January 27, 2022
Dear Campus Community,
As our new semester begins, I am looking forward to being back together on campus, catching up after winter break and launching into a busy and active spring. The health and safety of our campus community remains the highest priority, and I am grateful for the resilience of our Seawolf spirit as we continue to work with our local and state health officials on behalf of the campus. Omicron may have caused us to temporarily move many classes online through February 11, but more than 140 classes were approved for in-person attendance this semester. Further, more than 2,000 students are living in the residence halls this semester, with campus dining venues and other services also open for in-person business.
Hope blooms, as they say, and we are seeing some hearty new growth. For this academic year, we have already secured over $7M in external grants and philanthropy to support campus programs, student scholarships, and initiatives. We appreciate that our philanthropic partners have prioritized student access and success. The state budget process also continues apace, and I continue to enjoy working together with faculty, students, and staff to advocate for the needs of the CSU and our own campus.
With thoughts just recently turned to honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., February ushers us into Black History Month, inviting us to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Black Americans. I encourage you to visit the SSU 2022 Black History Month Celebration page, which is part of our broader Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website. There are many valuable resources there to consult and share, including campus events, research citations, and programmatic information. As we have all witnessed over the past two years, the need to support social justice never wanes, nor should our shared commitment to the cause.
As SSU’s community strength rises, so does the appeal of our campus. Indeed, we have received nearly 13,000 applications for new first year and transfer students, and thus far we have admitted 9,908 undergraduates, or 4,000 more students, compared to this date last year. With gratitude to the Strategic Enrollment team for their work getting to this point, I will note that Fall 2022 applications are still being accepted, so if you know someone who wants to join our vibrant Seawolf community, please invite them to apply.
It will not be long before we graduate another class. After consultation with students and faculty, a clear preference emerged for our traditional Commencement ceremonies in the Green Music Center rather than last year’s Car-Commencement. Planning is underway, so mark your calendars for the weekend of May 21-22. In the meantime, you can check the Commencement website for more details about the ceremonies and the cultural and affinity graduation celebrations.
Last week, I attended the semi-annual Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) Board of Directors meetings. Our campus participation in COPLAC continues to demonstrate the value of the consortium. Sonoma State serves as the annual host for COPLAC’s Beard Leadership Circle, this summer aimed at providing professional development for academic department chairs. Our faculty participate actively in COPLAC’s NSF Advance Grant for women in STEM. In addition, we have received kudos for the participation of the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, and our TRiO program officers, among many other individual administrators, faculty, and staff for their participation in programs and affinity groups. I am grateful for the leadership we demonstrate in the consortium.
Lastly, a bit of systemwide business– the CSU now requires that faculty, staff, and students who access university facilities or programs receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster by February 28, or five months after the final dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or two months after receiving a dose of a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), whichever is later. The Student Health Center offers COVID-19 boosters to currently enrolled students. Simply log into MyHealthPortal to schedule an appointment. For employees, there are many convenient locations throughout California where you can get a vaccine booster.
Despite the disruptions of the pandemic, I find comfort in these reminders that the cycle of campus life continues. Our Seawolf community continues to rise to the challenges, and I am filled with pride and gratitude for our resilient spirit, as well as the anticipation of seeing you all again in person very soon. The brighter days of spring are ahead.
Until then, stay safe and be well,
Judy K. Sakaki