November 16, 2021

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RSU FURNITURE SHOWCASED IN USU Fresno State’s Award-Winning Newspaper

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Campus encourages Bulldogs

to practice wellness

"Bulldogs Healthy Together" gives students and staff a chance to de-stress. Page 4 Jesús Cano • The Collegian

Blitzing ahead in life Page 5

From Bruin to Bulldog Page 7




RSU progress: USU board hosts furniture viewing By Jannah Geraldo News Editor Progress continues on the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union (RSU). With the RSU’s anticipated opening in fall 2022, the University Student Union (USU) board of directors hosted a furniture preview on Monday, Nov. 15 in the USU lounge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another viewing will be hosted at the same time on Tuesday, Nov. 16. “We want to know if there’s anything wrong with [the furniture] or anything we can add or change regarding the furniture so that we can make it comfortable for students, and can collect their opinion about, like, you know, making the [RSU] really student friendly,” said Annika Garza, chair for public relations and marketing for the USU board. The furniture viewing included different furniture items, such as chairs and benches, attached with QR codes for students to scan and offer input. Fabric sheets with different color options and fabrics were also attached to different pieces. Additional items including 3-D renderings of potential spaces and office areas within the RSU were also presented at the furniture viewing. The furniture at the event was primarily related to its various functions in different areas within the RSU. “One side is going to be for the first floor,

Jannah Geraldo • The Collegian

Potential furniture pieces with QR codes decorate the University Student Union lounge for students to view and offer input on. and that’s mostly like the lounge area. There’s going to be dining services there. So students can go ahead and, like, sit down, talk with their friends and also eat some food,” Garza said. “The second and third floors [are] going to be more for, like, studying and for conference rooms. So some of the chairs and tables there are going to be for students just to sit down, do some homework and relax.” The RSU has faced a number of delays due to the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains along with waiting on clearance from the fire

marshal. “It has been really difficult, especially trying to set up the parameters as to how things will look there since a lot of things have changed in the current USU because of COVID,” said Mahek Patel, member of the budget and operations committee of the USU board of directors. Patel said extensive consideration is going into the overall design and process of the RSU’s construction, keeping in mind the impact of various factors including COVID-19 and safety regulations.

“It’s hard to say what it will be like when the RSU is open, which is why we have to consider a lot into how design will look as well as what the furniture might be like and things like that because of COVID precautions and just in general, fire precautions as well,” Patel said. “We have a lot that we’ve been looking into. So it’s been hectic, but it’s definitely still exciting, and I’m looking forward to when the… RSU opens up.” Currently, the USU Board is continuing discussion on dining services and other events for the RSU’s development, as well as changes for the USU in anticipation for spring 2021. “We are giving out a survey… regarding vacancy spaces in the current USU as well as just opinions from students about what they want to see in the new RSU or just in Fresno State in general,” Patel said. “For example any sort of resources that they need or any sort of commodities or services that they also want to see.” Additionally, Patel said the USU board is determining if students want the bowling alley to reopen in spring 2022, and that student input is necessary to determine what resources or facilities should be available in the upcoming semester. “So, if enough people want to see it open we can definitely start to move that forward,” Patel said. A virtual survey through Google Forms is available for students to offer input and requests on what should fill the vacancies at the USU.

Students discuss holiday travel after quarantine By Adam Ricardo Solis Reporter This holiday season students have the opportunity to travel to visit their loved ones after 2020 left many at home because of stay-athome regulations due to COVID-19. Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval notified the campus via email on Nov. 8 that the potential plans to go online post-Thanksgiving break have been put to rest. This declaration came in light of the 89% vaccination rate among students and an 88% vaccination rate among employees. For students, the news was both a relief and a sign that the pandemic conditions are steadily improving. Eduardo Mata, a sophomore majoring in mass communication and journalism, said, after receiving the email, he felt like the campus

was taking a step in the right direction. “That’s another step, because it would have been a step backward for us [to go online after break],” Mata said. “I was kind of worried that we wouldn’t come back to campus because it kind of puts everyone’s futures into perspective, because it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m paying rent out here. Oh, I have a job out here. What am I going to be here for?’” Mata said that having such large time gaps between seeing family for the holidays will make this Thanksgiving more sentimental for older members of his family. “It’s kind of like the emotions [that] come with it like: ‘Oh we’re all here.’ I feel like the older generations, they’ll probably feel it more because they know time is kind of limited so they enjoy it more,” Mata said. Michael Pappace, a fifth-year student majoring in business, said he’s glad he avoided

