claudia2.jpgSonoma State University sophomore Claudia Sisomphou was honored as the Student Volunteer of the Year at the North Bay Business Journal's Nonprofit Conference and Leadership Awards held at SSU October 30.

Her brief acceptance speech was filled with words of wisdom beyond her years. "Compassion is the greatest thing you can share with someone," she said. "I do hope that by receiving this award, my peers will recognize how valuable and empowering community service really is."

Sisomphou, a graduate of El Molino High School in Forestville, has been volunteering since middle school with groups like the American Cancer Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the AIDS food bank Food for Thought. "She involved volunteering and service as part of her daily life," said SSU President Ruben Armiñana, introducing the award recipient at the conference. "She is one of those people who will break barriers."

medicineman.jpegNovember is Native American Heritage Month and SSU is hosting two events in honor of the diverse history of Native Americans. Many more are also included for women of color, men discovering their masculinity, hip hop artist and a celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

Starting off the month, the HUB is welcomes Pbonchai Tallman (left), a Paiute and Modoc Medicine man on Nov. 5 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tallman will discuss the experience and life living and healing people on the Native American path.

On Nov. 12, the HUB welcomes Dr. Janet Hess of the Hutchins School who will discuss her family history within the American Indian and African American cultures as well as the Osage people. Hess will also cover how African American history and the negotiation between American Indian nations and white settlers can be aligned and contrasted in unique ways.

giantsteps.jpegThe recent fifth annual 'Sonoma Serves' was a thriving success, say organizers. More than 600 Seawolves registered to participate in this year's event hosted by Join Us Making Progress (JUMP).

Sonoma Serves is the largest one-day service event of the year at SSU and more than 600 students served in 34 teams across the greater Sonoma community assisting 19 different community partners.

From cleaning up local waterways and parks to gardening, spreading mulch, sorting and packaging food, and numerous other tasks, SSU students worked to provide support for the critical projects of local non-profit community partners.

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There's been a student-tended garden at Sonoma State for over 20 years, says Environmental Studies and Planning professor Rocky Rohwedder, but it was only this year that the vegetables started being put to the best use possible: feeding low-income families.

The garden, farmed by students and volunteers, is actually an ENSP class called agro-ecology taught by Karen Tillinghast. In just three months this year, the garden has generated over 1,000 pounds of food for Neighbors Organized Against Hunger (NOAH), Rohnert Park's food bank.

lopez.jpgA rally to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the death of Andy Lopez will be held at SSU on Wednesday, Oct. 22, noon to 1 p.m., in front of the University Library. Lopez died at age 13 walking near his home in Southwest Santa Rosa when a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy shot him several times after mistaking the teenager's toy gun for a real assault rifle. The event features several faculty and students speakers, as well as community members. Sponsored by the SSU Sociology Social Justice and Activism Club.

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During the late afternoon of Oct. 23, 2014, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from much of North America before sundown. However, it is never safe to look at the sun with the naked eye. (Image Credit: NASA/Sinclair)


The Department of Physics and Astronomy at SSU is hosting a viewing event for the partial solar eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23. The eclipse will begin (first apparent contact between moon and sun) at 1:51 p.m, will reach its maximum coverage of the sun (approximately 40%) at 3:15 p.m., and will end at approximately 4:32 p.m.

Dr. Tom Targett and Professor Scott Severson will be based at the SSU observatory during these times, and will have a varity of equipment for safe eclipse viewing. All are welcome to attend.

The eclipse in question will be a partial eclipse, where the moon will pass in front of the sun, but not cover its entire surface as with a total solar eclipse. "We'll have to wait until 2017 for that," says Targett.

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Seed Swap in Sebastopol is part of a pop-up art show from the Lexicon of Sustainaibility project.

On Tuesday, Oct. 21, Sonoma State University's Sustainability Day brings exhibits, art, short films, panel discussions, tours and classes on global sustainability to the campus. Keynote speakers include Petaluma filmmaker and creator of the Lexicon of Sustainability project Douglas Gayeton and environmental scientist and SSU professor Rocky Rohwedder at 5:30 p.m. in Weill Hall.

"The day aims to be fun, informative and festive," says Paul Draper, SSU's Director of Sustainability. "The focus is on science and what individuals and organizations can do to change their behavior and alter the course of climate change."

Gayeton and Rohwedder's presentation is titled "Lessons, Lexicons and Local Heroes," highlighting the Lexicon of Sustainability project's pop-up art and short films, which will also be on display throughout the day in Weill Hall in the Green Music Center.

All events are free and open to the public. Several university classes will also be open on campus, on a space-available basis. Other events will take place elsewhere on campus October 20-23.

Find details a http://www.sonoma.edu/sustainablessu/sustainabilityday2014/.

lynn.jpgKim Jenderseck (Anderson Valley HS), Patty Halpin (Ukiah HS), and Laura Herman (Willits HS) look on as Prof. Lynn Cominsky explains the data analysis software.


It was time for Mendocino County teachers to learn about science and they were thrilled to begin.

SSU's i3 Project Director Susan Wandling and STEM Director Lynn Cominsky met with teachers recently from six Mendocino County high schools for a one-day Learning by Making teacher institute hosted by Willits High School.

Subsequent sessions will be held throughout the year at other partner schools. The session allowed teachers to complete data analysis of experiments they designed at the one-week Institute in June at Mendocino County Office of Education in Ukiah.

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