of travel,” Rivers said.

Multi-instrumentalists Michael G. Rondstadt and Peter D. Rondstadt describe their music as a “new and fresh take on traditional Southwestern and Mexican folk songs” that carries forward the legacy of their aunt Linda and their father Michael.

“The curricular connections of the Camino Chronicles with the university are related to music, history, humanities and education,” said Shannon Miller, dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts.

“Ortiz’s work rethinks the identity of the El Camino around issues of migration, while the Ronstadt Brothers are composing work in the American folk music tradition while also exploring connections to their Mexican heritage and the Camino’s indigenous roots. This introduces a lot of interesting issues related to decolonizing the curriculum and the arts,” Miller added.

Visit the Symphony Silicon Valley to learn more about the Oct. 2 and 3 performances of Ortiz’s work.

Learn more about the Rondstadt Brothers’ performance and work with the Steinbeck Center.

Read about TomKat MeDia and CaminoArts.

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 Students Use Data to Help Serve City’s Most Vulnerable Communities

A map created by SJSU graduate students presents data from San José’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.

Data has the power to transform communities.

Just ask Saritha Podali, ’22 MS Data Analytics, and Fengling Zhou, ’22 MS Data Analytics. As part of a new partnership with San José State and the City of San José — supported by the Knight Foundation — the pair played a key role in gathering, interpreting and presenting data that can help the city provide resources to those who need it most.

San José’s Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) offers scholarships for qualifying residents to participate in youth activities and after-school programs. While the city has always sought to ensure the scholarships went to those most in need, certain questions persisted: Were the people receiving the scholarships getting the right amount of aid? Who was being left out, and why?

Saritha Podali, '22 MS Data Analytics

Saritha Podali, ’22 MS Data Analytics

Enter the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation who, thanks to a partnership with SJSU’s MS Data Analytics program, brought Podali and Zhou on board to tackle the issue in what was dubbed the city’s Data Equity Project.

“We define data equity as using the city’s data ethically and in ways that drive equitable outcomes for constituents,” explained Julia Chen, project manager for the Data Equity Project.

Starting in April, Zhou and Podali got to work mining PRNS data — by organizing records from 2009 to 2019 using the programming language Python — to paint a full picture of who was enrolling in the youth programs and who was receiving financial support.

“One of our primary objectives was to provide PRNS folks who might have little or no tech background with an easy-to-use, interactive experience to present the trends to their board,” explained Podali.

Fengling Zhou, '22 Data Analytics

Fengling Zhou, ’22 Data Analytics

And that’s exactly what they did: Their final presentation to PRNS and Mayor Sam Liccardo included an interactive map identifying the city’s most vulnerable communities by ZIP code and how many scholarship dollars were allocated to those areas compared to others. Plus, it highlighted where certain communities indicated a need for programs that were unavailable locally by attending those outside their immediate area.

Podali and Zhou, along with others who worked on the project, shared a list of recommendations on how to use the data, which PRNS plans to do, explained Hal Spangenberg, interim division manager of PRNS.

“We will use this data and information to help inform key decisions in the allocation and distribution of scholarship funds and hopefully increase scholarships to those most in need,” he said.

“We can’t overstate the value of the dashboards they created,” Chen added. “Now, the PRNS team has a level of data and truth they can refer to as they make their future decisions.”

“Data is not anonymous,” she continued. “These are people’s lives we have in our hands. It’s not just analysis for the sake of analysis; we are ultimately here to hopefully better the lives of residents of San Jose. That’s the importance of having local students doing this kind of work and bringing their local context to the table. We need to understand the community we’re serving, so it made sense to partner with the university, where there’s a pipeline of talent.”

A demonstration of the interactive map created by Podali and Zhou for the City of San José.

One of the goals of the SJSU MS Data Analytics program is to show students that they can apply analytics to solve relevant, real-world problems, explained Ruth Duran Huard, dean of the College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE).

“One of our core learning objectives is for our students to integrate multidisciplinary knowledge to engage in practical data analytics projects, from analyzing requirements to managing data, building models, presenting results and assessing societal impacts,” she noted.

“The partnership of CPGE’s Applied Data Science department with the City of San José speaks to our university’s commitment to connect and contribute within our communities,” Huard continued. “To be able to support the city in its efforts to meet its data systems needs and develop an overall data strategy has been invaluable, especially for our faculty and students.”

Mohamed Abousalem, SJSU’s vice president for research and innovation, says this collaboration is an example of how the university’s research expertise can have tremendous public impact.

“SJSU has several areas of research expertise that intersect with the City of San José’s interests and priorities,” he said. “This collaboration was a demonstration of how our students and faculty can help the city make data-informed decisions based on expertise and skill in data analytics. Our partners have a great opportunity to tap into the resources of today’s students to select tomorrow’s employees through meaningful and productive research and development projects.”

For Podali and Zhou, the experience broadened their understanding on the power of data.

“Being fair when creating policies to serve a community is hard,” noted Zhou. “But our data project provides evidence that will help the best decisions to be made.”

“This experience has helped me develop a new perspective of how data can be transformative for communities,” Podali said.

“I now realize the impact technology advancement has when it is leveraged across all walks of life,” she continued. “Studying community problems, identifying areas of improvement and assessing risks using data analytics is the need of the hour. As exciting as it is to work on groundbreaking artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, it is equally important to ensure that communities receive enough help to position themselves in today’s world of technology.”

View the students’ final presentation, and learn more about SJSU’s MS Data Analytics program

SJSU Hosts Historic Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, Showcasing Very Best of Women’s Tennis

Bay Area tennis fans hungry for a glimpse of some of the world’s top women’s hardcourt players have a rare opportunity to see many of their favorites in action early next month, as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic (MSVC) returns to San José State in an important U.S. Open tuneup.

The historic women’s tennis event — which marks its 50th anniversary this year — takes place Aug. 2-8 at the SJSU Tennis Center. Tickets, which start as low as $20 for the opening round, can be purchased by visiting MubadalaSVC.com or by calling 1-833-94-MATCH (1-833-946-2824).

