‘Don’t You Dare’ campaign aims to raise awareness about sexual assault

The 2018 Panhellenic Executive board started the Don’t You Dare Campaign this year at Sonoma State University to empower women and raise awareness of sexual assault in hopes of lowering the risk of being a victim. 

There were four events held during the week in honor of this campaign, each representing a different issue at hand. The week began with the Don’t You Dare Bring Us Down event and ended on Thursday with the Don’t You Dare Forget About Consent event. 

Bianca Peralta, vice president of the Standards of the Panhellenic board, created the campaign back in February with the help of the rest of the executive board and has planned to execute this week-long event ever since. 

“I think it was really important for the Panhellenic community to have one common goal, and that’s women supporting women,” Peralta said. “I think it’s a message that often gets forgotten.” 

Sisters from all different sororities attended these events to unite as women and empower each other to stand up for themselves. 

“The message is growing that feminism is a thing; I am woman, I am a person, I have feelings, I have emotions and I have power,” said Erin Furnary, an SSU student. “I think this campaign really emphasizes that and is reminding a lot of people that I am here, so you will listen to me speak. You don’t have to agree with what I say, but you will hear me speak because I am not afraid.”

The first event held, the Don’t You Dare Bring Us Down, brought Panhellenic women together to voice their thoughts and beliefs through empowering female quotes with chalk. 

The second event, the Don’t You Dare Drink and Drive, welcomed people to sign a pledge against drinking and driving, to remind everyone the risks and devastation that comes from driving intoxicated. 

The third event, the Don’t You Dare Abuse Her Zumba, filled an entire room with women to dance together and support the ‘breaking the chain’ movement. 

“Honestly, I thought three people would show up tonight,” Peralta said. “The room was completely full, so it’s beyond anything I could have prepared for. I was so happy how involved girls have been.” 

The last event to wrap the week up was Don’t You Dare Forget About Consent, where any student could take part in making stress balls or writing  encouraging notes to friends or the cause in general. 

Carly Wade, the recruitment chair of the Panhellenic board, said the Don’t You Dare Campaign is such a good way to bring awareness of alcohol use, sexual consent and abuse to campus. 

“A lot of people have been through these issues, and they are struggling to find their voice, and we’re here to try and help,” Wade said. “As a Panhellenic woman I am here to build girls’ confidence up and help them feel empowered in their day-to-day lives.”

Greek women on campus are taking the initiative to support all women  at the university who have been sexually assaulted or it has affected in some way or another. The campaign has brought women together regardless of their past, skin color or story to support each other for the same cause. 

“I hope for Greek unity, not just for this week, but hopefully down the line,” Peralta said. “I hope girls can see each other on campus and feel comfortable and when they see a Panhellenic sister in a situation where they are being hurt, they can stand up for them.”

 

Kappa Delta Zeta hosts confidence campaign

Kappa Delta Zeta believes that confidence is an important topic and aspect in students’ lives that often gets overlooked, which was a driving factor for their annual Kappa Confidence Campaign.

The event held Wednesday attracted a variety of Sonoma State students to listen to the various speakers and performers who exemplified who they are and what makes them confident at Kappa Delta Zeta’s sixth annual Kappa Confidence Campaign. 

    The campaign is Kappa Delta Zeta’s annual philanthropy event that raises money and awareness to the Living Room, Sonoma County’s only day center that provides services to the homeless and at-risk women and their children. 

    “The Living Room strives to provide these women with a sense of safety, security and confidence,” said Mara Patino, a sophomore liberal studies major and Kappa Delta Zeta’s public relations vice president. “We take that mission along with our sorority’s and strive to bring confidence to college students.”

Performances throughout the night ranged from acoustic singing to poetry. However, there were many empowering student speakers at the event who spoke fearlessly, sharing their personal stories with the audience about what makes them confident.  

Rio Jones, a sophomore studio art major, stood tall and proud while sharing her story of how she found her confidence through pageantry after struggling with it for years. 

