Summer is Over - 2022

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Religious Realness New Kids on the Block The Tea on Tees SUMMER IS OVER • 2022 Never Too Late to Go Back Fun in Funko Campus Impawsters


Never Too Late to Go Back

By Angelina Casolla Contributed by Josh Carter

Religious Realness

by Destiny Walker


Funko Pop


By Giovanna Montoya


By Nadia Castro

Summer is Over Playlist

1. Helmet by Steve Lacy

2. Hollywood Witches by Woody and Jeremy

3. Shout At The Devil by Motley Crue

4. Intergalactic Love Song by The Diddy’s

5. Ain’t Nobody Straight in L.A. by The Miracles

6. Horsey by Macross 82-99

7. CATS GROOVE by Kaelin Ellis, Tony Rosenberg

8. Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears

9. Midnight Pretenders by Tomato Aran

10. Talk To You by ALEXSUCKS

11. Otro Atardecer by Bad Bunny, the Marias

12. Carino by the Marias

13. Leaving You by Riovaz

14. Evergreen by Omar Apollo

15. Kiss by Prince

16. Mardy Bum by Arctic Monkeys

17. Bound by The Ponderosa Twins Plus One

18. Audrey Horne by Stevie Dinner

19. Right Side of My Neck by Faye Webster

20. Younger Years by Zach Bryan

21. Bidi Bidi Bom Bom by Selena

22. S on Ya Chest by Injury Reserve

23. porcelain slightly by Lil Ugly Mane

24. Easier Said Than Done by Thee Sacred Souls

25. Blue by Far Caspian

26. Out of My League by Fitz and The Tantrums

27. Cracker Island by Gorillaz and Thundercat

28. Comedy by Gen Hoshino

29. Desafinado by Kali Uchis

30. LIVIN by Lone, the Ghost

As the leaves turn brown and the weather cools down, we are reminded that summer is officially over. Whethe you’re a fall lover or a beach bum, we came up with a playlist to listen to as you enjoy our “Summer is Over”



By Caroline Van Zandt


3 Summer is Over Playlist 4 Letter From the Editor 5
Tea on
18 Campus Impawsters
21 New Kids on the Block

Letter from the Editor Caroline Raffetto

When classes started in August, I turned the corner on the third floor of the Humanities Building and came upon something I have not seen in two years: students. Actual real-life people — not imaginary people in little boxes on Zoom — stood next to each other, and the halls echoed with laughter and conversation. Even though their faces were hidden behind masks, you could sense the overwhelming joy students felt about being back. After the pandemic kept us all apart, the students and soul of SF State are back in full force once again.

The campuswide bounce back also brought a new wave of writers and ed itors to the newsroom. With an almost completely new staff — who didn’t quite know what they had just gotten themself into — Xpress Magazine was back in full swing.

From stories about first-year students making the transition to col lege to older students returning to SF State, this issue is all about new beginnings.

New beginnings also bring forth feelings of nostalgia for the past we left behind. For how the world once was before we were quarantined to our homes and hidden in fear behind masks. If anything, the pandem ic helped us remember our roots and get back to the good ol’ days. Many younger people felt nostalgic to the Y2K era, a time they grew up in. Now, they are bringing its wonderfully trashy style back.

These new beginnings bring a part of the past with them. As we navi gate another new semester, we remember all the writers, editors and pho tographers that paved the way for us.

Our Back to School Issue is full of new beginnings, ironic nostalgia and everything post-pandemic. From furry campus imposters to dolls with eyes the size of their heads, this one has it all. So, get comfortable, grab a drink and enjoy Xpress Magazine’s “Summer Is Over” Issue.

Angelina Casolla Nathan Hitchcock Destiny Walker Ciara O’Kelley Asiah Capponi Giovanna Montoya Caroline Van Zandt Kamal Taj Ximena Loeza Art Editor Abraham Fuentes Photo Editor Sarah Bowen Copy Editor Oliver Michelsen Multimedia Editor Justine Brady Diversity Editor Nadia Castro Social Media Editor Daniel Hernandez Design Assistant Tatyana Ekmekjian Josh Carter Juliana Yamada Miguel Carrion PHOTO

Never Too Late to Go Back

When her alarm goes off at 7 a.m., Serena Gomez reaches for the snooze button. She lays in bed for an other thirty minutes, pondering life and how she made it through another day. At 7:30 a.m. she gets up in search of coffee and begins her morning ritual. Today’s a school day for both Gomez and her young kids.

After reminding her kids to get ready several times, they head out the door. Following a smooth drop off at her kids’ schools, Gomez heads to SF State to be gin her quest for a parking spot.

Making the decision to go back to school as an older adult is no easy feat. Some may jump at the opportu nity, while others struggle with the decision – perhaps due to lack of confidence, full-time employment or a family. Whatever the case, it’s never too late to go back.

SF State saw an uptick in returning students in 2020, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Neela Koduri, an advisor in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts Advising Resource Center, SF State saw an uptick in returning students in 2020 brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The idea kinda clicked for people. With a lot of oth er remote work, the opportunity to finish your degree remotely also became popular, so with that we saw a lot of resurgence,” said Koduri.

College on and off since 2003, she’s changed her focus several times, testing the waters in nursing, cosmetolo gy and even auto-tech before landing on psychology.

“I didn’t really ever know what I wanted to be when I grew up,” Gomez said. “I got into hair accidentally and ended up really loving it, but still found there was more – I had more curiosity about the world. And so I tried different things.”

She left college for many reasons when she was young.

“I think I was not motivated, I felt like I needed to find out who I was in a way that wasn’t in a classroom. I needed to do something totally and erratically differ ent than high school and I wasn’t going to find that by continuing on in school,” said Gomez. “So I think I did it in my way and it was great and I’m happy.”

