More than 9,000 new Gators join the University this fall

Students form the letters SFSU on a green field

First-year students in Cox Stadium formed the letters “SFSU” as part of the University’s first attempt to capture a freshman class photo.

First-year students attend ‘GatorFest’ kickoff events

For Alicia Ramirez, Friday, Aug. 24 was the culmination of several tearful weeks. It was the day she dropped off her daughter Marine at her San Francisco State University dorm for the first time.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” Ramirez said. “She’s the first in our family to attend college.”

Ramirez was far from the only parent feeling both sad and proud: Her daughter was one of 2,400 freshmen who moved into on-campus housing Friday. Out of the nearly 60,000 applicants for the fall semester, mostly from the Bay Area, San Francisco State welcomed a total of 4,347 freshmen, 3,439 transfer students and 1,232 graduate students — 9,018 new students.

Whether they knew it or not, the first-year students were introduced to campus in a whole new way: This year marked the first GatorFest, a revamped and expanded version of Welcome Days (the previous campus welcome celebration). Students can now choose from a roster of events spanning more than a month, including department open houses, workshops, networking events, a bonfire at Ocean Beach and other off-campus outings.

On Saturday, hundreds of freshmen piled into Cox Stadium to attend the Entering Class Welcome Address. For the first time, students received a specially designed class pin, a symbol of their new place in the Gator family. At the close of the address, SF State Assistant Dean of Students Brian Stuart told students to wear their pin proudly and repeat the following words: “We are all Gators.” Students also posed for the University’s first-ever freshman class photo, forming the letters “SFSU” on the Cox Stadium field while a drone, flown by Geography & Environment graduate student Kevin Physioc, captured the action.

Such special events are designed to help new Gators feel at home while getting everyone on campus revved up for the year ahead. And so far it seems to be working.

“It’s too exciting,” Marine Ramirez said of her future at SF State. “You just want to be there.”

For more information about future GatorFest events, visit the GatorFest website or follow the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram using #GatorFest2018