“Even though I feel confident in myself, certain things can be hard to talk about,” Jones said. “It took me a long time to accept my sexuality, so getting on stage and admitting it still makes my heartbeat in my throat. 

“I’m happy that I got to share my personal journey, and I loved hearing what people had to say after they heard my story,” Jones said.

Besides the many sisters of Kappa Delta Zeta, the audience was mostly filled with students and some faculty there to support not just KDZ, but the student performers as well. It gave students in attendance the ability to come together as a university by combining various backgrounds and organizations together. 

“The Kappa Confidence Campaign was truly an inspiring event,” said Carina Reyes, a sophomore pre-nursing major. “It really left an impact on those who attended and all of the presentations left me with an impactful message and truly inspired me to be the best version of myself.” 

Many of the speakers were brave enough to tell their story about what made them confident. It gave the students who were able to relate to the speakers a chance to listen to how they were able to overcome their own insecurities and become confident in themselves.

“The event really brought me to tears because I was able to see how brave all the speakers were to share their personal stories with us while being in such a vulnerable state,” Reyes said. “The event made me reflect on myself and how I see confidence within myself, and it’s allowed me to take a step back and realize how much confidence I do have.”

Culinary Services employees react to proposed California plastic straw law

Ordering a drink and receiving it without a straw is becoming more popular at restaurant venues throughout California. 

Sonoma State University is beginning to initiate steps in regards to a recent bill, Assembly Bill 1884, proposed by California Assemblyman Ian Calderon. This bill, according to California Legislative Information, would prohibit sit-down food facilities from providing single-use plastic straws to customers, unless specifically requested by the customer.

Sonoma State already has compostable straws in use. However, the school wants to soon enact changes relevant to this bill to further the awareness of sustainability on campus. 

“Our straws have been compostable all this time, but it is still a straw and the intent is that the processing of making a straw is a big deal too,” said Nancy Keller, Sonoma State’s Director of Culinary Services. “Our goal is to try to get people to be aware about straws, and really to have a situation where if you have to work at it a little bit, you might think twice.” 

The school will roll out the goal of not providing straws unless requested by summertime, and be fully in effect by the fall semester in all venues on Sonoma State’s campus.

A concern voiced by employees of Charlie Brown’s Cafe pertains to smoothies and the amount of people who would have to ask for a straw after ordering one. 

Compostable straws will still be provided for the smoothies, as well as for the ice cream in Lobo’s bar, and if implemented, the new sushi concept with Boba. All other drinks will require students to request straws, and they will switch straws given out for those drinks from compostable straws to paper straws. 

“What we’re trying to do is get rid of the straws that we have,” Keller said. “If we’re going to be handing someone a straw, what we’re realizing is that we’re going to need a straw that is covered in paper because we’re touching it.” 

Keller said Culinary Services has not changed anything in regards to their straw distribution, but that they are soon going to move on to paper straws. They are moving step by step through each one of the operations and taking a look at it, according to Keller.

Another concern for workers in Culinary Services is in regards to adding more chaos to already busy venues. 

Ana Jaimie, a senior and student lead at Charlie Brown’s cafe, thinks this new straw law will impact customer service at the on-campus restaurants. 

“I think it might make everything a lot busier because it’s already really slammed with our rushes,” Jaimie said. “So I think it is a lot more convenient the way it is at the moment because if we have to stop what we’re doing to give a customer a straw it’ll just slow everything down more.”

“I think eliminating straws would help the environment in that aspect and the concept is a great idea,” said Angel Galindo, a sophomore. “It also may cause disturbance with some customers who expect straws in their drinks.” 

Keller said there will be a learning curve to this new implementation, both on the side of the workers as well as the customers themselves. The main priority is to do the best to support the environment while also making sure they are serving their customers.  

 

Guest speaker talks climate change and sustainability

“If there’s one thing that the environmental movement has not been very good at is pointing the fingers and telling people what to do and how to live,” said Dr. Karen O’Brien this past Wednesday during her talk on climate change.

