Oasis for Student Success An 2015- 2016 Annual Report

University Student Union at CSUN

From the Chair & Vice Chair

Shahtaj KhanSamantha Simonds

As another amazing year comes to a close, the University Student Union is proud to continue supporting its mission of providing our students with meaningful employment opportunities, rewarding programs and helpful services to aid our Matadors in reaching their educational goals.

This year the USU was eager to unveil its brand-new Oasis Wellness Center. The Oasis is aimed at helping students de-stress and relax. The new center features nap pods, massage therapy and several other wellness activities such as yoga and meditation. The Oasis has become increasingly popular among students as a way to combat their challenging workloads.

Another exciting addition to the USU was the relocation of the DREAM Center to our facility. The new location in the union will provide our AB540 students with a more spacious and permanent home to tackle issues related to those who identify as undocumented. Just like the other resource centers located in the union, the DREAM Center is a safe and inviting space for all students seeking support.

This year, the union supported the Internal Program Review Team by participating in an off-site student union tour to several other universities to bring back information intended to improve our union space. Board members alongside other students made site visit presentations to the USU Board of Directors, Facilities and Commercial Services Committee and the USU staff.

The USU is currently working on the Facilities Master Plan to research and outline the functionality of all USU spaces. In conjunction with the consulting firm of Brailsford & Dunlavey, we are developing and identifying solutions to enhance USU services and facilities for students and the CSUN community.

We are looking forward to watching the University Student Union continue to grow and evolve in the upcoming years!

Shahtaj Khan
Chair, Board of Directors

Samantha Simonds
Vice Chair, Board of Directors

Mission Statement

The mission of the University Student Union (USU) is to foster the achievement of students’ educational goals by facilitating a strong connection between students and their campus community.

We are an engaging and energetic campus program that develops students through inclusive activities, meaningful employment opportunities, leadership experiences and innovative technologies, facilities and services.

From the Executive Director

Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.


Debra L. Hammond

This year, the University Student Union (USU) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) continued working to discover new ways in which we can empower our students with better tools and resources than the year before. In order to reach these goals, we first have to dream big ourselves—and that’s just what we did by working with our campus partners to open the doors of the beautiful new Oasis Wellness Center.

Students voiced their desire for the USU to develop and expand our wellness programs and services, and we worked diligently to grant CSUN students what they wanted—a serene escape from the stress and anxiety of campus life.

Throughout the 2015–16 fiscal year, working in conjunction with the Klotz Health Center, University Counseling Services, the College of Health and Human Development and the Art Department, we accepted the challenge of addressing two of the most definitive obstacles facing our diverse and resilient student population: Sleep Deprivation and Stress. With its spacious indoor and outdoor spaces, water wall, fireplace, Zen garden, labyrinth, six nap pods and massage chairs in addition to a wide range of wellness workshops and services, the Oasis seeks to address these barriers to student success.

Through strategic student engagement and involvement, the USU will continue to seek and implement programs, activities and support services like the Oasis to provide CSUN students with needed facilities, resources, employment and leadership development opportunities that will assist them in achieving their educational goals.

Debra L. Hammond with CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White

The Wang Family Excellence Award 2016 —
Outstanding Administrator Award
Debra L. Hammond, Executive Director

Debra Hammond was honored with The Wang Family Excellence Award recognizing the one outstanding staff member who, through extraordinary commitment and dedication, has distinguished themself by exemplary contributions and achievements. It’s the highest award a staff member in the CSU system can receive.

“Under her leadership, the University Student Union serves more than 4,300 members daily and has opened the Student Recreation Center, the Pride Center, the Veterans Resource Center and the Oasis Wellness Center to meet the needs of important university communities.” — calstate.edu

As educators outside the classroom, we raised the bar for what it means to foster student success by opening an unprecedented resource for students attending CSUN. As the first facility of its kind in the CSU system, the Oasis Wellness Center is a guiding light for what is required for students to succeed in the contemporary classroom—today, tomorrow and beyond.

This annual report is focused on the success stories, assessment data and statistics that reinforce our dedication to ultimately helping every CSUN student relax, revive and succeed.

Debra L. Hammond
Executive Director

This Year at the University Student Union:
An Oasis for Student Success

It’s a great place to relax! If you live far away, you can enjoy a nap at the Oasis.

