homestayfamilya.jpgSince 1979, the Sonoma State American Language Institute (SSALI) has provided international students with a chance to learn the English language as well as to absorb American culture.

However, it has become increasingly difficult to offer this experience, as there are fewer and fewer places to house students involved in the SSALI program.

For years the SSALI program has relied upon a core group of homestays, local families who have voluntarily opened their doors and allowed a student, or several, to stay with them during a SSALI semester.

Unfortunately the pool of acceptable homes has shrunk tremendously, leaving many students' housing situation uncertain. However, when a student and a homestay family come together, results can often be wondrous.

blackgradscelebrate.jpgThe first multi-cultural graduation reception held in the Student Center grand ballroom on the Friday before Commencement was a beautiful, multi-generational success. "The students, led by Kelly Hodgins, did an excellent job putting together an event that far exceeded expectations," said HUB director Mark Fabionar. "Students, faculty, administrators and community members deeply appreciated the opportunity to celebrate our students and communities."

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The recently broadcast PBS documentary "Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle" was supported by the SSU Special Collections Dept. which contributed research and film footage for this production and received a closing credit. It can be viewed online at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365231799/

Ruben Salazar Hall, which was originally the location of the SSU University Library, is named after the famous Latino journalist who worked for a time at the Press Democrat in the late 1950s. He later moved to the Los Angeles Times.

The University Library is also the curator of the Ruben Salazar Collection which is comprised of clippings of Salazar's news stories and includes articles about him, bibliographies, photocopies of photographs, documents, and ephemera.

denybozeman.jpgA fraternity drag fest and a CD full of comforting songs are part of recent efforts at SSU to raise awareness about the stigma of mental illness in the community.

Having seen students, faculty, staff, administrators, friends and family affected by depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar and other mental illness, combined with a passion for educating others, inspired two SSU faculty recently to team up to produce a children's CD in hopes of comforting families and individuals affected by mental illness. Donations for the CD have already raised more than $6,500 for the non-profit agency.

Super Kids Camp provides a fun, recreational, educational, and motivational experience for campers, ages 5-11, this summer at Sonoma State University. Registration is now open and the first week of camp starts Monday, June 2.

Each weekly Super Kids Camp session will include a fun theme, local field trip, special events, pool time, and rock wall climbing. Other camp activities include arts & crafts, sports, science, and group play. All are held in the Student Recreation Center.

"Our low camper to counselor ratio makes it possible to promote a non-competitive environment in all camp activities," says Mike Dominguez, Kids Camp Coordinator. "Our Super Kids Camp counselors are CPR and first aid certified. They are high energy and active SSU students who are enthusiastic about working with children."

jesusguzman.jpgSSU Junior Jesús Guzmán has received the ACLU of Sonoma County's 2014 Mario Savio Student Activist Award at ceremonies recently. Guzmán is an accomplished student and a dedicated social justice activist. He is currently serving as the lead organizer and program manager for the Graton Day Labor Center.

Born in Mexico, he arrived in the United States as a one-year-old and grew up on a small dairy farm in Sonoma County, as the son of a domestic worker and dairyman.

Over the last few years, he founded the DREAM Alliance of Sonoma County and has been organizing with other immigrant youth to increase access to financial aid, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and fighting to end deportations.

The Academic Advising Sub-Committee is hosting a workshop featuring SSU research on under-represented student groups with a discussion about how the campus can better support those students in various campus roles.

The workshop will be on Thursday, May 15 from 1-2:30 p.m in Darwin 30.

Included are three 10-minute research talks, a discussion of student stigma on campus by Dr. Leslie Shelton, Director of Academic Support Service, and discussion of the topics and ideas for improving the retention, experience, and graduation of underrepresented students.

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John Michael Vincent Coralde works with kinesiology students who volunteered as subjects for his research project on the benefits of backward walking.


It may be time to turn your back on your walking routine.

It is 7:30 a.m. in PE 101 and 30 students are walking for 15 minutes in circles before they head for class. Half moved forward and half walked backwards. They would repeat this early morning exercise every Monday and Wednesday over a ten-week period. In the beginning, one half were probably wishing they had eyes in the back of their heads. But soon it became second nature.

The 30 volunteered to be part of the Mighty Morphin Backwards Walkers study, an undergraduate research project funded by Provost Andrew Rogerson as part of his focus on supporting undergraduate research at SSU. 

The final results proved the ancient Chinese proverb that "walking backwards for 100 steps is equal to walking forward for 1,000 steps."

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