The mission of the University Student Union 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.
It was another fantastic year for the University Student Union (USU) as its programs continued to draw greater numbers of Matadors.
Each of the USU’s centers: The Student Recreation Center (SRC), Pride Center, and Veterans Resource Center, saw increases in student attendance. From the SRC’s group exercise classes and Pride Center events, to Veterans Resource Center-sponsored discussions, more students came out to enjoy these experiences.
Another favorite service was the Computer Labs. One year after relocating to a larger space along the more visible Matador Walk, the labs saw a remarkable increase in the amount of students who took advantage of their 20 free-prints a day. Great customer service, greater access to workstations, and software training sessions all helped make the Labs — commonly called the ‘printing place’ — a student destination.
I enjoyed my work of leading this year’s Board. I gained so much personally and particularly appreciate the opportunity to practice and improve my public speaking abilities. This leadership experience changed me greatly and I wish continued success to the USU.
Chair, Board of Directors
The 2013–2014 fiscal year brought many accomplishments to the University Student Union. One of the greatest accomplishments was usage of the computer labs.
Every day, the University Student Union saw more and more students fully use these resources — a large lab located along Matador Walk and a small lab housed inside of the Satellite Student Union near the residence halls. The addition of 10-minute, quick print computer stations in the large lab kept the place full and busy. This service demonstrated the USU’s mission of providing students with innovative technologies, facilities, and services.
There were many other successful events and programs this year too such as: Matador Nights, Carnaval, Craft Corner, and Tuesday Talks in the Pride Center which had a tremendous growth in attendance. Guest speakers such as Nev Schulman (best known as the host and executive producer of MTV’s Catfish — The TV Series) packed the Northridge Center with a standing-room only crowd to hear his message of being true to yourself and your dreams. To top off the year, the Student Recreation Center saw a rise in the number of students that worked out there.
So much was achieved this year and I am glad to have been a part of it.
Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Computing indeed is about living. It’s how we pay bills, bank online, stream videos, expand our knowledge base, access music and so much more. Yet, according to a 2010 Pew Internet Project survey, 12% of undergraduates (age 18 to 24) did not own their own laptops. While 92% of undergraduates were able to access the internet, it was through cell phones and other means. At California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and other institutions of higher learning, computer use is a necessity for research and note taking as well as report writing and communication. That is why the USU expanded the computing experience.
This year’s annual report takes a closer look at the USU Computer Labs. With two locations, a 124-station, full-service lab in the main facility and a 14-station lab in the Satellite Student Union located near the residence halls — both offered Matadors 20 free print copies per day. With an astonishing 21% year-over-year increase in students who use the labs, they have become vital contributors to student success at CSUN. From the Tech Series software workshops and one-on-one technical support to wireless print-only stations, Matadors packed the labs for both academic and life-management tasks.
The Labs were but one of the USU’s gems. Getting the word out about the array of student programs and services sponsored by the USU is what the Marketing department did well and the numbers prove it. USU social media exploded this year. From award-winning poster ads to Social Media posts and Tweets, the USU reached larger numbers of Matadors and increased the number of patrons that our facilities serve. Check out the numbers in the report’s Services section.
The year also brought greater numbers of students to the Student Recreation Center. The Intramurals program and Group Exercise classes grew in popularity as staff promoted the fun, stress-relief and health benefits of bodies in motion.
I invite you now to take a look inside to learn more about the USU program in 2013–2014. It was a very good year.
Debra L. Hammond
The USU Computer Labs continued their run as a destination location for Matadors. Known for free print copies, 100+ computer stations and tech workshops, crowds converged on the labs daily for service and training.
“The lab is very close to where I park,” said Taylor Austin, a computer science junior. “[I come for] printing, because it is free.”
Twenty pages of no-cost printing per day are but one reason why students flock to the large lab located on the main campus and a small version housed at the Satellite Student Union, said Neda Nickfardjam, a Computer Lab student supervisor.