Gomez returned to CCSF full-time in 2017 to work on her prerequisites for psychology. She’s noticed many differences between attending a state school versus a community college, and feels somewhat of an age gap between herself and her peers — in maturity level and life experience.

Gomez, who prefers pen and paper, admits to strug gling with technology that seems to come easier to the younger students.

“Basically, I need a class just on how to work this technology,” Gomez said. “It’s crazy!”

Going back to school has given Gomez a sense of purpose. She said that sometimes it’s better to be older and more focused on what you want to achieve and why.

Phyllis Moodie is 62, and first came to SF State in 1978. After leaving due to a health issue, she worked for 20 years in the organic food industry, at AT&T, and for the US Postal Service since 2005.

“I’ve been wanting to leave ever since I got there,” Moodie says.

The sociology student was driven to San Francisco in the late ’70s after being chased out of Chico by a rac ist group. Moodie says her presence on campus today is a testament to her resilience.

“Things were a lot different here than they were in Chico, especially in those days. I was run out of town for being the only Black person around. And when I came here, I started taking classes by Angela Davis and some other revolutionary thinkers of the time. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at that time, but man, am I glad to have gone to school when I did.”

because he lacked a degree, he had to switch gears once again. After not being a student for 15 years, Rios stepped back onto campus as a student again in 2016. He graduated with a degree in Latino Studies in 2018, and is currently working on his masters.

Meghan Hanebutt started studying graphic de sign at the University of Delaware over a decade ago. At the time, she was young and didn’t know what she wanted to do.

Gomez is a 37-year-old, professional hair stylist from San Francisco and has two kids. She started her first semester at SF State this fall, and dove right into taking a full course load of 12 units. While she’s at tended both City College of San Francisco and Skyline

Moodie says her transition back to school has had a few challenges, but on the whole has been easier than expected.

“I thought this would be hard, but I’m going here on a full ride. I’m just here to get educated and keep the party going.”

Mila Vasilyeva is originally from Belarus, and had to “start from scratch” when she went back to college at 39. Vasilyeva started college in Belarus when she was 17, but dropped out just one year shy of getting her bachelor’s degree in economics and instead immigrated to America.

That was roughly 20 years ago. Vasilyeva is now a full-time massage therapist in San Francisco and is attending CCSF part-time to become a psychologist, with the goal of one day getting her Ph.D.

During the pandemic, Vasilyeva started seeing a therapist, who helped ground her and provided her clarity and inspiration. Vasilyeva’s goal is now to get her degree in psychology so she can help other peo ple, just like how her therapist helped her.

“I told my therapist, I’m probably gonna be 50 by the time I’m finished with school.” Vasilyeva said.

SF State Enrollment Services is reaching out and helping as well by contacting students who left and offering them a way back.

“Our hope is that we create clearer pathways back for students who have stopped attending at some point,” said Senior Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at SF State Katie Lynch. “And it’s two-fold. It’s not only re-enrollment, but re-engagement and making sure that if students re turn, they feel appropriately connected to the com munity and are set up for success” she added “our goal is to remind students that we’re here and ready for them.”

Due to returning students’ heightened interest in re-enrollment, SF State created a website full of sources with support in all areas, such as financial aid, advising and useful contacts.

“Each semester, it’s been easier and easier for students to re-enroll at SFSU,” explained Koduri.

When Alejandro Rios showed up to school dressed in slacks and a dress shirt, other students mistook him for a teacher. Rios, associate executive director of Associated Students, is both a student and employ ee at SF State. Rios started as a SF State student in 1992 and dropped out in 2001, the same year he started working full-time for Associated Students.

“I became an organizer and eventually lost track of why I was here,” Rios said. “I was organizing more than being in the classroom. I was learning more out side the classroom than inside the classroom.”

Finishing college was always on the back of Rios’ mind, but when he could no longer advance in his career

“When I was last in school, it was like you go to school and get your degree in this many years. I think it’s a churn-and-burn mentality. Get in and get out in four years creates a sense of false urgency,” said Hanebutt. “And now I feel like the program is supposed to take two-and-a-half years, but I might take five years. And that’s OK, because it’s easier for me financially, and it’s easier for me emotionally and easier logistically.”

After 15 years of debating whether to go back to school, Hanebutt chose to enroll in the master’s pro gram at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She returned to school specifically for the therapy program. The mental health field runs in her fami ly, and her fiancé and friends are all therapists and counselors as well.

“Our goal is to remind students that we’re here and ready for them.”
Serena Gomez, SF State psychology student, poses on campus in between classes on Sep 12. (Angelina Casolla / Xpress) Phyllis Moodie stands outside of the Humanities building after a gender studies class on September 6, 2022. Moodie first attended San Francisco State University in 1978, when she took classes from Angela Davis, but had to withdraw due to health reasons. (Joshua Carter / Xpress)
Returning students at SF State prove you’re never too old for an education.
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“I’ve been in the mental health field now as a patient for 15 years and through lots of different types of therapy or medica tion. Being a patient wasn’t enough — I wanted to educate myself and become a therapist,” said Hanebutt.

She hopes to apply what she learns to her current profession and is looking for ward to working with and helping disadvan taged young adults aged 18 to 24.

Stephen Craemer is getting a graduate degree in Public Administration, and wants a job as a superintendent to further his career in public service.

“I graduated from San Francisco State in 2000, and after that I got a job at San Mateo County for 14 years, now I’m in San Francisco County,” said Craemer.

“Even after my experience, there’s so much knowledge to gain. Most people who work for the government don’t have a lot of information readily available to them, so this degree will ultimately make me a better public servant. I wanted to go to graduate school for ten years and finally I just decid ed to do it. It’s either you do it or you don’t, and I’d rather do it while I’m still employed with the government and can give it back to the community,” said Craemer.

