Welcome Days kick off new year at SF State

With warm words, multiple information sessions and even a special musical performance, SF State welcomed more than 7,000 new students and their families to the Gator community today, officially kicking off the new academic year.

A photo of three students on the quad during the SF State Welcome: Faces of Our Community event.

At the SF State Welcome: Faces of Our Community event on the Quad, new students and families were officially welcomed by President Les Wong and other campus officials.

At the University's official welcome event, "SF State Welcome: Faces of Our Community," President Les Wong challenged new students assembled on the Quad to become educated citizens and to "get near ideas that scare the death out of you" to tackle the world's most pressing issues.

"We're here to help you develop yourself so you can own your own mind," Wong said. "Once you're able to do that, I believe it's unavoidable that you will make a difference."

Students and families also heard from Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Luoluo Hong, Interim Dean of Students Mary Ann Begley and Associated Students Inc. representative Kenneth Collins. Music student Sean Thompson performed an instrumental acoustic-guitar piece.

"Enjoy yourself while you're here," Collins said. "Challenge yourself. College is a journey, and we're very excited to have you begin your journey here at SF State."

After the event, informational sessions for new first-year students, transfer students and parents took place across campus. Various Student Success workshops are planned throughout the afternoon, during which students and families can learn about academic programs, University resources and tips on how to thrive at SF State.

A photo of the band Parachute performing in Malcolm X Plaza.

The band Parachute played a free concert in Malcolm X Plaza on Friday.

Friday's activities also included the Taste of SF State lunch in the Quad, where students and families sampled cuisine from SF State vendors. During the lunch, attendees also were treated to a special show by rock band Parachute. The impromptu concert, announced Thursday, was part of candy maker Airheads’ "Bite Size Concert" series. After an approximately 20-minute concert, band members conducted a Q&A with the crowd, and one audience member was invited to meet with the band in person.

Welcome Days, a week of activities designed to orient new students to life at SF State, began on Thursday, when more than 2,000 students moved into the residence halls. This evening, a dinner for parents will be held in Jack Adams Hall, while the Student Life Carnival will take place on the West Campus Green. Later tonight, the Student Life Events Center will play host to the popular SF State's Got Talent competition.

On Saturday, in keeping with the University's commitment to civic engagement, students will fan out across campus and the local neighborhoods to participate in community-service projects. The Student Life Dance Party is scheduled for later Saturday evening.

Classes begin on Monday, and the Student Life Information Fair -- where students can find out about campus departments, student organizations and other resources -- will take place on the Quad Monday and Tuesday.

For more information about Welcome Days, including a full schedule, visit http://www.sfsu.edu/~welcome.

-- Jonathan Morales