reverting to online finals and group projects. “I didn’t really like going online when it’s coming towards finals and doing like, group projects or anything, and stuff like that will be much more of a pain. So I’m glad we’re not going online,” Pappace said. He said that last Thanksgiving was smaller due to COVID-19, and hopes this Thanksgiving will give him the chance to see loved ones who previously were unable to attend. “It was mostly smaller because some of the grandparents didn’t come or stayed away in other parts of the city, so they just didn’t come to the initial family gathering,” Pappace said. “I only ever saw that side of the family around Thanksgiving… so it was like, unnecessarily sad.” With travel restrictions loosening in comparison to last year, students are also getting ready to travel to see loved ones.

Jhoselin Clark, a junior majoring in mass communication and journalism with a focus in broadcast journalism, said this holiday season, she will get the chance to see family from Costa Rica she has not seen in over three years. Clark said that while she had the opportunity to travel last Thanksgiving for a sense of relief, it was limited by COVID-19 restrictions. “It was refreshing, but at the same time it wasn’t, because it still had a lot of rules and restrictions,” she said. With the uncertainty of COVID-19 changing everyone’s lives for the last year, Clark said that anyone visiting loved ones for the holidays should cherish the time spent with them. “Hug them, kiss them the most that you can and take a lot of pictures for memories,” Clark said. “That is one thing I regret that I didn’t do other Thanksgivings when COVID wasn’t here.”




Academic senate discloses budget at meeting By Edward Lopez Reporter Budget deficits, fewer tenured faculty and reduction in employees during the fall 2021 semester were revealed at the Nov. 8 Academic Senate meeting. Vice President of Finance and Administration Debbie Adishian-Astone led the presentation highlighting the Fresno State budget for the 2021-2022 school year, alongside employment trends. Decrease in Employees Adishian-Astone said that there has been a decrease in the number of tenured faculty at Fresno State, as it fell from 55% in fall 2020 to 53% in fall 2021. Since the fall of 2014, the tenured faculty percentage has averaged between 53% to 56%. “We had quite a few retirements, and we also had a few faculty who left the university to other job positions. The hiring plan has been put in place, and there are quite a few of the early hires or we can call the lead hires in the same year or early hires compared to next year,” said Xuanning Fu, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. Fu noted that additional hirings that have taken place since the previous year are not reflected in the tenured faculty percentage. He expects the tenured faculty to rise during the following fall 2022 semester. Fresno State saw a general decrease in employees. Only academic affairs saw a 2.1% increase while the athletic department and president’s office stayed consistent when compared to the previous year. Administration and finance, student affairs and enrollment management, technology services and university advancement saw a decrease in employees ranging from .3% loss to a .7% loss. College Carry Over and Deficit The academic affairs carry-over balance is currently at $4,865,163 with a positive budget for the majority of colleges and schools on campus. Only three colleges had a negative budget deficit: the college of science and mathematics ($1,575,299), the college of social sciences ($288,988) and the college of arts and humanities ($127,777). “The three red deficit colleges as we see here

was a simple lack of [action] of covering them… We did not transfer money in time to hit the year-end deadline due to a lot of factors including the lack of staff caused by many factors, including house challenges to our staff,” Fu said. Thomas Holyoke, representative of political science in the Academic Senate, said he believes that the reason for the deficit in the colleges is due to the lack of commitment of funding to fully operate the colleges as intended. “That deficits exist because I understand the budget model isn’t receiving at the Level A distribution point; not receiving 100% of the money it needs to actually operate. So it seems to me the only reason to run deficits is because we haven’t gotten the money that we really need to operate properly,” Holyoke said. Adishian-Astone explained that the deficit in the three colleges is caused due to allocation methodology as opposed to there actually being a deficit since there was a positive carry-over budget. “So the Level A allocation to Academic Affairs is covering the overall expenditures for the division… There really is the level of support coming to Academic Affairs. Now it’s a matter of the allocation model or what we call Level B to the colleges and schools to align with the