Stephen Craemer stands outside of San Francisco’s Student Services building on September 2, 2022. Craemer graduated from SF State in 2000 but returned to pursue a graduate degree in public administration. Cramer decided to return to school while in full swing of his career in order to better give back to the community. (Joshua Carter / Xpress) Phyllis Moodie, a native of Oakland, Calif., talks to younger students regularly. Here, Moodie tells the younger students the importance of joining Black student organizations and recalls the racism she faced while living in Chico in the ’70s. (Joshua Carter / Xpress)
“Even after my experience, there’s so much knowledge to gain.”
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Ruqaiyah AngelesReligious Realness

Although SF State’s campus is home to many religious affiliations, here’s how some students from various Western religions have managed to keep their faith.

Groups of students converse and drink around the bon fires lit at Ocean Beach. Ruqaiyah Angeles joins one and is offered a drink, to which she respectfully declines.

This isn’t the first time Angeles has had this exchange.The Muslim principles she has committed to sometimes require boundaries to be set, even when others may be confused why.

With the influence of social media, technology, popular influencers, celebrities and trends, the world we live in today is different from that of the generation we follow — especially in terms of religion.

Millennials and Generation Z grew up in a society with an emphasis on being your true, authentic self. This includes discovering important aspects of who you are, such as your religious beliefs, gender identity, sexuality and career path.

In a Pew Research Survey, 36% of Gen Z (21-27) and 34% of millennials, (26-41) identified as unaffiliated with a religion. These numbers have been steadily rising for the past three generations, with only 17% of baby boomers identifying as unassociated with a religion back in the day.

Even though SF State is a public school, it features religious clubs like SF Hillel, the Muslim Student Association, Koino nia, The Newman Club, Intervarsity, and Destino Movement.

Although SF State’s campus is home to many religious affiliations, here’s how some students from various Western religions have managed to keep their faith.

Alyssa Weber

Beginning college is a different experience for everyone. Transitioning from living at home to a whole new city is not always easy. While having more independence can be excit ing, college takes a great amount of responsibility. Students not only have to figure out how to balance their time between classes and jobs — they also have to schedule some time to make new friends, which requires a great level of commitment and discipline.

First-year SF State student Alyssa Weber is turning to San Francisco Hillel, a Jewish student organization, to try to make friends and find her way.

“Being on my own has been a really hard adjustment for me, but I feel like I definitely did the right thing by joining SF Hillel, because I feel like that is helping me stay grounded in a way by simply being around other Jewish people. It does a lot,” said Weber.

Weber has been Jewish her whole life, attending religious school twice a week while she grew up. Her mother, whose whole family is Jewish, introduced her to the religion.

“I’ve been raised in a Jewish environment my whole life, so I’ve always been involved in temples,” Weber said. “Just being in the environment and around other Jewish people has been very welcoming, and I feel like that has played a big role in being Jewish.”

Weber’s Jewish community isn’t just limited to San Francisco either. Recently she took a trip to the Holy Land in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel is the place where Judaism was estab lished, and it is said to be the place where all creation began.

“The part that really opened my eyes and changed my perspective was going to the Old City and the Western Wall. It was definitely a very eye opening experience, and it was very spiritual,” Weber said.

While praying at the famous Western Wall she felt con nected not only to Israel, but also to those everyone who was praying at the wall.

Weber’s mother has always been there for her in her religious journey.

Although some of her family roots are in Catholicism, Ruqaiyah Angeles was born and raised with a strong, proud Islamic affiliation.

“Growing up, we practiced our religion because we had to, our parents told us to,” Angeles said.

With any religion, it is easy to believe in something due to their parents’ influ ence. One’s faith and commitment to religion only goes as deep as the effort they’re willing to put in, after taking out parental biases.

For Angeles, this was true up until she enrolled at SF State and joined the Muslim Student Association, an Islamic club on campus, during her first semester. They host general meetings one to three times per semester, but there are also weekly events students can attend. They hold weekly sermons such as Jumm’ah khut bah. The club also holds prayers every Friday at the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Angeles’s parents graduated from SF State 20 years ago, and were heavily involved in the MSA at the time.

“We pray five times a day to provide structure in our life, so that we are reminded of religion throughout the day, everyday. I think here in San Francisco, and especial ly here at San Francisco State we are spoiled, because the city is a very liberal city.”

Jerome padilla

Jerome Padilla is a senior at SF State studying Kinesiology, and Cathol icism is a big part of his life. His fear of what’s on the other side after death and confidence in the religion’s moral principles keeps him believing. His family has religious art throughout the house, such as the famous Leon ardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” He has a rosary tattoo on his forearm, and keeps a Santo Nino porcelain figure in his room.

“On the other side, people would say that there is nothing, or there’s a god or multiple gods, but I feel like there is a certain being out there wait ing…I just want to believe that there is something there other than just nothing,” Padilla said.

To stay intentional with his faith, he stays true to traditional Catholic practices— such as doing the sign of the cross for protection.

“Praticing things my family has taught me since I was younger, like praying every night, or praying when you feel like you have no hope, try to use God as a way to keep moving forward,” Padilla said.

Samantha Yan

Before coming to the United States from Hong Kong two years ago, Sa mantha Yan had no religious background. She came to the United States to major in music and become a producer. Yan never could have guesses that Christianity would play such a big role in her life.

“I was having a very difficult situation at the time,” Yan said. I was apply ing and transferring to a University. I felt so stressed and hopeless everyday. My uncle and my auntie told me if I had any struggles, I can pray to God.”

After praying one morning, Yan believed God heard her call for help after she received an email regarding her admission to Cal State Northridge that same night.

