Socialization, Community and Civic Responsibility

Aztec Nights

Launched in fall of 2008, Aztec Nights provides vibrant opportunities for students to become engaged in positive, substance-free social and educational activities without having to leave campus. Aztec Nights created a cohesive, connected and engaged community on campus. More than 16,000 students attended last year’s Aztec Nights events, and the planning definitely paid off.

Alcohol citations
(first five weeks)


chart of alcohol citations, showing 487 for fall 2007 and 209 for fall 2008
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In conjunction with new policies and campus-wide strategies, Aztec Nights helped to reduce the number of alcohol and drug medical transports by 57 percent during the first five weeks of the fall 2008 semester and by 50 percent over the course of the school year.

Aztec Nights is a truly collaborative program spearheaded by Associated Students, Student Life & Leadership, New Student and Parent Programs, Residential Education, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and Alcohol and Other Drugs programs. In addition, the Office of Student Testing, Assessment and Research administered and reported results of an Aztec Nights survey.

Veterans Center

photo: the entrance to the Veterans HouseLast year, the university opened its new Veterans Center. Every division on campus, led by President Stephen L. Weber, played some role in finding ways to express gratitude to the men and women of the armed forces who have sacrificed so much for the country. Several Student Affairs departments provide special benefits to the university’s veteran students. New Student and Parent Programs offered a 50 percent discount to New Student Orientation for incoming students who were veterans. More than 70 veteran students took advantage of this special offer and attended orientation during the summer of 2008.

Late in the academic year, Residential Education, along with the Office of Housing, helped to develop the nation’s first on-campus veterans house.

Student Disability Services works closely with veterans who have vision and hearing losses due to war injuries, as well as with those veteran students who suffer from traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress (PTS) disorder. Counseling & Psychological Services also treats veterans with PTS and other emotional issues such as depression and anxiety. C&PS focuses on outreach to veterans through focus groups and providing coping skills and stress management.

Community Service

Community Service is a surefire way to create an instant community. Student Affairs staff volunteered hundreds of hours in various community and philanthropic events. Student programs geared toward volunteerism helped students to connect their values to community needs. During the 2008/2009 academic year, fraternity and sorority students volunteered more than 22,000 hours of documented community service. Additionally, the 2009 Greek Week raised more than $15,000 for Operation Global Vision, an organization that provides free cataract surgeries in the poorest areas of the world.

Racial Diversity

San Diego State continues to be ranked in the top 25 universities nationwide for racial diversity, according to U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges. A diverse community enhances the learning experience of students by incorporating cross-cultural understanding.

Diversity Conference

photo: conference session
More than 300 students attended the 2009 SDSU Diversity Conference.

Many Student Affairs departments and programs focus exclusively on diversity issues. The Office of Intercultural Relations/Cross Cultural Center hosted the second annual SDSU Diversity Conference, with financial contributions from the Aztec Parents Fund. The conference was open to all local college students and faculty. During Welcome Week, the office hosted Community Receptions for students who were interested in issues relating to African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Women, Jewish, and Native American culture. Additionally, IR/CCC held diversity programs and workshops celebrating various heritage months.

Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman helps students resolve problems they have with the university. The Ombudsman acts as the student liaison or mediator, and is a confidential, independent, and neutral resource for students. The office provides information, advice, intervention and referrals to try to solve problems at the most informal level possible. Examples of student problems include faculty/staff conflict; financial aid; fee disputes; campus housing; late withdrawals/adds/drops; grade appeals; and discrimination or harassment concerns.

Parental Involvement

Parents as Partners

APA membership and academic success


chart of academic success data
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Parental involvement leads to academic success. Students whose parents are members of the Aztec Parents Association (APA) have higher grades, are less likely to go on academic probation, and are more likely to continue their studies.

Orientation

Community begins even before students are enrolled. New Student and Parent Programs (NSPP) offers a comprehensive New Student Orientation for all incoming freshman and transfer students, accompanied with a concurrent Parent Orientation. In the summer of 2008, NSPP welcomed more than 6,500 students and 5,180 parents at orientation sessions on campus and in Northern California. Orientation is the first step in helping students, and their parents, transition into SDSU.

Convocation

The second step is New Student and Family Convocation. Held each year on the Saturday before the first classes of fall begin, SDSU welcomed more than 6,500 new students and family members in 2008 at New Student and Family Convocation.

Aztec Parents Association

Parents play a crucial partnership role at SDSU. Unlike some universities, San Diego State has created a parent community that works hand-in-hand with the administration. The Aztec Parents Association (APA) has been recognized as one of the leading university parent organizations in the nation. More than 3,600 new families were welcomed into the APA during summer 2008. In spring of 2009, SDSU was invited to present a workshop titled “College Student Success and Parent Involvement: Partnerships for Lifelong Learning” at the NASPA conference. NASPA is the leading organization of Student Affairs Administrators in the world. More than 3,000 people attended last year’s conference. A team led by Eric Rivera, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, also submitted a paper to be published by the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and presented at its annual conference in the 2009/2010 academic year.

Aztec Parents Fund

In conjunction with the Aztec Parents Association, the Aztec Parents Fund raises money to enhance and create quality programs and services that directly benefit SDSU students. Last year, the fund raised almost $300,000. Grants were provided to help alcohol and other drug initiatives; study abroad; programs to help prepare graduating seniors for the job market; and leadership development.

Aztec Parents Board

The Aztec Parents Board voted to enhance its main communication vehicle, News for Aztec Parents, from a tabloid format to a full-color magazine.