needs and expenses,” Adishian-Astone said. Breakdown of Budget Fresno State received a general fund increase of $17,215,000 for the 2021-2022 school year. The $17,215,000 general fund increase will be distributed according to the California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro’s priorities for the 2021-2022 academic year. These priorities focus on areas related to student success, degree completion and internal campus infrastructure. Graduation Initiative 2025 received $8,336,000, and Adishian-Astone noted that 22% ($1,833,920) of the GI 2025 budget will contribute to student mental health and basic needs for students on campus. She acknowledged that the hiring of additional counselors would help ease the impacted schedule of the Student Health and Counseling Center. “In working closely with Vice President [Carolyn] Coon and Dr. [Janell] Morillo, they are proposing to increase the number of counselors and case managers in the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC) and get-

ting closer to that student ratio that has been suggested so that we can help to support our students in a more robust way with additional support services,” Adishian-Astone said. The remaining $6,502,080 will be divided between technology services and academic affairs. Adishian-Astone said that academic affairs will receive the majority of the sum. Some $1,238,000 will go toward employer-paid health premiums. Adishian-Astone noted that the increase does not cover the actual cost of employee and healthcare premiums. Due to the increase in minimum wage, $70,000 was allocated to compensation adjustment which is slated to take effect in January 2022. The allocation also takes into account recent contract negotiations with the university police department. The ethnic studies department will receive $765,000. However, this money will go directly to the academic affairs office where it will then be distributed to support the ethnic studies department. Fu said that the academic affairs office plans to hire an additional four to five faculty members in the ethnic studies department for the following academic school year.

COVID-19 reports met with delays By Jannah Geraldo News Editor Students have reported that some instances of the required COVID-19 case reporting notifications from the university have been significantly delayed. These delays are attributed to late case reporting or lack of timely follow-up from students, said Lisa Boyles Bell, Fresno State spokeswoman. “We make every effort to adhere to our established protocols for timely case reporting and follow up,” Bell said. “However, in some instances, a student may not submit a report in a timely manner — after being on campus for a few days while experiencing symptoms — or the information provided in the online report may be incomplete, requiring more follow-up from our case managers.” In other instances, students may not follow-up with case managers after submitting an initial report, leading to delays in case reporting. “After a report is submitted by [a student, professor or campus] COVID-19 Testing Cen-

ter, sometimes the student does not respond in a timely way to the [Office of Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management] case management team,” Bell said. Typically, students are notified of potential COVID-19 exposure in classes after students submit case reports to the university. These emails, addressed from Matthew Weinburke from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management (EHS) state: “This email is being provided to notify you that someone who was infectious with COVID-19 was present in a class that you are enrolled in.” In the typical protocol for classroom notifications, Bell said the EHS case management team investigates student-submitted reports. “EHS makes contact with the student to complete a case investigation,” Bell said. “If and when the individual has tested positive, EHS will work with the student to determine any identifiable close contacts, and where they have been while infections.” Recommended quarantine periods alongside current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are specified in the email,

advising unvaccinated individuals to undergo a modified quarantine for 10 days following exposure. Vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine as long as they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. According to the email, the CDC and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommend that students get a COVID-19 test three to five days after a reported exposure. Bell said that, in order to prevent delays, if feeling unwell students should not attend class and go to the Satellite Student Union to receive a free 24-hour COVID-19 test. “Submit online COVID reports immediately if you — symptoms or not — are unvaccinated, and have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive or if you have tested positive,” Bell said. The Campus Call Center is available for students with any questions on reporting at (559) 278-2001. Additionally, flu shots are available for students at the Student Health and Counseling Center. Appointments can be scheduled by phone or online.





‘Bulldogs Healthy Together’ encourages students to practice self-care By Sydney Morgan Reporter DJ Scrappy’s music played throughout campus during the Bulldogs Healthy Together event on Wednesday, Nov. 10, as students gathered in front of the Henry Madden Library for a chance to get free gifts like ice cream and succulents. The event prioritized wellness throughout the pandemic and served as a reminder of the importance of unity among Bulldogs. Organizers wanted to raise awareness about the importance of well-being, self-care and mental health. “We know there is an increase in depression, and even suicide rates during the pandemic,” said Beatriz Montez, a graduate student who helped organize the event. During the hourlong event several booths were set up, catering to the theme of the event: Healthy Together. “It gets the word out,” said Zena Abdallah, who managed a booth for mental health awareness. “Some students aren’t aware they have resources for mental health and COVID-19 that are most likely free [and] that could be useful to them.” There was also a “post a note, take a note” whiteboard where students were able to give encouragement to others and take one to carry with them throughout the day if they chose to “We designed a mental health board with self-care recommendations such as eating healthy, exercising, meditation, coping techniques and so on,” Montez said. The event was coordinated by two classes of graduate social work students, who collaborated and merged the ideas of providing COVID-19 related information and resources to students.

