Annual Report 20172018

Our Commitment to Advancing Diversity & Inclusion at the USU

University Student Union,
California State University, Northridge

Since its beginning in 1973, the University Student Union’s commitment to CSUN students has served as the foundation of everything we do. The wide spectrum of students on our campus come to the USU to connect with others, find a sense of belonging, voice opinions, share differences and create community. Today, that commitment to our students is even more critical to student success.

Diversity and inclusion is paramount in the USU’s evolution to better serve all Matadors in an ever-changing world. Providing services for historically underrepresented and traditionally underserved communities to promote equity for everyone is a fundamental and essential goal of this organization.

We invite you to look through this annual report and explore the myriad of ways that our University Student Union embraces and celebrates CSUN’s diverse student body.


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.


University Student Union Sol Center with Triangle Pattern
Iris Ramirez

Iris Ramirez
Chair, Board of Directors

Michael Odinlo

Michael Odinlo
Vice Chair, Board of Directors

Message from the Chair & Vice Chair, Board of Directors

During the 20172018 academic year, the University Student Union (USU) at California State University, Northridge broadened its support to diverse communities in need.

The USU Board of Directors (USU BOD) approved a donation of $50,000 in funding through MataCare for CSUN students who faced a financial hardship because of the possible threat to eliminate the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. In addition, it approved a facility expansion of the Educational Opportunity Programs’ (EOP) DREAM Center that is housed at the USU, and the conversion of a men’s restroom on the second floor of the Sol Center into a two-stall, gender-inclusive restroom. The Board provided annual gifts to campus resources that included $10,000 each to Latinas Rising, EOP Resilient Scholars, and the CSUN Food Pantry. Lastly, a gift of $20,000 was awarded to the Revolutionary Scholars Project.

Our organization is proud to have been one of six student unions recognized by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) in its College Union Student Engagement Study. The study examines and identifies the outcomes associated with student engagement within a college union and its researchers will develop a framework for how student unions contribute to student learning and success. We are pleased that our USU, with its highly diverse population, was selected as a site for observation and best practices. It is an example of our collaboration across ACUI membership institutions.

Finally, an extensive branding campaign was launched to improve campus awareness about the USU brand. We received student input about the union’s services and the possibility of developing a cross cultural center. Students participated in brainstorming meetings, including an open-house, to help conceptualize the union’s future. Since student voices were critical to this initiative, selected students joined a team of staff to visit cross cultural centers throughout Southern California.

The University Student Union at CSUN is proud to continually enhance the diversity of the Matador experience and looks forward to improving how we help Matadors achieve success.

Debra L. Hammond

Debra L. Hammond
Executive Director

“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”

— Author Unknown

Message from the Executive Director

The University Student Union (USU) at CSUN has a long history of embracing diversity and inclusion in all of its forms. This year, we focused our commitment on advancing diversity and inclusion throughout our own organization. As we look back at our collective impact this year, it is clear to see that we are making progress where it matters and that we recognize the potential for continued growth.

We developed collaborative intentional programs and services for an ever-changing student body and actively explored the idea of a new cross cultural center in the USU. As we examined how we can better serve future Matadors, we sponsored students and staff members to visit various cross cultural centers across the nation to gain a greater understanding of different facility and operational structures.

We solicited input from students about their vision for a cross cultural center and how this resource could better assist students in achieving success at CSUN. We collaborated with ethnic studies departments, the Women’s Research and Resource Center and the EOP DREAM Center to help us refine our dedication to Matadors of today and tomorrow. We also continued to evolve our Inclusive Language Campaign to remind the campus of the impact that language has on our students.

We will continue to work with students and develop strategies to better support the CSUN community. This year, we had the opportunity to meet with different campus populations to identify ways to provide programming and services that address the intersectionality of our student body. We were challenged with student activism and found ways to listen to our students at deeper levels to create an environment in the USU where students felt a sense of belonging. We are conceptualizing a diversity training program that will equip students with the tools necessary to be able to understand and navigate diversity, inclusion and social justice advocacy.

Our team at the USU will continue to explore how best to support diversity and inclusion as we benefit from the strength of our shared commitment.

Our Commitment to Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at the USU:


CSUN Oviatt Library with Triangle Pattern
Honoring Native Americans

The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) collaborated with the American Indian Student Association to create a special U.S. flag garden display during We ♥ Our Veterans Week to raise awareness about CSUN Student Veterans and honor the legendary Native American Code Talkers.

Student Art Collection

The Student Recreation Center collaborated with the Department of Art to commission additional student art pieces and to continue expanding the USU Student Art Collection.

