Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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New students meet one another at the Orange County Regional Sendoff. (Photo: Dion Akers) New students meet one another at the Orange County Regional Sendoff. (Photo: Dion Akers)
 


Aztecs Connect at Regional Student Sendoffs

The regional sendoffs include new students, their families, SDSU alumni and administrators from the university.
By Tobin Vaughn
 

From Seattle to New York, San Diego State University welcomes new students with gatherings designed to ease their transition to life on campus.

At an Aug. 6 gathering at her Seattle-area home, SDSU student Samantha Jandrisch spoke to more than two dozen SDSU-bound students and their parents about life on campus. The 19-year-old third-year communication major shared her personal perspective on a variety of topics ranging from Greek life to campus activities. This gives new students and their families a better understanding about the first semester as an Aztec.

"I honestly wanted to calm them down, both the parents and the students,” she said. “I ended by telling them to not sweat the small stuff and to look at the bigger picture that SDSU is a place for students to grow and figure out who they're going to be.”

A similar scene to the one at the Jandrisch household was repeated between July 30 and August 9 at five locations around the country where freshman students heading to SDSU this fall received special sendoffs involving their families, SDSU alumni, current students and administrators from the university. In addition to Seattle, similar events were held in New York, Orange County, Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The regions were chosen from areas where SDSU successfully recruits large numbers of students. With 78 SDSU freshmen, Washington is the state outside of California sending the most new students to the university this fall.

A noble mission

The sendoffs are hosted in collaboration with the university by Aztec alumni and parents who are Regional Council members in each of the areas.   Samantha’s parents, Wanda and Joe Jandrisch, agreed to host a student sendoff because they felt the friendly exchange of information in a casual setting would benefit anxious parents as well as their apprehensive students.

“In some cases these parents have absolutely no idea what to expect,” Wanda Jandrisch said. "What we hoped to achieve was that everybody would feel welcome, comfortable and not intimidated or afraid to ask questions and I think we accomplished that.”

SDSU Associate Vice President Amy Harmon, who works with the university’s regional alumni councils, said the sendoffs introduced students to a network designed to help them succeed during their years at SDSU and beyond. “Aztec alumni who are Regional Council members will help provide internships and mentoring for these students to better prepare them for successful careers,” she explained.

The five sendoff events are the most ever undertaken by the university since the program began in Seattle and the Bay Area in 2014. SDSU Pacific Northwest Regional Council Chair Jessica Hickey (’88), who attended the Seattle student sendoff with her husband, Robert Hickey (’88), described the sendoffs as “hugely important,” saying they help raise SDSU’s national profile and help bind distant students and their families – as well as alumni – more closely to the university.

"It's letting them know they are walking into this huge community both where they are from and where they are going,” she said. “It's a noble mission.”

Friendly faces

Samantha Jandrisch still remembers her first visit to Montezuma Mesa and why she chose to come to SDSU. “All of the people walking around were so friendly and they all looked so genuinely happy,” she recalled. “That's what I wanted to be.”

And that’s what she wishes for her fellow Washingtonians. She is pleased to have had a hand in making their transition to campus a little easier.

“All of those kids are going to recognize each other's faces when they come to SDSU," she said.

 

 
Regional Sendoffs
Freshmen students heading to SDSU this fall received special sendoffs involving their families, SDSU alumni, current students and administrators from the university.