The Oasis Wellness Center

Oasis Wellness Center Reception Area

This one-of-a-kind facility was recognized by NIRSA (National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association) for its excellence as a newly constructed, renovated, or expanded recreational sports facility where students can find serenity and relaxation amid the rush and activity of campus life.

In a year of highlights and special moments, the USU further enhanced its core commitment to student success with the opening of the beautiful new Oasis Wellness Center.

The Oasis is a welcoming destination with comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces where CSUN students find serenity and relaxation amid the rush and activity of campus life. Offering nutrition counseling, meditation, massages, acupuncture, nap pods and workshops focused on managing stress and student wellbeing, everything at the Oasis is completely dedicated to promoting student academic success at CSUN. Everything.

Student Success:
Professional Development


A study conducted by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) found that USU Student Assistant Employees (SAEs) possessed significant “career readiness” based on their experiences with the USU employment program.

As a result of their work experience with the USU, our SAEs reported the following increases in key skills:

  • Experience useful after graduation
  • Leadership skills
  • Customer service performance
  • Teamwork ability
  • Career-related skills
  • Time management skills

Top 3% Nationwide: Making a Real Difference in Student Success

The annual Social Mobility Index, sponsored by CollegeNet, ranks CSUN in the top 3% of all colleges in the United States for its impact on the improved earning power and economic prospects of its graduates. The USU employs almost 400 student employees annually. The results reported by the NASPA survey also indicate that the skills learned working here positively correlate with career readiness and increased earning potential.


Hood &

Rachel Hood Dannick Casteneda

Rachel Hood and Dannick Casteneda

Current Sunny Days Camp employees Rachel (Associate Director) and Dannick (Counselor) are former Sunny Days campers who started attending the program in 2006 when they were 8 years old.

Jamie Perez

Jamie Perez

Jamie was an Editorial Assistant in the USU Marketing Department before graduating in May 2016. Since early June 2016, she has been working as Multimedia Reporter for an ABC network affiliate in Iowa, doing regular on-air reporting for the station’s daily newscasts.

Joaquin Benavente

Joaquin Benavente

As a Music Industry Studies major, Joaquin applied his event planning knowledge and skills learned from the USU Events Department to land a full-time position as the Ticketing & Process Management, Coordinator for The Recording Academy (GRAMMYS).

Demont Oliver

Demont Oliver

Demont was a graduate student in the Recreation and Tourism Management (RTM) program and a Graduate Assistant for the Intramural Sports Department. Now after graduating he has obtained a professional staff position with University of California, Merced as the Coordinator of Competitive Sports.

4 out of the 6 Student Assistant Employees at the SRC who completed the one-year internship were hired as Group Exercise Instructors.

Student Success:
Campus Engagement

375 programs

48,574 attendees

The University Student Union offered 375 programs designed to enhance student development needs. Our inclusive programs celebrating CSUN’s diverse culture attracted a total of 48,574 student attendees.

718,1620 visitors

The Student Recreation Center welcomed a total of 718,620 visitors (an average of 3,479 visits per weekday during the fall and spring semesters) to take advantage of the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold Certified facility’s programs and services during this academic year, creating a healthier and happier campus community.

Jeremy Hamlett

Jeremy Hamlett,
Commercial Services Manager

Jeremy served as chairperson for the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) 2016 Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Kingson Leong

Kingson Leong,
Coordinator, Special Initiatives

Kingson served as chairperson for the 2015 ACUI Region I Conference in Las Vegas.

Intramural Sports Program

21 Sports Offered 15,861 Total Participations

The Student Recreation Center’s Intramural Sports Program provided 21 different sport options attracting a total of 15,861 participations with the goal of building community on campus while promoting physical wellness, teamwork and mutual respect.

Isaac Simon

Isaac Simon

Working as a Student Clerical Assistant in the USU Administration Department, Isaac won a seat as an A.S. Senator for Science and Mathematics while also being an active member of the University Corporation, CSUN Alumni Association’s N-Crowd, the CSUN Advisory Committee on Academic Technology, the Geochemical Society and the Geological Society of America.

Student Success:
Guidance and Support

Pride Center visitors

The number of participants attending programs increased by 1,319 (+39.1%) from the previous year.

