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Mark Zakrzewski and family hiking?2024-06-14

A.S. Director's Message

Happy New Year A.S. Family!

I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday season with lots of quality time with your loved ones. We had a great time visiting friends and family in the Sacramento area and traveling up to the Lake Almanor area for our boys to play in the snow. Love being able to visit the cold but then get back to San Diego!

As we head into 2024, I would encourage each of you to take a moment to think about self-care and your own personal strategy for making time to do things that help you live well. If you’re not sure where to start, incorporating any of the following into your day could make a positive difference:

  • Eat nourishing food   
  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours a night
  • Reduce sitting and screen time
  • Spend time outdoors 
  • Get daily exercise or physical activity 
  • Keep company with good people
  • Do something meaningful each day
  • Meditate, reflect or pray
  • Think good thoughts about yourself and others

Remember, what works for one, may not work for you, so don’t be discouraged. Just keep searching until you find what fits best for you.

For those of you who enjoy reading, I would highly recommend checking out "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker and "Breath" by James Nester. Both are loaded with great content and helpful tips.

Also, as an A.S. employee, you are eligible for a complimentary Aztec Recreation membership which includes not only the ARC, but also the Aquaplex and ARC Express. If you haven’t activated your membership yet, please come by the front desk at the ARC and our team will be happy to help get you started.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2024!

Mark Zakrzewski
Associate Executive Director

Award with A.S. logo on ribbon?2024-06-14

A.S. Staff Honored


Exemplary full- and part-time A.S. employees are recognized each semester for their hard work and dedication. A.S. recognizes the following employees:

Aztec Recreation

Melissa Asmar — Office Administration Assistant     
Jasmine Burrell  — Head Throws Coach
Alex Chrenko — Aquaplex Lead, Lifeguard and Swim Instructor  
Erin Figurelli — Member Services Representation 
Christian Justiniano — Building Services Assistant 
Ellie Kerr — Aquaplex Lead, Lifeguard and Swim Instructor  
Madison Lunde — Marketing Programs Assistant 
Riley Mathews — Member Services Representative
Oliver Seelig — Aquaplex Lead, Lifeguard and Swim Instructor  

Aztec Student Union

Ashley Barber — A.S. Food Pantry Lead  
Emily Galante — Aztec Lanes Lead
Kendall Newton — Reservations Assistant
Jalen Noel — Operations Lead   
Oshun Parrish — Operations Assistant
Gavin Petterson  — Reservations Assistant
Emily Sanchez — ASUB Programs Assistant
Brian Turner — Senior A/V Lead  

Business Services

Brandon Bartosh — Human Resources Assistant
Omar Sanchez — Payroll Coordinator

Children’s Center

Cailyn Bond — Assistant Teacher 
Giselle Geiler — Associate Teacher
Mia Herrerias — Associate Teacher  
Natalie Link — Teacher Assistant   
Abby Mapalo — Assistant Teacher 
Viviana Oliveros — Assistant Teacher 
Mia Panelli — Assistant Teacher
Jessica Rosario — Assistant Teacher 
Madison Rubino — Assistant Teacher
Julie Elizabeth Salinas — Assistant Teacher 


A.S. awards three $500 scholarships each semester to part-time student employees based on academic performance, contributions to the SDSU and San Diego communities, financial need and length of employment. A.S. awards the following students with scholarships:

Bailee Nicolet — Dockmaster Programs Assistant/Mission Bay Aquatic Center
Maya Gal — Operations Assistant/Aztec Student Union
Noa Blonder — Assistant Teacher/Children's Center


Participants at the Career Advantage Kick Off?2024-06-14

A.S. Launches Career Advantage

Last semester, A.S. launched its newest initiative: A.S. Career Advantage, a program designed to empower SDSU students with a competitive edge in their pursuit of meaningful careers.

The idea to boost SDSU students’ careers was something that A.S. President, Tarek Morsy, promised while running for A.S. President in the spring of 2023. After analyzing the campus climate and taking in students’ needs, Tarek felt like there was a gap in the career services offered at SDSU.

But he knew that by running for A.S. President, he would have the opportunity to change that.

“The whole career ecosystem and competition for careers has completely evolved over the last 10-20 years to a point where SDSU and A.S. are doing a disservice to its students if they are not making careers their main priority because the main priority of every student is a career,” Tarek said. “If the main priority of A.S. and SDSU are not careers, then by definition we're not serving our students and our priorities are misaligned.” 

