Click here if you are having trouble viewing this email April 2017
upcoming events

Sexual Assault Awareness Week
Apr. 3-7

Employee Giving Campaign
Apr. 5-May 5

Relay for Life
Apr. 7-8
Valley Field

Associated Students General Elections
Apr. 11
MySanDiego Portal

Creative Collaborations
Apr. 18, 12-2pm
Hahn UC Forums

President for a Day
May 9

Fireside Chat with President Harris
May 17, 3-4pm
In front of the Torero Store

For more events, visit the Torero Life Website


Student Affairs Newsletter Archive
Click here for an archive of Student Affairs newsletters

Wellness Group Meetings
Click here for a list of the Wellness group meetings and topics

University Ministry Events
Click here for a list of University Ministry events

Student Affairs Department Newsletters

Click here for an archive of Campus Rec newsletters

Click here to sign up for the Women's Center listserv

Sign up to receive the UFMC newsletter here

Click here for more info


Employee Bingo
Apr. 23, 12-1pm
Salomon Hall

Employee Fitness Classes
Click here

CHR@USD Events Calendar
Click here for more info

Check out the Being Well @ USD Website here

social media

Table of Contents
  • A Message from VP Vazquez and AS President Hodges
  • Students First Campaign
  • Emerging Leaders Instructor Applications
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Week
  • The Talk Applications
  • Peer Educator Recruitment
  • Male Engagement and Healthy Masculinities
  • Tech. and Comm. Corner: Patient Branding
A Message from VP Vazquez and AS President Hodges

Dear Student Affairs Team and Colleagues,

Associated Students President, T.J. Hodges '17, wrote a reflection and opinion piece titled 'The Mechanics of Our Culture'.  With his support, I am sharing his insightful, thoughtful, and collaborative ideas about our culture and collectively moving forward.  I am motivated and inspired by student leaders like President Hodges.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


The Mechanics of Our Culture
T.J. Hodges

Our community is at a pivot point. On paper, USD has experienced a lot of change in the past four years: a new University President, Vision Statement, Strategic Plan, upcoming Provost, Athletics Director, and upcoming Chief of Public Safety top the charts. And yet, the problems that we face today--financial strain, belonging, school spirit, and local engagement--remain alive and well at USD, like they have for many years. With new leaders and strategic pathways in place, it is time for us to collectively answer the call of these deeper problems that exist in the fabric of our community.

USD is only 67 years old, which would qualify as infancy for most Universities--infancy should look like a few buildings, perhaps some scattered victories within an athletic program, and an alumni base that is only beginning to make waves in the world.

This description does not fit USD at all. We are ranked 86th in National Universities by US News and #6 for study abroad programming by the Princeton Review. Our campus is large, well-developed, and beautiful. The 2017 NL MVP Kris Bryant is a recent product of our baseball program, and the Cubs’ president, recently named by Forbes as the “World’s Greatest Leader,” is a USD Law alumnus. Our professors are renowned, and President James Harris’ impactful op-ed “We’re Scaring Off Future Einsteins” was recently published in USA Today. We certainly appear to be older and more mature than our age would suggest.

Even with all of this, USD still has growing pains. Right now, the Provost and the Vice President of Student Affairs are partnering with an outside firm, Huron Consulting Group, to collect information in order to diagnose and enhance the student experience at USD. Currently, Huron’s approach to analyzing student life at USD is to go through the student timeline chronologically from applicant to alumni, and I will do the same.

I’ll start with the application process. USD must sell itself well in order to attract great applicants. We like to highlight our beautiful campus, fine dining, a proximity to beaches and urban spaces, weeks-long stretches of “sunny and 75,” and challenging academic programs. It makes sense that students tend to list these attractions when they are asked why they came to USD.

And yet, for some, these positive attributes can fade throughout the course of a year or two, and a student may start to consider transferring. As a former first-year RA, I had these conversations frequently with my residents. Our retention rate currently sits at 87%, which falls below the rates of other WCC schools, such as Santa Clara with an impressive 96%.

In many ways, USD has matured far beyond its years, but we are still developing a culture on campus. Students who come to USD for the aesthetics, beaches, and academics will discover that these attributes are accents to a great college career, but a rich campus culture is the true foundation of a college experience. A culture endures beyond the classroom and it endures beyond the handful of years a student spends on campus. And so, students may be disappointed to learn that USD really needs producers in our community, rather than consumers. And yet, many of us came here initially to consume the parts of the life that we were sold on. It explains the difference between the amount of students who complain about school spirit at USD and the amount of students who actually go to USD games.

Our lack of high participation in certain areas of campus life has caused some concern for our administrators. During my time as A.S. President I’ve been engaged in several administrative conversations where they try to address our "tradition problem." Each year USD administrators attempt to explain the why of low student involvement and lack of tradition. All the while, these lower levels of student participation have led them to become increasingly involved in programming and designing student life at USD.

But USD is growing up. Slowly our students are becoming more engaged and willing to take on leadership positions. Not only that, but they are creating. I’m thinking of new organizations on campus such as HERO club, the many changemaker initiatives that have developed in the last four years, and even the increased voter participation in AS elections. These campus creations are coming from students from all corners.