Support for Athletics

CSUN Athletics and the Veterans Resource Center worked together during We ♥ Our Veterans Week to promote the first Military Appreciation Night at the CSUN Men’s Basketball season opener.

CSU Veteran Affairs Professional Development

As a leader in the quality of support services provided to Student Veterans, CSUN was selected to host the Annual California State University Veteran Affairs Professional Development Conference. Fifty-one Veteran Service professionals from 22 different CSU campuses gathered at the USU to address issues facing the Student Veteran community. Topics included: Peer Mentorship, How Institutions Respond to Suicide, Behavioral Health Crisis, Readmission and Homelessness.

Mental Health Services for Veterans

The VRC collaborated with University Counseling Services and the Chatsworth Vet Center to provide on-campus mental health services for Student Veterans with trained Vet Center counselors who specialize in post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and traumatic brain injuries. CSUN is one of only two campuses in the CSU system to offer this partnership for Veteran-specific mental health services.

Caring for Student Veterans

The Northridge West and Northridge South Neighborhood Councils donated $7,000 to the Student Veteran Emergency Fund.

Educational Programming

The USU Diversity and Inclusion department collaborated with campus partners to provide educational programming throughout the year.

*Women Inspired to Succeed and Discover Opportunities through Mentoring

Our Commitment to Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at the USU:

Student Destinations

Student Recreation Center with Triangle Pattern
Measuring Student Engagement

The USU was one of six student unions nationwide to be selected as a research site for the first Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Student Engagement Study that examined student unions for outcomes associated with student engagement within a college union facility. The study’s goal is to develop an initial framework about how the role of the college union contributes to student learning and success in a complex higher education environment.

Cross Cultural Center

A Cross Cultural Center Exploration Committee was formed to determine the level of student interest in potentially establishing a cross cultural center at CSUN. The committee toured cultural resource centers at San Diego State University; University of California, San Diego; University of California, Irvine; and California State University, Fullerton for ideas.

Envisioning the Future

USU Open House asked students for feedback about how they envisioned the future of their student union. A total of 363 attendees provided valuable information and indicated that student-centric spaces, diversity, student support, empowerment and engagement were the features that most interested them.

Facilities Branding Campaign

The USU Facilities Branding Campaign, featuring large-scaled wall banners and decals, promoted USU services with images of diverse students under the tagline, “Where Matadors Belong.” Sixty-four percent of students who were surveyed after the campaign’s launch reported becoming more aware of USU services. In addition to drawing attention to the Student Recreation Center, Oasis Wellness Center, Pride Center, Veterans Resource Center, Computer Lab and Games Room, the campaign promoted the sense of belonging that may be experienced among students who utilize USU spaces.

Inclusive Language

The USU continued to support and promote the Inclusive Language Campaign across campus by challenging the CSUN community to think about the power of words. The message of the campaign became the foundation for USU communications to the student body.

Interpreting Student Needs

The USU, in collaboration with the National Center on Deafness (NCOD): Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, reserved interpreter services upon request at all events and programs.

Connecting with the Audience

The branding campaign also included a video showcase of USU facilities that used an engaging social media-inspired approach. The introductory videos, shown during New Student Orientation (NSO), were written, produced and updated in the fun, casual style of social media videos to better resonate and connect with students.

Where Matadors Belong

The Veterans Resource Center averaged 88 visitors per day, a significant increase from the 17 visitors a day per day averaged when it opened five years ago.

More than half of campus students (53.5% or 21,322 unique users) utilized the USU Computer Lab according to analytics from Labstats, an independent computer lab monitoring software. This popular destination includes 130 computer workstations, free software training workshops, and 20 pages of free printing every day.

Student Guest Services Assistants greeted 87,898 guests in the USU Sol Center.

USU Reservations and Event Services managed 16,795 room bookings for meetings and events hosted by CSUN departments, student groups, and off-campus organizations.

With approximately 30,000 distinct members, the Student Recreation Center averaged more than 4,000 visits per day.

COMPUTER LAB VRC SRC USURES SOL CENTER 16.8k Room Bookings 88 Visitors Per Day 4k Visitors Per Day 87.9k Guests Greeted 21.3k Unique Users
Oasis Wellness Center

The Oasis Wellness Center provided 1,329 health and wellness workshops for students. Workshops were presented in collaboration with the Klotz Student Health Center, University Counseling Services, the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing and the Department of Art.

The spring Power Nap Campaign resulted in 483 new Nap Pod users taking more than 1,900 naps in the Oasis Wellness Center.

Celebrating Diversity with Events

USU Events planned and executed diverse events and programming designed to entertain and educate Matadors.