With A.S. Career Advantage, SDSU students will be given a competitive advantage through two distinct approaches that A.S. is collaborating with campus partners to create: an all-encompassing student “hub” where A.S. will help guide students to an array of existing SDSU career services and opportunities and new tailored services to enhance the SDSU career network and meet evolving needs of students as they prepare for their futures.

Students speaking with an A.S. alumn.

To build excitement surrounding the new initiative, A.S. hosted the A.S. Career Advantage Kickoff on Nov. 3. Opening remarks were given by Tarek and SDSU President, Adela de la Torre and featured four notable SDSU alumni: Chase Fisher, founder of Blenders Eyewear, Fred Pierce, founder of Pierce Education Properties, Angie Robert, women’s chair for the Global Network of Intuit and Cody Barbo, former A.S. President and founder of Trust and Will.

“That event was symbolic because it showed students really do care about their careers. I loved the whole entire event because every student around me was excited,” Tarek said. “We had four amazing alumni that have created a life for themselves and are aspirational and inspirational to students. When you have all those people in the same vicinity, it's impossible not to be excited.”

"We want to aid and equip students with new tools on their journey to acquiring fulfilling careers and lives and that comes through A.S. Career Advantage."

In addition, various tabling groups showcasing additional SDSU career resources as well as Google and ASML were at the event for the over 300 participants to network with. Over 90 students also had their headshots taken at The Backdoor Studio.

The kickoff was just the start of A.S. Career Advantage. Starting in the spring of 2024, free headshots will be offered in The Backdoor Studio on a regular basis. Student-to-student peer mentors, industry networking mixers and alumni speaker series will also be offered through A.S. Career Advantage.

“Everyone is trying to figure their way out in life — to be able to provide value to society,” Tarek said. “I don't think you can feel content, purposeful or fulfilled if you're not providing any value to society and oftentimes, that comes through your career. We want to aid and equip students with new tools on their journey to acquiring fulfilling careers and lives and that comes through A.S. Career Advantage. The name portrays exactly what we do: equip students with an advantage in creating a better life for themselves.”

For more information on A.S. Career Advantage, go to

Woman writing in a notebook?2024-06-14

Readers Become Writers

At the December A.S. Book Club meeting, the Club decided to try something new — instead of discussing works written by famous authors or books on The New York Times Best Seller list, the Club took a different approach: discussing works written by the Club’s own members.

Four readers became writers and shared a story they had written and each received rave reviews from the other members for their creativity and passion. Read an excerpt from each short story below and for the full story, go to

A Narrative Essay: My Relationship with Food
by Janice Dils

“I have many fond memories of food from when I was a child. The sounds and smells of my mom cooking - eggs frying and whisking in the morning, sound of lumpia (Filipino eggrolls) being dropped in the hot oil, prime rib roasting in the oven during the holidays, the smell of calrose rice just when it is about to be finished, the sounds of the charcoal poured into the stand-up bbq grill, followed by the smell of the lighter fluid hitting the coals, and the smell of the soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic marinade on the beef skewers that are about to be grilled. These are some of the many memories that I have about food growing up. If I can list all the memories that I have, this essay would be more than three pages long.

I can honestly say that my relationship with food can be described in one word: LOVE.”


The Purple Teddy Bear
by Charlotte Roberts

“The girl was experiencing her smoothie of feelings again, probably for the tenth time that weekend. Smoothie feelings is the best way she could describe the delight of frolicking through snow with her dad on a mountain at 10,000 feet, blended with the frequent reminders that the next quality time with him wouldn’t be for another eight months.

It was early April 2009 and the girl plus her mother and brother were visiting her dad where he worked in Grand Junction, Colorado, as a concrete mixer driver. Driving a mixer was his passion, and the girl loved that about him. When she was little, her father would flip a 5-gallon bucket upside down to make a seat for her next to him in the cab of the mixer. She wished the moment would last forever as he played 90s rock on cassette tapes and bounced with the road on his shock-absorbing seat. But that was when he worked in California and came home every night. The girl would be waiting on the driveway, riding her scooter in circles until he appeared around the corner of the street, parked, and ran to her with arms outstretched to throw her up in the air.

Then the recession hit and there was suddenly no more work pouring concrete in California.”


