San José State Opens Doors to New SJSU Cares Office

SJSU Cares

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Falter assists a student at SJSU Cares.

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

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

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

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

Assessing student needs

SJSU Food Pantry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about SJSU Cares

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

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

SJSU 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.

Braven Releases Annual Impact Report Highlighting SJSU Student Fellows’ Outcomes

Nonprofit Braven is built on the premise that when students who have not had the benefits of affluent circumstances are provided the same level of support and opportunities, they will excel. The proof is in their new 2020–2021 Annual Impact Report — a testament to the power of Braven’s model and what can happen when you give these students the tools they need to maximize their potential.

“The co-development of the UNVS 101 Leadership and Career Accelerator course by business, engineering and science faculty jointly with Braven staff has provided a valuable opportunity for all students at San José State University, both undergraduate and graduate, to build important leadership and career-readiness skills in a structured curriculum, with support from fellow students, faculty and industry coaches,” said Thalia Anagnos, vice provost of undergraduate education at SJSU.

Braven’s program is designed to complement the work of career services by scaffolding for students as they learn and master key leadership, career and life skills in two phases: The first is a semester-long, for-credit Accelerator course — UNVS 101 at SJSU — bolstered by coaches and fueled by the community that arises in the cohorts of student “Fellows.” The second allows Fellows to access a “post-course experience,” including one-on-one mentoring and career-building activities that continue beyond college graduation to help ensure their career success.

“We hear from Fellows time and time again that Braven is a reliable support system and like a family,” said Diana Phuong, executive director for Braven Bay Area. “What’s more, the ongoing support students receive from Braven through graduation helps them navigate the challenges that college students, particularly those who are first-generation, often face, whether through advice about their job search, helping to perfect their portfolio, or other ways.”

Gabriel Miranda, who was a spring 2020 Fellow and now an area manager at Amazon says, “Braven helped me learn what I needed to do to be on my path to a successful career and unlocked so many doors for me. Who would’ve thought a boy raised by two immigrant grandmothers from Korea and Mexico would be able to graduate from college and change the lives of his family.”

The “secret sauce” of Braven’s programming is the involvement of more than 75 employer partners, including Adobe, Linkedin and the NBA Foundation, whose employee volunteers gain as much, or more than, they give while serving as the Leadership Coaches. The experience offers them the opportunity to develop themselves by leading diverse teams and motivating promising young professionals — transferable skills that meet their own professional goals.

Employers benefit by the investment made in their own existing workforce as well as by supporting the Fellows through internships and often post-graduation jobs. Partnership in this case is both a retaining tool and a recruitment pipeline.

Some employer partners have also found deeper impact from their support of Braven, especially through the pandemic. Meg Garlinghouse, ‍head of social impact at Linkedin, said that “in a time of deep uncertainty, partnering with Braven has been a concrete way to be part of the movement for racial and economic justice.”

Since starting out with San José State University as its founding partner in higher education in 2014, Braven has expanded its programming via independent college success organizations. Now through BravenX in Chicago and Braven Online, which is nationwide, students involved with these groups can receive a financial stipend to obtain a similar experience outside of the traditional academic model.

SJSU and Braven Impact Report

Former Fellows Esteban Barrios, ’20 Physics, and Cynthia Fernandez-Rios, ’21 Business, both successfully launched their careers after graduation with the skills and support they gained by taking part in SJSU’s partner-program with nonprofit Braven.

Highlights of the 2021 Impact Report

  • 69% of Braven Fellows who identify as female obtained what Braven refers to as “a quality first economic opportunity”* after college, outpacing 62% of Fellows who identify as male.
  • Female Fellows also outpaced male peers at public four-year universities (56% obtained strong first jobs) and peers nationwide (60%).
  • Across races, Braven Fellows surpassed their counterparts at four-year public universities nationally by 15% or more in obtaining quality economic opportunities.
  • SJSU Braven graduates were 7% more likely to have at least one internship — mostly completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic — during college compared to students at four-year public universities nationally.
  • 87% of Fellows report that they have expanded their networks to include people with diverse careers and career interests after Braven, and 91% credit Braven’s program to helping them develop or strengthen skills necessary to pursue their goals, according to a study from the Search Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • This year, SJSU supported 324 new fellows on their path to economic mobility.

*Either enrollment in a graduate program or a full-time “strong first job” that requires a college degree and offers a competitive salary, benefits, professional development and pathways to advancement.

See how Braven is helping SJSU students grow their social capital.

Setting the Sustainability Standard: SJSU Makes Princeton Review’s Green Colleges List


Chavez Fountain at San José State. SJSU was one of the first users of recycled water on the South Bay Water Recycling system and continues to transition services to the system. Photo: David Schmitz

Editor’s Note: This story originally published on September 21, 2021, and has been updated on October 27, 2021, to include the The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition.

San José State University has quickly become a model campus for sustainable practices in higher education — including a place in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition’s 420 Green Colleges list.

The list, released Tuesday, October 26, includes institutions that are chosen based on a combination of school-reported data and student opinion collected through surveys. SJSU scored a 92 out of 99 using the Princeton’s Reviews grading criteria. Nearly 840 institutions were considered for the list.

This is the latest in a recent string of impressive sustainability rankings for San José State, including ranking in the top 6% nationally for sustainability and Gold in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS).

Putting sustainability first at SJSU

STARS is a “transparent, self-reporting” program colleges and universities can utilize to measure their sustainability performance developed by the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). According to AASHE, by participating in STARS, “institutions can earn points toward a STARS Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Rating, or earn the STARS Reporter designation” which represent significant sustainability leadership.

San José State is one of 1,035 institutions registered to use the STARS Reporting Tool, of which just 674 have earned a STARS rating.

We asked Bill DeVincenzi, faculty-in-residence for sustainability at SJSU, and Debbie Andres, ’07 Chemical Engineering, senior utilities and sustainability analyst for SJSU’s Office of Sustainability, to help us understand what the significance of the STARS rating means for SJSU and how sustainability is incorporated into programming and other activities on campus.

