Global Awareness

Adventure Time: Sonoma State University

By Kaitlin Harness and Thuy Nguyen (Class of 2022)

On Friday, February 22nd, the Junior High and Freshman classes took a fun and exciting trip to Sonoma State University in the south of Santa Rosa. The day started off with good weather and high spirits, even though it was a bit chilly. After all the drivers showed up, we split up into groups for the lengthy drive.

Upon arriving there, we took some time to recuperate after sitting in the car for more that an hour. As we were waiting for everyone to start our self-guided tour, we met a very cute Pomeranian puppy taking a walk with her owner. Many of the students here are dog-lovers, and the dog’s owner let us pet her and assured us that she was very friendly. We were talking with the dog’s owner and she asked us where we went to school. Once she heard that we were from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, she informed us that her dad used to own the Talmage Store! This surprised us because as you may know, the Talmage Store is a small convenience store that lies right beyond our gate. It was an amazing coincidence to have run into the one person on the campus that has ties to our school (in a way). Soon after that encounter, the rest of the groups arrived and we began our self-guided tour.

We were given pamphlets to read from, a map, and information of the various buildings and areas on the campus. The university was very beautiful, with scenic lawns and plenty of greenery. All of this was nicely integrated with modern architecture and an array of well-designed student facilities. The sun was out, and everyone soon began to warm up as we learned about the buildings and what they were for. A freshman student, Rachel Blythe, took the lead in keeping us informed on the places we visited, and Jane Zhang, one of the junior high’s class representatives, made sure we got there with her map-reading skills. With plenty of enthusiasm, we visited all the stops. People especially enjoyed looking at the art in the art gallery, checking out the library, and taking photos by the small lake. After touring the campus for quite a while, many of us were hungry and excited to go eat.

The food there was good, and luckily they provided vegetarian options. Once we were done, some of us decided to visit the university store. In the back of the store was an amazing lounge area, where all the walls were glass. We stayed there for a bit, just soaking in the wonderful combination of nature’s beauty and just the right amount of contemporary design thrown in. Then, we all had some free time to just relax around the campus and chat. This gave us some time to rest before moving on to our final activity.

After the lunch break, the group congregated toward the building that held the final activity. The final and main activity in the college campus was called the “Ropes Course.” This activity was oriented for team building. The activity organizers for the event first guided us into a large gym room that held the first portion of our activities. When we arrived, we arranged ourselves in a circular formation. In the circle, we began with introduction of ourselves and played a game correspondingly. After the introduction activity ended, the real fun began. In the gym we played a couple of exciting games that emphasized on trust and cooperation. The games were very thrilling and exhilarating. Afterwards, we were led outside to the official “ropes course.”

The area that contained the next activity was constructed out of recycled and reused materials. It was very impressive to see how the college had reformed old and discarded materials into new and innovative equipment. For example, they transformed old telephone poles to serve as support pillars for the balance beam, and plastic bags into platform boards. The activities that we did there focused on teamwork and leadership skills.

Later, with the spare time that we had remaining in the college, we were given the permission to play on the rock climbing wall, which was definitely something that the many of us had anticipated to go on. Then, we enjoyed our dinner at Amy’s Kitchen and with full stomachs, we embarked on our journey back. After the eventful day, all of us were wearied and tired, but satisfied.

At the end, we went around to share the highlight and lowlight of the day. The few of us joked and jested by mentioning funny remarks like, “My low of the day was waiting for the restroom, and my high was going to the restroom.” In addition, it was nice when someone mentioned, “There really wasn’t a low in my day because I really enjoyed the entire day.” For the most part, the trip was very enjoyable, and the Junior High and Freshmen felt that their relationships with one another have matured closer together. Through the activities, we were able to understand each other better and become more comfortable. So, it is appropriate to say that the trip altogether was truly a memorable and valuable one.

A big thank you to Sonoma State University for having us and to all the drivers and organizers that made the day possible!

Brief facts about Sonoma State University: Sonoma State University (SSU) is dedicated to the liberal arts and sciences and known for its active use of technology. The SSU educational experience fosters intellectual, cognitive, social and personal growth. Sonoma State University is a public institution that was founded in 1960. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 8,551, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 269 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. It is ranked number thirty-fourth most beautiful campus in the United States (as ranked by and number one in All-Academic Selections among all CSUs in in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

DVGS Freshmen and Junior High students on their bonding journey

Photographers: Jia Jia Ni, Naomi Seng, Rachel Blythe, and Thuy Nguyen (Class of 2022)

Video: Iris Ng (Class of 2021)