Hitting the ball at the Mubadala SV Tennis Classic

Beginning on Aug. 2, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic will take place at the tennis courts at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose, Calif. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

“We are excited to be returning to San Jose State University for the 50th Anniversary of this historic Bay Area tennis event and to do so at 100 percent capacity,” said Vickie Gunnarsson, Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Tournament Director. “This tournament holds a special place in history as a precursor to the establishment of the WTA and with the fight for gender equality in sports. Our former champions are some of the best players ever and given the talent we have competing this year I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or more of this year’s players joining the list of all-time greats when it’s all said and done.”

“San José State could not be more excited to again be hosting a professional tennis event of this caliber,” said Jeff Konya, SJSU athletic director. “We love showing Bay Area sports fans our exceptional tennis complex, which we feel offers a delightful fan experience, inviting hospitality options and the intimate atmosphere this tournament has become renowned for over the years.”

Highlighting the field are a collection of top-ranked American players, Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title winners and recent Grand Slam champions. Topping the list of U.S. players will be 2020 Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin, 2017 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Champion Madison Keys and 2017 U.S. Open Champion Sloane Stephens.

Other top players include 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, World No. 16 Elise Mertens, 2021 Australian Open semifinalist and 2021 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Karolina Muchova, 2021 French Open quarterfinalists Elena Rybakina and Paula Badosa and Chinese star Zhang Shuai.

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic showcases SJSU’s exceptional tennis complex, offering a delightful fan experience, inviting hospitality options and an intimate atmosphere. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

Another recent addition to the MSVC main draw is 18-year-old British sensation Emma Raducanu, who accepted a wildcard invitation. In her first-ever Grand Slam tournament earlier this month, Raducanu advanced to Wimbledon’s fourth round, becoming the youngest British woman to reach the final 16 at Wimbledon in the Open Era.

The Mubadala event is slated to be one of the most competitive in the tournament’s storied history, with 17 of 19 players entered having won at least one WTA singles title and 15 having advanced to a Grand Slam quarterfinal or better. The field has combined to win 46 career singles titles.

Rich history and Bay Area roots

Legendary sportswoman, visionary and activist Billie Jean King and her friend Rosie Casals — a San Francisco native and, like King, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame — played significant roles in establishing the event decades ago.

Sensing a growing passion and enthusiasm for women’s tennis, the pair joined forces and helped bring the Virginia Slims of California — the inaugural Bay Area women’s tennis tournament — to the San Francisco Civic Auditorium in 1971. It was the first event of that year’s historic tour, which paved the way for today’s WTA.

The tournament’s list of past champions reads like a who’s who of women’s tennis, including Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, and Kim Clijsters. 

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic represents the first women’s stop on the US Open Series, which begins after Wimbledon and concludes with the US Open. 

Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA 500 event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $565,530.

Economic Outlook is Bright for California, Nationwide

California’s economy is raging back strong from the pandemic according to a California Outlook report from Beacon Economics, an independent economic research and consulting firm. The United States is experiencing a similar trend — all signs point to a return to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity by the end of 2021.

San José State University’s Center for Banking and Financial Services hosted its annual Economic Summit this week, including a panel discussion with Christopher Thornberg, a founding Partner of Beacon Economics, and Congressman Ro Khanna, which was moderated by Jay Ross, attorney at Hopkins & Carley.

Khanna represents California’s 17th Congressional District and serves on a number of House committees, including Agriculture, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform, in which he chairs the Environmental Subcommittee.

Khanna spoke on his three areas of focus for economic recovery: clean technology and tackling climate change, equity in a digital economy, and empowerment of “essential” workers — physical laborers and those in in-person, service industries — “who make our economy run.”

Khanna sees collaboration with academic institutions and the private sector as key to each of these areas. He cited SJSU as a “model public university,” including in its “extraordinary partnerships with the private sector and government” and believes the university is a “pillar of the Silicon Valley economy.”

Beacon Economics’ recent economic and social impact report confirms Khanna’s position. The report shows that San José State generates $1.6 billion in labor in California, with nearly half in Santa Clara County alone; $606.9 in tax revenue that benefits local, state and federal governments; and $4.1 billion in economic impact statewide.

In addition, Beacon found SJSU undergraduates typically graduate with less than half the average debt of California college graduates, and are then recruited by some of the world’s biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley.

According to Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Dean Dan Moshavi, “The demand for a San José State and a Cal State education is very high.”

“But what is most critical for today’s students, especially those at SJSU, is developing ‘soft skills,’” Moshavi explained, which relate to how we work.

“One of the things we’re working on in the College of Business is career and professional readiness,” said Moshavi. “Forty-two percent of our students are first-generation students. A lot of them have not had exposure to what professional life looks like, especially in Silicon Valley. Part of what we do is prepare those students in the soft skills, in understanding what it means to walk into a professional environment and engage. That’s a high priority for us.”

This is all great news for current students who are preparing to enter the workforce — and an economy that is still in recovery.

Beacon has long partnered with San José State to provide the economic forecast at the annual summit. As Moshavi introduced Thornberg for his presentation at the event, he praised their work, saying: “Beacon has grown, as many of you have watched at this event over the years, to be one of the most respected economic forecasting firms in the state.”

Key insights for navigating a post-COVID economy

Thornberg provided a comprehensive forecast of the local, state and national economy. The annual analysis is key for Silicon Valley businesses, who can use the relevant information from his report to guide decision-making.

He described four key themes related to economic recovery that can be taken from the pandemic:

  1. Although we’ve experienced a “tragic natural disaster,” history shows that these events do not have lasting impacts on economies — a “quicker-than-normal” recovery from COVID-19 was almost guaranteed.
  2. The United States’ fiscal and monetary policies during the pandemic created a “rocketship recovery,” which means the economy will be overheated for the next couple of years, carrying risks of inflation, higher interest rates and high public debt.
  3. The recovery is “accelerating underlying trends” that were already happening pre-pandemic.
    The housing situation is stable. It’s not about pricing or a “bubble” — yet — it’s about supply of available housing for those who want it.
  4. Thornberg said this is a very different business cycle that what the U.S. experienced in 2008 in regards to the pre-recession economy (subprime lending level during the Great Recession versus a healthy economy in 2020), consumer finances (low vs. high savings rates) and underlying drivers of the recession itself (demand shock vs. supply shock).