Malik’s Life: A Symphony of Strife, Hope, and the Echoes of Lost Dreams"
by Mohammad Rasooli

“On the morning of Tuesday, April 17th, 1973, a new life entered the world in the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan – a baby boy welcomed by his parents, and they named him Malik. Nader and Fatemeh, Malik’s parents, embarked on the journey of parenthood, infusing their lives with the promise of a different and meaningful existence. Nader, a dedicated government employee at the Ministry of Education, and Fatemeh, the adept manager of household affairs, lovingly and courageously nurtured Malik, cultivating a family life brimming with joy and tranquility. The tapestry of their lives was woven with shared moments and experiences, creating a robust bond within the family. Nader and Fatemeh, fueled by a tireless determination, had invested years in building not just a house but a home, envisioning a haven where their children could flourish in an atmosphere of warmth and happiness.”


Invisible Words
by Quentin Skaggs

“Jolted awake,
that annoying buzz.
“...early to rise...”
[So, they say.]
In a rush.
Timing is important.
Shower, shave.
Coffee, black.
Out the door.
Almost racing.
To work?
Not yet.
One block away.
Polk & Kansas,
northeast corner.
Each day.
A special event,
I can’t miss.
A must see!
Utterly amazing.
Utterly fascinating.

Question Marks on a black background?2024-06-14

A.S. Trivia

How well do you know A.S.? Get the new year started by testing your knowledge of A.S. in honor of National Trivia Day celebrated every year in January!

1. In what year was A.S. incorporated as a non-profit on SDSU’s campus (at the time it was called San Diego State College)?

  1. 1930
  2. 1932
  3. 1940
  4. 1946

2. What is the most amount of money raised by Aztecs Rock Hunger in a single year?

  1. $98,908
  2. $101,345
  3. $109,676
  4. $116,221

3. What were the other options for The Backdoor Studio’s space before it was built?

  1. Another eatery
  2. Satellite SDSU Bookstore
  3. Shipping, mailing and phone store
  4. All of the above

4. How tall is the climbing wall in the ARC?

  1. 23 feet
  2. 25 feet
  3. 36 feet
  4. 41 feet

5. How many students majoring in Child & Family Development work at or have lab classes at the Children's Center each semester?

  1. 0 - 50
  2. 50 - 100
  3. 100 - 150
  4. >150

6. Which A.S. facility was the first building in the CSU system to become LEED Platinum for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance?

  1. Mission Bay Aquatic Center
  2. Aztec Aquaplex
  3. Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union
  4. SDSU Children’s Center

7. Which of the following artists have performed at Viejas Arena?

  1. Billy Joel
  2. Elton John
  3. Neither A nor B
  4. A and B

8. How many sport club teams are under A.S.?

  1. 20
  2. 21
  3. 22
  4. 23

9. What percentage of the materials from the original student union, the Aztec Center, were recycled or reused in the current Student Union?

  1. 50%
  2. 60%
  3. 70%
  4. 80%

10. What is the name of A.S.’ newest initiative?

  1. A.S. Career Advancement
  2. A.S. Career Advantage
  3. A.S. Career Accelerator
  4. A.S. Career Ascent


  1. B, following the relocation of San Diego State College to the current site of the campus and the continued growth of the student body, the Associated Students of San Diego State College were incorporated as a California non-profit corporation on March 7, 1932.
  2. C, in 2022, Aztecs Rock Hunger broke the previous record of $100,267 set in 2019 by raising $109,676 for the SDSU Economic Crisis Response Team, A.S. Food Pantry and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.
  3. D, during the 2014-15 school year, students brainstormed concepts to fill the empty space in the Student Union which included another eatery, a satellite SDSU Bookstore and a shipping, mailing and phone store.
  4. D, the ARC offers a 41 foot high climbing wall.
  5. D, each semester, more than 150 Child & Family Development students work at or take lab classes at the Children's Center, a licensed childcare facility on campus.
  6. A, in April 2013, Mission Bay Aquatic Center became the first in the CSU system and second facility in San Diego County to achieve LEED Platinum for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance.
  7. D, in the spring of 2001, Billy Joel and Elton John opened their world tour with a sold-out show at Viejas Arena.
  8. C, there are 22 sport club teams under A.S., including ultimate frisbee, triathlon and the ski and snowboard team.
  9. D, nearly 80 percent of the materials from the original student union, the Aztec Center, have been recycled or reused in the current Student Union.
  10. B, A.S. Career Advantage kicked off on Nov. 3, 2023 under the direction of A.S. President, Tarek Morsy. 



A.S. Book Club

Did you add reading more books to your 2024 new year’s resolution list? Joining a book club is a great way to keep your new year’s resolution alive! See what books the A.S. Book Club is reading next and consider attending the first meeting of the year!

