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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

SSU lacks a big spring event

Seawolf+Plaza%2C+the+busiest+part+of+campus+is+empty
Marivella Torres
Seawolf Plaza, the busiest part of campus is empty

Numerous students find common ground in admiring the campus beauty or the hometown atmosphere it radiates due to its small size. However, what’s most important is that each individual has a distinct reason for choosing to remain here beyond pursuing a higher education. When students discover a sense of belonging, they are inclined to continue their personal development. Student events can play a crucial role in facilitating the discovery of communities among students. 

 Associated Students do their best to accommodate and reach all students and are intentional with their target audience for each event. When students come together for a social event, they are brought together by an interest or shared experience, making them feel connected and valued. Mariah Atkins, Associated Students Programming Coordinator said “Students feeling connected relates to their retention, culture awareness, success and it’s so vital and important to have that feeling when planning events making it feel so rewarding for us.” 

After chatting with Mo Phillips, Director of Student Involvement, I was able to gain perspective on the work that goes into planning events. “When you mention a lack of student engagement, it’s tricky because we do see students coming to our events and getting involved.” Students are attracted to the events that resonate with them and help them find their people. “We help students find their community which is essential in feeling connected to SSU,” Mo Phillips continued. 

Here on campus, it’s tradition to host a Big Nite in celebration of welcoming all new or returning students back to campus. This first significant event usually happens the weekend before the first week of classes, inviting SSU students to partake in free carnival rides, food, drinks, and prizes. This event helps students create connections with other Seawolves, clubs, or other programs and feel like they’re a part of a community. 

While SSU students enjoy having this event they wish something similar was hosted in the spring. This event requires not only the help of SSU staff and clubs but from the Rohnert Park Community. Currently, due to low enrollment, budget costs, and overall scheduling a big spring event is something other than what they can currently do. However, Associated Students offers alternative events. Recently, Associated Students hosted a Drag show in the Student Center that attracted around 400 people, which is half of the SSU student population. The event was so popular that attendees stood along the ballroom walls just to watch. While this event may not be as carnival-like as Big Nite, it was still something popular that brought students together.

Many students at SSU have found a strong sense of belonging through Greek life. It offers them the opportunity to join a community on campus and forge enduring friendships and bonds that extend far beyond their college years. Greek life often faces the stigma of being merely a social avenue for students seeking to party, however, it’s much more than that. Beyond fostering friendships, it provides invaluable connections to professionals across various industries and much more. 

Kylie O’Hara, a fourth-year, anthropology major said “I’ve been a part of Phi Sigma Sigma for about a year and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I am part of a community of girls that support me through everything I do and encourage me to be the best version of myself that I can be.”

In conclusion, it seems that some students aren’t drawn to certain events organized by various campus programs, perhaps due to the perception that SSU lacks significant student engagement or larger-scale events. A lack of attention from students paying attention to their weekly emails sent out on Sunday evenings or following campus accounts like Seawolf Living, Associated Students, and Campus Rec to follow up on the reminders of these events. 

While grand events would be desirable, current rules and regulations constrain them, however, the primary focus should not solely be on grand events that bring students together for a fleeting moment of enjoyment. Instead, emphasis should be placed on the quality of events that aid students in discovering their communities. Although SSU provides these resources, there’s room for improvement in marketing and promoting these student-centric resources and events.

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About the Contributor
Marivella Torres, Staff Writer
Marivella Torres is a third year communication studies major at Sonoma State.
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