“This [time of the COVID-19 pandemic] was the deepest recession in history and also the shortest recession in history,” said Thornberg.

Unfortunately, there is still evidence of distress in the economy because the recovery is unbalanced. For example, services are lagging behind while durable and non-durable goods are way above trend.

San Francisco, he said, is about 35 percent down from where they were pre-pandemic because of their reliance on tourism and business-related travel, while San Jose remained relatively stable.

Goods trade is hot, but supply is slow because of the extraordinary demand we are experiencing at the moment.

Overall, national profits are up, along with corporate profits; tech employment is also up, which is great news for Silicon Valley.

Restaurants, hotels, airlines and entertainment are still struggling to get back; they couldn’t rebound until the vaccine rollout and the virus was under control. Yet, travel is currently picking up, and pent up demand for it is at an all-time high — Thornberg suggested buying tickets and planning your travel for the rest of the year now, as prices are expected to continue to rise.

There is a supply crisis in housing in California. Thornberg explained that middle-income people in the state are tired of being outbid for homes and are migrating to other areas where they can find houses without as much competition. With interest rates low and mortgage rates down, we’re seeing a “panic buying market,” not a “bubble” as with the previous recession.

Commercial real estate is still slow; suburban retail in particular has been impacted because of online shopping.

The labor market is “way behind in recovery,” despite employers adding 850,000 workers in June, the largest gain in 10 months. Thornberg explained the reason is a shortage of labor supply, meaning there are a tremendous amount of jobs available but not enough people to fill them.

This is due to a few factors: Some unemployed workers were temporarily laid off and are waiting for their jobs to come back, some are still using their unemployment benefits, and others have money in the bank and are comfortable with waiting for the “right” jobs, which Thornberg described as ones that will lead to better opportunities down the road.

In addition, a great deal of people retired during the pandemic, many of them seniors, and voluntary quits are at an all-time high.

Overall, Thornberg advised the tight labor market is here to stay, and this shortage of labor supply will continue. The answer: Businesses must consider how to retool in order to compensate for the labor shortage long term.

In short, parts of the economy are still struggling, but the strong growth we are experiencing will provide relief. Thornberg stressed the importance of refraining from referring to everything as a crisis, in favor of looking toward the future — now.

“We need to think about the generations coming behind us, whether we’re talking about climate change, whether we’re talking about housing supply, whether we’re talking about the basic issue of the fiscal deficit. We need to go back to thinking about tomorrow.”

For more economic insights see Christopher Thornberg’s full presentation or register here to view the full webinar.

SJSU Civic Action Fellowship Recognized By California’s Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday

California’s Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday

Photo: James Gensheimer

The fellowship serves as a model for Governor Newsom’s proposed new #CaliforniansForAll College Service Program.

Josh Fryday, chief service officer for the state of California and head of the California Volunteers program within the Office of the Governor, visited San José State on May 28 to meet with a small group of SJSU’s Civic Action Fellows. The student-fellows are part of the university’s inaugural cohort of the Civic Action Fellowship, a national service partnership between the California Volunteers, AmeriCorps and a coalition of public and private universities.

Last year, San José State’s Center for Community Learning and Leadership (CCLL) was awarded more than $500,000 in grant funding to launch and implement the inaugural program, which helps 44 students pay for college while providing local after-school programs with STEM education and computer programming for underserved third- and sixth-grade youth.

Unfortunately, university restrictions and school closings during the COVID-19 pandemic required program leadership to quickly pivot their programming completely from in-person to virtual.

“In response, current Civic Action Fellows created unplugged project kits that they used to teach core concepts related to computer science and programming,” said Andrea Tully, CCLL’s assistant director and program director and co-primary investigator of the Civic Action Fellowship.

The original, handmade kits contained everything the young students needed to complete the activities on their own and offline. Fellows supplemented their weekly lessons using digital platforms “to collaborate with the youth to create and debug games using the Scratch programming language,” Tully added.

Despite the odds of reimagining programming practically overnight, the outcomes of the first Civic Action Fellowship at San José State were remarkable, particularly in how effective the students were at engaging the youth with fun, educational activities — and much needed one-on-one connection.

Outside of their families, the fellows were often the only social interaction many of the children had with other adults during the pandemic.

“The fellows worked as a team to adapt to learning and serving while sheltering in place, fostering what will likely be lifelong friendships with their peers and a sense of pride being a member of the SJSU Civic Action Fellowship during unprecedented times,” said Tully.

Fryday’s visit was an immense honor for SJSU; he and other staff members at California Volunteers are thrilled with the results of the CCLL’s work with the C.A. Fellowship program, which has been awarded a second year of funding for 2021.

“Higher education and public service is a natural partnership, and the program at San José State University is a model program for the entire state. The Civic Action Fellowship supports commitment to public service, and addresses challenges all Californians face — particularly in historically underserved communities,” said Fryday.

“Calling on young people to serve their communities is an investment in the future of California. Helping those students pay for college and find meaningful employment upon graduation will ensure its continued success in bettering their lives, and the lives of those around them,” he continued.

San José State’s C.A. fellowship has a nearly 100 percent retention rate. As they recruit for the upcoming academic year, nearly half of the original fellows have already applied for the second cohort, which speaks volumes about the experience it offers both fellows and its young participants.

Four Civic Action Fellows speak with Josh Fryday

(L-R) Kelli Sexton, Chris Padua and Ian Chavez, Josh Fryday, and Cielo Pano Photo: James Gensheimer

Cielo Pano, ’24 Applied Nutrition and Sciences, said being a Civic Action Fellow helped her develop essential skills that benefit her as both a student and a mentor. “I’m now a more resilient and goal-oriented person with better time management skills”

“The opportunity to meet the current Chief Service Officer of California helped us appreciate the roots of our efforts and involvement in the fellowship — and why our time and service in the program is important,” she added.