Ruqaiyah Angeles folds prayer scarves in the Mus lim Students Association on Sept. 15, 2022. Islamic prayers have many rituals, ranging from purifying oneself with water to putting on scarves in order to discourage distraction. (Joshua Carter / Xpress)

“She always has a big influence on me. She’s very open with me about experiences that she’s had. When I had my bat mitzvah, it made me feel very connected to her, because she was always talking with me about her bat mitzvah. And that was a very important time that I got to experience something that she did,” Weber said.

“My uncle’s family are all Christians, and I went to church with friends from Hong Kong because I wanted to make more friends,” Yan explained. “My auntie also gave me a Bible and devotion books to read.”

Yan’s aunt has been her spiritual inspiration in living a Christian lifestyle.

“My Aunt, since I have moved here [San Francisco] texts me every week, sending bible verses, and asking about my struggles,” Yan said. “She says she is praying for me, and tells me to pray and do daily devotion to remind myself to be faithful.”

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The Fun in Funko

When someone steps into Kari Kauhaahaa’s home, their eyes are immediately drawn to the back of her living room. In the area surrounding her sliding glass door about 200 Funko Pops can be found stacked waist high on display. Her collection of small, vinyl figures show case some of the most beloved characters and people in pop culture. Widely recognized by their giant eyes and heads bigger than their bodies, these Funko Pops are hard to miss.

Pop culture fans across the Bay Area throw big events solely dedicated to these figures, and some have even made collecting and selling them into a living. These figures don’t usually surpass four inches in size, but these little characters are taking up major space in the homes and hearts of the Bay Area.

According to Forbes, Funko predicted back in 2017 thatthe company would earn $1 billion in revenue within five years. A 2021 report showed that they surpassed this prediction at $1.029 billion. Despite the impressive growth of the once-small company, Funko is still consid ered fairly small in the toy business compared to older and bigger name brands, such as Hasbro and Mattel. Funko’s success stems from the fact that there are not many com panies similar to theirs in the pop culture space.

The history of Funko began back in 1998 with Mike Becker, an avid toy collector from Snohomish, Washington.

Becker started the business after he failed to find a piggy bank styled as the mascot of Big Boy Restaurants. After getting the licensing rights, Becker ended up making his own Big Boy piggy banks. He then created a line of bobble heads called the Wacky Wobblers, with the very first item, the Big Boy bobblehead. The small company’s populari ty grew in 2010 when the Pop! Vinyl figure – originally called Funko Force 2.0 – officially debuted. These vinyl figures are now commonly referred to as Funko Pops. But what exactly is it about these little dolls that has people ready to spend hundreds — sometimes even thousands — of dollars to have them?

Funko’s slogan reads: “Everyone is a collector of something.” Matt Rose, store manager of The Pop Plug in Santa Rosa, thinks it is that exact phrase that has solidi fied Funko as a pop culture powerhouse and earned them millions of devoted fans.

“They make [Pops] for everything,” said Rose.

The diversity of Pop figures throughout the years has allowed them to create a product that appeals to even the most obscure niche. According to Rose, that ability to con nect with fans of any pop culture group is how the brand is able to hook its customers.

DJ Jue is a long-time employee of the collectibles shop Classic Materials inside Stonestown Galleria, and has sold Funko Pops since 2010.

“Everybody has their fa vorite characters,either from growing up, or from today,” said Jue. “Collectors – true collectors – they’ll buy what they want and they’ll spend the money on it if they want it. Some people are addicted.”

Funko Pop collecting, a hob by Jue said is more like a “fun addiction,” can be incredibly pricey. Although the average price of the figures range from $13 to $60, some of the more sought-after Pops go for over $100 and can even reach the thousands. A set of two San Francisco Giants Chrome Stan Lee Funko Pops, signed by the late Stan Lee, is currently on sale on Ebay for $99,999.99.

“There’s just different types of collectors,” said Jue. “The most famous one is the guy in San Diego. This guy spends a lot of money on Pops. He does $9,000 on a Pop, $10,000 on a Pop, and he’ll hold onto them and then sell them for more. It’s a crazy amount of money.”

Jue mentioned another key player in the rise of Funko Pops’ stardom: resellers. Resellers buy Pops from the stores they’re released at — such as Target, Walmart, Hot Topic or other places — and resell them later for a higher price. The Target-exclusive, limited-edition Eddie Munson Funko Pop, for example, originally sold in Target stores for $11.99. Munson was a character introduced in the fourth season of Netflix’s hit TV series“Stranger Things,” which premiered in May 2022. After Munson became a fan favorite, surging in popularity, this Funko now can’t be found for less than $100. Most resellers use the Pop Price Guide (PPG) to buy and sell Funkos from other resellers. The Pop Price Guide is powered by HobbyDB,the world’s largest collectibles database, and tells buyers how much a Pop is being sold for on the market.

But Kauhaahaa, the Funko collector and reseller with the hundreds of Pops in her house, disregards the PPG entirely and instead calculates the worth of each figure all on her own.

“I just pick a price. And if it sells, great! If it doesn’t, I just lower it,” Kauhaahaa said.

In the six years she’s been collecting and reselling, Kauhaahaa has risen in the ranks of the Bay Area Funko community. She is now an administrator of one of the Bay Area’s most popular Funko Facebook pages, Bay Area Funko Finds, which has almost 2,000 members.

She received her first Funko Pops – Jack Skellington and Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Tim Burton’s classic Halloween film – back in 2016, as a gift from her husband. Since then she has accumulated a collection of just over 1,000 Funko Pops.

“The last inventory I did – and yes, I keep an inventory – I was right around 975, and I’ve bought more since then,” Kauhaahaa said. Her collection, including both the Pops she keeps for herself and the ones she’s in the process of selling, is worth somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000.