O’Brien is a sociology and human geography professor at the University of Oslo, whose research explores the ways that climate change, biodiversity loss and other large-scale environmental transformations interact with other processes to worsen inequity, increase vulnerability and undermine sustainability. 

“There’s a lot of climate research that really shows that we don’t see something and we believe it,” O’Brien said. “But we actually tend to see exactly what we believe rather than believing that we see.

“Not just in society but also us individuals, you want to be really open to change,” she said. “Our values are driving a lot of what we are doing, but our worldviews are also important; they give us a perspective on life.”

The idea of environmental transformation, according to O’Brien, is defined as physical and qualitative in changes in form, structure, and meaning. 

These transformations rely on working together to fix the problem. O’Brian challenges the idea that we as people find credible excuses that we can’t do something to help, that it is bigger than us. 

Kelsie Titus, senior environmental studies major and ResLife sustainability coordinator for Sonoma State University, was happy with the event turnout. According to Titus, she has committed herself to doing her best in educating and inspiring others to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. 

“This event went hand in hand with increasing awareness on climate change and the action that humans are capable of achieving when working together and being mindful of the connection that we have with one another and the planet,” Titus said. “The farm to table reception promoted the idea of supporting local farmers, which also promotes sustainability.”

O’Brien’s outlook on us as humans is not to blame, but to acknowledge that people are the most powerful solution to climate change. With this knowledge, one small change from each one of us can and will have an effect on climate change. 

“Choice makes the difference,”  O’Brien said. “If you tell people how to change, then it becomes my issue and not theirs and then it’s almost imposed on you, but if you just let people make one difference it generates curiosity.”

The struggle to get people involved, especially when dealing with social norms, has weight on where people find it necessary to put their efforts. 

“I have found it very challenging to get students involved in wanting to actively learn about sustainability,” Titus said. “Dr. O’Brien’s speech gave me hope that the culture on campus is shifting to want to be more green and aware of the practices that can be incorporated into everyday life in order to be more sustainable.”

Faces of SSU participants encourage diversity on campus

Sonoma State University welcomed students to come meet the Faces of SSU 2018 and to learn about everyone’s story face-to-face. 

Mo Phillips, director of student involvement, held the event on Wednesday in the ballrooms of the Student Center, where all faculty and students could come grab a bite and start a conversation with one of the selected students of the project. 

The school premired The Faces of SSU in a photo campaign where they highlighted brief stories of their lives, including student involvement and a description of who they are. All the students involved in this annual project shared their own personal experience to help others see where they come from. 

Some of the students spoke  words of advice, support and the hope to help someone throughout this campaign. 

The project allows Sonoma State to show students the diversity that is often overlooked in a community that it could benefit from. 

Each student came from a completely different background and they all chose to come together to show the campus there are people who are relatable and are willing to be a voice for those who need it. 

Jose de Jesus Torres Navarro, a Chicano and Latino studies major, said being part of the event and sharing his story in the hopes of inspiring others was a humbling experience.

“Growing up in Richmond, a city where you don’t live past the age of 16, I never pictured myself on a banner, but only on a t-shirt saying Rest in Peace,” said de Jesus Torres Navarro.  “It is something that gets me emotional because I am here right now for myself and I hope I can change someone’s life.” 

The students represented some of the issues Sonoma State faces every day and shed light on what needs to be changed. The lack of diversity and support for underrepresented groups of students were two prominent topics that the Faces of SSU are advocating for. 

According to Carly Solberg, a junior and gender studies major,    seeing the face of someone on a banner who was visibly queer her first year on campus excited her.

“I just wanted to let them know that seeing a queer person on a banner around my school made me feel safer on campus, whether or not the school is taking any legit actions to make queer and trans students feel safer,” Solberg said. “Knowing that the students are there to support me or just be there with me living and walking around made me feel incredible.” 

A project that those who want to see change put together has the potential to make a profound impact that will offer diverse students on campus an opportunity to feel comfortable and safe. 

The students who spoke and gave speeches at the event made it clear they want to inspire others and reassure those who struggle to continue their journey and push through. In addition, students shared their experience at Sonoma State and explained what they all thought a Seawolf is and what that label means to them.

