Reflection on a Very Hot Week

Sent: September 12, 2022

From: Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

Last week was another challenging time for SJSU, as very hot temperatures made it difficult for some of us to work and live here in San José. It is clear, as well, that the faculty, staff, and students of SJSU are very adaptable. We managed to move dozens of classrooms from very warm to cooler rooms last week. Some faculty and staff moved courses and activities online to minimize the impact of the heat. 

I want to thank everyone across the campus for being so incredibly responsive to this most recent and immediate challenge. Within Academic Affairs, Sami Monsur and Mei Chin in the Office of the Provost worked with Chris Shay and the team in FD&O alongside our College DROs, deans, chairs, and staff to communicate classroom changes and deploy fans. Student Affairs responded as well, opening up temporary classrooms in the Student Union and Wellness Center. Thanks to VP Day and his team! Dean Meth and the MLK Library team did the same. It was an amazing effort that began on Labor Day and carried through the week.

What I learned from this experience is twofold. First, we need a plan ready-to-go, as we will have to continue to respond to heat events. Second, I have to listen more closely to my gut. Although on the Friday before it looked like the heat would abate by Monday, I should have pulled folks together to plan anyway. I won’t make that mistake again! In fact, I will convene a group to discuss a campus strategy in the next few weeks while the knowledge is fresh.

As the climate continues to change, we are going to have to manage and mitigate against heat events such as the one last week. We have an aging set of facilities and nearly $900M in deferred maintenance for which we received less than $7M this year. The gap is real. 

This is an incredible institution. We need to tell our story widely so that we can raise dollars to address our physical plant while also contributing to CSU efforts to raise dollars to address our campus needs. None of this will happen overnight. So, in the meantime, we have to plan, adjust, and do what we can to deliver the amazing education that everyone expects of us. It’s sometimes tiring work, but it is work worth the effort.

Thank you, as always, for your commitment to SJSU. I am privileged to be a part of this community.