Update from the President October 28, 2021

October 28, 2021

Dear Campus Community, 

The days have become cooler and shorter, indicating that fall is upon us. And even though the fire season is still with us, this past weekend northern California received some much needed rain. While grateful for it, and wish we have many more such days, the flooding on campus could have been much worse if not for the departments that responded quickly to ensure that our campus was not severely impacted. I extend a hearty thank you to all the staff, faculty, and students who put in the work to lessen the impact that this “atmospheric river” storm had on our campus. Facilities Management, UPD, REACH, Academic Affairs, and Strategic Communications deserve special plaudits. Many of us are thankfully back on campus, and it makes me happy to see students, faculty, and colleagues in person, to hear voices and laughter on my daily walks, and to feel our beautiful Sonoma State campus come alive again. 

We were honored to host CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro earlier this fall as part of his tour of the 23 CSU campuses. I’d like to thank the departments that helped to plan and execute the Chancellor's visit. And thank you to everyone who participated in the many important meetings and the open forum with the Chancellor. I felt so proud of our Noma Nation!

While I am on the subject of feeling proud, congratulations to Doshia Dodd, recipient of the CSU Trustees Award, the highest recognition of student achievement in the California State University. Doshia is a student in Sonoma State's Cultural Resources Management Master's program, and you can read more about the remarkable achievements that inspired me to nominate Doshia here

I am similarly proud that the U.S. State Department recently named Sonoma State University a Fulbright Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Leader, recognizing the Fulbright Program’s strong partnership with the university. SSU is one of only 35 HSI’s out of the nearly 600 in the U.S. to receive the award in its inaugural year of designation, and one of nine California State Universities. Read more about it here.

October has been a wonderfully celebratory month at Sonoma State. I want to give a shout out to our LGBTQIA+ community for organizing Queer History Month celebrations and planning a full calendar of events on campus. And, also sending praise to the organizers of Latinx Heritage Month. The plethora of programs and speakers was quite impressive. I now invite the campus community to participate and support Native American Heritage Month beginning next week. I thank all the organizers, presenters, and sponsors for helping to make SSU a more inclusive and accepting campus.

Next month, I hope you will join us for the Fall 2021 Budget and Planning Forum to be held in person on Monday, November 15, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Ballroom A of the Student Center, and live streamed for those unable to attend in person. The forum will include remarks from campus leadership and a detailed budget briefing, followed by roundtable discussions with members of the President’s Budget Advisory Committee, who welcome your feedback. During these times of budgetary constraints, it is especially important to have an engaged and informed campus community. You can learn more from the Fall Budget Briefing on the Office of University Budget and Planning website.

In closing, I want to acknowledge that even as we return to campus, this semester is still far from “normal.” It will take time to fully repopulate our classrooms, labs, offices, recreational and dining facilities. And we have all been living with a lot of stress and uncertainty over the past year and a half. With this in mind, we have devoted this issue of Noma News to SafeSSU, where you can find all the campus resources on safety and security in one place.

There is no “right” way to feel in this challenging time, and a wide range of responses is to be expected. At Sonoma State, we take pride in being a caring community and in looking out for each other. I encourage everyone to be kind with themselves and others, and to know where to find help. Support for students is available through Counseling & Psychological Services at (707) 664-2153, and information about services is also online. For faculty and staff, counseling is available through the Employee Assistance Program.

Take care of yourselves and each other, and have a safe and fun Halloween weekend!

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki