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Ryan Woods races during the CCAA Championships at Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa Saturday. The squad now looks to the NCAA West Regional Championship in Novemeber. PHOTO BY NELSON ESTRADA. WHY THE GATOR CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS ARE MOVING MOUNTAINS SEE STEP IT UP PAGE 4 GOLDEN GATE XPRESS // STUDENT-RUN NEWSPAPER PROUDLY SERVING THE SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY SINCE 1927. // 10.26.11 SUPER SENIORS VOLUME LXXXXI ISSUE 10 DIVERTED FROM DEGREE HALLWAY RUNWAY Student designers begin to prep for their upcoming fall showcase with search for diverse models. W BY SPENCER DEVINE HAT SEPARATES man from animals? Some would say it’s opposable thumbs, others the use of tools, while a more select group would say that it’s the ability to do the perfect non-literal cat walk. The Fashion Network Association, based out of SF State, is preparing its fall showcase, set for Dec. 9, which will highlight specific looks that can be seen in the final show in the spring semester. The FNA is a group of current students and alumni that work to learn about, plan, design and produce fashion events and publications. Stephanie Starr, president of the FNA, said one of the most distinct things about the shows is that they are very campus-centric. Using only SF State designers and models, Starr hopes the FNA can bring San Francisco’s fashion identity to light. “We want to showcase our school and what we are all about,” Starr said. “It showcases our students because a lot of people don’t know that a fashion program like this even exists here.” FNA’s faculty adviser, Dr. Connie SEE MODELS ON PAGE 6 From economic hardships to difficulty getting into crowded classes, students face an uphill battle trying to finish their bachelor’s degree in the expected four years. BY KATHERINE YAU Robert Jackson was 18 when he entered college as a freshman and 35 years old when he finally received his bachelor’s degree in Spanish last spring, 17 years since he enrolled in his first college course. Although most students take less than 17 years in their educational journey, Jackson is part of a number of students proving that achieving a degree in four years is becoming more difficult due to various financial, economic and planning-related reasons. The term super senior informally refers to students who take more than four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. “I had a job offer so I decided to take one semester off, and one semester became two semesters and it just kind of went from there,” said Jackson, explaining why he took several year-long breaks from school between 1994 and 2011. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 30 percent of students earned their bachelor’s degrees within five years, while 20 percent took six years in 2009. In a report by the Office of Academic Institutional Research for SF State, 8 percent of fall 2004 freshman were still working on their four-year degrees in 2010. Kim Altura, director of SF State’s advising center, noted she had seen an increase in students taking longer to graduate and cited economic factors as a key component. “You can’t underestimate that we live in a really expensive area, and a lot of students have to work during school,” Altura said. “Students end up taking only 12 units a semester. You can do the math: It’ll take 5 years to graduate at the earliest.” Jo Volkert, SF State’s vice president of enrollment management, said for at least the past decade, four-year degrees have taken longer to earn on a national scale, a number she said that is steadily improving. “Five years is the norm,” Volkert said. “But we’ve put certain things in place to improve these rates.” SEE GRADUATION ON PAGE 2 ART BY SARA DONCHEY

Golden Gate Xpress Issue 10

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