The GOLD rating is the second highest ranking in the STARS reporting system, marking a significant level of sustainability leadership. What is the significance of this ranking for San José State?

Bill DeVincenzi (BD): The STARS rating and ranking system provides a measurement of the effectiveness of our sustainability programs at SJSU. The ratings cover all aspects of sustainability, including academics as well as operations. Providing students and the local community with an education about sustainable practices is a strong objective of our university.

Debbie Andres (DA): We have strived to be a leader in sustainability since we were one of the first universities to establish a Department of Environmental Studies in 1970 and one of the first organizations to begin using recycled water in our central plant in the 1980s. We have always prided ourselves on our progressive and strategic efforts in sustainability, and the ranking validates the work we have been doing for decades.

Can you help us understand what “sustainability” means in regards to this ranking (i.e., what are the factors that we are reporting on and why do those matter)?

BD: In academics, we report the extent to which sustainability concepts are included in all academic courses. For example, we have 399 sustainability related or focused courses in 50 of the 64 total academic departments across SJSU.

DA: The reporting and subsequent ranking show a comprehensive and holistic view of every aspect of our campus and how sustainability is incorporated into each, such as research activities, faculty that are involved in sustainability related projects, and sustainability focused research centers.

This also includes operations, or non-academic functions, from campus grounds and buildings to procurement, dining and investments. One example is the solar panels installed at South Campus that provide all the power to those facilities. We also recently installed electric charging stations in parking lots and have more planned for the new South Campus parking garage.

How do we compare to our peer institutions in terms of sustainability?

BD: SJSU compares very favorably with peer institutions. Our Gold rating and ranking 60th out of 1,035 universities and colleges worldwide says we are doing a great job. However, there is a lot of room for improvement, and we are working diligently to make that happen.

How long has SJSU been reporting in this system, and how would you describe our progress toward becoming more sustainable in the time we’ve been a part of it?

DA: We were one of the first universities to submit a STARS report in 2011, and we have submitted recertification every three years since. We started with a Silver ranking and reached Gold with our last two submissions.

Our progress reflects our efforts in two ways: First, sustainability is getting increasingly incorporated into our curriculum and operations. Second, we are improving our self-auditing process to accurately reflect all our activities on campus.

How has participation in this program impacted sustainability practices and/or programming at SJSU?

BD: By tracking our standings in the STARS reports, we are able to determine our strengths and weaknesses relative to sustainability. This has allowed us to identify those areas of weakness and design programs and practices that have improved our offerings to students and the community at large.

What are some things that any of our community members could do to contribute to our sustainability while on campus?

DA: Minimize waste, use recycling bins, eliminate single use plastics, recognize and reduce energy usage. Faculty and staff could also get workspaces Green Office certified.

Advancing Quality and Student Success at SJSU

Paseo walkway on SJSU's campus

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

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

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

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

What does WSCUC accreditation mean for SJSU?

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about SJSU’s accreditation history.

Why is it important to SJSU?

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

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

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

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

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

What is the process of accreditation like for SJSU?

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

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

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

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

Take a deeper dive into SJSU’s accreditation process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What else should the SJSU community know about this process?

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

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

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

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

About WASC

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

SJSU Staff Awards Honor Exemplary Service, Contributions and Spartan Spirit

San José State’s second annual Staff Awards culminated the university’s Spartan Service Celebration—an annual tradition of more than 50 years—which honored nearly 300 staff members in 2021 for their milestone years of service.

SJSU’s Staff Awards, sponsored by the SJSU Staff Council and the Office of the President, were hosted on March 4 and honored outstanding staff members in three categories: Spartan Spirit, Distinguished Service and Staff of the Year.

This year’s celebration is even more important, as SJSU staff in every area of the university have worked remotely and tirelessly through a global pandemic to keep operations moving forward, rising to every challenge along the way.

In particular, the Facilities Development and Operations team ensured the campus was safe and prepared for students, faculty and staff to learn and work on campus, and the Student Health Center staff continuously provided medical services, including virtual services, and lead our contact tracing efforts.

“Staff members are the driving force behind the university, connected in some way, shape, or form to all that we do,” said President Mary Papazian.

“To this year’s honorees: Thank you. You are devoted Spartans who have committed all or much of your careers to serving our students, supporting faculty and staff and being an integral member of the San José State University community.”

2020-2021 Staff Award honorees:

Each award has one winner and two honorable mentions. The winners receive a plaque and a $1,000 cash award; each honorable mention receives a certificate and a $250 cash award. This year, the Staff Council received more than 50 nominations for the three awards.

Spartan Spirit Award Winner: Erlinda Yañez, Chicana and Chicano Studies

Honorable Mentions: Cindy Aubrey, Communicative Disorders and Sciences and Tamela Sullivan, University Personnel

Distinguished Service Winner: Kim Huynh, Undergraduate Education

Honorable Mentions: Jocelyn Douglas, Moss Landing Marine Labs and Maria (Elma) Arredondo, Student Affairs Systems

Staff of the Year Winner: Rhett Frantz, Moss Landing Marine Labs

Honorable Mentions: Joshua Kas-Osoka, Peer Connections and Nha-Nghi Nguyen, Psychology

Read more about the awards and winners below.

How the awards started

When the SJSU Staff Council was formally established in October 2019, the members quickly formed a Staff Recognition Committee. The council understood the importance of recognizing their colleagues—many of whom have dedicated most of their entire careers to SJSU with dedication, perseverance and exceptional abilities.

The committee defined the award categories, developed the nomination questions and criteria, and then gained the support of President Papazian and her cabinet, who agreed to provide funding for the awards.

“It has been such a pleasure to recognize colleagues who give so much time and energy to the university,” said Janet Sundrud, finance systems and operations senior analyst and chair of Staff Council.