They also acknowledged the need to prioritize students’ mental health The students distributed COVID-19 “survival kits” containing thermometers, masks, hand sanitizers and informational packets on how to stay safe during the pandemic. “The event was a success due to a successful collaboration between 39 master of social work students, and their partners, such as the Social Work Student Association (SWSA),” Montez said. The Alegría Mental Health Task Force, one of the sponsors of the event, provided free donuts for students and a chance to purchase a drink from a Dutch Bros. truck. Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, creator of the task force, spoke earlier this semester with The Collegian about the series of health-focused events Alegría hoped to participate in. “[These events] destigmatize the notion of mental health, but then the second part would be to really bring the community [together], to inform the community and to re-create the notion of who we are as Bulldogs,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. Nadia Lopez distributed free succulents and aromatherapy candles to students. Lopez said organizers chose succulents and candles to encourage students to practice selfcare as finals season approaches. Students led by yoga instructor Lauren Beatty had an opportunity to participate in yoga and meditation at the Peace Garden. The goal was to allow both faculty and students who participated to have a break from the stress and enjoy a few minutes of calm. The event also extended to a virtual Q&A session later in the evening, led by graduate

Jesús Cano • The Collegian

Students and staff members are led by yoga instructor Lauren Beatty in the Peace Garden.

Jesús Cano • The Collegian

Students and faculty members practice yoga in front of the Henry Madden Library. students Carlos Mendoza and Andrea Feria-Zurita. “We held a live Q&A Zoom event, open to the community, debunking COVID-19 vaccine myths with a doctor from the Family HealthCare Network in both English and Spanish,”

Montez said. Other event support came from Associated Students Inc., the Social Work Department, the Social Work Student Association, Alegría Mental Health Task Force, the Student Health and Counseling Center and more.




Bulldog Blitz skydiving team thrills fans since 2015 By Miranda Adams Reporter It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s the Bulldog Blitz! The skydiving team of three has been thrilling crowds at home football games and other Valley events since 2015. “Skydiving is so incredibly empowering,” said Sarah Gilbert, Fresno State alumna, Blitz jumper and owner of Skydive Madera. “When you go up in a plane and deliberately step outside of that door, you’re fighting against every instinct that your brain is telling you; but then you just do it, and when you get to the ground, you’re like, ‘If I can do that, I can do almost anything.’” During performances, the team jumps from a Cessna 182 Skylane traveling at 90 mph, 5,500 feet above the ground. For the first 45 seconds of freefall, the jumpers descend at roughly 120 mph, Gilbert said. Despite these speeds, the jumpers all agree that the sport can be relaxing. “Skydiving is actually very therapeutic,” said Fresno State alum and Blitz member Brandy Robertson. “Throughout the day my mind is focused on so many different things, but when

Courtesy of Bulldog Blitz

Members of the Bulldog Blitz skydiving team pose for a photo in front of one of their planes. I’m leaving the plane, I’m not thinking about any of that.” Gilbert, who has been skydiving since she was 16 years old, said she finds the feeling of flying comparable to the weightlessness felt on certain carnival rides. Gilbert, Robertson and Luke Breshears, the

newest member of the Blitz, are all certified skydiving instructors and offer lessons at Skydive Madera. Tandem jumps, where one is hooked to an instructor, are $195 per session, while accelerated free fall lessons, where one has their own parachute, cost $295 per session.