Carnaval, the USU’s annual celebration of global diversity, attracted more than 3,000 CSUN students to experience cultures from around the world — a 30% increase in attendance from the previous year.

Engaging Mind and Body

As part of a new initiative, first-time students set to begin their CSUN studies in the fall semester started their Student Recreation Center memberships early during the summer. This increased summer memberships to 12,961 as compared to 8,112 in 2017 — a 59% increase. Early indicators from a CSUN campus survey suggest that regular use and engagement with the Student Recreation Center contributes to student success.

Special Amenities

The USU provided the following special amenities:

Lactation Room: A private lactation space in the East Conference Center for nursing mothers.

Prayer/Meditation/Reflection Room: A space in the East Conference Center equipped with two foot-washing stations.

Gender-Inclusive Restrooms: Two locations in the Oasis Wellness Center and the Northridge Center. The USU Board of Directors approved converting the Sol Center’s second floor men’s restroom into a gender-inclusive restroom.

Happy Guests

USU Reservations and Event Services received an Overall Satisfaction rating by 86% of the surveyed on- and off-campus organizations who use USU facilities.

The EOP DREAM Center

The EOP DREAM Center offers assistance and resources to undocumented students, members of mixed-status families, campus faculty and staff. The Board approved an expansion of the facility set to occur in 2018–2019.

International Student Services

The International and Exchange Student Center is a resource and service center for international F-1 and J-1 visa students, Fulbright students, and those enrolled in study abroad programs and the National Student Exchange.

Our Commitment to Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at the USU:


CSUN Matador Statue with Triangle Pattern
5-Year Anniversaries

Nearly 140 Student Veterans, alumni, community stakeholders and donors attended the Veterans Resource Center’s 5-Year Anniversary Gala. People who made significant contributions to the center since its inception received limited edition Challenge Coins that typically are presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit.

The Pride Center’s 5-Year Celebration recognized the importance of this resource center to LGBTQ+ CSUN students. The evening included reflections on achievements and a preview of future endeavors. Festivities included an art exhibit and casino-themed games.

Christine Black
Christine Black

U.S. Army Veteran Christine Black was the keynote speaker during the Veterans Graduation Reception hosted by the Veterans Resource Center. Black shared her personal story about being a queer, Latina, female Veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She encouraged CSUN Student Veterans to embrace their identities and show the world the diversity of the Veteran community.

Community Trainings

Joining Forces: The Veterans Resource Center trained 231 CSUN faculty, staff and students through a series of Joining Forces Veteran Ally presentations given to departments that committed to better understanding the needs of CSUN Student Veterans.

LGBTQ from A to Z: The Pride Center presented workshops throughout the year to 990 students, faculty and staff who were asked to learn what they needed to know but were afraid to ask about LGBTQ identities and advocacy.

Laila Ireland
Laila Ireland

The Pride Center, in collaboration with the Veterans Resource Center, hosted a screening of the documentary, Transgender at War and In Love with Laila Ireland during Trans Awareness Week. Ireland, a retired combat medic, shared about her life and work with LGBTQ military advocacy organizations while serving in the U.S. Army.

USU Board of Directors Annual Gift to CSUN

The USU Board of Directors awarded a total of $50,000 in annual gifts to Latinas Rising, EOP Resilient Scholars, the CSUN Food Pantry and the Revolutionary Scholars Project.

$20,000 TO Revolutionary Scholars Project $10,000 EACH TO Latinas Rising EOP Resilient Scholars CSUN Food Pantry
Summer Celebration

The Student Recreation Center was the site of the CSUN Annual Summer Celebration — a community-building event, featuring food and games hosted by President Diane F. Harrison for faculty, staff and their families.

Lunchtime Fitness Group

The Student Recreation Center, in collaboration with CSUN Human Resources, presented the free Lunchtime Express fitness program where twice a week staff and faculty engaged in 25- and 45-minute Group Exercise classes to promote health and wellbeing. No membership was required.

E-Sports Community

The Games Room created new events for the emerging eSports community of competitive gamers at CSUN.

We Love Our Veterans

The Veterans Resource Center provided programs for military-connected CSUN students in collaboration with the American Indian Student Association (We ♥ Our Veterans Week), Career Services and Alumni Relations (Elevate: Professional Development Dinner), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, and Citi Bank (Veterans Tax Fellowship).

Changing Same

The Pride Center presented Changing Same, a compelling week-long program about intersectionality. The program highlighted the experiences of LGBTQ people of color as a collaboration with Deaf Studies, CSUN Slam Poetry Team, Gamma Rho Lambda national sorority, Queer Collective, The Black House, EOP DREAM Center and Project D.A.T.E.

