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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

‘Goodbye Bonfire’ brings campus community together before spring break

Students enjoyed s’mores and talked about their spring break plans around a fire
Neal Wong
Talia Rubinstein, a student, bites into marshmallows at Malcolm X Plaza on March 20, 2024. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress)

San Francisco State University students huddled around flickering flames burning cured pine wood in a portable campfire stove to roast marshmallows and enjoy s’mores during the On Campus Goodbye Bonfire Wednesday evening.

According to the GatorXperience website, it was the first bonfire at Malcolm X Plaza, at least in the last 14 years. The event was hosted by the Office of Student Engagement and Transition.

Sonia Getz, the office’s campus community coordinator, started planning the event last fall.

“Last semester, we hosted the Back to School Beach Bonfire at Ocean Beach… At our beach bonfire, we had a really good turnout of around 80 people, so I was very confident like, ‘Yeah, people want to go to bonfires,’” Getz said. 

Getz said the beach bonfire lacked things like a table for the s’mores and seating and wanted to bring the event closer to campus so it would be easier for students to access.

Having an actual fire on campus presented an element of risk. Getz followed the Department of Environment, Health, and Safety’s recommendations to mitigate that risk and make the event a reality.

“With all our events, it’s all about hosting fun, impactful student life programming,” she said. “So, we want students to make a connection with other people, whether that’s us as event staff or their peers — and leave with a good memory and wanting to get more involved on their campus.

Bonfire event attendees roast marshmallows at Malcolm X Plaza on March 20, 2024. (Neal Wong / Golden Gate Xpress) (Neal Wong)

Approximately 100 students attended the event.

“I’m happy to see student-centered events,” said Juan Campbell, a physics graduate student who learned of the bonfire through an email.

The event served as a time of reflection for Campbell on the semester.

“It’s grad school,” Campbell said. “It’s been very — it’s been a lot. Right now, one of the biggest things that’s causing a lot of stress, specifically in the physics department, is that they’re cutting the number of faculty lecturers.”

Campbell said that his semester has been really good, apart from worrying about fewer courses being offered. He plans to catch up on homework during the break.

“Once I do that, I’ll have a lot less stress on my plate, so I’m definitely looking forward to that,” Campbell said.

Parker Taylor, a literature graduate student, attended the event and thought it went well.

“It’s really nice to be able to have a s’more during my class break,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to see everyone out and about and laughing and having a good time, and I think it really builds community to have events like this.”

Megha Srinivas, an international student, decided to stop by on her way home.

“They’re giving us s’mores, so it’s quite yummy and I think as someone who’s not had that camping experience growing up, I think it’s nice to have this right now,” Srinivas said. “I would definitely love to see more events like this.”

The event was planned to run from 5-7 p.m. but ended earlier than scheduled, with all five bags of 24 jumbo marshmallows running out around 6:30 p.m.

“We never want to run out of supplies, but I consider the event a success because we brought something new to Malcolm X Plaza and I got to see people enjoying themselves,” Getz said.

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About the Contributor
Neal Wong
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.

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