Update on commencement, emergency funding and other support services

Posted on April 2, 2020

Dear Students,

As you prepare to take a much-deserved break next week (April 6-10), we write to provide you with some important updates in support of your well-being.

Commencement

With more than 6,000 students preparing to graduate in May, we are incredibly proud of all that you have accomplished due to your dedication and perseverance. We share your disappointment in the postponement of commencement ceremonies in which you would celebrate this milestone with your family and classmates. Since we plan to celebrate together in the future, when it is safe to do so, we continue to explore options for an in-person ceremony later this calendar year.

In the meantime, a group of enthusiastic staff, as well as ASI President Omar Hernandez, is working hard to develop a variety of initiatives in which you will be able to celebrate in the coming weeks. Beginning the week of April 13, keep an eye out for stories highlighting some of our many talented graduates. There will be more to come, including engagement opportunities for you to participate virtually to share your accomplishments and highlight your Bulldog spirit. Stay tuned!

Emergency Funding for Students

With so many students affected by the economic slowdown in the region, we are vigorously seeking out financial support for those who may have temporarily lost their sources of income. The two grants described below are not loans and, therefore, do not need to be repaid.

Today, the Mission Asset Fund, in alliance with other private foundations, has announced the new California College Student Emergency Support Fund. The Fund aims to provide students in California’s public colleges and universities with $500 grants within a few days time of applying. Based on our initial assessment of this new initiative, many Fresno State students will be eligible for the program (including Pell-eligible students, foster youth, undocumented students, and those who are housing insecure.) Considering the many college students throughout California who may need this type of assistance, we urge you to apply for the grant today.

In addition to the fund mentioned above, Fresno State also offers the Good Samaritan Fund for students who encounter an unforeseen financial emergency or catastrophic event that would otherwise prevent them from continuing their education at Fresno State.

In the past, thanks to generous donors who give to the Good Samaritan Fund, we have been able to help students who were victims of apartment fires, thefts and various other unexpected loss of income where short-term help was needed for basic items, including food. If you find yourself needing temporary financial support, you are encouraged to read the eligibility requirements and application process.

Other Support for Students

While about 90% of employees are now working remotely, and no students are physically attending classes on campus, most of the services are still available to you to ensure your academic success, such as academic advising and tutoring.

In addition, the Student Health and Counseling Center remains open and counseling services continue to be offered to students. Students can call 559.278.2734 to schedule an appointment. They will be sent a Zoom link to connect with a counselor at their appointment time.

The Student Cupboard also remains open and will continue providing free food and essential hygiene items for students in need.

We encourage you to take good care of yourself — both physically and emotionally — by eating nutritious food, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, washing your hands often and maintaining physical distance while remaining home — all while continuing to be connected with your support network of family, friends and classmates. Our staff in the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management will be offering a variety of tips on the University’s social media platforms, including creative ways to enjoy Spring Break while following important health guidelines and while avoiding discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.

This is an extraordinarily challenging time, perhaps the most challenging of our lifetime. Dramatic changes are affecting all of our lives and families. It is also proving to be a time that showcases the strength and resilience of our Fresno State family. We have been and continue to be inspired by how we are all rising together to meet the challenge of the moment.

You are the emerging generation of leaders in the Central Valley and beyond. You are the reason why we serve at Fresno State during this consequential time in our 108-year history.

Be well, and know that we and every member of the faculty, staff and administration at Fresno State believes in you. We will do all we can to ensure your academic success today and every day.

President Joseph I. Castro

Dr. Carolyn Coon
Dean of Students and Acting Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management