“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.”

Campus Message on Measles Information and Prevention

Dear campus community,

According to Santa Clara County Public Health, as of April, nationwide “measles cases now total 704 in 2019, the highest since 1994.” Last month, two universities in Southern California experienced a case of measles exposure requiring public health officials to quarantine some of their unvaccinated employees and students.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that can be spread by person-to-person contact or through the air. The virus can remain in the air for up to two hours. About nine out of 10 people who have not had the measles vaccine will get measles if they are exposed to it.

At SJSU, the well-being and safety of our students, faculty and staff are important priorities. Due to the highly contagious nature of this virus, SJSU is strongly recommending that students, faculty and staff members take steps to protect their health and the health of those around them by making sure their measles vaccination is up to date.

For Students

Students who do not have evidence of immunity need two doses of the measles (MMR) vaccine, separated by at least 28 days. SJSU students may visit the Student Health Center or their medical provider for the MMR vaccine, or to check their immune status with a blood test. Students can also contact the Student Health Center at 408-924-6122.

For Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff members who do not have evidence of immunity should receive at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. Those who are unsure of their immunity are encouraged to check with their medical provider to determine their vaccination status or to get vaccinated. Persons born before 1957 are considered immune.

Measles Symptoms

Symptoms can include a high fever, cough, runny nose, watery, red eyes and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Complications from measles can be serious and can include deafness, pneumonia and infections in the brain.

If you suspect you have measles, call your primary care provider or the Student Health Center first before visiting your care provider’s office.

Additional Information

Additional information on measles and the MMR vaccine is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Santa Clara County Public Health.


Barbara Fu, MD
Medical Chief of Staff, SJSU Student Health Center


Spartapalooza Wellness Festival

What would it take to get you to take better care of yourself? Would people in veggie costumes help? Or how about someone in a giant red party cup? Sound like fun? Then we hope you made it down to this year’s Spartapalooza Wellness Festival March 14 in the Student Union Barrett Ballroom. In case you missed it, check out our slideshow. You’ll see students, faculty and staff running interactive booths, offering giveaways and a whole lot more. Offices from across campus put on Spartapalooza, coordinated by Wellness & Health Promotion, part of the Student Health Center.

Spartans for Safety Launch Party

SJSU Launches Spartans for Safety

"See Something, Say Something"

With this new slogan, Spartans for Safety is reminding everyone to be empowered bystanders.

Two years ago on a warm May night, shots rang out in the Tenth Street Garage. Minutes later, police found three people dead: a man, his wife and her classmate.

“That really brought home that no place is immune,” recalled SJSU Chief of Police Peter Decena.

He was speaking March 14 at the Spartans for Safety launch party, where a coalition of several dozen stakeholders introduced a powerful slogan, video and website, funded in part by a Kaiser Permanente grant.

The group — including staff members from the Student Health Center, Counseling Services, Student Involvement, Associated Students and more — is developing a consolidated violence prevention program paired with eye-catching outreach materials.

Many Who Care

“We want everyone to know that there are many of us on campus that care about the safety of all students, all faculty and all staff,” said Jennifer Gacutan-Galang, a staff member with the SJSU Wellness and Health Promotion office.

At the launch party, the coalition unveiled sjsu.edu/spartansforsafety/, a one-stop shop offering practical information on a wide range of topics including domestic violence, healthy relationships and general safety.

Spartans for Safety is also encouraging people to become empowered bystanders, to “See something. Say something.”

The exact same theme is at the center of a terrific student-produced video featuring people you know.

Watch and you’ll hear campus leaders explain how 97 percent of rapists are men, 97 percent of men are not rapists, and 97 percent of  sexual assault victims are female but there are many reasons why men should care.

“If we don’t watch out for each other,” Gacutan-Galang asked, “who’s going to watch out for us?”

SJSU Launches Spartans for Safety

SJSU Launches Spartans for Safety

SJSU Launches Spartans for Safety

The Spartans for Safety campaign began as an effort to better integrate violence prevention education at SJSU.

By Laurie Morgan, Associate Director for Campus Wellness

The Spartans for Safety Launch Party will take place in the Pacifica Room in the SJSU Student Union on Thursday, March 14, from noon to 12:30 p.m. Anyone interested in supporting a safer campus community is invited to attend.

The Spartans for Safety campaign began as an effort to better integrate violence prevention education at SJSU. For more than a year, the Spartans on Safety (SOS) coalition, comprised of students, staff, and faculty, have been meeting to identify best practices and resources for addressing violence education. Ultimately the coalition is committed to fostering a safer campus environment through education, collaboration and community empowerment.

One major outcome of the coalition’s efforts is the establishment of a new web site that will go live mid-March. The web site will serve as a one-stop-shop providing information, toolkits, videos and many other resources to address a variety of topics including: intimate partner violence, bullying, sexual assault, suicide, general safety, and more. The web site and other initiatives, such as the Empowered Bystander program, will be showcased at the launch party.  Spartans for Safety T-shirts will also be given away.

More information can also be found at the Spartans for Safety booth at the annual Spartapalooza Wellness Festival being held in the adjacent Barrett Ballroom, Student Union, 10:00am-2:00pm.

Spartans for Safety was made possible thanks to a generous grant from Kaiser Permanente. For more information on Spartans for Safety or to request an Empowered Bystander training, contact Jennifer Gacutan-Galang at Jennifer.Gacutan-Galang@sjsu.edu.