As a community, we need to fuel this increase of producers on campus.

First, we need to recruit a diverse population of students who will carry on the beginning of the momentum we see today. It is essential that we have a student population interested in overcoming difficult obstacles in order to create the parts of campus life that we have been missing. This means identifying students in the admission process who have aspirations to create and contribute to a campus and community culture. While we boast fine dining, beautiful locale, and proficient academic programs, we need students who are here for more. We are already heading in the right direction by identifying ourselves as a Changemaker campus and introducing a new vision statement that calls for "innovative changemakers [to] confront humanity’s urgent challenges." Our new "Envisioning 2024" Strategic Plan includes an "Anchor Institution" pathway that directs us to "strengthen and deepen our partnership network and join communities as we work to enhance USD’s role in the community." Now, we have to follow through.

We can follow through by giving student leaders the space and autonomy to create and, most importantly, the freedom to fail. We fear too greatly the idea that a student or student organization might fail a project or event, or "cross the line" somewhere, and we forget that failure is a necessary part of growing culture and tradition at USD. To use a metaphor, a basketball player could never improve her shot if her primary goal was to never, ever miss, in practice and in games. She’d either carefully shoot layups or not shoot at all. We have to be comfortable with a student organized event not reaching attendance goals, or even failing to achieve its own the purpose and mission. The same goes for student organizations and student initiatives. Without those experiences, our student leaders are losing out on essential development.

We also pay a high price for making our campus look so aesthetically beautiful. Our campus makes me think of a nice painting to be admired, rather than an open canvas to contribute to. The real beauty of a college campus lies in student voice, activity, and expression on campus. Our administrators are working to reduce strict posting policies, outside performer reviews, and noise restrictions on campus. But we must follow through with these items, and quickly, or we will continue to have a stifled campus space that will hinder our potential.  

Third, we must lower the cost of student involvement at USD. By "cost" I mean the opportunity cost of spending time as a student leader on campus and not working a paying job. It is expensive to be a student at USD. This is not exclusive to our school, there are other WCC institutions that are similar in cost, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Students make the commitment to pay the cost of USD, but often with the stipulation that they must have a job to stay afloat. A.S. is aggressively seeking to set an example by creating the "A.S. Endowed Scholarship" which will give need-based scholarships to students from all across campus who have proven to be valuable student leaders but also need further assistance to maintain their level of involvement.

My time as President of Associated Students is coming to a close, and I am proud of how we have changed ourselves internally within A.S. to respond to the challenges that our students face. We advocated for the A.S. Endowed Scholarship and textbook reserves, we piloted the Uber Discounted Ride program, we initiated free printing in the Creative Zone, we offered online New York Times subscriptions, and we placed student voices in committees and task forces that desperately needed them. But it wasn’t nearly enough: our next step is bring the rest of USD along with us.

Students, you must take your place as the leaders and catalysts in our community and guide the University to a place where we not only recognize the issues such as finance and belonging, but we take measurable action to tackle those issues. Identifying an issue is only one step in the long journey towards improving our future. While you may recognize that attendance to games is low, or USD is expensive, or the taco line in the SLP has been changed, it is important that you take that next step: tell your student body President, or email dining services, or reach out to the USD Vista!  

Faculty and administrators, we must give more weight to the input and ideas that originate from our student population. During my time as President, I have been generally inspired by the attention that is given to student input, but administrators must be certain that they aren’t seeking student voice simply to "check a box" and say that there is student support for a solution that has already been fully developed. True leadership comes from our administration when difficult decisions are made to support the issues reported by students. We have certainly identified that USD is expensive, yet no decision was made to prevent a 3.5% hike in tuition. Having meaningful dialogue with a diverse collection of students will not only result in more engaging strategies, but will open the door to student engagement opportunities as well.

I am a strong believer that USD has a bright future. We have the resources and vision to continue to create a totally unique University community. We must keep our eye on the mark, stick to our vision, and always aim for a higher level of engagement and pursuit of community. Together, we will create the culture and flare that makes us uniquely USD.

T.J. Hodges '17
Associated Students President

Students First Campaign

The Student First! Giving Campaign kicks off tomorrow!  This is an annual effort to provide employees and faculty the opportunity to have a direct role in the success of USD Students. All members of the campus community have the opportunity to support areas of the university that they care about the most.  This campaign is designed to raise awareness throughout the campus community about the importance of private support and the feeling of satisfaction that accompanies it.  Last year 64% of employees gave to USD and the employee Giving Campaign raised over $630,000 for students.   This year the University has a goal of reaching 75% contribution from employees.

As part of the campaign, you will be receiving an email as well as mail to your home (those who have contributed already this year will not receive this email. Thank you for your gift.)  If you gave last year, consider matching or increasing that gift. If you did not give last year, consider giving just $5 this year. You may give online by going to If you would prefer to use cash or a check, Marie Minnick (UC 132) or Mariann Sanchez (SLP 401) can provide you with an employee giving card and envelope. 