“We already knew we were working with exceptional people and now we get to honor some of them for their efforts. We hope that the Staff Council can continue to be involved in staff recognition efforts on campus.”

The Staff Council welcomes all interested staff to join and contribute to their monthly meetings and future events like this.

Joanne Wright and Erlinda Yañez

(L-R) Joanne Wright presents Erlinda Yañez with the Spartan Spirit award.

Erlinda Yañez, Chicana and Chicano Studies

Spartan Spirit Award Winner

The Spartan Spirit Award honors a San José State staff member, manager or auxiliary employee who displays exceptional Spartan spirit, passion and pride in their work at SJSU. They embody SJSU campus values such as social justice, diversity, helping and caring, and innovation, among others and demonstrate a commitment to campus and community service.

Nominees describe Erlinda’s contributions to the campus community that go well beyond the scope of her job description. Her passion and pride about being a Spartan is unmatched, and she never intentionally seeks the spotlight or recognition for her numerous activities, programming and guidance she offers to students.

Ravisha Mathur and Kim Huynh

(L-R) Ravisha Mathur presents Kim Huynh with the Distinguished Service award.

Kim Huynh, Undergraduate Education

Distinguished Service Winner

The Distinguished Service Award honors an SJSU staff member or an auxiliary staff member who has worked for the university for more than 10 years and has displayed a commitment to excellent service to the campus community with the utmost professionalism and helpful attitude.

Nominators spoke of Huynh’s unwavering dedication to our students, staff and faculty and her ability to anticipate problems and streamline processes and systems. She does it all with a can-do attitude, which has led her to be known as the “glue” of her department, attuned to others’ needs—even before they know them.

Huynh was genuinely surprised and humble about the recognition, crediting her teammates for their hard work and inspiration. “I never ever thought that I would ever be nominated for a prestigious award,” said Huynh.

“I was once a struggling student at SJSU and have seen what it takes to be successful in college. To be able to be on the other side of the desk, helping students find success in their studies, graduate and land incredible career opportunities is the best part of my job, and I love it.”

President Mary Papazian and Rhett Frantz

(L-R) President Mary Papazian presents Rhett Frantz with the Staff of the Year award.

Rhett Frantz, Moss Landing Marine Labs

Staff of the Year Winner

The Staff of the Year Award recognizes an exemplary SJSU staff member or auxiliary staff member who has made a valuable contribution to the campus in the past three years by improving the campus community and/or the California State University system through their work.

Nominators decidedly affirm Rhett’s unwavering commitment, dedication and passion for SJSU’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and his immeasurable impact on the graduate student experience, faculty, researchers and staff.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked non-stop, 24/7 to maintain MLML’s IT services, support the transition to online learning, and ensure all complex marine research applications and data systems remained functioning when no one was allowed onsite.

The SJSU staff’s efforts are a testament of their resiliency, commitment and dedication—truly embodying what it means to be a Spartan.


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

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

Baratunde Thurston
Deconstructing Racism with Baratunde Thurston

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

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

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

Thurston will conclude his presentation with a Q&A.

Alok Menon

Exploring Gender and Identity with ALOK

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

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

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

Thea Monyee

Bridging Mental Health and Activism with Thea Monyee

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

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

Simon Tam

Making Trouble with Simon Tam

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

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

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

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

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

“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.”

COVID-19 Playing Major Role in SJSU’s 2020-2021 Fiscal Year Budget

The university is leveraging reserves in effort to prevent layoffs and continue Transformation 2030 strategic plan.


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, San José State University (SJSU) is in the process of releasing its budget for the current academic year. SJSU is scheduled to release its budget for the current academic year by the end of September.

With the California State University (CSU) system facing a $299 million budget reduction from the state of California due to COVID-19’s impact on the state’s overall budget, SJSU’s $377 million budget — down $26 million from last year — has been affected significantly by the state’s reductions and the economic impact of the pandemic. 

SJSU estimates a financial shortfall of more than $92 million from lost revenue and COVID-related expenses tied to the state’s budget reduction and university-specific revenue streams, most notably housing, which accounts for nearly half of the university-specific losses, parking, dining, concerts and events, athletics revenues and international student enrollment. Although SJSU’s total enrollment number is on track to mirror the 2019-2020 academic year, the loss of an estimated 500 international and out of state students this fall factors into the revenue reduction.

“On top of being a major health concern, the pandemic has created a financial impact on higher education that will hurt universities like SJSU for some time to come,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “The recovery from this will be long and arduous. I have and will continue to call upon Congress and others to support institutions like SJSU to ensure a well-educated workforce vital for our state’s future.”

The projected deficit is nearly six times the original estimate of $16 million in losses the university estimated during the spring semester after the county’s shelter-in-place order went into effect March 16. The federal government’s CARES Act, distributed in April, provided more than $30 million to SJSU, with nearly half of it earmarked and distributed as direct student aid. The remaining $16 million funded faculty training through the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program, enabled the purchase of much needed student and faculty IT equipment, and provided some relief to enterprises, including housing and parking services. The remaining funds from the CARES Act were used to support COVID-related infrastructure expenses, such as cleaning supplies and other uses by Facilities Development and Operations, and expenditures in Academic Affairs.

Options for this year and beyond

In July 2020, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White shared a message emphasizing that the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt by the CSU for at least the next three years. Chancellor White described the CSU’s plan to reduce expenses, including instituting a systemwide hiring slowdown, halting most travel for all campuses and the Chancellor’s Office, and the consideration of a furlough program beginning in the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Chancellor White has delegated to each campus president the responsibility and accountability for implementing local campus layoff plans, as determined by the campus and consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements. 

“Layoffs are the least preferred option for SJSU, and we continue to look at the budget to find creative solutions to the looming financial challenges we face,” Papazian said. “We are committed to exhausting all avenues before resorting to layoffs. We will continue to find ways to ensure the university can maintain courses and services for students and keep our faculty and staff employed in the midst of a global crisis.”

