SF State welcomes more than 8,000 new students for fall semester

Two new SF State students carry luggage across campus toward the residence halls.

SF State is welcoming more than 8,000 new students onto campus this week, marking the start of a new academic year.

President Les Wong challenges incoming class to get engaged and 'own your own mind'

In May, Karlo Galo saw the power of a college education firsthand as she watched her older brother graduate from San Francisco State University, the first in their family to earn a degree.

Today, Galo is one of more than 8,000 new students who officially joined the Gator family, marking the start of a new academic year at SF State. And while the San Francisco native and daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants will be following in her brother's footsteps, she's also ready to make her own mark.

"I'm excited about finding my passion and meeting new people," Galo said. "I feel really inspired to go out and be successful, help my family and start this new journey of my life."

Welcome Days, the University's annual five-day series of events designed to welcome new students and their families into the SF State community, kicked off Saturday when new residential students moved into their on-campus home for the first time. The event continued today, with events designed for all new students, and will culminate Wednesday with the first day of classes.

SF State is welcoming approximately 3,700 new freshmen, 3,400 new transfer students and 1,200 new graduate students for the fall semester.

In his remarks to new students and families this morning, President Les Wong shared the story of how his high school counselor discouraged him from going to college — something that inspired him to earn three degrees — and challenged students to take initiative and make the most of their time at SF State.

"Get engaged. Get involved with friends. Get involved with things outside your classroom, in the community," Wong said. "This is a place where you can find yourself. More importantly, this is a place where you can learn how to own your own mind."

Wong also noted the significant number of first-generation college students in the audience, continuing a trend at SF State: Close to one-third of all students are the first in their families to attend college.

Additional Welcome Days events include job and student involvement fairs, academic and student life resource sessions for both students and parents and several events designed to help new Gators get to know each other, including a dance and karaoke party.

Among the more than 2,000 students moving into the residence halls on Saturday were Elijah Bowman and Kristian Jimenez, who have known each other since 7th grade and are now college roommates. Both said they were looking forward to living on campus and enjoying being a first year Gator.

"I'm just trying to experience everything I can right now," Bowman said.

For more information about Welcome days, visit www.sfsu.edu/~welcome, or follow the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #SFStateWelcome.