The Bay Area Funko Finds page requires certain rules

be followed in order to sell on their page. To protect buy ers from scams, all sales posted to the page must include a photo of the Funko Pop being sold along with a piece of paper showing the seller’s name and the date the photo was taken.

Kauhaahaa and the other admins enforce those rules to make sure their page remains a safe space free of fake Funko Pops and scammers who sell with no intention of actually shipping the item.

Reselling can quickly turn the fun in Funko collecting sour when prices are unreasonably gouged and the seller is clearly in the business strictly for the money.

“Some people are just buying them to resell them, not necessarily because they like them,” said Rose, the Pop Plug.

He’s noticed that the industry is shifting, with more people reselling their Funko Pops.. “I feel like a couple months after the beginning of COVID, when people started getting that extra money, [Funko sales] really boomed,” said Rose.

“People were stuck at home and shopping online and just wanting to decorate their house and get into collect ibles. We sold a lot of Pops. And it’s kind of slowed down a lot since then…now people are starting to sell.”

Despite the unpleasantness of scammers and gouged prices, Funko collectors remain dedicated to their craft, as seen at a Funko event in Newark last month. The event, hosted by S&A Collectibles, is held throughout the Bay Area almost every month.

“The last inventory I did – and yes, I keep an inventory – I was right around 975, and I’ve bought more since then,”
A 10-inch Michael Jordan Funko Pop sits on display at the Pop Plug in Santa Clara, Calif., on August 31. (Ciara O’Kelley / Xpress Magazine) Kari Kauhaahaa, collector and seller of Funko Pops, holds the set of Funko Pops that started her collection: Sally (left) and Jack Skellington (right). Brentwood, Calif. in Sept. She is (Abraham Fuentes / Xpress)
A look into the funky, big-eyed collectable dolls and their devoted Bay Area fans.
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A wall of Funko Pops decorates Kari Kauhaahaa’s living room in Brentwood, Calif., on Sept 6. Kauhaahaa is a major collector and reseller of Funko Pops, and is an administrator for Bay Area Funko Finds. (Abraham Fuentes / Xpress Magazine)

There appeared to be a couple hundred attendees throughout the day, looking to expand their collections by purchasing Pops from more than 10 tables of resellers.

While some collectors like Kauhaahaa and Rose have turned their passions into a stream of revenue, many collectors in the Bay Area choose to solely collect Pops.

“One of my friends from school had some, and I thought it would be cool to have some of my own,” said Kawalkowski. He now has a collection of 52 Funko Pops lining the wall of his bedroom. Kawalkowsi has no desire to sell any of his figures, so his collection has become taller than his bed and continues to steadily grow.

Another collector with no desire to sell is Mitch Ramones, a fan of the popular anime shows “Naruto” and “Demon Slayer,” who is trying to complete each show’s collections.

“I try to stay away from that scene,” Ramones said. “I just don’t like the idea of reselling really. I understand the hustle though. I respect it, but it’s not for me.”

These collectible figures with oversized heads have created a tight-knit community for people across the Bay Area with their in-person events and Facebook pages, on which dozens of Pops are traded and sold daily. Resale value might have played a major role in Funko Pops’ rise in popularity, but some argue it is nostalgia that has made these vinyl figures the pop culture phenom that they are today.

“There is something for everyone, it doesn’t mat ter what it is,” Kauhaahaa said.

Dissect a Funko Pop

Take a deeper dive into what makes each Funko pop unique.

Signature funko pop black eyes and rectangle head

Funko Pop Character from the fourth season of the popular Netflix show, “Stranger Things”, Eddie Munson.

The number indicates which pop came before the other within that pop vinyl line

Prices for this collectible ranges from $60-$200.



(Tatyana Ekmekjian/Xpress)

Vintage fashion is back and with a vengeance.

Think back to 2002. Pop culture is dominated by mer ciless tabloids that control the narratives of socialites and celebrities presented to an unforgiving public. Fashion is the safest form of retaliation.

Following her breakup with NSYNC singer Justin Timberlake and rumors he had moved on to actress Al yssa Milano, Britney Spears walks the streets of London sporting a Juicy Couture “Dump Him” tee.

Fast forward to 2004. Tabloid target, Lindsay Lohan, is photographed in a t-shirt that read“Skinny Bitch” – a snarky response to headlines saying she was too thin.

These rebellious fashion acts of the 2000s now inspire runway designs and outfits worn by the hottest celebrities and influencers. Despite its many critics, Y2K fashion is back with a vengeance.

When it came to fashion in the early 2000s, there were no limitations. This nonconforming, rebellious era, now known as Y2K — a nickname for the styles originat ed from late ’90s to early 2000s fashion — was char

“There wasn’t a team of people.” Peraza explained. “ It was me, in my head, going, ‘This will hit again. I’m going to make some corsets, make some prints, and do my version and interpretation on my era, which was the height of my career back then.’”

sell some of her old clothes to make some side cash. She began selling curated vintage clothes and going to mul tiple thrift stores a day to search for articles of clothing that people would like.

Paulina Rosil, 21-yearold fashion designer and SF State student, prints T-shirts with original designs and ironic phrases in her apartment in San Fran cisco, Calif. on Sept. 12, 2022.

He designed garments for celebrities such as Zendaya, Beyoncé, the Kardashian-Jenner family, and many others. Peraza’s personal connection to the 2000s and the nostalgia he feels for the era inspired many of his designs.

Like most trends nowadays, the resurgence of this nostalgic style started with the help of social media.