“Being a fellow during the pandemic was quite intensive, but providing entertainment and information for youth during this once in a century epidemic was really impactful,” said Ian Chavez, ’23 Computer Science. “It helps you realize how much small actions can influence the world.”

Chavez also appreciated Fryday’s visit to SJSU. “Meeting Mr. Fryday meant a lot,” he said. “I always felt that my work in the fellowship was important, but having such a prominent figure sit down and talk with us about the program was a great experience.”

Christopher Padua,’23 Forensic Science, also greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet Fryday and share his thoughts on the experience. One of the things Padua told him was: “Without this program, these young kids with so much potential may not have otherwise been introduced to these computer skills or learn that they could even do coding at all.”

Setting an example for others to thrive

The Civic Action Fellowship pilot program set a concrete example for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed #CaliforniansForAll College Service Program, which, similar to the C.A. Fellowship, will help eliminate financial hardship of college for students in need.

The Governor’s May budget revision includes $285.2 million in one-time funds to establish the program in collaboration with the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, and private California university systems.

“The #CaliforniansForAll College Program is a historic proposed investment in service from Governor Gavin Newsom. It will create debt-free college pathways for low-income students, tackle our greatest challenges, inspire a new generation to serve, and unite our communities,” said Fryday.

According to the budget summary, the #CaliforniansForAll program creates 12,500 part-time service opportunities for college students interested in addressing urgent matters related to education, healthcare, and climate and disaster response, among others. It offers both a stipend and scholarship for eligible participants.

“This program will help California’s communities tackle critical issues focused on climate action, tutoring and mentoring, and other critical areas of COVID-19 recovery, like food insecurity,” Fryday added.

San José State’s Civic Action Fellows’ specific service efforts are developed collaboratively with partners, which include Title 1 after school programs within Campbell Union School District (CUSD) Expanded Learning Programs, Sunday Friends, and Third Street Community Center, and are responsive to community needs. Thus, the experience results in meaningful progress toward achieving shared goals within the community.

“The Civic Action Fellowship truly enacts SJSU’s commitment to integrating service to the community with academic learning experiences,” said Elena Klaw, psychology professor, CCLL director and primary investigator of the Civic Action Fellowship.

“We are proud of the service that Fellows have provided toward advancing equity in STEM, providing public health education, and learning and growing as students and emerging leaders.”

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.” 

New Impact Report Highlights SJSU Partnership With Nonprofit Braven

Braven Fellows participating in a Learning Lab opportunity before the COVID-19 pandemic.

San José State University is a proud partner of Braven, a national nonprofit that empowers underrepresented students with skills and confidence to transition from higher education to successful first jobs

Since becoming a founding university partner in 2014, SJSU has helped Braven implement innovative career education into the undergraduate experience for low-income and first-generation college students. Through these distinct partnerships with universities and employers, Braven has created a path to impact for emerging leaders as diverse as the future requires.

In addition to integrating cutting-edge career education into the undergraduate experience, Braven is able to provide students with a supportive network and a sense of belonging—which in a pandemic is more important than ever.

Among Braven’s employer partners are Adobe, Barclays, Deloitte, Google, LinkedIn, Prudential and Salesforce, who sponsor learning experiences and events for students and provide engagement opportunities with students to support their employees’ professional development. Many of SJSU’s alumni have also become leadership coaches in Braven’s Accelerator course.

Every year, Braven provides an impact report to capture the scope, breadth and depth of the SJSU Fellows’ accomplishments. This year, the report also includes how Braven, SJSU and employer partners helped students navigate the evolving professional landscape created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

San José State University and the City of San José Extend Operating Agreement of Hammer Theatre Center for 35-Year Period

Editors note: This media advisory was distributed on June 25, 2020.

Corner view of the Hammer Theatre Center Box Office entrance.

Hammer Theatre Center. Photo: Christina Olivas.

Media Contacts:
Robin McElhatton, San José State University
O: 408-924-1749
E: robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

Steph Keay, Carla Befera & Co
O: 650-327-1200
E: steph@cb-pr.com

SAN JOSÉ, CA – June 25, 2020– The city of San José and San José State University have agreed to a new contract that allows the university to continue operating the Hammer Theatre Center for up to 35 years. The theatre, which is owned by the city of San José, is a state-of-the-art performance venue located in the heart of downtown San José at 101 Paseo De San Antonio.

In March, San City Council voted unanimously to proceed with the contract, which builds on a successful partnership initiated in 2016. San José Director of Cultural Affairs Kerry Adams Hapner told the council, “This has been such a successful model in so many ways.” She says, “We are looking forward to continuing a fruitful partnership that increases the cultural vibrancy of the downtown and brings long-lasting benefits to the city and SJSU.”

San José State has signed the agreement, which allows SJSU to operate the Hammer for the next fifteen years with additional options to renew through the year 2055. “This contract allows the Hammer Theatre to bring high-quality arts programming to San José for decades to come,” said College of Humanities and the Arts Dean Shannon Miller. “It also gives our music, theater, and dance students the opportunity to perform on the Hammer’s professional stage, and connects our campus community to the cultural and economic corridors throughout the downtown area.”

Formerly the home of San José Repertory Theatre, the architecturally striking, bright blue building sat vacant from June 2014 until SJSU took the helm in early 2016, investing approximately $2 million to renovate the facilities. “One of the hallmarks of the Hammer has been the diversity of our programming,” said Hammer Executive Director Christopher Burrill. “We have been attracting new audiences with a wide range of interests—not only theatre lovers, but also fans of dance, music, film, live talks, and much more, with programs that speak to all sectors of our multicultural community.”

For the past four years, the 528-seat theatre has presented an array of offerings including outstanding professional productions, community-based works, SJSU shows, and concerts, as well as dance, music, talks, film screenings—even live aerial performances with dancers suspended outside, scaling the sides of the iconic blue building. In addition to a complete renovation of the stage, and updated audio and lighting equipment to reflect the latest technology, an upstairs rehearsal space was transformed into Hammer 4, a black box theatre space designed for intimate productions such as Hammer’s “Black Cab Jazz” collaboration with San José Jazz.

