July 6, 2020

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Juthaporn Chaloeicheep

Crisis fund lends a hand to students affected by COVID-19

Juthaporn Chaloeicheep’s path to a degree has never been smooth. She first attended SF State in the 1990s but left without graduating after having a child. Years of addiction, homelessness and incarceration followed. Chaloeicheep (left) was able to get back on track in the last few years, however, and an SF State degree was finally within reach.

Then the pandemic hit. Chaloeicheep’s work hours with a hospitality staffing agency rapidly dwindled, making it difficult for her to pay rent, buy food and take care of her youngest son, she says. “I was going to be at risk of not being able to graduate,” Chaloeicheep added.

Fortunately, Chaloeicheep was able to get help from SF State’s Help, Opportunity and Pathway to Empowerment (HOPE) Crisis Fund. The program provides financial assistance to students dealing with unexpected crises so they can continue their studies and graduate. “It takes a village to have helped me, and that’s what SF State was able to provide,” said Chaloeicheep. With support from the fund, she was able to stay on track through her last semester and earn her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies.

Unfortunately, Chaloeicheep’s hardly the only student facing hardship this year: HOPE Crisis Fund applications have skyrocketed, with more than 1,000 coming in since March. To address this need, the HOPE Crisis Fund shifted its focus to assisting students who’ve been impacted by the pandemic. The program has given roughly $300,000 to more than 250 students. Yet the available funds simply haven’t been able to meet demand, says Interim Associate Dean of Students Pam Su, who helps oversee the fund. That’s why SF State launched a fundraising campaign to generate more donations for the HOPE Crisis Fund and ultimately help more students in need.

Since the campaign started in March, the University has raised over $500,000 from more than 500 donors, including alumna and former Director and Vice Chair of Bebe Stores Neda Nobari (B.S., ’84) and lifelong Bay Area resident and philanthropist Kathy Kwan. The Genentech Foundation and the SF State Foundation have also stepped up to provide support.

To also learn more about the program and the ways it’s helping students, visit the University Development website


Illustrative text: Transformation

Spring/Summer edition of SF State Magazine now available 

SF State has been changing lives — and reshaping the culture — for more than 120 years. But this spring all that steady change cranked into overdrive as the University adjusted to pandemic-induced shelter-in-place measures and students, alumni, faculty and staff looked for ways to help their neighbors. The Spring/Summer 2020 edition of SF State Magazine takes a close look at those rapid responses while highlighting additional examples of how the University has long served as a catalyst for positive change.

The issue’s lead story focuses on the many facets of SF State’s reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. Other feature articles spotlight alumni who overcame incredible challenges, from hearing loss to civil war, and a new University partnership with the Genentech Foundation that strengthens the flow of diverse, well-trained science professionals to Silicon Valley jobs.

The online issue also features stories about an SF State clinic that helps transgender and nonbinary people find their voice, a groundbreaking Spanish-language journalism course and a new curriculum that aims to help doctors improve their bedside manner  — and their results with patients. And as always the issue includes updates and perspectives from the University’s trailblazing alumni.

Read those stories and more on the SF State Magazine website


Jugal Bhatt (left), Shraddha Upadhyay (center) and Kunal Shah

Students’ app for first responders wins at pitch competition

First responders might have a new partner on the way thanks to a team of forward-thinking SF State students. The students recently took home first prize at the Lam Family College of Business’ third annual Entrepreneurship Symposium and Pitch Competition with Simba Police, a voice-activated mobile assistant designed to help first responders in emergency situations.

The team behind the winning product — Computer Science graduate students Kunal Shah and Jugal Bhatt and Business Analytics graduate student Shraddha Upadhyay — received a $6,000 prize for the innovative idea. Four other teams entered the competition, and two of them also scored cash prizes. The competition was judged by five Bay Area business leaders, some of whom are SF State alums.

