Volume Up: Iconic Sounds of SDSU

Every place has its own blend of unmistakable sounds, and SDSU is no different. We’ve selected five that are bound to bring you back to campus.

Monday, April 22, 2024
A crowd of people cheering for SDSU Aztecs at Viejas Arena
SDSU’s student section, The Show, has contributed in a big way to the university’s iconic sounds over the years. Photo by Ernie Anderson

Editor's Note: An earlier version of the article mistakenly stated that the “I Believe” chant was created by SDSU alumnus Corey Strong. In fact, Strong learned it from United States Naval Academy classmate Jay Rodriguez.

Sounds have the power to evoke long-forgotten memories and feelings of nostalgia in an instant. Amidst the vibrant campus community at SDSU, an array of sounds narrate their own story and help to define the SDSU experience. What sounds come to mind when you think of your time as a student and/or staff or faculty member? Join us as we take you back to campus with five iconic sounds that capture the spirit of SDSU. Tip: play the video first and then read the caption.

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This sound either put you back on your skateboard on Campanile Walkway or gave you the distinct feeling to check your back and move — quickly. But this area in front of Hepner Hall wasn't always skateboard friendly. When San Diego State College moved to its current location in 1931, the property dropped off into a canyon. When the state extended Interstate 8 past SDSU in the early 1960s, the university used excess dirt from the project to fill in the canyon — and create space for buildings and walkways. Video by Nindiya Maheswari

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The iconic “I Believe” chant was established in 1999 by U.S. Naval Academy cheerleader Corey Strong, who earned his MBA from SDSU in 2010. He learned it from fellow classmate Jay Rodriguez, who has been credited for creating it. Coincidentally, SDSU’s student section, The Show, adopted the chant during the 2010–2011 men's basketball season, but Strong says he wasn’t responsible for bringing the chant to the university. Video courtesy GoAztecs

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For more than 40 years, student assistants in the Ambassador Program, like senior Mars here behind Hepner Hall, have been leading campus tours with voices amplified and SDSU facts at the ready. Video by Nindiya Maheswari

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The trolley stop at SDSU, which is part of the Green Line from Santee Town Center Station to 12th & Imperial, opened in July 2005. People 18 and under can ride for free with the youth Pronto app or card. Video by Nindiya Maheswari

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Terry O’Donnell, SDSU professor emeritus of Music and Theatre, has maintained the chimes in Hardy Tower for more than 60 years. The chimes were donated by Ed and Mary Fletcher to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the college in 1946. Since that year, the system has grown from 24 amplified chimes to 204 carillon bells. Video by Nindiya Maheswari

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