In the last season, the Hammer presented nearly 200 events, drawing more than 57,000 audience members. From jazz performances to mariachi extravaganzas, the popular National Geographic Live! speaker series to the acclaimed National Theatre Live film screenings, Cinequest film festival presentations, ballet and modern dance shows, kid-friendly performances, live art and more, the Hammer’s mission is to serve the community through artistic and educational programming that express the unique characteristics and diverse cultures of Silicon Valley. The Mercury News raved, “It’s safe to say San José State has exceeded anyone’s expectations for the reactivation of the theater and have kept it as a vital community asset. That is certainly worth applauding.”

On June 15, 2020, the Hammer announced its plan to invest in additional technology to create a studio-quality, high-definition, multi-camera video environment that will allow the theatre to offer its audiences live stream events to view from home. These tech upgrades provide the Hammer the opportunity to offer high-quality alternatives for the short term—while large public gatherings are prohibited by COVID-19—and long term—for those who may not be able to attend a live event in person for accessibility reasons. To help with the effort, the Hammer has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to pay for the refit of the theatre and to offer live stream content from its stage. For more information visit: power.sjsu.edu/hammertheatre.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations—offered through its nine colleges.

With approximately 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural, and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Emergency Management Expert Frannie Edwards Offers Webinar On COVID-19

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards.

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards will conduct a webinar on April 9, “Transit and COVID-19: How Its Impact Differs from Other Emergencies,” where she’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the impact of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases such as SARS and H1N1/swine flu on transit systems. Photo courtesy of Frannie Edwards.

San Jose State Professor of Political Science Frannie Edwards will conduct a webinar this Thursday, April 9, “Transit and COVID-19: How Its Impact Differs from Other Emergencies,” where she’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the impact of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases such as SARS and H1N1/swine flu on transit systems.

Edwards, who also teaches emergency management and serves as the deputy director of the National Transportation Security Center at the university’s Mineta Transportation Institute, served for 14 years as director of the Office of Emergency Services in San Jose and as director of the city’s Metropolitan Medical Task Force.

Edwards developed her expertise through an impressive array of academic work, research and classroom teaching.

“Teaching is my passion, and I really want my students to learn the things they’ll need to know in order to be successful and creative servants of their community,” she said. “But it’s the research and my own constant learning that fuel my ability to teach effectively and give students the tools they need.”

Edwards’s emergency management background draws on lessons learned while living in Japan, serving as a police budget officer for the City of Irvine and developing emergency plans for earthquakes, floods and other disasters.

Hired into her current role at SJSU in 2005 to teach public administration, Edwards was brought into MTI’s fold as a research associate to help with the Institute’s fast-growing anti-terrorism work. Transit organizations nationwide had been persuaded to take such threats seriously after the 1995 sarin gas attack on a subway system in Tokyo and other high-profile events.

Edwards and a small group of colleagues became MTI’s de facto emergency preparedness brain trust, giving presentations and briefings via a “traveling road show” of sorts around the state. She and her research partner Dan Goodrich are co-authors on more than a dozen MTI publications on emergency preparedness.

In a profession that uses a lot of acronyms, Edwards refers a great deal to one in particular—COOP. A COOP plan, or, “continuity of operations” effort, is a collection of resources, actions, procedures and information that is developed and used to maintain critical operations after a disaster or emergency. Edwards characterizes COOP as the “next level” of emergency management.

“An emergency operations plan outlines what you should do when something really bad happens, and it typically lays out all the resources at your disposal,” she explained. “A continuity of operations plan outlines what to do when there are no resources, but still a lot of people who need help.” An essential concept behind COOPs, she explained, is that organizations must identify those activities that are the most essential in order to execute the mission—while ceasing all other activities.

SJSU, she points out, essentially put a COOP into operation in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic when it hit the pause button on athletics activities, large events and public gatherings in general. Instead, university leadership asked itself, What do we need to do in order to keep educating our students, finish the semester and keep everyone on track to earn credits and graduate on time? That, Edwards explained, is COOP in a nutshell: narrowing one’s world to just the essentials.

Edwards said, in fact, that the current crisis is the only one she has seen in more than 30 years of emergency management that represents “a true COOP situation.” The geographic impact of other crises, such as the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Northridge (Los Angeles County) earthquake in 1994 and the 1998 El Niño floods in the Bay Area, have been relatively small compared to COVID-19. The shortage of available pumps during the floods were a precursor to today’s shortage of ventilators and other personal protective equipment, though at a much smaller scale.

Edwards remains optimistic during the current crisis and chooses to focus on the “inspiring things going on.”

Mobilizing two large naval hospital ships to assist overwhelmed hospitals amid the pandemic was a smart use of resources, she said, while the work of the nation’s medical community and caregivers has been nothing short of heroic. In addition, she points to the number of companies, including many in Silicon Valley, who have contributed large sums of money to the overall effort. “We are seeing a wonderful charitable spirit that is helping people in our communities who are struggling,” she said.

To help get through the crisis, Edwards emphasizes the need for people to find creative ways to stay connected and remain true to their own passions and needs, whether it is through a religious community they may be part of, online museums and music or even just regular calls or emails to friends.

“Whatever it is that feeds your soul, brings you happiness and hope and helps you see a brighter future—those are the things we all must continue to do.”

Those interested in the 4/9 webinar can register to receive an email reminder. The webinar takes place from 10-10:30am and will be conducted via Zoom.

CommUniverCity Receives 2020 SPUR Impact Award

CommUniverCity Executive Director Katherine Cushing (center, holding plaque) stands with members of the CommUniverCity team.

CommUniverCity Executive Director Katherine Cushing (center, holding plaque) stands with members of the CommUniverCity team at their 15th anniversary reception, Celebrating Partnerships: A Quinceañera on November 13, 2019. Photo: Brandon Chew, ’18 Photojournalism.

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association will honor CommUniverCity, a three-sector partnership with San Jose State, the City of San Jose and the community, at the 2020 SPUR Impact Awards, a free online event that will start at 11:30 a.m.

Graphic of illustrations that says SPUR impact awards.

The SPUR Impact Awards will take place online on Friday, March 20.

