Classes Resume Oct. 18 at Sonoma State University
CSU Chancellor to Visit Campus
Two Campus-wide Events Planned
Katie Beermann, SSU PIO, firstname.lastname@example.org, (530) 867-2422
Rohnert Park, Calif. -- Classes will resume Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Sonoma State University, 10 days after the North Bay fires struck the region and one week after the campus was closed.
The university community will come together to reconnect and express gratitude at two events open to all students, faculty, and staff and the news media.
“All of us need the support and empathy that have always made Sonoma State a strong and a caring community—one that will grow even stronger as we help our family members, our friends, our neighbors, and one another to rebuild in the months and years to come,” wrote SSU President Judy K. Sakaki in an email today to the campus community.
From 8 – 10 a.m., there will be coffee and doughnuts in the Student Center. University community members will be invited to sign a thank you banner for the firefighters and first responders who worked so hard to protect our communities over the last week. The banner will remain available for signatures through 1 p.m.
At 5 p.m., the entire university community will be invited to gather around the thank you banner we created in the morning for a group photograph that we can share with the 10,000 firefighters and first responders from all over the nation and Australia who raced to our aid.
Brief remarks will be made by California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, SSU President Judy K. Sakaki, Associated Students President Wilson Hall, and Academic Senate Chair Carmen Works.
Helping students, faculty, and staff who were impacted
“Our hearts go out to everyone in the North Bay who has been impacted by this devastating blaze,” said SSU Executive Vice President Lisa Vollendorf. “We have been doing our best here at Sonoma State to support all students, faculty and staff who have been personally impacted.”
More than 50 people in the Sonoma State community lost their homes in the fires. Many more have indicated through a campuswide survey that they would welcome all sorts of support, including counseling services.
SSU has established NomaCares, a one-stop support center. Donors have thus far given nearly $30,000 to Noma Gives, a relief fund for university community members. A Facebook group, Noma Needs, has been launched to help people connect with one another regarding housing, rides, etc.
Background information on SSU’s response to the fires
SSU first received notice of wildfires that could endanger the campus at 3 a.m., Oct. 9. The university’s emergency operations center was opened immediately and classes were postponed and then cancelled. University officials decided to close campus entirely, including residence halls, on Oct. 11, when flames were visible on a nearby hillside. Campus remained closed to all but essential personnel through noon Oct. 17.
“Our EOC leadership team took many factors into consideration before making the decision to re-open campus. We have been in constant contact with fire and public safety officials. We have tracked weather reports. And we have been consulting with environmental safety experts on air quality measurements. All indications are campus is safe for our students, faculty and staff,” Executive Vice President Lisa Vollendorf said.
Sonoma State is the largest public university serving the North Bay, with more than 9,300 students.