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Monday, January 21, 2019

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Stephanie ('95) and Matt ('90) Dathe Stephanie ('95) and Matt ('90) Dathe

Stephanie Dathe’s Aztec Experience

Stephanie Dathe (’95) is the director of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.
By SDSU News Team

Stephanie Dathe currently works for San Diego State University’s Associated Students as director of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. After graduating from SDSU in 1995, she joined the SDSU Alumni Association as a program coordinator, then worked five years as director of the Institute for Meetings and Events within the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

1. What has been your proudest achievement while at SDSU?

Every time a former student reaches out to me with an “I thought of you when…” moment is a proud achievement for me. I love hearing that something I taught them in class, or shared with them when we worked together on an event, helped them in their professional life.

2. What is your favorite thing about your current job and working at SDSU?

I love working with the students. They inspire me to work hard and teach me something new every day. I have the best job in the world.

3. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

A few years ago someone I didn’t know casually said to me, “You never know the unexpected benefit of doing something.” He was talking about the importance of trying new things and the good that can come from stepping out of your comfort zone. I share this statement with all of the students I work with and challenge them to do things like volunteer their time, attend a networking event, participate in an event or activity even if their friends don’t want to go. You never know if you are going to meet a new friend or find a new passion.

4. What is it about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?

Before joining the team here, I did corporate event planning. Even as far back as high school I was planning activities and events. In the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, we do more than 8,000 meetings and events per year, so my previous experience has been very helpful. Through all the years, though, people have commented about how much “fun” it must be to plan events. While I do truly enjoy doing it, no one realizes how much work is really involved.

5. What is your favorite memory from your student days at SDSU?

I lived in the residence halls the entire time I was a student, even though I only planned to be there for a year. I had to withdraw from the university my first semester because I got sick after a few weeks. When I came back in the spring, everyone had already formed their friendships and I had a hard time fitting in. But one night I was sitting in the stairwell of Toltec Hall waiting for my laundry to be done, and a fellow resident stopped and asked if I wanted to join the hall council, and the rest is history. I became active in the Residence Hall Association. I was a resident advisor and spent every summer working for summer conferences. If it weren’t for the strong community in the residence halls, I would not have found my love for SDSU.

6. What inspires you to do this kind of work, and why is this work important?

Truth be told, I did not even want to come to SDSU. I wanted to go to the local junior college and study to become a paramedic, but my parents insisted I get a four-year degree. I felt very lost on this large campus, and struggled to find a way to feel connected. I know that many students feel this way when they first arrive, so I want to do what I can to help them find their connection. A student union is considered the campus “living room”—a place for students that complements their academic experience. Whether it is attending a student organization event, enjoying lunch in the courtyard, or bowling in Aztec Lanes, there are opportunities here in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union that help students find their connection.


7. What are your favorite bands?

I honestly love listening to all different kinds of music. It just depends on my mood. Right now I am listening to Sara Bareilles. After seeing her perform at the CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, I fell in love with her music.  

8. What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?

Aztec Football, of course!

9. What do you like to do in your free time?

Our family really likes to travel. As I tell our daughter, the world is too big and life is too short to stay at home.