While SJSU has continued to hire faculty and key strategic positions, the university has significantly slowed hiring and backfilling positions, resulting in budget savings.

Despite the expected financial shortfall over the next three years, SJSU is committed to continuing the work necessary to achieve goals of the Transformation 2030 strategic plan — including graduation rate increases, tenure-track faculty hiring and start-up, research growth, safety and growth of graduate studies. 

“Despite what feels like insurmountable challenges, we will continue the progress we have already made toward these vital goals for the growth of San José State University,” said Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Charlie Faas. 

In his July message, Chancellor White also wrote that use of reserves will be vital to protecting our institutions from financial exigency over the next three years. Campuses and the Chancellor’s Office will be measured in drawing on these funds to ensure they do not “zero out” their reserves. Funds from reserves intended for a specific need or priority will only be used to fund those particular areas.

Drawing from reserves

SJSU will utilize a significant portion of its reserves — currently $161 million from the general fund and enterprise reserves which amount to a little less than five months of funding to support all university operations. Given the long-term impacts of COVID-19, SJSU looks to draw on about 60 percent of its reserves in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The remaining reserves will be largely expended in the next two fiscal years.

SJSU is also working closely with its auxiliary organizations to determine how they can best partner with the university. The university is prepared for several years where the state budget could be significantly decreased and additional state funding is not available. 

“Getting through the pandemic and its lasting financial impact will be a team effort, and potential support from divisions, enterprises and auxiliaries will allow SJSU to continue to adapt in crucial areas across campus and emerge from the pandemic on solid ground,” said Faas. “Together, we will continue to fulfill our academic mission and support graduation initiatives that have made San José State University a world-class institution that is the most transformative university in the country.”

New Federally Mandated Title IX Regulations Take Effect August 14

*Editor’s Note: This message from Chief Diversity Officer Kathleen Wong(Lau) was shared with the SJSU campus community on Friday, August 14, 2020. 

Dear campus community,

Last week, I wrote to inform you about the U.S. Department of Education’s new regulations relating to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Federal Regulations). The Federal Regulations include key changes to provisions addressing scope, questioning at live hearings, review of evidence, appeals, and training, among others. All educational institutions which receive federal funding, including San José State University (SJSU) and the other 22 California State University (CSU) campuses, must comply with these regulations as of August 14, 2020, or risk loss of federal funding. 

Effective today, the Chancellor’s Office has issued Addendum B: Federal Mandated Hearing Addendum, which accompanies CSU Executive Orders 1096 and 1097, and which outlines the policy and procedures required under the Title IX Federal Regulations. Please note that regardless of the Federal Regulations, our policies governing sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sex- and gender-based discrimation, as stated in Executive Orders 1095, 1096 and 1097, still remain fully in effect. The U.S. Department of Education acknowledges that SJSU and other universities may address misconduct through their policies and through state law, and SJSU is firmly committed to responding to and addressing sexual harassment and sexual misconduct that affects the CSU community. In the case of California law and CSU policy, policies are more expansive than the conduct prohibited by the Federal Regulations. 

The Changes

All formal complaints submitted to the Title IX Office will be first assessed under Addendum B to determine whether those procedures apply. If a formal complaint does not meet the criteria to be processed under Addendum B, the complaint may be processed under EO 1096 or 1097 (our current single-investigator model) or Addendum A (our current hearing-model for student cases). 

Two significant aspects of Addendum B:

  • Under Addendum B, alleged incidents can be considered for investigation only if they occur within the United States, and only if they occur in university sanctioned programs or activities, or on properties owned or controlled by the university or recognized student organizations. If these criteria are not met, the allegations may be evaluated under EOs 1096 and 1097, or Addendum A, which apply much more broadly to alleged violations involving any university student, staff, or faculty member, including in non-SJSU locations and outside of the United States
  • All Addendum B investigations, which apply the Federal Regulations, will involve live hearings with mandatory Hearing Advisors who will conduct the cross-examination of the Parties. The hearing will be facilitated by a Hearing Officer, who will monitor decorum and assess the appropriateness of the questions. The CSU will provide trained Hearing Advisors if either complainant or respondent do not have one available.
  • Other regulation details are available at Addendum B and FAQs. Please note that FAQs will be forthcoming. Any inquiries can be directed to

What has NOT changed:

  • Employees still have a duty to report potential incidents of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence and stalking to the Title IX Office, unless they are specifically exempt under CSU policy.
  • Executive Orders 1096 and 1097 and Addendum A are still in effect but only after consideration whether allegations are governed by Addendum B, based on specifically defined criteria.
  • Regardless of which process, or whether a case meets criteria for an investigation, our Title IX team continues to provide supportive measures and other services, conduct intakes relating to reports and complaints of sex- and gender-based misconduct, and coordinate with other campus offices on Title IX issues of misconduct, harassment, stalking, and gender equity.

All current active investigations as well as intakes regarding alleged incidents that occurred prior to August 14, 2020, will still go through the process under EO 1096 and 1097 or Addendum A. Incidents occurring on or after August 14 will be subject to the new process described above, including determining whether they are governed by procedures stated in Addendum B.

San José State University remains committed to supporting a safe and equitable campus environment as we move forward with these new regulations issued by the federal government. Title IX will continue to work and collaborate to provide supportive measures and other services in our processes for our campus community.


Kathleen Wong(Lau)

Spartan Service Celebration Honors Staff and Introduces Three New Awards

The 53rd annual Spartan Service Celebration honored staff milestone years of service and awarded three exemplary Spartans new annual awards—Distinguished Service, Spartan Spirit and Staff of the Year—on Thursday, March 5 at the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Dora Ozawa and President Papazian

Dora Ozawa accepts the Staff of the Year Award from SJSU President Mary Papazian. Photo: Robert Bain.

