Sonoma State President Judy K. Sakaki and members of her Cabinet were on hand this week to welcome nearly 2,000 students as they moved to campus and began a new academic year.
“We put our students first,” Sakaki told parents of new students during Move-In Day on Saturday, Aug. 17. “First in our hearts. First in our minds. And first in our hopes for the success, challenges and joyful memories that we know are ahead for your children.”
Earlier in the day, Sakaki and members of her Cabinet welcomed students and their families as they checked in at the Green Music Center and then helped many of them as they carted electronics, suitcases and household necessities into their assigned campus housing units.
Casey Samera, a transfer student from Napa Valley College, said she came to Sonoma State to study psychology. “I just thought it was super beautiful,” said Samera, whose family lives in Fairfield. “And it was close enough that I could see my family but far enough away that I felt – well, I could feel that I was away at college.”
For the students who had already experienced Welcome Weekend before, it was a chance to get reacquainted with old roommates and friends. However, for the families of 1,572 first-time freshmen, it was also a time of excitement and emotion as they said goodbye.
“I’ve been anticipating this day for a long time,” said James Harris, who’s daughter, Denise, is a freshman and an undeclared major who moved into the Sauvignon Village. “Even though our entire family has been waiting for this, it still feels surreal and exciting. I’m just happy that she is in a place she feels comfortable.”
As Haley Barger, a first-year student from Novato, was moving into her dorm room in Sauvignon Village, she was surprised to come outside to find President Sakaki and Sonoma State mascot Lobo taking photos in front of her classic 1978 convertible Volkswagen Super Beetle in the parking lot. She was told that because the car was the official shade of blue of Sonoma State the school’s mascot wanted to adopt her vehicle as his new “Lobo Mobile.”
“I love it,” said Haley smiling. She said she would be happy to loan the car for Lobo to use at SSU events.
Haley, who hopes to eventually be accepted to SSU’s nursing program, said had visited campus many times and knew that she belonged here.
“It just felt like a very welcoming place,” she said. “I love the campus. It’s beautiful.”
While students were getting settled in, parents and guardians gathered for refreshments near the Lakes and were formally introduced to Sonoma State’s administrators.
After that, students joined their parents to take part in SSU’s first-ever Welcome Weekend group photo on the lawn near the Lakes. Students and their families crammed together to spell out “SSU” while an aerial drone took their photo. Afterward, students and families were treated to a buffet-style barbecue feast in Seawolf Plaza where President Sakaki, Provost Lisa Vollendorf, Vice President of Student Affairs Greg Sawyer and others greeted families as they lined up for food.
To apply for your opportunity to become a Seawolf, the application period for fall 2020 opens Oct. 1. SSU also is accepting spring 2020 transfer applications through Aug. 31. To request information, visit SSU’s information form.