University welcomes more than 8,600 new students to 2019-2020 academic year

Aerial photo of students on a field dressed in purple T-shirts

First-year students on the West Campus Green formed the letters SF, part of a new annual tradition for the entering class.

First-year students and their families greeted with new campus traditions

First year students Nickki Trinh (left) and Christine Pham settle into their new dorm at SF State.

What does it mean to be a Gator? San Francisco State University’s new Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Danny Glassmann summed it up during his opening address to first-year students and those accompanying them at the University’s second annual pinning ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 20.

“Being a purple Gator means you’re resilient, it means that you have courage, it means that you stand up for your convictions and it means that you make a difference,” Glassmann said.

This academic year, the University welcomed more than 3,700 new first-year students eager to accept that challenge. An additional 3,773 transfer students and 1,168 graduate students now call themselves Gators as well. Other traditions planned for incoming students included a class photo, a family brunch and the Student Life Festival.

At the recent pinning ceremony, the entering class received a unique San Francisco State pin ­— a symbol of their academic journey, says First-Year Experience Manager Chris Trudell. Families also received a pin of their own, a move that involves parents and other supporters more closely in their student’s college experience.

“Parents, we are true partners in this endeavor,” Glassmann said during his address. “It truly takes a village to help each student graduate. We just graduated over 8,700 students last spring, and we want your student to do the same in a few years. You’re a partner, and we need your help.”

These efforts mean a lot to someone like Tung Trinh, who felt a range of emotions as he dropped off his daughter, the first of his children to leave home for college. “I’m excited she wants to spread her wings, but I’m also nervous and a little sad,” he said. “She wants her own path, and that’s great. I want that for her, too.”

His daughter Nikki will be far from her family in Orange County, so she’s turning to SF State’s Greek life to provide that home-away-from-home feeling. “I’m planning to rush,” she said. “I’ve been looking at different sororities on Instagram, and Alpha Phi looks really welcoming, almost like a family.”

Meanwhile, the political science major is settling into a place she’s always dreamed of calling home. “I’ve been in love with the city for years,” Nikki Trinh said. “I knew when I had to make a college decision it would be SF State.”

Students can get clued into what’s happening on campus by following SF State on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They can also participate in the University’s third annual Instagram contest for a chance to win cool Gator gear. How to enter: Snap a selfie next to the bronze Gator statue in front of the Gymnasium. Post it to Instagram using the hashtag #GatorFest2019. Photos will be reposted on the SF State feed ― whichever photo racks up the most likes wins. The contest runs through Aug. 30.