Staff of the Year: Dora Ozawa

Dora Ozawa, systems coordinator for Registrar’s Office, received the Staff of the Year award in recognition of her commitment to the campus, her extensive knowledge of registration policies, procedures and her 43 years of service to San Jose State. Originally hired as a student employee, Ozawa describes SJSU as her “second home,” a community of friends, students and colleagues who have encouraged her to grow in her various roles. She said that seeing the campus evolve over the last four decades has taught her so much about streamlining processes, supporting students and brainstorming ways to improve registration systems. Ozawa has been a critical force in transitioning the university to the PeopleSoft database for record-keeping.

“When I first heard that I’d been nominated for this award, I was pretty overwhelmed emotionally,” said Ozawa, who is used to working behind the scenes. “It’s been amazing to see how much we accomplished with so little technology back in the day and how far we’ve come. I like knowing that the work I do helps students make it to their goal of graduating.”

Vuong Vu and Joanne Wright

Joanne Wright presents Vuong Vu with the inaugural Spartan Spirit Award. Photo: Robert Bain.

Spartan Spirit Award: Vuong Vu

The Spartan Spirit Award, which is intended to highlight someone who is “spirited, passionate and proud to work at SJSU,” while embodying campus values of social justice, diversity and innovation, was awarded to Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) Evaluator Vuong Vu, ’01 Psychology.

“I enjoy knowing that my work makes a difference,” said Vu. “I know that education, especially graduate education, changes lives, not only for students, but for their families and communities. Every application that I review, I do so with attention and care because I know that once you are a graduate student at SJSU, your life will change forever—for the better. I love my team and look forward to coming into work every morning. GAPE Director Tricia Ryan encourages and fosters independence and creativity. This allows me to enjoy my work and find it meaningful.”

Nancy Day and Ravisha Mathur

Nancy Day accepts the 2019-2020 Distinguished Service award from Ravisha Mathur. Photo: Robert Bain.

Distinguished Service Award: Nancy Day

Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Thalia Anagnos describes the inaugural Distinguished Service recipient Nancy Day as an “invaluable resource.” Day, who works in undergraduate e-advising, is adept at navigating PeopleSoft and quick to field questions from students, staff and faculty across campus.

“There are a lot of students that need help and assistance getting through college,” said Day. “Working in Undergraduate Education on the degree audit project, we are really able to help students. We want to see people graduate and the tools that I work on really help facilitate that.”

“Due to the work done by Nancy and her team, the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business has been able to replace paper major forms with MyProgress,” wrote Anagnos in a 2019 “Stepping Beyond” blog post. “This helps our evaluators complete graduation checkout much more quickly and gets diplomas to our students just days after the semester is over. Every day of the year, Nancy steps beyond.”

Each of the award recipients received $1,000, sponsored by the Office of the President. Two honorable mentions in each category were awarded $250. Ana Navarette Avina of the UndocuSpartan Resource Center and Robert Davis of the Veteran’s Resource Center received Spartan Spirit honorable mentions. Virtual Servers and Networking Analyst Altaful Khan of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Information Technology Services and Ramon Perez, ’01 Biological Sciences, ’04 MA Economics, of the College of Health and Human Sciences received honorable mentions in the Distinguished Service category. Staff of the Year honorable mentions went to Kim Le of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and Tom Reisz of Academic Preparation programs.

In addition to these inaugural awards, more than 100 Spartan staff members were recognized for their years of service, ranging from 15 years to more than 40. See the full list of honorees here.

2020 State of the University Address

Media contacts:
Ken Mashinchi, Senior Director of Media Relations, 408-924-1167,
Robin McElhatton, Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749,

San Jose State will live stream President Mary Papazian’s second annual State of the University address from 2–3 p.m. Monday, March 9, 2020.

2019: A Spartan Year in Review

From breaking ground on San Jose State’s Interdisciplinary Science Building to the grand opening of the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center to the launch of Transformation 2030, SJSU’s strategic plan, 2019 was a year of growth at One Washington Square. The following 13 stories feature exciting interdisciplinary research, award-winning new facilities, important university rankings, campus initiatives, innovative projects and alumni giving.

Spartan Football Receives $1 Million Gift from Kevin and Sandy Swanson, January 2019

San Jose State alumnus Kevin Swanson and his wife Sandy Swanson committed to give $1 million to Spartan football.

Kevin and Sandy Swanson at the Spartan football All In campaign event in 2017. Photo: David Schmitz.

SJSU Student Engineers Launch Latest TechEd Satellite with NASA, March 2019

After a year of hard work, collaboration and many late nights subsisting on Costco pizzas, a group of SJSU students, faculty and alumni gathered with guests from NASA Ames Research Center to watch the deployment of a technology education satellite (TechEdSat) from the International Space Station (ISS) on March 5.

TechEdSat group in N-244 Lab 9 with mentors Mark Murbach (standing back left) and Ali Guarneros Luna (kneeling on right). Photo courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.

SJSU Opens $130 Million Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, April 2019

SJSU hosted 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.

Photo: David Schmitz

Forbes Names SJSU to 2019 Best Value College List, April 2019

Forbes named SJSU to its 2019 list of America’s Best Value Colleges. The university moved up from #55 on the list in 2018 to #40. SJSU was listed as #13 in California.

Graduates celebrate at Avaya Stadium during San Jose State University’s College of Social Sciences Graduation in 2018.
Photo: David Schmitz.

San Jose State University Celebrates Historic Groundbreaking on Interdisciplinary Science Building, April 2019

SJSU celebrated the historic groundbreaking for its new Interdisciplinary Science Building.

An artistic rendering shows what the Interdisciplinary Science Building will look like in 2021 when it is completed.

SJSU Community Invited to Spartan Food Pantry Open House, April 2019

The SJSU Cares Program and the SJSU Student Hunger Committee hosted a Spartan Food Pantry Opening Celebration.