Miss Sixty, a popular Y2K fashion brand, came back into popularity in 2021 after collab orating with runway model Bella Hadid. Hadid shared the news via Instagram post, saying, “Just signed my newest con tract as the face of @misssixty... I have so many vintage pieces that I have collected over the years and I can’t wait to pair it all with the new! This is a dream, I’m so excited to see what we do together in the future! Thank you to my dream team…”

Popular TV shows and movies have also helped pave the way for the quirky Y2K fashion resurrection.

Eventually, Rosil began experimenting with her own designs. Three years later, her Depop store has over 20,000 followers.

By drawing inspiration from iconic ‘90s and 2000s moments in fashion history, Rosil’s store has repopular ized the clapback t-shirt. Rosil hand draws her designs, prints them and manually presses them onto baby tees, a staple Y2K garment. She specializes in ironic slogans and witty sayings. Her most popular designs read, “Ask Me About My Lobotomy,” “Unem ployed Girlfriend” and “Mother” (front) “Fucker” (back).

Rosil, who was first intro duced to Y2K fashion, now is able to enjoy it for herself.

“Now that 2000s fashion is resurfacing, I think the ironic part of it is the best part, and that’s the part I wasn’t really exposed to as a child,” said Rosil.

“When you focus on the really funny part of 2000s fashion, it’s almost the highlight of the whole thing that’s so looked over by so many people.”

Rosil uses Procreate to create original clothing designs on her iPad.

acterized by graphic tees, skin-baring ensembles and visible G-strings.

Denim was commonplace red-carpet attire, seen on celebs such as Eva Longoria, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake. People either loved it or absolutely hated it. Sure, the Y2K looks could be arguably trashy at times, they are more bold than today’s minimalist style of neu tral colors, overpriced loungewear and skin-tight ensem bles. The raunchier the better.

Fashion designer Alejandro Peraza began his career in the mid-90s, working as a stylist for over 20 years. Peraza now has his own brand called Alejandro Collection. His designs include corsets, colorful and unique fabrics and avant-garde pieces. Robo-renaissance prints, vintage style clothes with a modern/industrial twist, are an Ale jandro Peraza staple.

A lightbulb went off in Peraza’s head and three years ago he realized that some of his old designs and designs from other top designers may become popular again.

As the hit HBO TV series “Euphoria” became increasingly popular over the past few years, so have the iconic characters and their Y2K-esque wardrobes, in spiring Generation Z social media users. The “Euphoria High” trend on TikTok consists of individuals revealing what they would wear for a day at the show’s infamous high school. The crop tops, cut-outs and sparkly make-up users wear embody the ultimate Y2K-inspired “Euphoria” outfit.

Rosil picks out the correct T-shirt design print for a recent order.

“I think, just in general, fashion tends to regurgitate,” said Peraza. “We try a lot of trends that don’t work. And other ones, we know they work, because hundreds and thousands of humans walked in the streets wearing these items.”

(Tatyana Ekmekjian/Xpress)

The nostalgia also runs deep for fellow SF State student and customer Lauren Trejo.

“It was a time where we were too young to wear it, but now that we’re older we can style it, which is cute,” she said.

Trejo discovered Rosil’s shop through a mutual contact and from celebrities who wear her designs.

“They [Rosil’s designs] were just exactly what I was looking for,” she said. Trejo particularly likes the unique, almost girly way Rosil presents such outrageous slogans.

Calvin Klein has even started re-selling their “Little White Dress” worn by Alicia Silverstone in the classic 1995 movie “Clueless.”

With the recent surge of fashion lovers looking to recreate their favorite 2000s inspired looks, Y2K has also become a trending search topic on the popular resale app Depop.

SF State student and 21-year-old fashion designer Paulina Rosil is one of the app’s top sellers. Rosil original ly started her store as a college freshman, intending to

Recently, influencers such as Syd ney Carlson, Olivia O’Brien, Nessa Bar rett and many others have been seen in Rosil’s designs. This type of publicity encourages others to step out of their comfort zone, wear what they want and reject social norms, just like the rebels of Y2K did.

“Right now, we’re in the era of fashion where every one wants to be bold,” said Rosil.

Similarly, Alejandro Peraza said people are having more fun with fashion and their outfits, especially after the pandemic.

“I love when people have fun, and same with this, it’s a conversation piece,” Peraza said. “If you have even a cheesy slogan on your shirt, it becomes a conversation piece. People start asking you about it.”

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As students make their way to Cafe Rosso and their classes on campus, so do their animals. Tails wag as dogs walk next to their owner, and cats in back packs peer out at the students from inside their bubble.

While pets are permitted on campus, it’s not always possible for them to go in buildings and on-campus housing if they are not emotional support or service animals. With over 3,000 students in uni versity housing, some residents suspect that regular pets are posing as emotional support animals in order to live on cam pus with their owners.

Emotional support animals are recommended by mental health profes sionals that believe a pet will help their patients through hardships. While it’s easy to think of every pet as its owner’s emotional support animal, the title is not something that should be abused. Although there is no specific training required for an ESA, they do have to be well-behaved and non-disruptive in public places.

SF State student Babe Truco has been training Faba, their brown Taiwanese mountain dog, for the past five years to de sensitize her and be calm in chaotic spaces like in a classroom.

“You have to train them well,” Truco explained. “They have to be able to listen to you and understand what you want from them. They can’t be mean to other people and they have to be good around other dogs. There’s things that you should put effort into if you want to call your animal an emotional support animal.”

Mariah Aganoda is a full-time student majoring in sociol ogy. In 2015, a nutritionist recommended an ESA to help with her mental health issues. She picked out Milo, a white shih tzu, in remembrance of her past dog she had as a little girl.

“I would cry a lot, and he was always there,” Aganoda said. “He always knew when I was sad and would put his head on me. It was like someone was hugging me. At the time, it felt like he’s all I had.”