“If anybody is thinking about going skydiving, you should really just go for it,” Gilbert said. “Don’t wait any longer. Live life in the moment. Make it happen for yourself. You won’t regret it.” The team is managed by MaryAnn Boling and her husband Chris. Boling said that, as an alumna, she is proud to carry Bulldog pride across the Valley. “The skydiving community is really tightknit, and we’re all like family,” Boling said. “It’s such a blessing to be able to do something as cool as this and represent Fresno State at the same time.” The pair also own the Fresno State Blimp, one of roughly 25 blimps in the world. This big red blimp led to the conversations that started the Bulldog Blitz. “In the aviation world we met some female skydivers that wanted to be on a team,” Boling said. “When we approached Fresno State, their jaws dropped to the ground because they had just done a survey of the alumni, and the top thing that they had asked for was skydiving.” The Blitz will be at Buchanan High School’s playoff game this Friday Nov. 19, and plan to participate in future Fresno State and Fresno Grizzlies sporting events.




First semester at Fresno State has brought back hope

Vendila Yang • The Collegian

Fresno State returns back for in-person class in the fall, giving many students the oppurtunity enjoy an on-campus experience.

By Jesús Cano Managing Editor Not too long ago, the idea of attending Fresno State seemed like a distant dream. Being from the Bay Area, a lot of my peers had their eyes set on attending a school in Southern California – where the beach was a drive down the road, and Disneyland a couple freeway exits away. Those that chose to stay in Northern California flocked to cities like San José, San Francisco and Sacramento to continue their studies. But that didn’t apply to me. I was fascinated by Fresno State. The Pride of the Valley campaign done by Fresno State Athletics opened my eyes to a different side of California that other people chose to ignore or disrespect. For me, it seemed like being a student at Fresno State was meant to be.

The Collegian is a student-run publication that serves the Fresno State community. Views expressed in The Collegian do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or university.

But when I applied to attend Fresno State, I soon discovered that the university did not want me. I was denied admission, both because my GPA was not high enough and because enrollment was prioritized to local applicants within the Central Valley. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it taught me accountability and self reflection. I enrolled in Los Medanos College instead, and my time there provided me with unique opportunities to work on myself as a journalist, as a student, but most importantly, as a person. While my friends posted videos of themselves turning up at ragers on Snapchat, attending their colleges’ football games and living on their own, I didn’t have that. I had to go to community college and work my way into that lifestyle. Eventually it all ended up working out. I got accepted into Fresno State. After stepping foot

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on campus for the first time, everything just felt right. I accepted the admission offer, signed my year long lease at my apartment and informed my job I would be leaving to pursue my academic goals. All I had to do was wait and ride it out, right? Just a week after I accepted my admission, COVID-19 began to force everything to shut down. Friends were coming home, people were losing their jobs. No one really knew what was going to happen next. My dream of being at Fresno State was going to happen, but it would be happening from within my apartment. School was easy, but it felt like there was no purpose to what I’d achieved. It felt like a simulation, working with people who I only knew through my computer screen. I spent the winter alone, with just my room-

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mates for company. As the vaccine was being distributed around the world, the light at the end of the tunnel was coming. The summer of 2021 was a preview of what to expect in the upcoming school year. And it’s been pretty fun, so far. While it is my first semester at Fresno State, I can really feel the joy around campus. It’s a rejuvenating feeling of finally seeing my classmates, professors and colleagues, and it seems to have everyone in a better mood. From a sports perspective seeing fans back at Bulldog Stadium, making their presence known, has been good to see. It was even sweeter to see the Red Wave take over the Rose Bowl when the Bulldogs took down then-No. 13 UCLA.

People are adapting to the new normal – and as long as everyone keeps taking the appropriate precautions, I think everything is going to be alright.

Edward Lopez Sydney Morgan Melina Kazanjian Lexee Padrick Hannah Hieber Edward Lopez Richard Marshall Kevin Fries Jan Edwards Timothy Drachlis Betsy Hays

The Collegian carries four different ethnic supplements inserted several times throughout each semester into its print publication. Each supplement is produced by its own staff and advisers and is separate from The Collegian. The news stories or opinions in the supplements do not reflect those of The Collegian.

Each member of the campus community is permitted a copy of The Collegian. Subscriptions are available for $25, on a semester basis. Staff positions at The Collegian are open to students of all majors. All content Copyright © 2021 The Collegian. Letters to the Editor ( All letters submitted to The Collegian should be between 250-500 words in length, must be type-written, and must be accompanied by a full name and phone number to verify content. The Collegian reserves the right to edit all material for length, content, spelling and grammar, as well as the right to refuse publication of any material submitted. All material submitted to The Collegian becomes property of The Collegian.