Ben Falter, left, a senior student affairs case manager, helps a student at the Spartan Food Pantry. Photo: Brandon Chew

State of the University Address and Strategic Plan Announcement, April 2019

SJSU introduced Transformation 2030, its new strategic plan.

Photo: Javier Duarte

SJSU Celebrates the Class of 2019 at Commencement May 22-24, May 2019

SJSU honored more than 6,800 graduates during spring 2019 commencement with seven ceremonies.

College of Engineering students cheer during commencement in fall 2018. Photo courtesy of Best Grad.

On Fire, Washington Square spring/summer 2019

The only team of its kind in the United States, SJSU Associate Professor of Meteorology and Climate Science Craig Clements’ Fire Weather Research Laboratory studies and decodes wildfire behavior to improve fire management and prevention.

Photo courtesy of the Fire Weather Research Lab.

Where Research Leads, Washington Square spring/summer 2019

From engineers to medical doctors, four alumni reflect on how their SJSU experiences have helped them make an impact.

Noemi “Nicky” Espinosa, ’81 Chemical Engineering. Photo by David Schmitz.

Danielle Ishak: Robots for Seniors, Washington Square spring/summer 2019

Danielle Ishak, ’16 MS Human Factors and Ergonomics, is helping develop products to support the elderly.

Photo: David Schmitz

SJSU Ranks #6 Among West’s Top Public Universities and #5 Overall for the Region in Social Mobility in U.S. News and World Report College Lists, September 2019

U.S. News and World Report ranked SJSU #6 among the West’s top public universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The publication added a ranking for social mobility that compares how well universities and colleges do in graduating Pell grant-eligible students. SJSU ranked #3 among public universities in the West, and #5 overall for the region.

Graduates of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering celebrate at Spring 2019 commencement. SJSU ranked among the top public engineering programs on U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 college rankings. Photo: Josie Lepe, ’03 BFA Photography.

Jianna Salinas, ‘13 CHAD, Receives Special Message During Commencement, December 2019

It was an eventful year at San Jose State, full of student, faculty and alumni accomplishments. How would you describe your #SJSU2019YearInReview?

San Jose State University and County of Santa Clara Renew Multi-Year Agreement for Timpany Center

Interior shot of the Timpany Center therapeutic pool

Photo by David Schmitz/San Jose State University

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF – San Jose State University’s Research Foundation (SJSURF) and The County of Santa Clara (SCC) have reached agreement on a new, multi-year partnership to continue operation of the Timpany Center.

The Timpany Center, a non-profit educational and therapeutic service center, has served community members for 10 years. The center offers a wide range of aquatic and land fitness and training programs, as well as therapeutic and safety courses for individuals of all ages and abilities. Its specialized services and facilities, including a warm water pool and spa, gymnasium, weight room and classroom, are operated by San Jose State University’s Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Sciences in conjunction with SCC.

“The Timpany Center is a critical health and wellness resource to County residents. I am pleased to confirm a renewed agreement between the County and San Jose State University to keep the Timpany Center open through 2024,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “Our County is always committed to exploring the best practices to expand these much-needed services.”

The new agreement, from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2024, is meant to position the facility as an operationally and financially sound service-learning program for our students and an inclusive wellness resource for our community, well into the future, said Mohamed Abousalem, SJSU’s vice president for research and innovation and president of the board of directors at SJSURF.

“SJSU values the importance of the Timpany Center to our community and greatly appreciates the hard work of its employees,” said Abousalem. “We are grateful for the support and loyal patronage of our community members these past 10 years, and we have every reason to believe that the facility will continue to provide important services for years to come.”

“The County of Santa Clara and San Jose State University Research Foundation (SJSURF) worked together to reach an agreement that will keep resources from the Timpany Center such as the pool, gym and other services open for business,” added  Jeff Draper,  director of County of Santa Clara Facilities and Fleet Department. “We are appreciative of SJSURF for working with us and their dedication to assisting the community.”

San Jose State Celebrates CommUniverCity’s 15th Anniversary

CommUniverCity partners and participants gather for the 15th anniversary celebration. Photo by Brandon Chew.

SJSU’s student mariachi group. Photo by Brandon Chew.

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University’s student mariachi group opened CommUniverCity’s Celebrating Partnerships: A Quinceañera on Wednesday, November 13 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. The event highlighted CommUniverCity’s 15 years of work to create healthy and vibrant neighborhoods through a unique partnership between underserved communities in central San Jose, San Jose State and the city of San Jose.

“CommUniverCity has come a long way over the past 15 years. We are fortunate to have trusted neighborhood leaders, collaborative city of San Jose staff, and engaged SJSU faculty members and students,” said CommUniverCity SJSU Executive Director Katherine Kao Cushing. “Our collaboration is the strongest it’s ever been and we can’t wait to see what the next 15 years have in store for us.”

More than 115,000 community members have engaged with more than 21,000 SJSU students in community-based projects. SJSU students alone have invested more than 394,000 hours in community service, valued at $8.4 million.

“Community engagement is a centerpiece of SJSU’s strategic plan, Transformation 2030,” said SJSU President Mary Papazian. “CommUniverCity’s work brings together dozens of SJSU faculty in departments ranging from materials engineering to urban planning, and this kind of interdisciplinary collaboration is critical to achieving our future goals.”

CommUniverCity received commendations from the city of San Jose, CA State Senator’s Jim Beall and U.S. House of Representative Zoe Lofgren’s Office. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo learned of CommUniverCity as a city council member. He said it is a model for bringing the classroom out into the community.

“I’m honored to be here to celebrate 15 years of partnership,” said Liccardo. “As long as I’m around, I want to do all we can to cultivate this incredible partnership.”

SJSU Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Thalia Anagnos presented CommUniverCity’s awards to partners and community members. The Golden Brick award was presented to Paul Pereira, senior policy advisor for the San Jose Mayor’s Office. The Community Partner Award was presented to Jaime Torres, CORAL site manager at Olinder Elementary School. And the Government Partner Award was given to the city of San Jose’s Housing Department.