If you have given this year, you should have received a "Students First!" button. (Please let us know if you did not receive it.) Those giving through the campaign will receive a button when they give. Please wear your button with pride and as a motivation for others to give.

Help us make our team in Student Affairs #1 for having 100% contribution (last year the Grounds and Maintenance Department gave 100%.)  Our team is made up of employees who work in Associated Students, Center for Student Success, Multicultural Center, Student Affairs Administration (including Student Affairs Dean and Student Life), Student Conduct, Student Activities, Student Orgs & Greek Life and University Center Operations.

Let’s support Students First!

Emerging Leaders Instructor Applications

The Emerging Leaders Program is now accepting instructor applications for the Fall 2017 semester. If you are a USD administrator or graduate student, please consider applying to co-teach this two-unit introductory leadership course by Tuesday, April 18.

As a co-instructor, you will be expected to create a space for student learning focused on leadership, the social change model, and application on social justice issues through the human-centered design. Through readings, class presentations, experiential exercises, journal reflections, and small group discussion, students will be challenged to map their path of initial leadership development at USD. 

Please apply here if you are an administrator.

Please apply here if you are a graduate student.

Lastly, please encourage undergraduate students you work with to apply to serve as a co-instructor and share this application link.

Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Please join us the week of April 3-7 for Sexual Assault Awareness Week 2017. Please find the schedule of events below.

You can also RSVP on the Sexual Assault Awareness Week Facebook page.

The Talk Applications

The Talk applications are now live on the Orientation website! Interested students will need to scroll down to the "current students" tab, where they will be taken directly to the Talk page. 

As a reminder, applications are due April 10 by end of day. Feel free to share the flyer below! Applicants are also welcome to stop by the CSS (Hahn UC 114) to pick up an application or ask questions.

Peer Educators Recruitment

Thanks in large part to the support and encouragement of Student Affairs staff, we have enjoyed a wonderful pilot year with the Peer Educators for Healthy Relationships and Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention. As we look ahead to the coming school year, we are now recruiting for our second cohort of stellar students dedicated to creating changemaking conversations around sexual and dating violence prevention. We would greatly appreciate your continued support of this program by sharing the opportunity with students whom you think would be interested in and bring strengths to the role. Please find the Fall 2017 Peer Educator application on the CHWP website along with a marketing flyer that can be distributed or forwarded to students. Applications are due April 13.

About the Peer Education Program:
Peer Educators are students deeply interested in dedicating spaces to educating their peers about healthy relationships, creating conversations about gender roles and socialization, and shifting cultural norms that perpetuate sexual and dating violence on campus. Participants receive comprehensive training that they utilize in presenting outreaches and presentations to the USD community. Peer Educators are required to attend an initial two-day training session at the beginning of the fall semester as well as attend ongoing training and continuing education throughout the semester. Peer Educator positions are semester-long appointments with opportunity for extension and preference given to those interested in at least two semesters of service. The role requires an average of 4-6 hours of work per week (including but not limited to administrative tasks, data entry, outreach, marketing, peer advising, peer education, peer facilitation, presenting, and tabling events) and Peer Educators are compensated for their service.

Thank you in advance for your partnership and support in spreading the word about this opportunity. Please feel to contact either Steffanie Lynch or Sarah Borger if you have questions or would like additional information.

Male Engagement and Healthy Masculinities

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and USD's theme for 2017 is "Change the Culture." One crucial piece of the cultural shift to eradicate sexual violence is starting conversations with male-identified folks about masculinity and gender socialization. Sandra Kim's still-resonant article in Everyday Feminism addresses engaging our sons regarding male violence and healthy masculinity, and many of the strategies directly translate to ways we can create connection and conversation with students.

Tech. and Comm. Corner: Patient Branding

In this month's edition of the Technology and Communications Corner, we look at branding for departments and centers. This article from shows us how important developing a strategy and communicating a brand to your audience really is. However, an essential takeaway of the article focuses on the importance of being patient with a branding campaign. Kristi Eaves-McLennan, Executive Director of Marketing for Meredith College writes, "It takes years... for an effective branding campaign to truly change perceptions." This is true for any kind of branding attempt, whether it's branding and perception of a whole department or a specific program. Generally speaking, 2-3 years of consistent branding with relatively similar imagery and messaging is a good timeframe for a brand to start having measurable effects. After this period, brand reevaluation can be explored.

"Too often, colleges and universities get caught up in chasing the excitement of launching something new," says Eaves-McLennan, which not only adversely affects the overall campaign, but also might be an ineffective use of energy in the long run.

For assistance with branding and marketing, please contact Kenny Eng.

Shout Outs

Shout Out to Kathe Myrick for doing such a wonderful job coordinating all the installations for the panic alarms and other safety needs. The SHC knows what a huge undertaking it was and are appreciative for all your hard work. -April Sturgis

Want to recognize a colleague for their great work or general awesomeness? Submit a Shout out for the next Student Affairs Newsletter to Kenny Eng at

Please send any news or events for the upcoming week to Kenny Eng

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