“Closed” Campus? Not San José State

A lifegaurd wearing a mask watches a swimmer doing laps in the SRAC.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University

Abundance of Student Services, Programs Available Even in the Midst of Pandemic

Though it might sometimes seem that SJSU’s campus is “closed” due to COVID-19 and the largely virtual classroom approach the university has adopted, a closer look reveals the extent to which staff, faculty and others have worked to give students the fullest, most meaningful college experience possible.

Sonja Daniels, associate vice president for campus life in the division of student affairs, said a large priority has been placed on delivering services that meet the personal and academic needs of students during what is an unprecedented and atypical period.

Diaz Compean Student Union remains a hub of student life for the more than 850 students (and 55 student staff) who are living in university housing or periodically coming to campus, and the facility is open from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. each weekday. The building houses more services than any other on campus, and several remain available for use—even during the pandemic.

Coffee and other essentials

About half of the eateries located in Diaz Compean Student Union—including Starbucks, for that all-important shot of caffeine students often require—are open, though hours have been adjusted due to a general decrease in traffic.

In addition, the Spartan Food Pantry remains open and available to students; in fact, all SJSU Cares and Case Management operations are still available. SJSU Cares is the university’s “one-stop shop” for a variety of student resources and services—particularly unanticipated financial crises—while the Case Management team provides individualized case managers to help with similar issues and student needs.

Student wearing a mask in the Spartan Bookstore looking through apparel.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

“Access to these services and resources is always important, but even more so given the extraordinarily challenging period this continues to be for our students and their families,” said Daniels.

Recognizing the many routine academic needs that students require, the SJSU Spartan Bookstore is also open and serving students and the campus community. Like other facilities that have modified their operations in light of the pandemic, the bookstore and its staff have implemented a number of safeguards to keep customers safe, including social distancing measures, rigorous cleaning, contactless payment and sneeze shields at checkout.

Study resources and academic services

Student on a zoom call in the Ballroom study area.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Perhaps one of the more innovative uses of space during the pandemic, said Daniels, has been in the ballroom.

With no large presentations or ceremonies occurring there, administrators decided to repurpose the facility and create a “Student Specialized Instructional Support Center ” where students could briefly attend to their studies. The venue has been equipped with computers, tables and chairs, and strong Wi-Fi completes the study space.

Student worker handing some paper to another student behind plastic safety guards at the Printing Services center at SJSU.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Because safety and health remains the campus’s first and foremost priority, students are asked to sign in and complete short surveys upon arrival in the ballroom. Although “lingering” is not permitted for long periods, the space offers a quiet place where students can complete important assignments right on campus rather than remaining “stuck” in their resident hall or apartment.

Other important Associated Students  services are still available, too, such as printing services and Transportation Solutions. Academic advising and even resume preparation services are accessible via the virtual environment.

Recreation, fitness and wellness

Student with a yellow hair cap doing laps in the SRAC pool.

Photo: Robert Bain / San José State University.

Many students, of course, are eager to return to the full suite of activities typically found in the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC). As the pandemic situation stabilizes and updated guidance from Santa Clara County leads to fewer restrictions, recreational and fitness opportunities will expand, said Daniels.

Even now, however, the swimming pool at SRAC is open for lap swims (at 45-minute intervals). SRAC has also been offering immersive virtual fitness and exercise activities, while virtual classes, at-home workouts, intramural gaming tournaments and outdoor adventure virtual trips are also available.

SJSU’s Student Health Center, said Daniels, has likely been one of the most valuable and needed resources available to students during the pandemic, particularly Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). The facility remains open several days per week from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and one-on-one virtual appointments—free of charge for students—can be made online. Regular health visits, such as eye and general medicine appointments, can also be made, with doctors and nurse practitioners remaining available.

Other virtual programming

From the outset of the pandemic, SJSU’s staff members were determined to put together and deliver a range of virtual events and other programs that students could enjoy and learn from right at their desktops. Admitted Spartan Day and Weeks of Welcome for example, developed innovative programming chock full of direct outreach, webinars, videos and other features designed for our newly admitted students and their families as well as returning students, providing superb examples that others around campus have worked hard to match.

