Tech tools introduce students to campus, and each other

Before she had moved her first box of belongings to campus, Ashley Gonzales already knew her neighbors in Draper Hall.Social media mavens Ashley Gonzalez and Abriana Griffith

“One of the girls from my freshman hall made a group for it on Facebook, so we were able to introduce ourselves on the page and get an idea of the kind of vibe the hall would have,” says Gonzales, now a junior. She believes it helped her with her transition to Sacramento from Tulare, Calif.

Gonzales is just one of the 2.3 billion users of social media, according to a report by Business Insider.

“I use Facebook to check on my friends to see what they are up to and I post more pictures of what I am up to on Instagram,” she says.

“Students now rely so much on social media whether they post, tweet or text on their phones, that I can’t walk across campus without seeing students on them,” says Student Housing and Residential Living Director Michael Speros.

Dozens of campus departments, organizations and groups maintain Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, allowing students to access information of particular interest to them. At the same time, it builds their connections to the campus and their classmates.

Online interaction also seems to shrink the distances between students and their families.

Faydra Koenig, mother of a student-athlete and chair of Sac State’s Parents and Families Program, uses social media to keep in touch while her daughter lives on her own in Sacramento.

“It’s nice because we can share our videos or pictures to let the other person know we’re thinking about them,” says Koenig.

“Social media played a huge role my freshman year, because the only way my sisters could keep a record of what I was up to was through Facebook,” Gonzales says.For the record

However, with the rapid increase in social sharing, there are also risks with having too much of a person’s life on display. And sometimes the anonymity of the online world, allows disagreements or pranks to escalate into cyberbullying.

“People have the right to be safe here and they have a right not to be harassed,” says Sac State’s Director of Student Conduct Ardith Tregenza. “I think sometimes people just don’t think about the strength of their words.”

Koenig says parents with questions or concerns can share them with other parents by connecting on Sac State’s Parents and Families page on Facebook.

“It’s a wonderful resource for parents and the Sac State community as a whole,” Koenig says.

—Contributed by Journalism major Sammie Thach (Class of 2014)