A civic planning organization with offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, SPUR is known for its independent and holistic approach to urban issues. The SPUR Impact Awards acknowledge outstanding impact by public sector employees in city and county government in Santa Clara County who are making a difference in government and the community at large in the areas of housing, transportation, placemaking and urban design, and sustainability and resilience.

Four members of CommUniverCity’s Community Planning Team will be recognized with a 2020 Impact Award: SJSU Urban and Regional Planning lecturers Richard Kos and Jason Su, ’13 MUP, Community Director Imelda Rodriguez and Project Coordinator Ralph Robinson, ’21 MUP. The Community Planning team organizes and implements a year-long engagement project with underserved neighborhoods in San Jose. Using community planning principles, the team works with local residents, key stakeholder groups and other partners to identify neighborhood assets, challenges and opportunities. This information leads to creation of a professional quality planning report at the end of every academic year that the community can use to advocate for its top priorities.

“Receiving this honor demonstrates CommUniverCity’s and SJSU’s value as advocates for amplifying the voice of underserved communities,” says CommUniverCity Executive Director Katherine Cushing, who is also an environmental studies professor and director of SJSU’s Global Studies program. “Too often urban planning processes involving public input can be pro forma. They are seen as a required part of procedural compliance for moving a development project forward. CommUniverCity’s community assessment processes are the antithesis of that. Using the power of SJSU faculty and students, who work in partnership with neighborhood leaders, businesses, and other partner organizations, we focus on listening to residents and communicating their priorities to relevant city departments in San Jose. Through collaboration, we are able to capture resident perceptions of opportunities and obstacles for their neighborhoods and translate them into actionable items that city departments can work on.”

“This award recognizes our long-standing collaboration with the community in developing urban village plans that reflect the community’s vision, our commitment to work along with neighbors to revitalize our neighborhoods, and the value of the work our faculty and students perform to capture the community’s vision,” says Rodriguez, who has worked with CommUniverCity since 2009.

“We strengthen San Jose communities by linking them with San Jose State faculty and students, and with City of San Jose staff and elected officials,” says Kos. “It’s a powerful model of collaboration and coalition-building focused on three things: community health, education and neighborhood revitalization. But do you know where the real power lies, in my experience? The students of San Jose State University. You’d be amazed at how warmly they are welcomed by underserved communities in central San Jose. They give community residents a voice in advocating for their own interests.”

Since 2004, CommUniverCity’s Community Planning projects have worked with 15 neighborhoods on important urban planning issues to help community members understand smart growth principles. Reports have resulted in direct infrastructure improvements such as Safe Routes to School projects for two area schools, which included the installation of flashing beacons and median islands. Other infrastructure improvements included the design and construction of an outdoor living room and mural in Northside Neighborhood supported by a $45,000 grant from Knight Foundation. CommUniverCity attends neighborhood association meetings and maintains a running Community Wish List used to recruit SJSU faculty members to participate in community-identified neighborhood improvement projects.

“The award honors what CommUniverCity has always believed in—that the community are experts in guiding the future prosperity of their neighborhood, that robust engagement starts from a place of trust, and that our voices are stronger when together,” says Su, who also serves as the executive director of the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy. “I’m honored to be part of a long-standing tradition of learning from the community and leveraging the energy and expertise of San Jose State students to further their goals.”

SPUR is arranging to share physical awards with recipients at a later date.

Public, Private Partners Vow to House 100 Homeless College Students in 100 Days

Editor’s Note:  This news release was sent to the media on November 4, 2019


CONTACT:

Mayra Flores, Communications Director
408-963-1373 c | Mayra.flores@bos.sccgov.org

Robin Reynolds, Communications Manager
408-313-3269 c | rreynolds@bwcmail.org

Public, Private Partners Vow to House 100 Homeless College Students in 100 Days

San Jose, Calif. –Santa Clara County stakeholders join the national call to action as leaders from Bill Wilson Center, San Jose State University, West Valley-Mission Community College District, and County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg come together to tackle college student homelessness through the 100-Day Challenge.

“The 100-Day Challenge focuses our community to step up and house the increasing number of homeless college students in Silicon Valley,” said Sparky Harland, Bill Wilson Center CEO.

The goal of this effort is to house 100 college students experiencing homelessness in 100 days by working with a multitude of stakeholders and service providers to connect students with available resources.

Along with Bill Wilson Center, the County of Santa Clara’s District 4, West Valley-Mission Community College District, San Jose State University, County Office of Supportive Housing, Community Solutions, and Foothill College will also be collaborating to house these college students.

“No student should live in a car, on someone’s couch, or under an overpass, especially when they’re working toward their dreams and careers,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “I am proud to see all these stakeholders step up and come together to put these students first and find them stable housing.”

“Homelessness is a regional challenge shared by the entire Bay Area, one that cries out for meaningful solutions,” said Mary A. Papazian, President of San Jose State University. “Long-term answers can only emerge through joint efforts between government, civic organization and the broader community, and the 100 Day Challenge checks all the right boxes. At SJSU, addressing student housing is a critical part of meeting our students’ overall basic needs, so we are pleased to be part of this important initiative.”

Along with the kick-off of the 100-Day Challenge, the County is proclaiming the month of November as “National Homeless Youth Awareness Month” in the County of Santa Clara and Bill Wilson Center is unveiling a new report focused on homeless youth in Santa Clara County.

According to the 2019 Homeless Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, 22% of the homeless respondents (ages 18-25) are currently enrolled in college. Of those currently experiencing homelessness, 14% of respondents noted they are living outside and 10% are living in their car.

“For a growing number of students in Santa Clara County, housing insecurity presents the largest obstacle to higher education,” said Brad Davis, West Valley-Mission Community College District Chancellor. “Our county is blessed with outstanding educators across the entire continuum of public and private education, but as rents climb to an all-time high our students are increasingly priced out of higher education, not by tuition and fees, but because they must choose between a roof over their head today or career tomorrow.”