All three members of the winning team are from India and say they were drawn to SF State by its hackathons and other opportunities to develop and test their business ideas. They’re also part of the Lam Family College of Business’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Fellows program, which prepared them for the competition. The feedback they received from faculty about their business model and forecasting was key to their final pitch, Upadhyay says.

Their product is simple. Imagine a voice-activated assistant like Siri or Alexa that follows spoken commands. But instead of playing favorite songs or looking up the latest weather report, Simba could run background checks, scan license plates, retrieve driver details and call for backup if needed. “It doesn’t require a human on the other end of the line,” Shah said. “We wanted to cut cost and time, and we hope it can save lives.”

Recent incidents of police brutality inspired the team to develop two sister applications. One would allow the public to report acts of officer malfeasance directly to police headquarters, while the other is a voice assistant that can connect to social media platforms and livestream citizen interactions with law enforcement.

The team that took second place in the Lam Family College of Business pitch competition — Marketing students Luke Del Aguila and Bryan Parji-Zborowski, Management student Kimberly Flores and Computer Science graduate student Soheil Ansari — developed Koob, an e-reader application for English as Second Language students. The goal of their product is to offer students real-time definitions as they read materials for class.

Third place went to Management and Information Systems student Muath Alkathiri and Statistics student Victor Ngoon and their creation VAEA, a housing solution for international students that connects landlords in the Bay Area to renters seeking affordable, convenient housing.


Calling all campus social media managers!

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting members of our campus community, attracting new students, staff and faculty and engaging alumni and the broader community. In our new COVID reality, social media plays an even more vital role in fostering that sense of connection. That’s why Strategic Marketing and Communications, in partnership with other campus units, is launching a social media roundtable. This group is an opportunity to share ideas and content, collaborate on University-wide campaigns and hopefully learn tactical and strategic approaches from one another.

If you’re interested in joining, please fill out a Qualtrics survey that will help to shape roundtable meetings. Included in the survey are questions about your group’s social media handles, links and the names and contact information of the people administering the account. Over the summer, Strategic Marketing and Communications plans to revamp the SF State Social Media Directory. Please enter your information if you would like your accounts to be included.

If you have additional questions and would like to contact Strategic Marketing and Communications directly, please email pubcom@sfsu.edu


Emergency meal card program report

A new report on the first two years of the University’s emergency meal card program documents its success giving students access to quality food. In 2018, 47% of SF State students surveyed reported experiencing food insecurity. Later that year, the University launched an emergency meal card program as part of a larger Basic Needs Initiative. This program set out to provide students experiencing food insecurity with quality meals while on campus. Emergency meals were made available through a collaboration with Sodexo, SF State’s on-campus dining vendor, and donations from students, faculty and staff. From May 2018 to May 2020, in collaboration with Sodexo and the Dean-on-Call program, the Basic Needs Initiatives emergency meal card program provided 2,201 emergency meals to 191 students experiencing food insecurity. Though in March SF State suspended on-campus operations due to COVID-19, emergency meal card distribution continued for the remainder of the semester, and an additional 325 meals were distributed to 18 students, providing an essential resource during a time of uncertainty and financial crisis. 

Have questions about the emergency meal card program or the Basic Needs Initiative? Contact Jewlee Gardner at jewlee@sfsu.edu


New Campus Solutions feature displays student photos

To assist faculty and staff as they connect with our students, Information Technology Services is pleased to announce that students’ OneCard photos will be imported into Campus Solutions (CS) for display to designated staff, faculty and advisors and will be available on July 6. Student photos will be displayed in the following areas: Advisee Student Center, Faculty Class Roster and Self-Service Student Center. The photo compliments the prior availability of preferred names in support of our student engagement efforts.


