Our identity crisis as Sac State students

Victor Nieto:

Victor Nieto:

Victor Nieto

Finding your personal identity is an arduous task to say the least, a labyrinth for many navigating the untamed seas on the horizon and the swells within. For some, that identity is forged either willingly or dictated by the circumstances (usually economical) around but in some way they find it, bind with it and finally transform into that being.

Why I bring this up is not for some personal closure but from longing to know what it means to be a student at Sacramento State. Do we have an identity as Sac State students?

Are we the socialites, the academics, government pupils and communicators? Or are we the inventors, the athletes, the healers, the entrepreneurs, the advocates, or just the commuters?

When we look back on our time spent here will we first recall wondrous times at Sac State with great admiration and loving anecdotes? Or will it just be a small detour on a professional résumé when we respond to a boss at an interview with “uhh… yeah I went there” while holding mild apprehension in our throats.

We are a large CSU campus with a student population approaching 30,000, yet on any given day you’re likely to come across students wearing T-shirts and hats of other colleges rather than our green and gold.

The allegiance to our sports programs is abysmal, as seen by the half empty basketball gymnasium and vacant bleachers during the football season – thus making it hard to call this campus a sports destination.

We reside at the heart of California’s government yet our student-affiliated ASI leadership is seldom seen, heard from or even known (it even pre-records the speeches).

We do have a Greek system. However, its presence is very limited since no fraternities or sororities are legally allowed a house on campus to call their own. The advocate groups seem to pop up here and there, with leftist groups usually rallying against someone’s “bad idea.” Somewhere on campus there’s a Republican group but I’m pretty sure they only come out at night.

So since the aforementioned groups really don’t apply then maybe we’re a school centered on a particular curriculum. Business, that must be it. Or was it government, criminal justice or nursing? I heard it might be communications. Yep, it’s possibly liberal studies – that’s it.

The point is if you were to ask around campus you’re likely to get 30,000 different answers. However, with one underlining characteristic to those answers – we are commuters.

Sac State is a commuter campus. Since there are no other viable options with which to affirm a definitive reputation and destination, we are the school of commuters.

And after going about my work here at Sac State for the past three years I have yet to figure out an alternative option, except that change is in the works. And despite President Gonzalez’s lack of clarity on the ‘wildlife’ incident, things are changing from the status quo.

In an interview with the now defunct “Prosper Magazine” in March 2007, Gonzalez acknowledged the commuter stigma of Sac State, but more importantly he had an ambitious plan to sell the school more as an establishment, or known to these parts as “Destination 2010.”

Although the plan is far from over the progress is quite visible. Our parking situation is considerably more manageable than in the past, and we now have this giant bookstore that’s quite eye catching with many redeeming qualities (despite being overpriced). It’s harder to get lost on campus with all the new upgrades to the academic hall signs and by the end of this year we should have a digital freeway sign welcoming commuters to Sac State.

However, the big additions are to come in the next few years with the most prominent construction to go toward a sports field house, added on-campus student housing and a recreation and wellness center for all students.

So hopefully the lack of President Gonzalez’s name reiterated through the campus quad and local newspapers is a good thing. Maybe “Destination 2010” is progressing forward and forging on despite the lack of funds, enthusiasm and unwavering support.

So in my attempt to encourage this process, and in its course persuade myself that there is more to this campus than parking lots and overpriced books, I will try to end on a positive note. And even if by 2010 or even 2020 we still don’t have a college identity to call our own, hopefully we’ll acquire some characteristics along the way, and songs such as this will once again regain its meaning.

“Fight, Hornet, Fight!”

Composed by Don McDonald in 1949.

Fight on, Sacramento State

Fight on to victory

The Hornet is on the wing,

The foe will know that we can show them

We’re meant for fame and glory,

All the World will know

The Hornet’s NEST is BEST in the WEST (Shout) BY TEST!

Sacramento State, (Shout) LET’S GO!!!

I already feel like beating on an Aggie.

Victor Nieto can be reached at [email protected]