January 11: “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus

Book cover - Lessons in Chemistry

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

February 8: “The Authenticity Project” by Pooley Clare

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And, so, he writes — in a plain, green journal — the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café, with the following instructions: “Please feel free to chuck this in the recycling. Or you might decide to tell your own truth in these pages and pass my little book on… What happens next is up to you.” The café is run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves — and soon find each other in real life at Monica’s café.

March 14: “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.


Join in on the fun every second Thursday of month, at 4:30 p.m. in the Presidential Suite of the Student Union. Whether you read a printed book, listen to the audio version or read the eBook on your phone or tablet, join the A.S. Book Club for our lively discussions. The Club is open to all A.S. full- and part-time employees. If you have any questions or would like to join the club, please contact Quentin at 42303 or email

To learn more about the A.S. Book Club, visit

The San Diego Public Library offers print books, eBooks and audiobooks, for most titles. You just need a library card, and it is free! The library also provides books through a free app, the Libby App by OverDrive.

Sophia Stifano on the beach?2024-06-14

15 Questions

Sophia Stifano

  1. What is your name, job title and major?
  2. Sophia Stifano, Accounts Payable Assistant, accounting major

  3. Which A.S. department do you work in? 
  4. I work in Business Services. I assist Viviana in the accounting of A.S. payables by entering invoices, purchase orders, etc.

  5. How long have you worked for A.S.?
  6. A year and a half.

  7.  Is your favorite part of working for A.S.?
  8. My favorite part of working for A.S. is my coworkers. We all get along so well and are amazing friends. I look forward to coming in every day to see them.

  9. What was the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or thumbs down? 
  10. “Four Christmases” and thumbs up!

  11. There is a free, round-trip shuttle to Mars. The catch: it will take one year of your life to go, visit, and come back. Are you in? 
  12. Yes! I have always been interested in outer space and took an astrobiology course at San Diego State. I would think the experience and the knowledge I would gain from the trip would be worth one year.

  13. If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose? 
  14. I would like to move to Italy because I have extended family there and would love to experience the culture. Also, a mid-day siesta sounds great!

  15. If you had one free hour each day, how would you use it? 
  16. I have a lot of small hobbies such as crocheting, embroidery and pottery and would love an extra hour every day to be able to do those things and be creative.

  17. Would you rather be a superhero or the world’s best chef?
  18. The world’s best chef. I love hosting friends and family and would like to actually be able to cook them good meals.

  19. If you had to sing karaoke right now, which song would you pick? 
  20. “Meet Me Halfway” by the Black Eyed Peas. I think it’s the perfect upbeat and fun song to sing!

  21. You have your own late night talk show, who would you invite as your first guest?
  22. My first guest would be Emma Chamberlain. She is very creative and fashion forward and I would love to learn more about her inspiration. She is also an entrepreneur and owns her own coffee company and I would like to learn more about that process.

  23. Would you rather speak all languages or be able to talk with animals? 
  24. Speak all languages. I want to travel the world and be able to immerse myself in all different cultures by speaking the language.

  25. What does your perfect burger have on it?
  26. Ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions.

  27. What’s the best concert you’ve been to and why was it so good?
  28. I went to a Maroon 5 concert and it felt nostalgic because a lot of the songs were songs I listened to growing up.

  29. Which A.S. staff member has inspired/supported you the most? And how?
  30. Viviana has supported me my entire time working here by explaining the processes of accounts payable so that I have that valuable knowledge going into my future career. She has also always supported me and been understanding of the activities I have outside of work such as school and my accounting club.





Microphone Illustration
 - Event
Men's Basketball03 7:30pm
VS. Fresno State
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Men's Basketball06 1:00pm
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Women's Basketball07 6:00pm
VS. Fresno State
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Women's Basketball17 11:00am
 - Event
Men's Basketball17 8:00pm
VS. Nevada
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Women's Basketball20 3:00pm
VS. San Jose State
 - Event
Men's Basketball23 6:00pm
VS. Wyoming
 - Event
Women's Basketball27 1:00pm
VS. Boise State



Loud Speaker Illustration
4:30 p.m.
Presidential Suite, Union
“Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus
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Campus closed
9 p.m.
ARC Courts
Aztec Nights
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11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Union Courtyard
Aztecs Rock Hunger
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11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Union Courtyard
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6 - 8 p.m.
Montezuma Hall, Union
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