Community Graduations

Veterans Graduation Reception: The Veterans Resource Center honored 177 CSUN Student Veterans who graduated with the class of 2018.

Rainbow Graduation Celebration: The Pride Center recognized 45 members of the LGBTQ+ community who graduated in the spring of 2018.

Social Community

The USU’s social media accounts rose by 3,602 followers across all platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube) with Instagram showing the largest growth with 1,043 new followers.


CSUN finished among the nation’s Top 5 universities in the Forbes #MyTopCollege online voting competition. In partnership with University Advancement and Student Outreach and Recruitment, the USU joined the campus’ coordinated social media and video promotional campaign.

Our Commitment to Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at the USU:

Student Development

Group of CSUN Students with Triangle Pattern
Preparing Students for Success

USU Student Assistant Employees completed the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) survey about their perceptions of the impact of the USU work experience on their development of key career building skills:


WISDOM (Women Inspired to Succeed and Discover Opportunities through Mentoring), a Campus Quality Fee-funded program for African American/Black female students, paired Matadors with faculty and staff who provided resources through mentorship. Forty-five percent of participants graduated with the class of 2018.

Diversity and Inclusion

To formalize its commitment to the rising demand for diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus, the USU Management Team established a Diversity and Inclusion department to effectively address and support such initiatives.

Black Male Scholars

Black Male Scholars (BMS), a Campus Quality Fee-funded program, welcomed new members and introduced assessment methods to evaluate participation needs and organizational structure.

LGBTQ Advocacy

The Pride Center received a Certificate of Recognition from the 46th California State Assembly District for its leadership and LGBTQ advocacy during the #Out4MentalHealth Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) town hall meeting at Bienestar Human Services in Los Angeles.

The LA City Council also recognized Pride Center Manager Sarina Loeb during LGBTQ Heritage month for her passion and dedication to LGBTQ student organizations.

BOD Learning Outcomes

The Board of Directors set learning outcomes for its Diversity and Inclusion programming that included 1) mapping participants’ world views, cultural identities and the factors that influence both, 2) understanding how to work with people who have views that differ from one’s own, 3) enhancing knowledge to create a greater appreciation for diversity, and 4) heightening awareness about diversity and inclusion.

Focus on Student Employees

Finding Your Fit: How to Belong, Survive and Thrive was the theme of this year’s Student Summit, a USU student employee training program held each semester. More than 400 student employees attended a keynote address and workshops — some of which addressed the importance of diversity in the workplace.

Graduation Preparation Seminar is a workshop tailored to student employees who are nearing graduation. Workshops helped prepare participants for transitioning from CSUN to launching their careers. Attendees learned resume tips, how to articulate their strengths during job interviews, and how to network.

Our Commitment to Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at the USU:

Financial Statements

USU Oasis Wellness Center Nap Pod with Triangle Pattern

Statement of Financial Position

  2018 2017
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents 490,232 384,488
Short-term investments 5,539,182 4,575,752
Accounts receivable, net 22,763 28,665
Prepaid expenses and other 104,958 22,925
Total current assets 6,157,135 5,011,830
Property and equipment, net 683,672 674,492
Total assets 6,840,807 5,686,322
Liabilities and Net Assets
Current liabilities
Accounts payable 557,321 471,597
Accrued expenses 788,147 728,303
Deferred revenue 316,303 293,055
Current portion of postretirement benefit payable 16,296 8,150
Total current liabilities 1,678,067 1,501,105
Postretirement benefit payable, net of current portion 3,140,986 2,292,560
Total liabilities 4,819,053 3,793,665
Net assets, unrestricted 2,021,754 1,892,657
Total liabilities and net assets 6,840,807 5,686,322

Statement of Activities

  2018 2017
Operating revenues
Student activity fees 14,332,669 12,972,045
Program revenue 489,325 488,055
Rental income 753,222 731,742
Recreation center income 699,323 674,285
Commission income 83,316 76,540
Other income 276,894 260,771
Total operating revenues 16,634,749 15,203,438
Operating expenses
Program services 14,570,854 13,379,835
General and administrative 1,434,794 1,273,477
Total operating expenses 16,005,648 14,653,312
Change in net assets from operating activities 629,101 550,126
Nonoperating (expense) revenue
Pension related changes other than net periodic pension costs (561,636) (50,384)
Interest income 68,345 37,642
Transfer to the University 234,016
Loss on disposal of property and equipment (6,713)
Net nonoperating expense (500,004) 221,274
Change in net assets 129,097 771,400
Net assets, beginning 1,892,657 1,121,257
Net assets, end 2,021,754 1,892,657