LGBTQ From A to Z information sessions helped train 1,024 (+31%) students, faculty and staff on LGBTQ identities and advocacy.

The DREAM Center, run by CSUN Educational Opportunities Programs (EOP), opened its new office in the USU to better serve the undocumented community (AB540 students) at CSUN. Following its move to the new space, attendance more than doubled from 573 in Spring 2015 to 1,178 in Spring 2016, a 105.6% increase.

Queer In Your Career

The Pride Center with the Faculty Senate Equity Committee, David Nazarian College of Business & Economics and Alumni Relations offered the first annual Queer In Your Career event to connect students with LGBTQ professionals “out” in the workplace.

VRC Professional Development Dinner

The Veterans Resource Center successfully brought together 56 student veterans with 26 professional mentors from a variety of companies and fields during the first Professional Development Dinner.

Student Success:
Academic Performance

Fall 2015 SRC group exercise participations

Spring 2016 SRC group exercise participations

According to a study from the CSUN Office of Institutional Research, new students who regularly used the Student Recreation Center had notably higher GPAs than those who did not.

Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) reported that 60% of college students believe student recreation actually improves their overall health.

Student Veterans attended an Academic Advisement Development Dinner hosted by the Veterans Resource Center and were paired with 26 professional mentors from a variety of companies and fields.

Jimmy Guevara

Jimmy Guevara

Student VRC Assistant and USMC Veteran Jimmy Guevara was awarded Most Inspirational Student of the Year in 2015 for inspiring other students by raising his GPA from 0.2 to a 3.2. Jimmy is now a senior and aspires to pursue a Masters of Social Work.

David Stamps

2016 CSUN Outstanding Grad:
David Stamps, SRC Fitness Instructor

In addition to his work at the Student Recreation Center, David is a first generation college student from Ferguson, Missouri who obtained his master’s degree at CSUN in Spring 2016. He also become a California State University Graduate Equity Fellow, won first place at the 2015 CSUN Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium and was a 2015 finalist for the California State University Trustee Award for Outstanding Achievement.


Student Assistant Employees and Board Members Graduated —
A Record Year

The University Student Union experienced a record number of Student Assistant Employees who successfully completed an academic degree in the Fall 2015/Spring 2016 academic year.

Group photo of former University Student Union Student Assistant Employees who graduated in 2016

Some of the USU Student Employees and Board Members who graduated this year.

Financial Statements

Statement of Financial Position

  2016 2015
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents 567,151 1,815,482
Short-term investments 3,264,023 1,500,003
Accounts receivable, net 49,694 56,727
Prepaid expenses and other 73,897 66,326
Total current assets 3,954,765 3,438,538
Property and equipment, net 568,233 763,091
Total assets 4,522,998 4,201,629
Liabilities and Net Assets
Current liabilities
Accounts payable 418,694 720,635
Accrued expenses 658,553 560,148
Deferred revenue 304,732 297,723
Current portion of postretirement benefit payable 6,715 5,876
Total current liabilities 1,388,694 1,584,382
Postretirement benefit payable, net of current portion 2,013,047 1,501,882
Total liabilities 3,401,741 3,086,264
Net assets, unrestricted 1,121,257 1,115,365
Total liabilities and net assets 4,522,998 4,201,629

Statement of Activities

  2016 2015
Operating revenues
Student activity fees 12,020,363 11,177,771
Program revenue 464,636 478,486
Rental income 843,314 729,903
Recreation center income 687,636 759,462
Commission income 90,416 67,690
Other income 63,198 72,208
Total operating revenues 14,169,563 13,285,520
Operating expenses
Program services 12,423,436 11,831,843
General and administrative 1,286,038 1,119,073
Total operating expenses 13,709,474 12,950,916
Change in net assets from operating activities 460,089 334,604
Nonoperating (expense) revenue
Pension related changes other than net periodic pension costs (353,494) (275,865)
Interest income 14,071 264
Transfer to the University (3,752)
Loss on disposal of property and equipment (114,774) (2,772)
Net nonoperating expense (454,197) (282,125)
Change in net assets 5,892 52,479
Net assets, beginning 1,115,365 1,062,886
Net assets, end 1,121,257 1,115,365