Welcome Days kicks off new year at SF State

With a flurry of activity, thousands of fresh faces and words of welcome from campus officials, a new year at SF State officially kicked off this week.

A photo of students during the Faces of Community event.

New students and parents assembled on the quad outside the library for the Faces of Community event.

The University formally welcomed more than 7,000 new freshmen, transfer and international students and their families to SF State on Friday during the annual "Faces of Community" event held on the quad. The event is part of Welcome Days, five days of activities and programs designed to introduce new students and their families to the campus community. Welcome Days began Thursday as 2,500 new students moved into the residence halls, and continues through Aug. 27.

In his remarks to students and parents gathered in the quad Friday morning, President Les Wong challenged students to use their time at SF State to "own your own mind."

"Get yourselves out there and engage not only the people around you, engage big and dangerous ideas," Wong said. "That's what we want you to do."

He also had special words of welcome for the many new SF State students who are the first in their families to go to college, telling them, "You are starting what I like to call the educational heritage of your family."

A photo of SF State President Les Wong during the Faces of Community event.

President Les Wong listens during the Faces of Community event on the quad, SF State's official welcome to new students.

Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell, Associated Students, Inc. President Adenike Hamilton and alumnus and CBS 5 Sports Director Dennis O'Donnell also made remarks offering their perspective on the SF State experience. The program included a musical performance from SF State student Asha Hirsi.

The day continued with information panels and workshops to help new students and parents get acclimated to college life and introduce them to on-campus resources, as well as the "Taste of SF State" lunch featuring food from SF State eateries. Students also participated in their "first class," a lecture on the modern-day relevance of William Shakespeare and a new event for this year's Welcome Days.

On Saturday, students will participate in the "One Community Day of Service," held in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. Students will volunteer for service projects to beautify the Lake Merced area, plant native drought-resistant plants and culinary gardens on campus. In the evening, Student Life will hold a late night dance party in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

Aug. 25-27 will feature a variety of information sessions on academic programs and other aspects of campus life. For more information about Welcome Days, visit http://www.sfsu.edu/~welcome

To view photos from Welcome Days, visit SF State's Flickr page

-- Jonathan Morales