GatorFest! kicks off new academic year with dozens of campus events

Author: Steve Hockensmith
August 10, 2023
Students frolic on the West Campus Green
Photo Credit: Paul Asper

This year’s line-up includes a pinning ceremony and class photo, a comedy night, a dance and much more

Every year, San Francisco State University celebrates the start of a new academic year with GatorFest!, a weeks-long series of student-oriented events. This year’s GatorFest! kicks off with a welcome reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at Don Nasser Family Plaza Friday, Aug. 11. Dozens of events — ceremonies, performances, games and more — will follow. All students are welcome! It’s an opportunity to start strong, make new connections, join clubs and organizations, learn more about University resources and services, explore San Francisco and celebrate being a Gator.

“As SF State prepares for fall semester, our focus is to provide opportunities for students to develop a strong connection to each other and their home away from home,” said Miguel Hernández, associate vice president & dean of students of the Division of Student Life. “Events planned for this year’s GatorFest are intentionally designed to create memories, explore interests and allow friends to connect. We want to make sure everyone knows this is where they belong.”

“GatorFest! is how we make sure students start the year feeling excited, connected and supported,” added Evan Jaynes, San Francisco State’s First Year Experience – manager of student transitions. “There are amazing campus life opportunities year-round at SF State, but GatorFest! is always a very exciting time for our students.”

The schedule for GatorFest!’s Week of Welcome (WOW) is below. For more event details and the full GatorFest! schedule — which stretches all the way to a Haunted House at the Student Life Events Center Oct. 30 – 31 — go to the New Student & Family Programs website.

Welcome Reception
Don Nasser Family Plaza
Friday, Aug. 11, 4 – 6 p.m.

Centennial Way
Saturday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Family Welcome Reception
Don Nasser Family Plaza
Saturday, Aug. 12, noon – 1 p.m.

Family Farewell Reception
Don Nasser Family Plaza
Sunday, Aug. 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Community Stonestown and Target Trip
Meet in respective lounges, travel to Target
Sunday, Aug. 13, 7 – 9 p.m.

Find Your Campus Community
Various campus locations and times
Monday, Aug. 14 – Thursday, Aug. 17

Community Meet and Greets
Lounges/common areas
Monday, Aug. 14, 10 – 11 a.m.

Entering Year Pinning Ceremony and Class Photo
Cox Stadium
Monday, Aug. 14, 10 – 11:15 a.m.

Residential Life Resource Center (Towers)
Towers Junior Suites
Monday, Aug. 14, 4 – 6 p.m.

Kickoff Speaker: Gio Ortega
Annex 1
Tuesday, Aug. 15, 10 – 11 p.m.

Play Fair!
Annex 1
Tuesday, Aug. 15, 11 a.m. – noon

Community Floor Meetings
Various locations
Tuesday, Aug. 15 – Thursday, Aug. 17

Taste of SF State
Campus Quad and Malcolm X Plaza
Wednesday, Aug. 16, noon – 2 p.m.

WOW Week Movie Night (Associated Students)
Rec Field
Thursday, Aug. 17, 8:30 p.m.

DECI Fair 
Malcolm X Plaza
Friday, Aug. 18, noon – 2 p.m.

SF SketchFest: ThemPark Improv Comedy Show at Welcome Week
McKenna Theatre
Friday, Aug. 18, 8:30 – 10 p.m.

Back to School NoiseComplaint (dance)
Malcolm X Plaza
Saturday, Aug. 19, 9 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.

Drag Queen Bingo
Mashouf Wellness Center
Saturday, Aug. 19, 6 – 7 p.m.

T'Was the Night Before Classes
Community lounges
Sunday, Aug. 20, 7 – 8 p.m.

Two students sit together
A student jumps on an inflatable thing
A group of students pose together on the West Campus Green