Akingbulu embraces Nigerian heritage in final season


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After playing his last home game at Bulldog Stadium, Alex Akingbulu said he didn’t want to get emotional until he saw his fellow seniors in tears, so he joined them in the bittersweet moment. He looked into the Red Wave crowd for the last time, saw his mom cheering in pride and even cherished the physical pain he was enduring. “If I got hurt or anything, people asked me, ‘Why are you smiling? Why are you smiling?’ I’m like, this is what we like. This is what we want,” Akingbulu said. “Even the pain was something that like brought me joy in a way because I don’t know if I’ll ever necessarily feel that again.” He transferred into the program in 2019, Akingbulu said he is grateful for the opportunity Fresno State has offered. He explained how thankful he is for the organization believing in him and giving him the ability to be himself. He walked into Saturday’s post-game press conference with a headband showing the letters “Y.D.N.”, meaning Young Determined Nigerians. It is an organization Akingbulu and his friends started to encourage the branching of Nigerian culture into different avenues like music and sports. “Our parents kind of have this mindset of more like you should be a doctor, lawyer and stuff like that,” Akingbulu said. “We can get the same push to being, you know, athletes as well. I feel like that’s a place we can dominate.” His parents, Samuel and Anna Akingbulu, left their home country of Nigeria and moved to the United States, where they built a family and settled in Carson, California, with their three children – Emmanuel, Josephine, and Alex. Alex had a successful high-school career for football: winning two consecutive City Section Division 1 Championship, a top 100 recruit for California and three-star prospect by ESPN. He then became an offensive lineman for UCLA. But that’s when his career took a turn as an injury led him to not see any action for the 2016 and 2017 season. Akingbulu said it was tough because he didn’t know whether he would go the junior college route or wait for bigger offers. Fresno State coaches Ryan Grubb and Ro-

man Sapulo were key in contacting Akingbulu. When they invited him to see the campus and the team, everything fell into place to where Akingbulu would be in a Bulldog uniform. “I’m happy I did it because it definitely changed my life,” Akingbulu said. “It was definitely some relief, just knowing, you know, where my future was going, and then it was obviously just anticipation and excitement because... it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the field.” He didn’t have that much film to send to other schools. Most of what he could show was from his high school tapes and spring ball. Although there wasn’t much recent film, Fresno State coaches saw potential in Akingbulu and really wanted him to join the team. “His length and his athleticism at that size is hard to find,” said Coach Sapolu. “He was a basketball player in high school so that in itself was how we made the decision.” Sapolu also mentioned that Akingbulu’s mind and character made the decision obvious. Although football is his passion with many obstacles, he remained diligent and consistent with his school work. The coaches saw that in the beginning when talking to him. “He’s an impressive person as far [as] intellectually; the type of human being he is. That’s what stood off, first and foremost,” Sapolu said. The past two seasons for Fresno State, Akingbulu has made the Fall Academic All-MW selection. This summer Akingbulu received his master’s in education and got accepted to the master of business administration program at Fresno State. He said he wanted to leave a legacy for Fresno State on and off the field. “Trying to be a role model to the younger he an • T zanji

By Manuel Hernandez Sports Editor

guys... just let them know education matters as well,” Akingbulu said. “So you know, just having that balance of, you know, good education and playing physical on the field. I feel like that’s just something that I kind of pride myself in.” He’s not the only one who’s proud. Sapolu said the football team supports Akingbulu’s achievement. “We call him Dr. Akingbulu. He’s about to get his third degree” Sapolu said, jokingly. “We’re proud of him for that… He really has a good vision for what his life needs to look like, and he really wanted to put a cherry on top with this football thing.” Utilizing the additional year of eligibility approved by the NCAA, Akingbulu is now in his third season of football at Fresno State. This year was also emotional for him because he went back home to his old college, UCLA, as an opponent. This game was a memorable one for Akingbulu’s football career because he got to play in front of his friends and family. From never playing in the Rose Bowl due to injury, he helped Fresno State defeat the previously ranked No.13 UCLA. He talked about the win being full circle in his career. “Just talking about my journey really, you know, starting [in UCLA]. Everything that happened over there, finding a better opportunity over here and coming into an organization that values me… It’s just crazy how life can go around,” Akingbulu said. Although he remained in California, Fresno was an area Alex was not used to – the heat being one major difference. It was an adjustment for him because UCLA, albeit a larger and more populated school, did not give him the experience to break out of his comfort zone since he was close to home.