“The lab is a very popular destination [because] we provide such necessary and essential resources to the students, all for free,” Nickfardjam said. “In college, there are numerous costs, and the Computer Lab helps to take off that load by providing free, convenient printing, Tech Series courses, and helpful lab technicians who have a vast technological knowledge and who are willing to help the students.”
As the largest computer lab on campus, the 6,000 square-foot main lab has 118 computers, 88 of which are two-hour workstations housed on the floor of the main lab while an interior room used as the Training Lab contains another 24. Six workstations are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. Students who want simply to print or scan documents have access to 18 print-only stations and eight scanners. The smaller lab has 14 computer stations. Printing assistance is the most requested service, Nickfardjam said.
“Many patrons are new to the lab and they are uninformed about exactly how the printing in the lab works,” she said. “We are located directly across from the International and Exchange Student Center and many students come in to scan their passports or other important documents. We do not currently have a copy machine so, in order to help manage the amount of students using the scanners, we inform patrons of a new scanning app they can download on their phones to scan their documents.”
Wireless printing, a fairly new service, allows students to store documents online and print them from kiosk stations located in both labs as well as inside of the University Student Union lobby — a very useful solution to waiting in long lines for a computer when their sole purpose in the lab is to print, Nickfardjam said.
A link to myCSUNsoftware is on every computer, giving users access to select software based on course curriculum. Software available to all students includes: the Microsoft Office suite, Aleks, AMOS, ArcGIS, Libre Office, Mathematica, Putty, R, and SPSS. For more information about myCSUNsoftware and a complete list of available software, please visit the myCSUNsoftware webpage.
“We’ve seen over the past year that most users tend to utilize either Web Browsers or Microsoft Office programs while visiting,” said Bo Afshar, lab coordinator. “By using the MyCSUNSoftware Portal, students can access the software from any computer.”
Other computer features include ZoomText — a screen magnifier for Microsoft Windows, reading and writing software that assists people who are blind, partially sighted, or who have learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, Inspiration — a tool used for mind mapping, and Jaws (Job Access With Speech) — a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows blind and visually impaired users to read screens either with a text-to-speech output or by means of a Refreshable Braille display.
The lab also is a learning laboratory for students, faculty and staff. Each semester, Tech Series courses offer free training in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe Photoshop. This year, the labs successfully introduced a new tech series workshop titled, “iPad Essentials and Campus Technologies,” which focused on raising awareness about campus software and tablet use.
Open until midnight four days a week, the staff grew from 19 to 24 lab technicians to accommodate the demand and to manage the flow of users during peak times.
“During the peak times, the lines go out the door,” said Nickfardjam who said lines begin to form at 8:30 a.m. on weekdays. “We have to open the training lab to accommodate patrons who want to use a computer for just 10 minutes to print. As for [lines that form to use the] two-hour computers, they are also very long and our lab techs have to coordinate with each other to keep the line moving and to occupy every computer immediately when it becomes available.”
With an eye on innovation and improving the customer experience, the labs implemented a skateboard locker rental program that was very popular and allowed students to enjoy the Computer Labs experience without risking stolen property, Afshar said. Also coming is LabMaps, a workstation availability Web guide that will enable students to view the number of available computers through the USU Website. For those outside of the lab, a window display will allow guests to view the number of available computers before they enter the main Computer Lab.
Each upgrade is part of the University Student Union’s collective effort to contribute to user engagement and the persistence of Matadors toward graduation.
“The Computer Labs is by far one of the most utilized services on campus,” said Afshar about the more than 400,000 logins made at the labs this year. “With that being said, students are using our services more and more every day to achieve their educational goals. Many patrons have told me personally that the Computer Lab is the reason why they’re able to be successful in today’s technology-driven campus. We provide the basic computing tools [that] each and every student on campus needs and [we] continue to innovate where we see opportunity.”
Created an assessment team
Student Summit is a twice-a-year on-site conference for student assistant employees. Student Summit participants were asked about their summit experiences.
