Update from the President Feb. 22, 2018

Feb. 22, 2018

Our Caring Community:

Just a week ago, our nation was saddened once again by a school shooting that claimed 17 lives in Florida. Words cannot adequately express the feelings that we experienced as we learned of this horror. The shootings bring renewed awareness of the urgency to address mental health needs and gun control policies. Our thoughts and hearts are with all those impacted by this tragedy.

I want to assure Sonoma State students, faculty and staff that your safety and security are a top priority. We are a community that cares about the well-being of others.  We each must take responsibility to “see, say and do” something if we notice someone in need or if we witness something that is amiss. It is important to seek help and support when it is needed. Students, please feel free to reach out to one of these campus resources:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), (707) 664-2880, 1088 Stevenson Hall
  • SSU Care Team,(707) 664-2838, Student Center 3020
  • Dean of Students Ryan Jasen Henne at (707) 664-3078 or henne@sonoma.edu

In addition, our University Police Department and our SSU Risk Management work regularly to ensure that our campus is prepared for any emergency. Details such as emergency procedures  and emergency preparedness programs can be accessed on the Risk Management & Safety Services website. You may also be interested in this active shooter safety video from the California State University that is being shared on campuses across the system.

If you are concerned that an individual may intend to harm those on our campus, needed, call 911.

BASIC NEEDS OF OUR STUDENTS

  • Food insecurity and homelessness are issues impacting college students across the country.  Recently, the CSU’s Study of Student Basic Needs was released. It included survey findings from students on all 23 CSU campuses. Students who experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days and/or homelessness in the last 12 months had lower GPAs and higher academic concerns than students who reported being food secure and/or housing stable; scored more adversely on physical health indicators; and reported more poor mental health days.  Findings for Sonoma State mirror those for the CSU as a whole. At Sonoma State, based on a 503 student responses, the findings noted that:
    • 40.8% of SSU students who participated in the survey reported food insecurity.
    • 10.4% of SSU students who participated in the survey reported being homeless one or more times in the last 12 months.

Sonoma State is helping to address food and housing insecurity in a variety of ways including:

  • Opening Lobos Food Pantry, which offers free food to SSU students on a confidential basis. It is located in Zinfandel Plaza (across from the Health Center) 
  • Developing a meal-sharing program that will enable students, faculty and staff to donate meals from their dining plan
  • Providing CalFresh application assistance
  • Offering emergency housing vouchers
  • Making personal hygiene products and clothing available for students in need, including interview-appropriate attire

I urge faculty, staff and students to be aware of the resources that are available on our campus and to refer students in need to them.  If you would like to donate to Lobo’s Pantry, please click here.

AROUND CAMPUS

  • Associated Students elections are coming up. I hope all students will consider getting involved by running for a leadership position or encouraging others to run. Friday, March 2, is the deadline for applications. You can apply by clicking here.
  • I’m very proud that Lucero Alvarez Vieyra was selected by the CSU for a feature story on the calstate.edu website. Thanks to Gerald Jones, director of the SSU Upward Bound Program, Lucero saw that college was possible for her.  Her compelling story of being a first-generation college student and mom while working towards a biochemistry degree at Sonoma State is inspiring. You can read it here.
  • Lucy is here! A new statue of the beloved “Peanuts” character Lucy will be unveiled on March 6 at 11:15 a.m. in front of the Schulz Information Center (Library).  Dressed in Sonoma State attire, Lucy will provide a welcoming focal and gathering point for students and guests on campus – just say, "Meet me at the Lucy statue."  She also will provide a great backdrop for photos and selfies, to show our Sonoma State spirit!  We are fortunate to have received Lucy from a generous donor.  Thank you!

February is a special month of celebrations and learning.  It is Black History Month and it is also the lunar new year … the year of the dog.  Let’s look out for one another, take care of ourselves and appreciate all that we have.

Have a great week!

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy Sakaki
President