About Santa Clara County

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the sixth-largest county in California. With more than 70 agencies/departments and nearly 22,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services including public health and environmental protection, medical services through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) hospitals and clinics, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, parks, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need. Visit us at: http://www​.sccgov.org

About Bill Wilson Center

Bill Wilson Center is a nationally and regionally recognized leader for providing services to at-risk, homeless youth and families. More than 4,100 children, youth, young adults and families in Santa Clara County are directly serviced with another 30,000 clients assisted by BWC’s street outreach and crisis line programs. BWC provides services that meet the cultural and linguistic needs of our whole community. We value our unique ethnic diversity as well as the LGBTQ community and non-able community.  BWC is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

 

SJSU to Host Virtual Adobe Creative Jam Oct. 11-12

Donna Caldwell, a senior solutions consultant, leads the Adobe XD bootcamp for students who competed in the Adobe Creative Jam April 18, 2019. Photo by Robert C. Bain

Donna Caldwell, a senior solutions consultant, leads the Adobe XD bootcamp for students who competed in the Adobe Creative Jam April 18, 2019. Photo by Robert C. Bain

San Jose State University will host a unique virtual Adobe Creative Jam this month with participants from seven additional California State Universities. The event will kick off on Oct. 11 at 1 p.m. in Dwight Bentel Hall 117, and will end on Oct. 12. 

This two-day event builds on the success of a spring Digital Detox event in which SJSU students learned how to use Adobe XD, received portfolio and resume reviews, and created their own prototype app.

Spartans have many reasons to join the jam. John Delacruz, Associate Professor, Advertising and an Adobe Education Leader, sees this as a valuable learning opportunity for SJSU students who will eventually step into fast-paced industries. 

“The Adobe association adds value and weight to the student experience,” he said. “The digital badge they carry on their LinkedIn profiles and resumes that the company may provide them as participatory evidence is something that they don’t just get from the most progressive classroom. The value from collaborations like these give students a step up once they are looking for jobs.”

The jam is designed to be a fun event for students coming from diverse backgrounds and disciplines as they connect virtually. In true Spartan spirit, the goal is to rise above challenges, learning to work in a team, and developing creative skills and their applications in a time-sensitive environment. And the icing on the cake is that students can win cash prizes, will receive free food, and revel in the camaraderie on the team. 

How the Adobe Creative Jam will work: 

Students who sign up will be grouped into teams of three to five to work on a creative brief that’s topical and relevant. Speakers from Adobe and other design professionals will join the students via Crowdcast to share tips and advice on the field. There will also be a tutorial, a deep dive into Adobe XD—a design software required to accomplish the project.

Teams will then have two hours to brainstorm ideas, think of solutions, and come up with a prototype design, following which each team will get two to three minutes to present their ideas. 

A set of finalists from each campus will improve their ideas overnight and present them again to the judges virtually on Saturday. A fresh set of judges will select overall winners. The winning teams will receive $250 each, giveaways from Adobe along with plenty of other goodies. 

Delacruz is an advocate of engaging students in experiential learning and pedagogy, peer mentoring, and other exciting activities that happen in the creative field. He stresses that industries work on quick turnaround of projects, and students need to be aware of certain tools to get the work done effectively, and

“This is where Adobe chips in with the tools that creative industries are built on,” he said.

 

Innovators Visit SJSU for Fall 2019 Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering will present the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium again this fall with seven speakers visiting San Jose State University. The first event in the series will be Sept. 26, with David Zhou sharing insights on artificial intelligence (AI). Zhou is the head of product for autonomous driving for Baidu, a Chinese multinational company.

Since Fall 2002, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has hosted the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium (SVLS). The Symposium hosts industry and technology leaders to talk about business and technology trends. It also features prominent leaders who discuss broader societal and political issues that shape our life and society.

Each talk talks place on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. in Engineering 189.

The fall 2019 lineup includes:

September 26

David Zhou, Head of Product for Autonomous Driving

Baidu

October 10

Speaker TBD

PG&E

October 17

Patricia Backer, Professor of Technology

Global Technology Institute Program

October 24

Auston Davis, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer

Heartflow

November 7

Mahesh Kamat, Chief Architect of DPD Appliance Engineer and Senior Distinguished Engineer

Dell

November 14

Eric Law, Senior Director of Innovation and Technology

Swinerton Builders

November 21

Sylvia Flores, CEO

Manos Accelerator

December 5

Matthew Trowbridge, Vice President of Marketing

Omron

SJSU and Provident Credit Union Announce Partnership Agreement for Event Center

Event Center

Event Center

 

 

Media Contacts:

Robin McElhatton

Media Relations Specialist

408-924-1749

robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

Lawrence Fan

SJSU Associate
Athletics Director

408-924-1217

lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

John Haggarty

VP marketing,
Provident Credit Union

650-508-0300, ext. 2611

jhaggarty@providentcu.org

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University and Provident Credit Union have forged an $8.1 million, 20-year partnership agreement to rename The Event Center at San Jose State University to Provident Credit Union Event Center. The California State University Board of Trustees approved the venue renaming and broader agreement at its July 24 meeting.

“Maintaining a modern, inviting event center is vital for San Jose State, our students and student-athletes, faculty and staff, the City of San Jose, and the entire campus community,” said Mary A. Papazian, president of San Jose State. “Regional collaborations like this one demonstrate how the university can work with industry in mutually-beneficial ways. And, as an SJSU alum, President Jim Ernest is another great example of our graduates who make a difference in their own backyard.”

Funds from the annual payments will be used to make improvements, upgrades, renovations and for ongoing maintenance to the Event Center, a 30-year-old facility managed by Student Union, Inc., a student auxiliary. The building is a prominent feature of the campus and is visited by students, faculty and staff members during such events as Commencement, Honors Convocation and Spartan Athletics contests. The university and greater Bay Area community visit the center regularly when it is rented by outside promoters for concerts, comedy shows and a variety of other entertainment events.

“Provident Credit Union looks forward to supporting and serving the staff, students, and alumni of San Jose State University with financial services. The credit union has had a 70-year relationship with not only educators in Northern California but all communities in the five Bay Area counties. As an alumnus, I am very proud that Provident has been given the opportunity to provide the San Jose State University community with our exceptional products, outstanding services and comprehensive financial education. We are very excited about this partnership and eager to get started,” said Jim Ernest, president and CEO of Provident Credit Union.