“Coming from an immigrant family, some of us often think we can’t make it this far,” said Manuela Gonzalez-Antonio, a sophomore. “We can do it as students whether you come from an immigrant family or any other type of situation.” 

 

University ordered to pay once again for asbestos

In a disturbing trend that continues to turn up across the U.S., the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration charged Sonoma State University with nearly $6,000 in fines. 

SSU discovered a low level of asbestos during the removal of two long-jump tracks near the football field last spring. Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire and electricity that may be harmful to health if exposed to. 

The track material was tested for the presence of materials but all tests came back negative or with non-hazardous levels; therefore, the removal of the track continued while following standard construction regulations. Soon after, two percent chrysotile asbestos in a layer below the rubber matting was found resulting in discontinuation of construction work and the hiring of an outside abatement company to remove the materials, said SSU Environmental Health and Safety officials. 

“The university has taken steps to ensure that additional testing is performed in future similar situations,” said Tyson Hill, senior director for risk management and safety services. 

Cal-OSHA cited SSU for multiple violations, including not providing workers with protective clothing and respirators and ensuring the proper disposal of the outdoor track to minimize asbestos. 

“It’s important to note that when the issue arose in the spring of 2017,” Hill said, “The SSU Environmental Health and Safety Department contacted and worked with Ca-lOSHA to ensure proper notification was made and that the abatement of the low level of asbestos was disposed correctly and employees were informed.” 

Three employees and a student-worker were informed about it and were provided the options of filing an injury report, seeing an occupational physician and requesting a chest X-ray. None pursed the offered course of action, officials said. 

The former asbestos-related incident in Stevenson Hall of March 2017 resulted in more than $2.9 million in penalties, in addition to the $3.5 million paid in legal fees to take the case to trial.

More information related to the asbestos management plan and emergency response can be found at https://web.sonoma.edu/ehs/.

Grant towards Basic Needs Initiative allows Lobo’s Pantry to flourish

Sonoma State University will receive $67,000 towards the school’s Basic Needs Initiative, as reported by President Judy Sakaki.     

The Basic Needs Initiative is a program implemented throughout all CSU systems that work towards meeting students’ basic needs through programs that help make basic necessities such as housing, food and others obtainable to students. According to Senate Bill 85, $2 million would be distributed throughout all 23 California State University campuses. 

Senate BIll 85 also promotes the Basic Needs Initiative and focuses on the importance of higher education and addressing the insecurities students face while in college, and Lobo’s Pantry does just that. 

“I think the money is being put into good use, and I’m more than positive many students can benefit from it,” said Tessa Gordon, a senior Hutchins and spanish major. “It also supports programs like Lobo’s Pantry to be on campus, which is important because there are so many students who don’t have cars or access to transportation to get anywhere off-campus.” 

The Basic Needs Initiative promotes hunger-free campuses and funds programs such as the Lobo’s Food Pantry that opened on Feb. 23 of this year. 

Lobo’s Pantry is a food pantry in the Zinfandel building of the university that allows students with food insecurities to come in and grab what they need for the day or the week. 

May Lor, a junior business major and volunteer for Lobo’s Pantry, said many students on campus don’t want to admit they need help. In order to ease that insecurity, food pantry volunteers allow students to come in and get what they need without any questions asked.

“It’s helping a lot of students because it’s providing them with a safe place to go and get food,” Lor said. “Hopefully with the recently granted money, the pantry will be able to hold more than just food, but other necessary items for college like school supplies.” 

Several students and faculty are members of the Basic Needs Initiative Committee, where they discuss and address the issues that were previously voiced by students throughout the campus.

Kimberly Estrada, Lobo’s Pantry coordinator and senior criminal justice major, says students were the ones to advocate for the food pantry on campus.

“Everyone involved with the Basic Needs Initiative Committee took part in the opening of the pantry, and student voices were a big push for it to start,” Estrada said. “We had a soft opening early last semester and officially opened this spring after the much-needed renovations for this room were completed.”