“The event was a powerful evidence that town-gown collaboration can be transformative for cities and college students,” said Cushing. “Seeing elected officials at the municipal, regional, state and national levels all voice their support for the collaboration is a wonderful affirmation of the partnership’s positive impact in San Jose.”

CommUniverCity SJSU Selected as a 2019 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education

SJSU students and faculty surveyed residents about mobility in the city at Viva CalleSJ.

SJSU students and faculty surveyed residents about mobility in the city at Viva CalleSJ.

CommUniverCity SJSU has been selected by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) to receive the 2019 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education: Community-Based Organization award. The program will be recognized at NSEE’s annual conference Sept. 24th in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

“It’s so gratifying for CommUniverCity SJSU to be recognized at the national level for the rich hands-on learning opportunities we provide more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students every year,” said Katherine Cushing, executive director of CommUniverCity SJSU and professor of Environmental Studies. “Every day, we strive to show our students how they can apply what they are learning in class to ‘move the needle’ on important social issues that matter to our neighbors.”

Cushing traveled to Florida to receive the award at the conference.

The program brings together city representatives, community partners and residents as well as SJSU faculty, students and staff to provide engaging service-learning opportunities for students to connect and contribute to the local community surrounding SJSU. Last year the program oversaw 42 experiential learning projects and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this fall. CommUniverCity SJSU focuses its work in three main areas: Engage, which focuses on improving community health, Learn, which promotes a college-going culture and Build, which enhances neighborhood infrastructure.

One such “learn” project is Engineering in Action, led by Michael Oye, a project supervisor and associate director of CommUniverCity SJSU.

SJSU students work on lesson plans for the Engineering in Action project.

SJSU students work on lesson plans for the Engineering in Action project.

“The Engineering in Action project allows our SJSU students to gain a valuable experiential education opportunity by explaining technical subject matter to non-technical people, a practice that many of our students will have to master in their careers wherever they work,” said Oye, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. “At the same time, students gain a broader perspective of the engineering profession in society, and children from the community have a chance to interact with role models.”

An example of an ongoing “engage” project is Growing Sustainability, where SJSU students focus on engaging school-aged children with hands-on activities designed to teach the importance of healthy living and environmental stewardship. The program includes garden education during school hours, an after school garden club and gardening workshops.

“I have always been passionate about environmental education and outdoor opportunities for underserved populations, but managing the Growing Sustainably program has opened my eyes to the impacts of hands-on experiential education on attitude and behavior change among participants, as well as the importance of place-based education,” said Alexandra Dahl, a graduate student in environmental studies and project coordinator of Growing Sustainability. “SJSU undergraduate student interns teaching the garden and cooking workshops are able to take what they learn in their college courses and apply them in real-world settings.”

One of the key tenets of the CommUniverCity SJSU is that projects are based on community-identified needs in the city. This is especially true for “build” projects. This year, SJSU students in sociology, political science and urban planning administered more than 1,500 mobility surveys to participants at Viva CalleSJ, an open streets event attracting more than 100,000 residents. The students analyzed the data and presented findings to City of San Jose staff members.

NSEE recognized CommUniverCity SJSU for its leadership in implementing education projects designed to meet community needs, engagement with the City of San Jose and local civic organizations to develop economic opportunities in underserved communities, as well as its advocacy for experiential education projects for students from diverse backgrounds.

By the Numbers (2004-2019):

115,556 residents engaged

21,130 SJSU students participated in projects

394,382 volunteer hours

$8.38 million (estimated value to the community)


Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Evelyn Ramirez

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Evelyn Ramirez

Evelyn Ramirez

Evelyn Ramirez

Major and expected Graduation date:

International Business, minor in Communication Studies, Fall 2019

Why did you become an orientation leader?

I decided to become an orientation leader because I wanted to be involved on campus and guide students in their transition from High School or Community College to SJSU.

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part of orientation is being able to connect with others on the team and the students and families. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

My advice for incoming students is to get out of their comfort zones and get involved in order to take advantage of all the opportunities SJSU has to offer. 

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience at SJSU so far has been all meaningful connections I have made with other Spartans. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class has been Strategic Management (BUS3 189) with Thomas Shirley through the Rio de Janeiro FLP.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Haley Tang

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Haley Tang

Haley Tang

Haley Tang

Major and expected Graduation date:
Advertising with a minor in Graphic Design, Spring 2020

Why did you become an orientation leader?

There were two main reasons why I wanted to become an orientation leader. The first was because I wanted to be able to have the same impact that my orientation leader had on me. I was one of the many students that was reluctant to attend SJSU. I wasn’t too optimistic going into orientation either. It wasn’t until I was able to meet my orientation leader and hear more about him when I was able to appreciate SJSU for more than the stereotypes I had heard from high school. This also ties into my second reason, in that I wanted to be able to share my story in order to encourage students that might have the same feelings about SJSU, showing them that there’s a place for them.

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part about orientation is when I’m able to see the students be themselves not only around me but also each other. Each student is different and responds to certain activities and personality types differently. It warms my heart when I’m able to joke around with the students and have the nervous energy disappear. One way that usually helps break the ice is through our Spartan to Spartan time. I love being able to collaborate with the other orientation leaders (specifically Jeanne Trang and Jeffrey Tran) in order for our students to hear multiple perspectives about SJSU. Genuine conversations lead to genuine connections. Being able to talk about how my negatives turned into positives seems to help open the door for students to share their insecurities and anxieties about college life. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Take every moment day by day. Don’t compare your experience based on everyone else’s. These four to five years fly by so fast so make the most of it. Make those initially awkward conversations with your classmates. Join that club even if your friends don’t want to do it with you. Apply for that job even if you don’t think you’re qualified. Fail hard and fail fast but trust the process we call college. You never know what life has in store for you.