Aganoda expressed concerns about imposter ESAs mis representing real emotional service pets. For ESA owners, their pets play a crucial role in managing their mental health; but regular pet owners sometimes see the label as a way to access more places with their pet.

“Sometimes it feels a little bit like a slap in the face,” Aganoda expressed. “It depends on your attitude towards it. But other times it’s like this person is taking mental health and making an excuse out of it to have a pet.”

According to the US Service Animal organization, owners of an emotional support animal are not required to show any certification for their pet. However, SF State University Hous ing requires documentation giving evidence of how the animal

By Nadia Castro Babe Smart Truco pets their emotion al support dog Faba while walking on campus at SF State in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. Faba accompanies Smart Truco everywhere, from their home off cam pus to each class. (Juliana Yamada/Xpress) Hannah Wainwright and her emotional support dog, Nellie, pose for a portrait at Manzanita Square at SF State on Friday, September 9, 2022. (Juliana Yamada/Xpress) Hannah Wainwright (left) and Tatiana Wright (right) let their dogs Nellie (left front) and Yuna (right front) socialize at Manzanita Square at SF State on Friday, September 9, 2022. (Juliana Yamada/Xpress)

supports its owner. The Disability Programs and Resource Center offers assistance with housing ESA and service animals.

Obtaining the required documentation for an emotion al support animal takes a toll on some students, such as Marissa Vaidales. Vaidales is a full-time graduate student majoring in creative writing. In 2019, she tried to work with her DPRC counselor to get her emotional support ani mal, Binx — a black, curly-haired poodle — to live with her.

SAs. It’s visible in the sense that there’s no training and it’s lacking,” said Validales.

Some websites state that they can provide a letter or approval by doctors for an emotional support animal, but they’re not always legitimate.

Jessica Wood, a nutrition major, was recommend ed for an ESA due to mental health issues from past trauma. Ella, Wood’s gray, medium-haired cat, is like her soulmate and responds when Wood begins to feel anxious or starts to cry.

Wood received Ella when she was a kitten and real ized the cat’s calming nature would make for a great fit.

“I feel it every day, but when recovering from that trauma, it was tough getting out of bed and doing things,” Wood said. “Waking up, having her slow blink ing at me, cuddling me and wanting to play was such an optimistic force where I knew she was the one. She grounds me.”

New Kids on the Block

“They wanted a letter from my neurologists that could not be provided, because there is no proof or research done that [says] ESAs or service animals help epileptics,” said Validales.

University Housing requested documentation explaining why she needed the ESA. Stressed due to the lack of support from the DPRC, Vaidales provided medical records and personal files to help her case. She was frustrated with how easily other people seem to fake their animals as ESAs, while she could not get her actual emotional support animal in.

“In this building [Manzanita Square], for example, there’s some animals you can clearly tell are not ESA or

Wood deals with social anxiety — especially when she goes to grocery stores or deals with big crowds. She feels better when she feels Ella pressing against her back as she sits in her specialized cat backpack.

“There have been some days where I’m too anxious to go to the store alone, and I haven’t gone for weeks,” said Wood. “But having her able to go with me is nice.”

Emotional support animals help students every day get from the classroom to the grocery store, and through any other challenges their day may bring.

“I don’t think of myself as singular anymore,” Truco said. “This is a duo. Emotional support animals are com panions with a purpose for you, and are doing this job to help a person through their trauma.”

Fall is in full swing. The air is hot with the last breaths of summer, and students are back on SF State’s soil in the largest numbers since the pandemic. But how are the school’s newest faces handling the change?

Stepping into a new environment can be challenging, no matter the circumstances. Doing so while leaving the security of home for the first time presents a whole slew of challenges and difficulties for anyone. Over 3,000 first-year students enroll in classes at SF State every fall. These students must learn the challenges of navigating campus, parking, making new friends, settling into new routines, accessing the school’s resources and handling classwork all within their first few months. For many, this is a daunting task. Although the university works hard to make transitioning easy and enjoyable, there are always gaps in understanding.

Still, incoming students make the most of their new home every semester.

Sophia Overst, a 17-year-old first-year student from Sacramento, was encouraged by the welcome she re ceived when she visited campus for the first time. Overst had originally planned to defer her acceptance to SF State and take a gap year to determine what she really

wanted to do with her life. During orientation, however, she fell in love with the university’s environment.

Overst’s eyes started to wander, gesticulating with her hands as she recalled the moment she changed her mind.

“I did orientation just to see what options were avail able for deferring for a year, and then I was like, ‘Wow, I really love this campus and everyone I’ve met seems really nice, so maybe I’ll just abandon my original plan and go to school.’ So, that’s kind of how I ended up here,” Overst said, as she laughed and pushed her bright pink bangs out of her eyes.

However, Overst had many unexpected hurdles to jump over since arriving at SF State. Apart from missing her goldendoodle, Gus, and only seeing her family every few weeks, she also struggled with adjusting to dorm life.

Overst resides in a five-person unit in Towers at Cen tennial Square, yet only has one roommate. As a person who enjoys socializing, she has been disappointed with the lack of community.

“I would love to have more roommates,” Overst ex plained. “I feel like it would kind of introduce me to more people — just because if we’re all meeting new people, it’s just this giant web of connections.”