According to Estrada, the committee wants Lobo’s Pantry to have a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, and they strive to provide that by playing upbeat music and staffing friendly volunteers. They hope to ease the stress of lacking basic needs in college for students who are already stressed by heavy academic coursework and jobs.

“It’s hard being a college student on your own, especially if you’re far from home,” Estrada said. “Getting food is a huge struggle for many of us, and I’ve seen the amount of people who come in every week and I see that it’s actually helping a lot of people.” 

 

Annual Career Fair invites companies from throughout Bay Area to talk with students

Students were given the opportunity to meet more than 40 different employers and recruiters this past Thursday at Sonoma State University’s Career Fair. 

Employers such as Korbel Champagne Cellars, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Sonoma Canopy Tours joined the fair, providing students with information about what their company does. Some companies offered internships, jobs and informational interviews according to Career Services. Workshops were hosted by Career Services for several weeks in advance  before the career fair took place. From helping students improve their elevator speech and resume to preparing them when talking with employers. 

“Career Fair workshops have a long history here at Sonoma State,” said Heather Martin, the interim Lead Career Coordinator for Career Services. “We believe in giving our students the biggest advantage possible at the career fair and our workshops are just a part of that process.” 

The workshops had a high turnout with over 50 students attending. The Resume Fest was their best workshop, according to Martin, where students could get advice from professionals on their individual resumes. 

Becky Young, the interim Career Coordinator for Career Services, contacted human resources recruiters and used them to her advantage to provide students with the right information. Martin and Young both worked together with Career Services to plan and create the event along with two of their student staff since January to coordinate the event and reach out to local businesses in the area who were more than excited to recruit SSU students.

“I went through the school of Business and Economics department  here at Sonoma State,” said Chrissy Nelson, senior human resources representative at Korbel Champagne Cellars. ”Staying connected with Sonoma State means a lot to me personally and then also for Korbel in general since the owner, Gary Heck, has been a benefactor and chairman for the Wine Business Institute.” 

“We chose to participate because we are always looking for new people and  it’s always good to have people with new experiences and backgrounds,” said Lauren Sniffin an intern at Health and Commerce.

“We are a local employer, so we like to ensure that we are dipping into local talent and sharing of up and coming businesses,” said Christina Johnson, a recruiter at ExecRanks. “It was really important for us to be able to represent what we have to students in accessible areas.”  

According to Martin the event had more than 800 students in attendance. The fair has been continuously held at the university for the past five years and the staff who worked on the event hope to continue it for the upcoming years. 

“We hope that students can start to build their professional network now and that ultimately our students can find summer jobs, internships and full-time jobs,” said Martin. “We hope that all of the students who attended the fair are better able to understand the demands of the work world and can become successful Seawolves once they graduate.”

 

Peace and Justice Center encourages student voice

Social justice week at Sonoma State University aims to bring awareness to students on campus about many social justice issues happening around us, not just locally but globally. 

The Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County hosted a discussion for students who were interested in learning more about activism within the community and around the county.  

The Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma county is located in Santa Rosa and offers itself as a resource center to inform, support, and reenergize Sonoma County. The center provides a safe meeting place for affiliated groups and social justice, along with sending out weekly emails about events related to peace. They also publish the Sonoma County Peace Press six times a year. 

Shekeyna Black, the center coordinator for the Peace and Justice Center, was pleased with the turnout of the event and said that the younger generation has such an impact now because they “tend to voice their opinions more and stand up for what’s right.” 

Black went around the room and asked students how they are involved, and many students shared their work in the social justice field, bringing a smile to Black’s face. 

The students were seated in a circle, and in the middle of the circle was a stool with a few jars on it. Each jar represented a different social justice issue. A few of the issues that were represented on the jars were military spending, our environment, housing, education, and healthcare. 

Each student was given three pennies and then were asked to place their pennies in a jar that they felt was the most important issue to them. Most of the pennies were placed in the housing jar, healthcare jar, and education jar. 