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience at SJSU has been being apart of the New Student and Families Program. As cheesy as it sounds, I’ve found a support group like no other through this program. Not only have I grown as a leader but also as a person. This program has given me a new appreciation and a new purpose as an SJSU student. I wouldn’t trade this experience or these memories for the world.

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class at SJSU has been my MCOM 100W. A lot of students don’t think too highly of their Area Z course, but I loved the open dialogue Professor Dowdy would provide. I was able to write in styles and formats that related to my major. Not being the strongest writer made me feel inadequate to take the class. Over the course of the semester, I saw my writing improve and my confidence in writing grow.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: CeeJay Fangonilo

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

CeeJay Fangonilo

CeeJay Fangonilo

CeeJay Fangonilo
Major and expected Graduation date:
Business Administration with a concentration in marketing, Fall 2019

Why did you become an orientation leader?
I decided to become an orientation leader here at SJSU ever since I volunteered to be one at my community college. I wanted to inspire students to really grasp their vision and goals of who they envision themselves to be within their first semester or first year at this institution and what goals they want to accomplish by then. I want to help them feel less anxious about their first day of school, I want them to be more prepared, to encourage them to utilize all their resources offered by SJSU, and to not be afraid of failures and challenges that come along the way in their first year of college. Impacting at least one student in any way during my sessions, will be the thing I’ll be most grateful for in my heart.

What is your favorite part of orientation?
My favorite part of orientation is when I’m able to break through to my students and have them open up more and be more comfortable around me because I feel that once I make that connection with them, they ask me more questions about SJSU, campus life, my own college journey, and so much more. In this way, I know that they’re enjoying their first interaction/experience here at SJSU to make their transition to college easier.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
My number one piece of advice I would offer to incoming students is to get involved on campus in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to do more than just go to class, study, do your homework, and go home. You’ll start to really find SJSU to be your home away from home once you get yourself involved on campus because that’s how you get to really connect and network with other students at your institution. When you’re ready and comfortable, get out of your comfort zone, do something new, and discover something new about yourself! Another important advice is to never forget about your mental health! It’s just as important because if you’re not in the right headspace, things can get difficult and if you ever find yourself in a tough situation, we have resources students can take advantage of in the Wellness Center. Don’t ever invalidate your feelings and just know you’re never alone although that might seem hard to remember when you’re caught up in the moment. 

What is your favorite SJSU experience?
My favorite experience at SJSU so far has to be meeting the people I’ve met through the orientation program, through Greek life, and through the clubs I decided to get myself involved in because they really made my time here at SJSU special and worthwhile. SJSU wasn’t my first choice at all but since I decided to get myself involved, I’ve fallen in love with this institution and I don’t regret my choice of coming here. I’ve grown so much in the short time I was here at SJSU and I’m glad that this orientation program played a really big part in that. Without this opportunity to interact with thousands of students who come from different walks of life with such diverse backgrounds for two summers even with my diverse group of teammates I work with and leading the new orientation leaders my second year, I wouldn’t be the person I’ve become without this program. Much love and support to my orientation family! You’ll always have a special place in my heart.

What has been your favorite class?
My favorite class I’ve taken here at SJSU was probably my social media marketing class (a marketing elective) because it really geared my curiosity to really learn about this topic in the business realm and it made me realize that I want to have my future job involved within social media marketing. My professor even went as far as getting our whole class certified with the Hootsuite program that is a very useful tool in marketing and I’m thankful for that because that puts me one up from others when I apply for jobs and it shows how professors like her really care about their students and their future, wanting them to succeed in life.

Other thoughts on SJSU?
I would also like to add that It’s never too late to get involved! As a transfer here at SJSU, I know we feel older and feel a little bit out of place. Just remember that this is your college experience, so don’t let anything or anyone else’s opinion hold you back from going after what you want! You’re only an undergraduate once, so do all you can, but remember to balance it all out.

Meet SJSU’s 2019 Orientation Leaders: Jeanne Trang

As nearly 10,000 undergraduate students prepare to begin classes in the fall, 34 orientation leaders have been busy this summer welcoming these new freshmen and transfer students, and their families, to campus. Orientation leaders show students and their families the ins and outs of campus, offer insights on how to connect with resources and share plenty of Spartan spirit at a total of 16 orientation sessions.

We are pleased to share a series that introduces some of the orientation leaders who shared their own educational goals, why they are involved as an orientation leader and their favorite Spartan memory.

Jeanne Trang

Jeanne Trang

Jeanne Trang

Major and expected Graduation date: 

Social Science in Prep for Teaching, Spring 2020

Why did you become an orientation leader?

During my own orientation in Summer 2017, my orientation leader — Natalya B., allowed me to feel at ease and excited for my first year here at SJSU. Which in turn inspired me to apply and become an orientation leader myself. I was a bit nervous in the beginning because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this role. But knowing how big of an impact I can have on the incoming students motivated me to apply because I wanted to provide that same experience for them!

What is your favorite part of orientation?

My favorite part about orientation is the different connections that I have built with my students and the knowledge I now have about my campus because it truly helped me realize the number of amazing resources and support my campus has to offer — which has to lead me to fall in love with this school and program even more! 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Think of yourself as a rubber band. You can only be stretched so far before you snap. So prioritize yourself and your mental health. But also don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you normally wouldn’t try. Take college as a platform for test trials and errors. Because you for sure would rather live a life filled with “Oh” rather than “What ifs”!

What is your favorite SJSU experience?

My favorite experience so far at SJSU would be the number of opportunities I have been able to experience. Whether it is getting involved within orientation, Associated Students, or even other clubs and organizations — I strongly feel like it has allowed me to become a better individual as well as a leader and student. 

What has been your favorite class?

My favorite class that I have taken so far would be the UNVS 199 course. This class is definitely a highlight for me because it allowed me to self explore my leadership style as well as providing me skills that I can use for other experiences. It is definitely something that is hard to explain and something you need to experience yourself.