Jessica Wood walks through Stonestown Tar get with her emotion al support cat, Ella, in her backpack in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, September 8, 2022. Wood likes to take Ella with her on errands to keep her grounded. (Juliana Yamada/Xpress)
How first-year SF State students are making the most out of the transition to college life.
Freshmen Christian Aransazo (left), Oscar Duran (center), and Elisa Hanhan (right) hang out in Duran’s dorm in Mary Park hall at SF State in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, September 12, 2022. Aransazo and Hanhan both commute, so Duran’s dorm is a place to hang out on campus. (Juliana Yamada / Xpress)
“He [my cat] always knew when I was sad and would put his head on me. It was like someone was hugging me. At the time, it felt like he’s all I had.”
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The fall semester at SF State has only just begun, but some students already feel pressure to estab lish their social circle. Without their usual support systems, new students often rely on talking to their fellow classmates about the struggles and excite ments of beginning college. Orientation provides a wonderful opportunity to do just that, but it doesn’t always work out perfectly — making friends, as it turns out, is not as easy as introducing students to one other.

Among the over 24,000 undergraduate students at SF State, only 2% of them actually live on cam pus, according to an article from US News about student campus life. So, if assigned to a dorm room with few people, on a quiet floor, in a not-as-socialas-Mary-Ward-Hall-dorm like Overst, forming con nections can be a bit difficult.

“I’ve only been here for two weeks, ” said Overst. “I feel like I have to find friends now, some thing I’m kind of nervous about — finding a group of people that I’m really close with. Back at home, I had that. So I’m like, ‘what if I don’t have that again?’ But I know it’ll happen. Just be patient.”

Beyond her social sphere, Overst’s can-do attitude makes the logistical portions of living on her own a bit less intimidating. She is more used to buying her own groceries and scheduling her own doctor’s appointments than some of the other students she has met on campus, so she does not spend as much time worrying about how to handle being on her own.

Even considering issues that a student might seek outside assistance with — such as mental health, contraception or STI testing and treatment — Overst feels confident that the university makes accessing those resources easy to find by herself.

“I just knew that they were here,” Overst said about the resources that SF State offers. “ In the first week of actual school, all of my teachers have it on their syllabus and tell us where to go if you need those things.”

This is an encouraging similarity between many first-year students at SF State. Many students agreed that even this early on in the semester, they were familiar with the many services SF State pro vides its students.

Not every student had Overst’s confidence about transitioning into their new home.

Oscar Duran, a first-year student living on cam pus, has had to make more drastic changes to his daily routine since he moved in.

“For the most part, I’m still trying to learn what floor to be on,” Duran said, with a smile.

In high school, Duran relied on his parents for tasks such as waking up in the morning and getting him out the door for school. He would ask for a few more minutes of sleep when his dad came to check in on him, and was rushed through breakfast and getting dressed.

Now, not only does he have to set his own sched ule, Duran also has to navigate living with a room mate with an opposite sleep schedule.

“I come home really late, so I still interact with them, but not as much as I did before,” she said.

However, that does not mean that they’re any less involved in her life.

“I would say that my parents are more protec tive now that I don’t stay home,” Flores-Ruiz said. “They’re like, ‘when are you coming home? Come home at this time.’”

Hanhan, however, recalled how intimidating being alone on campus for the first time felt, describing the experience of having no contact with her parents for an extended period of time as a “huge step.”

Thankfully for students like Hanhan, SF State of fers enough guidance on how to make being without family feel less scary.

Karen Boyce, the director of Health Promotion and Wellness at SF State, makes reaching out to students her team’s mission. Their goal is to teach students everything they need to know to stay healthy, especially for those who don’t have much experience taking care of their own needs.

Boyce explained that the department offers pro grams to help students learn how to cook healthy meals on a small budget, how to handle safe sex, or healthy relationship communication. The depart ment also handles how to navigate sexual violence, stalking, or how get help if someone feels unsafe.

Health Promotion and Wellness is not just about creating pamphlets about birth control and stress-management strategies, it also works to ensure that campus is a safe environment by mak ing the university a cleaner, healthier place for its students and faculty. They take suggestions from students, allowing them to pinpoint gaps in aware ness and begin work to fill them.

“I also have to be mindful of how much noise I’m making because we have inverse schedules,” he said. “ I wake up early, he wakes up late. I go to sleep early, he goes to sleep late.”

Duran’s fellow first-year friends live off campus in their hometown of South San Francisco, and have encountered other struggles since classes began.

Evelyn Flores-Ruiz said that since her college career began, she has struggled most with time management. Her friend, Elisa Hanhan, expressed that she does not get as much sleep as she used to because of her longer commute.

Duran, Flores-Ruiz and Hanhan are all originally from South San Francisco and went to high school together. Though only Duran lives on campus, the trio still meet every day to hang out or do home work with fellow commuter Christian Aransazo, before they make their journey home.

“We have to prepare an hour before leaving for school, while people who live here can just get up,” Hanhan said.

Since starting classes, Flores-Ruiz has noticed time with her family dwindling due to her hec tic school schedule. The increased commute time means catching her parents before they go to bed has become more infrequent.

“We make sure that there’s lots of places on campus where people can get free menstrual sup plies — not just here,” Boyce said. That came from students, and now there’s a law where campuses have to do that.”

Student Health Services also provides medical resources to students. While Health Promotion and Wellness holds mixers and activities for students to learn about health, Student Health Services provides an on-campus pharmacy and doctor’s of fice, which students can access at any point in the semester for free. Their department also offers STI screening and treatment, HIV prevention, mental health assistance, allergy medication and more.

A collage made by Sophia Overst hangs on her dorm room wall at SF State in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. (Juliana Yamada/Xpress) Freshmen Denise Linares (left) and Arlette Ruiz (right) yell greetings to passing students outside their window in Village at Centennial Square at SF State in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, September 9, 2022. (Juliana Yamada/Xpress) The bulletin board in the hallway of Mary Park dorms reads “Hello First Years” at SF State in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, September 12, 2022. (Juliana Yamada/Xpress) Freshman Sophia Overst shows off her dorm room at SF State in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. (Juliana Yamada / Xpress)
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