Spring 2010 Convocation Speech

Heather Hanson
President, Associated Students

Spring 2010
January 28, 2010

Spring 2010 Speakers

Ruben Armiñana
President

Eduardo Ochoa
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Susan Moulton
Chair of the Faculty

Heather Hanson
Associated Students President

Dolores Bainter
Staff Representative to the Academic Senate

Good Morning. Dr. Moulton, President Armiñana, faculty and staff thank you for having me here today.

First and foremost I feel a giant “Thank You” is appropriate. I want to thank those who are on the front lines of this budgetary nightmare.

To those in customer service that spend hours on the phone with overly inquisitive and upset parents, thank you.

To the staff in department offices guiding students who are angry and frustrated about class schedules, thank you.

To those professors who have incorporated a 10% reduction in workload in a way that has had least impact on students, thank you.

To those of you who are busy crunching numbers to keep this University afloat, thank you.

And although the students are not here today, they deserve recognition for being patient with over-burdened professors, for adapting to ever-changing schedules, and for persevering through these tough times.

Lastly, to everyone who has been put upon by furloughs, crazy schedules and less pay, I thank you for showing up and continuing to provide excellent education and service to the students of Sonoma State University.

At this University student retention, satisfaction and participation are essential factors in the end goal which is graduating our students. It is my hope that these values are taken into consideration with every decision that is made. But I will be honest; at times it does not always feel that way.

Here is one example from my experience as a Political Science student. Right now, in the Political Science department, there is only one course of Senior Seminar being taught in the spring semester. This is a class that has a 15 seat capacity. Those 15 seats were filled immediately after fist pass of registration. This left 10 students without a class needed in order to graduate this spring.

Students were forced into a choice of paying $800 for an abbreviated three-week capstone course or not graduating in May. Clearly the students were willing to do whatever it took to make sure they graduate on May 29th.

Was it unfair to ask students to pay more than is already being asked of them for a course that was required for graduation? Yes. Are students willing to do what ever it takes to graduate on time? Yes, provided they can afford it.

As times continue to be tough we must not assume that the students will just roll with the punches. We want our concerns met, our worries to be subsided and our needs addressed. We want YOU to ask US what the priorities of this University should be.

We want out voices heard here. And we want our voices to be heard across California.

So here I am today, to remind us all of the commitment we must have in graduating the students of Sonoma State University. Although we are stricken with extraordinary circumstances, I know that if we continue to pay close attention to student retention, satisfaction and participation we will continue to graduate exemplary students.

I am looking forward to the spring semester and working together to come up with creative solutions to transform this University into a place where all will benefit.

Monday will be a bittersweet day as it is my last first day in my undergraduate college career. The experiences I have had and the relationships I have formed are some that I will never forget. Each and every one of you has played a part creating memories for myself and every student at this university.

Thank you.