“The penny activity was super effective,” said Jessica Ndiritu, a senior nursing major. “Having a hands on activity to show what was important to those in the community is a really effective way of getting discussions started.”

 Kimberly Elizondo, a sophomore sociology major, said she attended the event because she is taking a social justice class and found this discussion to be interesting. 

“It’s also a good place to meet people who also have the same interests as you,” said Elizondo. “It was really interesting to see what everyone values.” 

The event ended with students loaded up with different resources, such as the peace press magazine, the vision and mission statement of the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma county, and a card for the north bay rapid response number in case ICE is in the area. But above all, students left with a new understanding of social justice within the community. 

 

Rotaract club to take service trip to Brazil to assist hospitals

Sonoma State University’s Rotaract Club is a close-knit group of students passionate about making their community a better place.  The club holds two meetings per month, with one as a business meeting and the other as a social event. The club also meets as needed for their service projects and events.

As a club they engage in local and international service, both independently and working with local Rotary clubs. Members address their communities physical and social needs while promoting international understanding and peace through a framework of friendship and service. 

The trip will be funded by the Rotary Club of Luthra as a gesture of gratitude for being assisted on the “Night of 1000 Coats” event by Sonoma State’s Rotaract Club. The event was designed to aid fire victims in accessing necessary things and to bring the community together, which is one of the many things Rotaract club takes pride on. 

Andrea Aviles, a senior political science major and treasurer of Rotaract,  said Rotaract wants to help countries like Brazil by talking to administrators to see if they would be interested in joining their telemedicine project, where doctors from around the globe join weekly education telemedicine rounds and can consult with any partner doctor for diagnosis assurance.

“The purpose for our trip to Brazil is partnering with the Rotary Club of Blumenau-Fortaleza in Brazil for their Cultural Broadcasting School Project,” said Aviles. “Our sponsoring Club, the Rotary Club of Rancho Cotati, helped obtain a grant for the school’s computer lab and  they will be sending two Rotarians along with two SSU Rotaract members.”  

Aviles is looking forward to potentially giving a presentation to the children while being able to mix the two cultures to see if they will continue to support in the future and she is excited to see what the grant has accomplished for the school’s computer lab and to see if they can have Brazil be telemedicine partner.     

According to Monica Morales, a senior biology major and the international chair of the club, Rotaract focuses on the development of young adults as leaders in their communities and workplaces, as well as being involved in community outreach and telemedicine.

Morales will be going  to Brazil to interview hospitals with the hopes of eventually setting up Telemedicine at their hospital. The club will also be attending a variety of Rotary meetings in Blumenau, Brazil.     

Katelyn Quinn,  a senior communications major and president of the Rotaract Club, said she originally joined the club because she has had a long time passion for volunteering. 

 “But this goes beyond simple volunteer work,” said Quinn. “I have been able to gain new skills, have built amazing connections and I have been able to become a leader and help others become leaders too.”  

According to Quinn, who will not be able to attend the service trip to Brazil, the club will be  helping out with various projects during their stay such as distributing vaccinations for certain diseases and helping build houses.  

 

Panel adreses importance of social justice

“Social justice is about doing what feels right and rectifying what feels wrong. It makes us sleep better at night and gives us long time peace”, said Chingling Wo, an english professor at Sonoma State University, during the Social Justice Without Borders lecture. 

Five professors from different departments gathered together in the Cooperage on Thursday night to enlighten many students and open up on their thoughts on social justice during the closing event on the fifth night of Social Justice Week and UndocuWeek. 

The professors that took part in the lecture were criminal justice professor Napoleon Reyes, Chicano and Latino studies  professor Ron Lopez, and English professors Chingling Wo and Timothy Wandling. 

The many topics that were uncovered during the night included Muslim bans, racial profiling, homelessness and displacement, lower-income families, the ideas of anti-capitalism, and the agreements with the teachings of Karl Marx.  The lecture was delivered using  powerpoint slides, comparisons, pop culture subjects of today such as Ellen DeGeneres, and the Pixar movies, Wall-E and Finding Dory. 

