Editor’s Perspective: Our Pride and Joy

SJSU’s campus inspires as we celebrate the completion of another academic year.

By Jody Ulate

There were faint horns in the distance. At first, busy thoughts from my day’s work in Clark Hall muffled the notes. Rounding the corner of the Central Classroom Building, I got closer. The beat became clearer with drums joining the horns, echoing off the buildings. Where was the music coming from?
As I approached a white tent, where students were selling their blown glass and ceramics, the individual instruments became a song—one that I knew. I began putting words to the familiar music: “Because I’m happy—”

And then I started to whisper the lyrics, looking left and right and left again for the “Happy” source: “Clap along if you know what happiness is to you …” I imagined the students inside the tent clapping next to wooden shelves full of raw material they had shaped with creativity and intense heat.

Suddenly, a small group of SJSU band students shimmied among the trees outside the Music Building, as if sprung from a garden. Giving life to the Pharrell Williams’ tune, their instruments sparkled in the sunlight.

I paused to watch and listen, thinking of SJSU’s students searching for what happiness is to them beneath spring’s tall blue skies. They imagined a brighter future while wearing oversize blue shades on Admitted Spartan Day. The Cultural Showcase’s colorful expressions of individual identity revealed universal connections. At the reopened Hammer Theatre for the celebration of Legacy of Poetry Day, SJSU’s collective arms were outstretched, reaching beyond the main campus and pulling together a larger community.

The path to “Happy” often begins with a problem that needs solving—the search for what is meaningful, what we feel we are meant to be doing. As we—alumni, students, faculty and staff members—take on the everyday world, one of the great challenges is finding the source of joy that keeps us walking, dancing, trumpeting, jumping, striving and singing. Clap along.

What is the source of your joy? Send an email describing how you found it.


Jody Ulate

Jody Ulate, '05 MA English, is editor of the Washington Square blog and printed alumni magazine.

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