Webinar on avoiding injuries while working remotely

Working from home shouldn’t be painful. Yet as more employees continue the transition to remote work due to pandemic restrictions, some employees are struggling with setting up a home office that adheres to proper ergonomics. “Five Tips to Prevent Remote Employee Injuries” offers guidance. Created by one of the CSU’s business partners — Mike Millidonis, national manager of Ergonomics & Employer Services at Genex — this free webinar offers tips to keep you healthy and productive at home while preventing injuries. You can watch the webinar online or download a copy of the webinar slides on the Genex website

For additional information on SF State’s ergonomics program, please visit the ergonomics page on the Enterprise Risk Management website or contact Workers’ Compensation and Loss Control Program Manager Demond Blanton at dblanton72@sfsu.edu


Labor Archives and Research Center seeks pandemic stories

As the repository for the Bay Area’s working-class history, SF State’s Labor Archives and Research Center invites the University community to help make a record of the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of workers. A website for the project — Workers United/Apart: Stories from the Frontlines of COVID-19 — has been created to make submitting easy. The Labor Archives and Research Center wants to hear from you. It’s also interested in the stories of first responders and front-line workers in health care, grocery stores, delivery services and public transit; those who have lost their jobs in hotels, convention centers, construction projects, retail stores, restaurants and other service industries; and the many others whose work has been up-ended by sheltering in place.


EAP and ELSIT host “Striving for Racial Justice” webinar

The Educational Administration Program (EAP) in the Department of Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies (ELSIT) hosted a webinar titled “Striving for Racial Justice” June 6. The panelists explored what it meant for PK-12 and higher education leaders to act collectively and in solidarity with and for Black people, youth and communities. Over 200 people registered for the webinar. Panelists shared their insights stemming from their leadership positions and life experiences as educators and leaders of color. Among those speaking were Doris Flowers, ELSIT and Africana Studies chair; Jamal Cooks, dean, Chabot College; alumnus Vincent Matthews, San Francisco Unified School District superintendent of schools and ELSIT educational administration faculty; and Marlon Gayle, educational administration faculty at SF State and assistant principal at Antelope High School. Visit YouTube to view the full webinar.


Retirement phishing scams

SF State continues to see phishing messages and other attacks, most recently focused on public employee retirement benefits. The phishing messages look real but are not and are being received at SF State and personal email addresses. They ask the recipient to set up an appointment via Zoom to discuss retirement benefits. In one case, the employee attended the Zoom session and the fraudster asked the employee to log into Gateway to view the employee’s most recent paycheck and to log into the CalPERS system to view the pension/benefits account. Topics in these fake emails include “Pension Help for San Francisco State University personnel” and “Retirement Planning Appointment.”

What can you do to avoid getting scammed?

  • Be suspicious of anyone asking you to set up an appointment or discuss your retirement benefits unless you have confirmed they are from SF State’s Benefits & Retirement Services. Only SF State and CalPERS representatives are authorized to discuss retirement benefits with employees and they will always communicate with you via your SF State email account.
  • If you can’t tell whether an email is legitimate or not, use the Report Phishing Button in Outlook or forward the email to abuse@sfsu.edu for inspection.
  • Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip files or other compressed or executable file types.
  • If you would like more information about your pension/benefits or have questions, visit the SF State Human Resources (HR) website at hr.sfsu.edu/retirement-services.

More phishing resources can be found on the ITS website


Holistic Healing Series: Sheltering Together in Health, July 10 – 24

The Institute for Holistic Healing Studies is hosting its Holistic Health Series for students, staff, faculty and friends of the University on Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. Each speaker will share ways to stay healthy at home. Upcoming topics are:

“Body Awareness and Mindful Movement for Stress”

Friday, July 10
Speaker: Cliff Smyth, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher (GCFT)

“Reclaiming and Nurturing the Power of Play”

Friday, July 24
Speaker: Erik Rosegard, Department of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health

You can use the same Zoom link  for all series sessions. Password: 923108. Meeting ID: 893 500 173. Dial in: +1 669 900 6833 U.S. (San Jose).

SF State welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you would like reasonable accommodations for these Zoom sessions, please contact dprc@sfsu.edu.


