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Convocation explores fostering a community on campus

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Faculty, staff and students came together for a University Convocation on Monday, Feb. 21.  In cooperation with the Faculty Senate, President Alexander Gonzalez convened the Convocation called, “Fostering a Community at Sacramento State.” The keynote speaker was noted journalist and scholar Helen Zia. 

Last semester, the Senate approached the President about convocation to focus on some very important issues facing Sacramento State, as well as university campuses across the nation. The apparent bullying-related suicide of a Rutgers student in September renewed attention on the role that higher education institutions play in creating a sense of community that is better equipped to respond to issues before they become tragedies.

Similar topics have been discussed in the media and elsewhere following the Tucson shooting and, most recently, the horrific death of an elementary school principal in Placerville. 

To make this convocation as productive and relevant as possible, a committee of faculty members was created to plan the afternoon’s activities. They include Dean Vanessa Sheared of the College of Education, Don Taylor from Academic Affairs and professors Kimo Ah Yun, Margarita Berta-Avila, Tim Fong, Janet Hecsh, Greg Mark and Steve Perez.

“I was able to attend four of the breakout sessions, and the honest, constructive dialogue I heard will be very helpful as we work to build a greater community at our University,” said President Alexander Gonzalez. “It was very inspiring to see that this goal of building a greater community is one that we are interested in pursuing collectively.”

The eventual goal is a set of recommendations that can inform campus policies and the University’s strategic plan.