Students walk through the quad during Club Rush on the first day of classes at SF State on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Andrew Fogel / Golden Gate Xpress)
Students walk through the quad during Club Rush on the first day of classes at SF State on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Andrew Fogel / Golden Gate Xpress)
Andrew Fogel

Technical challenge, long lines, club rush mark SFSU’s first day back

Campus community adjusts as the Fall semester starts

The first day of classes at San Francisco State University started with a technical outage leaving students and professors locked out of their online school accounts. The technical issue had to do with Duo, the school’s two-factor authentication process, according to San Francisco State media relations specialist Kent Bravo.

Bravo said the university created a “temporary workaround” so the community can access all technologies.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and will let the campus community know when the vendor has resolved it,” Bravo said. 

SF State students during Club Rush near Malcolm X Plaza at SF State on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress)
(Neal Wong)

The technology situation did not impact most activities on campus, as the Student Services building was buzzing with first-year and returning students waiting for assistance with many different issues.

When entering the Student Center, Aryon Bhalodia, director of facilities and operations, is the first person students see to provide information. Bhalodia said the first couple of weeks tend to be the busiest time because people are lost or have many questions.

SF State Student Services offer many resources for students across campus: Financial Aid assistance, student ID services, and more. The Student Services is open from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bart Beltran, a transfer student from Reedley Community College majoring in computer science, experienced the usual ups and downs of a student’s first day on campus at SF State.

“Finding everything, that’s the biggest thing,” Beltran said. “This is only my second time on campus. The first time was for orientation. I came here for orientation, and there was no traffic right, and when I came here today, there were quite a few more people than expected.”

Khushi Yadav, another first-year student who transferred from India, came to the Student Center in order to get advice on transcripts. 

“I have already submitted my transcripts, and they were sending me the message that they haven’t received it,” Yadav said.

 

Students are boarding an M-Oceanview train heading towards Embarcadero Station at the SF State Muni Metro platform on Monday, August 21, 2023 in San Francisco, Calif. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)

When Yadav arrived at SFSU, the dorms were full, so she had to move into Parkmerced, a neighborhood near campus. Other than this, she described her experience at SFSU as going well, with no complaints.

Transitioning from high school to SFSU can be a huge leap for incoming first-year students. Students unfamiliar with the area may need to adapt to the different forms of transportation and, most importantly, the cloudy weather. 

Jesus Lopez, a freshman and computer science major coming from Stockton, currently lives on campus and is excited to start his new educational chapter. 

“The transition at first was a little weird because the temperature change is very drastic,” Lopez said. “Over there [in Stockton] it was averaging 90 degrees, and now over here, it’s averaging like 66.” 

Freshmen are not the only new additions to the school this semester as this may be some employees’ first few days working at SF State. Anthony Buchanan, an undergrad filmmaker, began his first day working in the SFSU bookstore on Sunday. 

“We’ve been very busy,” Buchanan said. “I mean I’m supposed to be getting books, but I’ve only had time to get one for the last 20 minutes because people keep grabbing and asking me questions and I’m like ‘I don’t know where anything is.”

The bookstore is open until 5 p.m., and lines will continue to form throughout the rest of the week. To get ahead of the rush, the bookstore hours are posted on their website

Another hot spot on campus was the quad as new and returning students gather to learn about the clubs on campus. 

Parryon Marshall, a member of the Gators Rugby Football Club, encourages others to join. 

“You should join the rugby club to meet some fellow gators, travel to other schools to compete and have a great time,” Marshall said.

Among other clubs, the Impact Movement, a predominantly Black Christian club that focuses on incorporating Jesus Christ into everyday life, was tabling.  

“Our main mission is to reach out to African American students on campus to explore their faith in Christ, to build a community based on transparency and growth,” said Adam Johnson, a member of the Impact Movement. He went on to say their values focus on ethnic identity, community and outwardness. 

Jaelyn Faraone is the Executive Director of the Pilipinx American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE), the oldest Filipino organization on this campus, established in 1967.

Left to right: Liam De Vera, 19, a pre-nursing student from Walnut Creek, Calif. and Christian Tamayo, 19, a kinesiology student from Pleasanton, Calif. pose for a photo at the Pilipinx American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE) table during Club Rush near Malcolm X Plaza at SF State on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)

“We are very active in the community, not only in politics but also in a social manner,” Faraone said. “We get people to establish a home away from home when they are not from San Francisco, like me, or they are looking for somewhere to find community in college, whether they are new or they transferred.”

PACE fosters hobbies in the arts; they have the longest-running Pilipinix cultural night in the area, where they do cultural dances and stories revolving around their culture and experiences.

Roger Feigelson is the executive director of The San Francisco Hillel, a student organization that connects people from Jewish backgrounds that was also tabling on the Quad.

“We provide social opportunities to celebrate holidays, have Shabbat dinner, bagel brunches, and we have some Jewish learning fellowship so they can learn about different things we have going on during the year,” Feigelson said.

As students begin to settle, clubs and organizations will continue to table for the rest of the week in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center welcoming new and returning gators. 

 

Michelle Ruano Arreola, Samantha Morales, Bryan Chavez, Victor Harris Jr, Jonah Chambliss, Jason Hernandez, Luis Cortes and Letícia Luna collaborated in writing this story.

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About the Contributors
Neal Wong, Co-Copy Editor
Neal Wong (he/him) is a third-year journalism student and minoring in urban studies and planning. He was born and raised in San Francisco and attended Washington High School. He has photographed and written for Golden Gate Xpress first as a contributor, then as a photographer, and now as a copy editor. His photos have also been published by the San Francisco Bay ViewSan Francisco Public Press, Mission Local, and Xpress Magazine. Neal has also created and taught four SFSU Experimental College courses. His hobbies include traveling, cooking, and reading.
Colin Flynn, Photographer
Colin is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress. He was born and raised in San Diego but lives in San Francisco. Colin started shooting photos while skateboarding with his friends. He has also won a photograph contest hosted by Levi Jeans & The Berrics.
Ryosuke Kojima, Photographer
Ryosuke Kojima (he/him) is a photographer for the Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine, majoring in photojournalism and minoring in sociology. Growing up in southern California and Japan, Ryo is an avid fan of various sports, the outdoors, backpacking, film photography, and more. In his free time, you can catch him hanging out with friends, skating, shooting film, or on the golf course.
Andrew Fogel, Photographer
Andrew Fogel is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine who’s majoring in photojournalism and minoring in labor and employment studies. If he’s not taking photos, Andrew can be found rooting for the various Philadelphia sports teams. He aspires to be either a staff photographer or a sports photographer in the future.

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