Ernest is a San Jose State alumnus who holds a bachelor’s in economics and an MBA from St. Mary’s College. He serves on the board of directors of Easter Seals Bay Area and is the Finance Committee chair.

The agreement includes signage at the facility and on nearby roadways; the opportunity to sponsor or participate in university events; and the opportunity to provide the campus with financial literacy awareness clinics.

San Jose State University and Provident Credit Union thank PIVOT Agency (PIVOT), a nationally- known full-service sports marketing and sponsorship agency for its support and assistance on this naming rights agreement.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations — offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State University Athletics

San Jose State University’s athletics program sponsors 22 NCAA Division I sports (9 men’s and 13 women’s) and offers an intercollegiate athletics experience to at least 490 student-athletes annually. The Spartans compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football. San Jose State is a member of the Mountain West — a conference of 12 football-playing schools in the Pacific, Mountain and Hawaiian time zones.

About Provident Credit Union

Provident Credit Union is a full-service retail financial cooperative with over $2.7 Billion in assets, over 350 employees and 20 community branches in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Redwood Shores based credit union offers a full range of financial products and services from checking and savings accounts to credit cards and mortgage loans and has proudly served the San Francisco Bay Area since 1950. Provident has earned Bauer Financials 5 Star Sustained Superiority rating for over 20 years and has been ranked as one of the Top 200 healthiest credit unions in the country by depositaccounts.com for the past 4 consecutive years. The credit union is open to anyone who lives or works in the surrounding counties of the Bay Area. For more information about Provident please visit providentcu.org.

SJSU Assistant Professor Named SVCreates 2019 Backstage Laureate

2019 Backstage Laureate: Andrea Bechert from SVCREATES on Vimeo.

Andrea Bechert, an assistant professor and designer in SJSU’s Department of Film and Theatre program, has been named SVCreates 2019 Backstage Laureate for her exemplary scene and set designs for more than 350 productions, including world premieres across the country and many Silicon Valley shows. Bechert will be honored along with seven other artists, musicians and authors at the 2019 SVArts Awards June 27 and her profile will be featured in July/August issue of Content Magazine.

“I received a call in March telling me I was receiving the award,” she said. “I was quite floored. This is an incredible honor. There are so many talented and wonderful people I work with, and incredible artists who have received this award before me.”

She describes her work as a scenic designer as a unique and magical task.

Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert poses with set models. SVCreates named her 2019 Backstage Laureate. Photo Courtesy of SVCreates.

Assistant Professor Andrea Bechert poses with set models. SVCreates named her 2019 Backstage Laureate. Photo Courtesy of SVCreates.

“I create a new world for each production of a play, unique to the particular characters, their struggles and stories,” she said. “When I do my job well, the audience connects with these visuals, becoming engrossed in the experience of the play, and are transported momentarily into the world of the characters.”

She uses the arrangement and composition of visual elements to inspire mental and emotional connections in the audience members’ minds.

While classes are out, Bechert remains busy working on a few projects, including a production of The Language Archives for Tony Award-winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s 50th season; a production of The Cottage produced by Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, and In the Heights produced by the Center Repertory Theatre. This fall, she will work on SJSU production of a new work created and directed by Kathleen Normington, an SJSU lecturer, called (dreamer) Project – an UndocuPlay. The play is based on stories of SJSU students.

“Live theater is such a magical experience,” Bechert said. “We gather together as a group to witness a live event that moves us to laughter and tears, sharing in the experience of the characters before us, considering the elements of our shared humanity.”

As a scenic designer with hundreds of productions on her resume, Bechert finds it hard to select a favorite. But she names a few through the years that are especially dear to her heart. Peter Pan, Macbeth and A Midsummer Nights Dream top the list, and her recent work on Fun Home last fall.

“This new musical, adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir of the same name, is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist,” she said. “The story is touching and important, the music is beautiful, and the team I worked with at TheatreWorks are some of the most talented and wonderful people on this planet. How could that combination be anything other than fantastic?”

The show received a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for design and the overall production. Bechert has especially enjoyed working with TheatreWorks, where she has designed 35 productions through the years. Founder and Artistic Director Robert Kelley will lead his final season with the theatre this year.

“I am the ‘bookends’ of the season,” she noted. “I will be designing the first show of the season, The Language Archive, and the final show, which will be Robert Kelley’s final show, The Book of Will.”

“When you collaborate with the same people on stories that touch your soul time and time again, they become like family,” she said. “I am so happy that TheatreWorks received the Tony Award this year for their exceptional achievements.”

In addition to TheatreWorks, Bechert has designed for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Cleveland Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Musical Theatre of San Jose, Opera San Jose, Center Repertory Theatre, the Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Peninsula Youth Theatre, San Jose Children’s Musical Theatre Company, the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas, and many others. She has received more than 20 regional design awards.

View examples of her scenic design online.

Immigrant Heritage Month: Norma Acosta

During Immigrant Heritage Month, San Jose State University will be telling stories of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives to share. In addition, we will be highlighting our research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and the contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of SJSU’s campus community and society at large.

Norma Acosta, '93 Criminal Justice Administration, is a deputy city attorney for the city of San Jose.

Norma Acosta, ’93 Criminal Justice Administration, is a senior deputy city attorney for the city of San Jose.

Norma Acosta, ’93 Criminal Justice Administration (now Justice Studies), is senior deputy city attorney for the City of San Jose. She wrote to us to share her immigrant story:

I am an immigrant. I am here because my parents wanted a better life for their children. I was 5 years old when we arrived to the U.S. from Mexico, and 6 when we were all deported. We returned and eventually became permanent residents, but my parents never fully recovered from the setback of being deported. With an unstable home to live in, I struggled through high schools and spent several years in community college. My transfer to SJSU was my turning point. SJSU believed in me and gave me a sense of accomplishment and the courage and preparation to succeed in law school. Now a lawyer for over 20 years, I still look back at my time at SJSU and am grateful and honored to be a SJSU alumni.

Spartans, reach out to us at communications@sjsu.edu if you would like to share your immigrant heritage stories.