Spartapalooza Wellness Festival March 14

Spartapalooza Wellness Festival March 14

Come and visit the interactive booths, learn about campus resources, enjoy music, lots of giveaways and special prizes!

By Stephanie Fabian, Spartan Shops Marketing Manager

The annual Spartapalooza Wellness Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 14 in the Student Union Barrett Ballroom. This engaging event will educate SJSU students, faculty and staff on the eight dimensions of wellness, including physical wellness and environmental wellness. Come and visit the interactive booths, learn about campus resources, enjoy music, lots of giveaways and special prizes! This event is a collaborative campus effort coordinated by Wellness & Health Promotion, part of the Student Health Center. For more information on Spartapalooza, please visit our website or visit us on our Facebook page. Spartapalooza coincides with the Spartans for Safety launch party.


Learn Simply Healthy Cooking

Learn Simply Healthy Cooking

Learn Simply Healthy Cooking

Students get to taste the creation our chef is demonstrating and take home recipe cards with nutritional information. It’s free, fun and tasty!

By Stephanie Fabian, Spartan Shops Marketing Manager

In an effort to increase education on healthy eating, Spartan Shops is rolling out a new Simply Healthy Cooking program. Students can attend our cooking classes at the Village Market and learn how to cook a quick and healthy meal right on campus! We know that with a busy school schedule, it might be hard to find time to cook, but these classes will demonstrate how you can pull together a delicious meal in minutes. Students get to taste the creation our chef is demonstrating and take home recipe cards, with nutritional information provided by the Wellness and Health Promotion team at the Student Health Center! It’s free, fun and tasty! The first class is 6-7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Village Market.

A New Student Health and Counseling Facility

Expanding Health & Counseling Services

A New Student Health and Counseling Facility

Construction will begin this summer on a three-story, 53,000-square-foot structure conveniently located between the Event Center and Spartan Complex.

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-656-6999

A totally new $25 million student health and counseling center is coming soon to SJSU. Blach Construction will begin work this summer on a three-story, 53,000-square-foot structure centrally located between the Event Center and Spartan Complex. Medical care, counseling, sports medicine and physical therapy are some of our many existing services that will make the move to the new building. In addition, dentistry and optometry services may be added. “Overall, the new facility will provide a much more comfortable environment in which students will learn how to maintain or increase their wellness,” said Student Health Center Director Roger Elrod. When completed in December 2014, the building will house 70 employees and 20 student assistants and meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold equivalent standards, which means incorporating sustainable design principles such as optimized energy performance, water-efficient landscaping and maximum use of daylight. Student health fees will pay for the project. Read a Blach Construction news release.

Female SJSU student sitting in the wellness massage chair.

Reduce Stress with Wellness Massage Chair

Female SJSU student sitting in the wellness massage chair.

The writer, junior journalism/nutrition major Amanda Holst, takes a couple of minutes to de-stress in the programmable massage chair located at Wellness and Health Promotion Office in the Health Building.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

As the first major assignments and tests start to roll around, this can be a stressful time of year for everyone on campus, me included! So when I heard the Student Health Center had a massage chair, I just had to try it, and I gotta tell you, it did not disappoint! The massage chair, free for SJSU students, was brought to the Health Center three years ago as a way to alleviate stress for students, and is part of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, according to campus wellness assistant director, Laurie Morgan.

After signing in for my appointment on the second floor, I was escorted to what seemed like an ordinary room. When the door opened, I was taken aback by pure ambiance. The dim lighting and an enchanting serene waterfall poster on the wall set the tranquil mood for the entire room, making the massage chair look all the more welcoming. After a quick two-minute tutorial I sat down ready for my experience. The massage chair was plush all over, and once adjusted, fit me like a glove. I selected a five-minute quick session, which offered a little bit of everything: Shiatsu, deep, Swedish and stretch massages. At first, the rollers hurt because my muscles were so tight, but after I got used to them and allowed myself to relax, I let the chair work its magic. The techniques ranged from gentle, circular squeezing to rapid taps and alternating movements on my neck, shoulders, and back. After using the chair for only five minutes, I can definitely say that it exceeded all of my expectations. I left feeling relaxed and far less stressed than I was when I arrived. I can’t wait to go back!

Female student completing a questionaire.

Strengths Brown Bag Lunch Series: Strengths + Academics = Graduation

Female student completing a questionaire.

A focus on strengths is a path to excellence.

Date: September 14, 2011

Time: noon

Location: Clark 100H

Summary: Imagine a world where you get to build on your talents to do what you do best; a world where how you think, feel and behave is not only accepted but valued. The Strengths-based Learning Team, comprised of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, is working to create just such an environment here at San Jose State University. Too often students (and just about everyone else) are led to believe that the best path to success in any endeavor is to spend most of their time working on their weaknesses.  The best — in any field — don’t do that. A focus on strengths is a path to excellence. This fall, the team will introduce a series of brown bag discussions with the goal of expanding the reach of this very successful program. The first session, “Strengths + Academics = Graduation,” will ask: “What do you excel in? Do you think it has nothing to do with school? WRONG!!! This session will show you how to use your strengths in the academic setting. We will discuss how to develop your talents and how to find creative techniques that can be applied to studying, writing, group projects, and even test taking.” Learn more about Strengths-based Learning at SJSU.