“When you want to learn about social justice, you need to start small,” said Wo. These five professors did not speak in hopes to force students to become activists, but more so encourage smaller acts that can accumulate to eventually contribute to society by making students and the community knowledgeable about the social injustice acts happening throughout our country. 

There were a variety of people in the audience including community members, children, students looking to receive extra credit or an extra unit, and student activists looking for ways to better their community and better their world. 

The Social Justice Week program is put on by the Sociology Social Justice Club. The purpose of the Social Justice Club is to promote social justice and to encourage community involvement and student activism. 

“The main reason I wanted to join the club was because they are in charge of preparing social justice week,” said Liz Aguilar, senior sociology major and treasurer for the club.  “When I joined I was interested in studying social justice and I feel like it’s important for not only sociology majors, but for all students to understand and be aware of the ongoing issues we see in society.”

One of the things discussed during the lecture was the goal of the Sociology Social Justice Club to improve their Social Justice Week. 

“We are looking to get an IRA grant for the next year”, said Peter Philips, sociology professor and Social Justice Club advisor.. “We need to be able to fund coordinators to plan these events and compensate guest speakers like Ralph Nader from Monday night’s event.”

Austin Barcus, a junior sociology major, was one of the students in attendance and was inspired by what the professors had to say. 

“The lecture had a lot of information”, said Barcus. “I got to learn what each of these professors are passionate about when it comes to social activism or social justice.”

“The change starts here,” said Ronald Lopez. “I encourage you to find a way in your community associations, your churches, your social organizations, to do something about it and make a difference.” 

Students find grieving place after Florida school shooting

Due to the most recent school shooting that occurred at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students at Sonoma State University have all reacted to this tragedy differently. 

Everyone grieves in their own way. Some community members and students have found comfort in connecting with others. On Wednesday, the on-campus event “School Shootings, Student Lives, and Well-Being” took place in the HUB to focus on healing and processing about the recent Florida shooting.

The HUB provided a safe and confidential place for students to come together to grieve or express their frustration regarding the massacre. A representative from SSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services was present at the social gathering to provide professional support to those that needed it. 

Due to the shooting being a sensitive topic, some students that attended the event asked that their names be left anonymous. 

According to a senior student in attendance, many students are ready to show the CSU system and each other solidarity, and they are not just going to let this go by.

“I definitely just felt completely numb,” the senior said. “Sandy Hook, Las Vegas; those things were so incredibly personal to me, and with this I just didn’t have the reservoir to do that and a lot of other people felt that way and that’s scary that literally no emotion happens whatsoever.”

In events like this, some students begin to question the safety of themselves and others on campus. Many feel this has triggered a reaction to do something about this problem.

A sophomore student said she thinks a lot of people are done with feeling unsafe and feeling uncomfortable; that the reaction from the students at Sonoma State has really skyrocketed a movement.

“I think that the discussion is happening on a lot of college campuses, a lot of high school campuses, a lot of policy makers are really starting to get to the root of it and discovering why it’s happening and how we can prevent this from happening,” the sophomore said. “I think we’re going to hear a lot more about it at Sonoma State too.”

President Sakaki sent out an email on Feb. 22, which said students’ safety and security was a top priority. She discussed how the shootings bring awareness and urgency to address mental health needs and gun control policies. At the bottom was an attached link to emergency procedures and emergency preparedness programs. 

Sonoma State’s Counseling and Psychological Services encourages students to take advantage of the counseling and psychological services offered to them if they feel affected by recent events. 

“I think people’s sense of safety has been adversely impacted by recent acts of violence, traumatic events like the Sonoma County fires, as well as by the general sociopolitical climate,” said Laura Williams, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Sonoma State. “We are seeing an increase in levels of distress for folks coming into the CAPS office for services.”

In response to campus safety in the event of a shooting, Emily Ledford, a freshman, said, “I think that CSAs should discuss a plan of action for residential community members and that professors should be discussing a plan of action for in-classroom emergencies.” 

For students needing counseling regarding the recent shooting or any other crisis, CAPS has open walk-in hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.