Paving the Way: Women’s Struggle for Equality in California, July 15

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote, the Sutro Library will present Paving the Way: Women’s Struggle for Equality in California at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 15. The free Zoom presentation will feature Susie and Steve Swatt, authors of a recent book about the history of women as a political force in California, sharing inspirational stories of Bay Area women who helped transform the state from the Gold Rush to today. RSVP through Eventbrite to receive the Zoom information a day prior to the event.


SF State Abroad Virtual Summit, July 20 – 24

SF State Abroad is pleased to announce its first-ever Study Abroad Virtual Summit. This weeklong event will be held July 20 through 24 and will feature lively and interesting discussions about all aspects of studying abroad for SF State students.

SF State Abroad has programs in over 30 countries and offers students from all majors and backgrounds the chance to go abroad and make progress toward their degrees. Many of the summit panelists are returned study abroad alumni who will talk about their experiences in exciting locations all over the world. The summit will also serve to launch the SF State Abroad Country Spotlight Weeks that will take place throughout late summer and the fall semester and spotlight various study abroad destinations.

This event is free and open to all current and incoming SF State students. A complete listing of the summit’s schedule and panels can be found on the SF State Abroad Summit website.  To attend, please RSVP via Qualtrics


University Budget Committee meeting via Zoom, July 23 

The University Budget Committee (UBC) will meet via Zoom from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, July 23. The UBC is charged with providing the University president with advice and recommendations related to budget policy, planning and review. Meetings are open to the public, and there will be a 10-minute open forum period for interested members of the campus community to speak on budget and funding issues. If you would like to attend the meeting as a guest, please email Nancy Ganner at ganner@sfsu.edu  to request Zoom access.

The UBC welcomes persons with disabilities and can provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you would like reasonable accommodations for this event, please email ganner@sfsu.edu as soon as possible so your request may be reviewed.

Tintiangco-Cubales receives lifetime achievement award

Professor of Asian American Studies Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Embodying Equity and Diversity at the University of California, Davis’ 10th annual Equity Summit in March. The UC Davis Equity Summit annually honors activists who fight for equity and change in their communities, and this year’s awards focused on “champions of social justice.” Tintiangco-Cubales cofounded Community Responsive Education, which offers professional and curriculum development services for community organizations and educational institutions, and has published several books and a wide array of articles and book chapters that focus on the development of ethnic studies curricula and community-responsive pedagogy.


Roberts connects the dots

Professor of Recreation, Parks, Tourism & Holistic Health Nina Roberts was invited to author a regular column for a new journal called Parks Stewardship Forum. Published last fall, the first column revolved around impacts of climate change on coastal communities and its relationship to environmental justice issues. Her second article — “Connecting the Dots: Why Does What and Who Came Before Us Matter?” — is available to read online or download as a PDF.


Yoo, students have mask-making all sewn up

On June 29, Professor of Asian American Studies Grace Yoo and several SF State students made a presentation to Pitzer College students, staff and faculty on the topic “Learning to Sew for Others During the Global Pandemic.” Yoo and the students shared their experiences learning how to sew and using their new skill to produce face coverings for communities in need. Their volunteer sewing was also highlighted in a recent CNN report.


Sueyoshi, Ginwright on why ethnic studies matter

Dean of Ethnic Studies Amy Sueyoshi and Professor of Africana Studies Shawn Ginwright were interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about how recent protests over the death of George Floyd highlight the importance of ethnic studies programs. “I think ethnic studies classes will feel increasingly relevant to college students nationwide,” said Sueyoshi. The article notes that the Black Lives Matter movement was cofounded by Alicia Garza while she was a graduate student at SF State, the home of the nation’s first College of Ethnic Studies. Ginwright says the growing support for Black Lives Matters and the nationwide protests against racially motivated police brutality will translate into higher enrollment for ethnic studies courses. “I’m certain we’ll see a significant increase in students who want to learn more about racial inequality,” he said. Read the full article on the Chronicle website.