Akingbulu said how Fresno State gave him that first experience to “get out of his shell.” He took that four-hour drive on his own, killing the time by listening to Afrobeat artists like Burna Boy and Wizkid. He was anxious to see how this new home would be. He talked about how his parents helped him during the transition. “Having situations where, you know, you’re transferring stuff, you kind of have doubts… they’ve helped me carry my confidence over here,” Akingbulu said. In a conversation with his mother about being on his own, she reminded Akingbulu about their family’s start, with his parents moving to a whole different continent on their own. “If she can do that, and you know, build a family and support us, why can’t I just go four hours away and continue to do my best in education and football,” Akingbulu said.

When there’s a will there’ s a way, and if you put in the hard work, then everything will pay off.

— Alex Akingbulu, Fresno State offensive lineman When his parents reacted to his transfer to Fresno State, it wasn’t the football team they were proud of. Although their son was part of two iconic football schools, the sport remains foreign to them, as it is not as popular in their native country of Nigeria. What they were proud of, especially for his mom, was Akingbulu’s continuing education. He said his journey was about keeping his faith and perseverance. “Where there’s a will there’s a way, and if you put in the hard work, then everything will pay off. You know, for some guys it’s shorter than others,” Akingbulu said. “Some guys get to start, you know, as true freshmen. A guy like me, it took me six years but as long as you get to the goal. It doesn’t matter how long the race is.”



Bulldog duo Stroud and Robinson reunite in win

Melina Kazanjian • The Collegian

Fresno State forward Orlando Robinson and guard Deon Stroud guards defenders in game against Idaho on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, at the Save Mart Center.

By Manuel Hernandez Sports Editor In the first two minutes of the second half, Fresno State guard Jordan Campbell was substituted out, and the crowd cheered in excitement as Fresno native Deon Stroud checked in for the first time this season. Forward Orlando Robinson was dominating the paint in the first half with 15 points, but the ‘Dogs could not extend their lead into double digits. It was a back-and-forth matchup, so Stroud was the extra offensive firepower. Stroud and Robinson were key in Fresno State’s 69-62 victory against Idaho Vandals on Monday at the Save Mart Center. Stroud ended the game with 13 points and also made over half his shots. “Having Deon back is a great reliever. I mean we practice all summer together, so having him back on the team was just great,” Robinson said. It took a couple minutes for Stroud to shake off the rust in the second half. He had his first shot attempt blocked, was called for a foul and then missed his first free throw. But Stroud heated up halfway through the half as he hit a step-back jumper from the key. He jumped over a Vandal defender for the shot and got the and-one call. The team fed off the energy as Robinson caught an alley-oop pass to dunk the ball in the next play. Idaho tried to retaliate with a 3-pointer, but Stroud answered back with one of his own. The duo would have the play of the game as

Robinson caught an offensive rebound, passed it to Stroud and then Stroud passed it to Leo Colimerio for a dunk, forcing an Idaho timeout. Head coach Justin Hutson said Stroud is a natural scorer. “It was not surprising that when the lights come on and he shoots it, he has a good chance of making it. He’s become a better defender. He’s become a better rebounder,” Hutson said. Robinson led the way in scoring. Robinson had another double-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and shooting over 50% from the field. At tipoff, both teams came in aggressive and started firing on offense. In Idaho’s first possession, Fresno State fouled from the 3-point line, so the Vandals’ first 3 points were free throws. Robinson put points on the board for the ‘Dogs with a layup. Vandals answered with a post hook, but Campbell brought the energy with a dunk by cutting from the wing. It looked like Fresno State could have taken a good lead, but throughout the game, Idaho found a way to come back. The ‘Dogs went on another run and led by nine points, but in the last two minutes of the half, the Vandals cut the lead to 31-26. In the second half, it looked to be a close match the entire game, but after Stroud and Robinson found their rhythm, the ‘Dogs finally broke their lead into double digits in the final minutes of the game. It was too late for Idaho to have any comeback, and Fresno State was successful against its first Division 1 team, winning 69-62.