Students and other members of the campus community are now able to enjoy virtual programming through the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center and Spartan Speaker Series, for instance, while “Let’s Talk Movies” and “Virtual Music at Noon” events as well as podcasts, “open mic” events and game nights, are being staged by Student Affairs through the fall as a way to bring arts and entertainment directly to students in an online environment.

A variety of other SJSU campus resources remain available to students—including a number of useful apps—and are described in a recent story by Sachi Tolani (’23 Marketing) for the Her Campus™ at SJSU website.

“Everyone continues to work hard to build and expand our capacity for the fullest student experience imaginable,” said Patrick Day, vice president for student affairs. “In the end, that’s what we’re striving for.”

SJSU Opens $130 Million Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center

Students and community members are invited to a ribbon cutting for the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center on April 18. Photo by David Schmitz

Students and community members are invited to a ribbon cutting for the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center on April 18. Photo by David Schmitz

Media contact: Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University will hold a grand opening ceremony for the new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC), a facility that provides new modern recreation facilities and services for students and the entire university community, on Thursday, April 18. San Jose State President Mary Papazian will be in attendance to welcome the campus community and share remarks.

Students can begin queuing east on San Carlos Street at 11:30 a.m. for the ribbon cutting, which will begin at noon. The first 4,000 students will receive an SRAC beach towel, cake, and light food, and will be able to enter a drawing for giveaways.

During the weeks before its grand opening, construction crews put the finishing touches on the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center. Photo by David Schmitz

During the weeks before its grand opening, construction crews put the finishing touches on the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center. Photo by David Schmitz

“This contemporary facility will provide another important gathering spot for our university community—especially our students—to recreate, swim, exercise and keep fit,” said Charlie Faas, SJSU vice president for administration and finance. “It was envisioned for and by students, and we are proud to continue providing them and our entire campus community with modern amenities both inside and outside the classroom.”

The facility, said Faas, features something for every student. There will be fitness classes, various sporting and recreation clubs, rock-climbing, pick-up game availability and other activities for all skill and fitness levels.

The SRAC offers a variety of features and amenities:

  • Five workout areas featuring 20,000 ft2 of cardio and strength equipment
  • Three full-court gyms for basketball, volleyball, and badminton
  • Four exercise studios for yoga, spin, Les Milles GRIT Strength training, and aerobics
  • 1/8-mile indoor track
  • Rock wall and bouldering area
  • 50-meter lap pool
  • Recreation pool with sundeck and barbecue area
  • Two casual lounges
  • Numerous exercise classes, and personal trainers
The new Spartan Recreation and Aquatics Center will include a variety of features and amenities for students as well as faculty, staff and community members with paid memberships. Photo by David Schmitz

The new Spartan Recreation and Aquatics Center will include a variety of features and amenities for students as well as faculty, staff and community members with paid memberships. Photo by David Schmitz

“The new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center is more than a recreation center. The state-of-the-art, open, inviting design creates another key destination on campus (like the Student Union) for students to relax, socialize, and study,” said Cathy Busalacchi, ’76 Recreation, executive director for the Student Union, Inc. “It is a home away from home for all our students, including Clubs Sport teams, intramurals and the Athletics’ aquatic teams.”

Gensler, a world-renowned architecture firm, designed the new SRAC, with Hunt Construction serving as the general contractor. The 128,000-square-foot structure sits at the site that previously housed an aquatic center and two residence halls.

The $130 million project is funded through a non-tuition Student Union mandatory student fee, which covers the bond for construction, the annual operational costs, and any future major or minor maintenance repairs. In 2006, the university presented two fees, a Student Union mandatory student fee that funded the Student Union renovation and expansion (completed in 2016) and also funded the new SRAC project, and a Health Center fee that funded the Student Wellness Center (completed in 2015).

SRAC is free to all enrolled SJSU students. Paid memberships are available to faculty, staff, alumni and community members. Visit the Spartan Recreation website for more information.


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 250 areas of study offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 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 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.