Sonoma State University, founded in 1960, opened in 1961 with an enrollment of only 274 students. Today, in the fall 2014 semester, there are more than 9,250 students registered, with the freshmen class totaling at 1,850 students. The student enrollment has been increasing dramatically over the last two decades and the campus continues to accommodate for the growth in student population. But what exactly is it about Sonoma State University that attracts such a large population?
In 2013, Sonoma State University was ranked twelfth by the U.S. News and World Report as a top public university in the West United States, when compared to other prominent western campuses. This ranking was determined by analyzing the freshmen retention rate, recognizing the academic and social resources and opportunities at the university, and the campus location and size. Freshmen Sarah Fishback shares why she chose Sonoma State University: “I honestly fell in love with the campus when I first step[ped] out of my car [onto the campus]. I [also] fell in love with the clubs and organizations that the school offered.”
There are many selling points and attractive features of Sonoma State but one of the most prevalent is the residential housing. The Princeton Review ranked Sonoma State University as number 17 for the “Best College Dorms.” in 2013. Sonoma State was also ranked nineteenth on The Princeton Review’s “Dorms Like Palaces” category in 2012. The residential housing is considered more of an apartment style than dorm-like, with students sharing a room with only one other person and a bathroom with two or three other people.
In an effort to make Sonoma State University a larger, more attractive, and more diverse college campus, the faculty and advisors have created programs and acquired new buildings for classes to meet and students to learn and get involved. The Student Center, which opened last fall in November, provides students with a large space for a variety of student needs. The first floor provides a lounge to study and meet with friends and multiple dining venues for a meal or snack. The second floor consists of the bookstore, campus prints, meeting rooms for faculty and students, and the Student Activities Desk where information about all student organizations and clubs can be found. The third floor contains ballrooms for campus-wide events including dances and lecturers.
International Hall, formerly known as the Student Union, was opened for the first time this semester. International Hall provides services and departments for international students. This building helps widen the student demographics and is an effort to add diversity to the campus community.
The Green Music Center, is also a new building that provides Music majors their own building for class and performances. The Green Music Center is also open used by the Sonoma State campus body and surrounding community for guest lecturers, concerts, and club or Greek organization events. There is also a restaurant and patio for the Sonoma County community. This building continues to grow as a new hall, Schroeder Hall was opened this past weekend. The expansions and additions to the university are to serve two purposes: accommodating for the increase in student attendance and updating the campus buildings.