The Career Center and Disability Resources and Educational Services presented StrengthsQuest® workshops at USU Student Summit
Operations Administration worked with Student Housing & Conference Services to transition operational control of the Satellite Student Union to Housing for administrative offices. Operational control successfully transitioned on June 30, 2014.
(Sol Center front desk)
The USU was one of four student unions nationwide featured in the long-running documentary Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series “Visionaries.” The episode highlighted stories of non-profit organizations that work to make a difference in their communities and beyond.
The two-part profile of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) was hosted by Academy Award-nominated actor Sam Waterston. Other student unions included were Davidson College, University of Vermont and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The full episode is available for viewing online on the PBS Visionaries website.
Matadors were welcomed to campus in the fall with the annual Matafest festival held in the USU’s Plaza del Sol. The circus-themed event was laced with resource booths where students learned more about USU programs and services like the Games Room, Veteran’s Resource Center, Pride Center, Student Recreation Center, Marketing department, Computer Labs, Reservations and Event Services, Human Resources, and the Board of Directors. Participants dined on Matador Burgers, beef and veggie hotdogs, shaved ice, churros, popcorn, and beverages. There were DJ performances, a circus act, rock band, balloon artist, and hip hop artist. Activities included carnival games, prizes and a Craft Corner.
The fall semester kicked off old-school style with the biannual late-night carnival. The theme was the 1950s and the Plaza del Sol was transformed by 3,923 Matadors, many of whom were dressed in sunglasses and bandanas. The night featured a root-beer float station and soda fountain machine, a Tornado carnival ride, roller skating rink, and giant carnival slide. DJ Eric D Lux performed with surprise guest performer Kid Ink on the Plaza Del Sol main stage. Also on hand were arcade games, casino games, and a photo booth sponsored in part by the CSUN Alcohol Policy Advisory Committee. Mock-tails were provided by the Klotz Student Health Center in conjunction with the entertainment industry’s road safety program (R.A.D.D). There were ambient performances by CSUN Hip-Hop and the CSUN Theatre Guild. Hamburgers, popcorn, and cotton candy were provided free to CSUN students.
Las Vegas, baby... More than 3,249 students celebrated the 21st installment of Matador Nights during the spring semester. For the Las Vegas theme, the Plaza del Sol was transformed into the Las Vegas strip, with a Step and Repeat backdrop for photos. From “the strip,” students ventured to “Circus Circus” in the Grand Salon to watch the CSUN Theatre Guild clown perform near arcade and carnival games, Ping-Pong, and karaoke. The Northridge Center was transformed into a classic Las Vegas hotel, complete with a bellhop. The West Valley Room served as the Wedding Chapel/craft corner for decorating sashes and top hats and watching “Elvis” performing faux wedding ceremonies. A “High Rollers Lounge” came complete with mocktails served by Klotz Student Health Center in conjunction with the R.A.D.D. program, while the Northridge Center served as the main casino, featuring performances by Brazilian Dancers, Dan Olivo—a Frank Sinatra-style singer, and Vincent Bantasan — a beat-boxer. At “Treasure Island” students rode the Scrambler and Casino rides and visited with Toyota’s interactive trailer and display cars. DJs Carisma, Amen and Dre Sinatra performed on the Plaza Del Sol main stage along with surprise guest performers Sage the Gemini and Ty Dolla $ign.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation benefitted from the monies raised from this high-octane dance/exercise event. The Third Annual Zumbathon, themed “Party in Pink” featured a sold-out crowd of 300 who stepped to music in a 90-minute Zumba master class taught by the SRC Zumba instructors. Following the class, a breast cancer survivor and representative from the Komen foundation spoke to participants. Glow sticks and pink breast cancer support ribbons were distributed. USU Events and the SRC collaborated with Unified We Serve, and CSUN Intercollegiate Athletics to host the fundraiser.
The Pride Center, in collaboration with USU Events, hosted “Express Yourself” in conjunction with National Coming Out Day. The variety show featured self-expressions that celebrated the various stages of the “coming-out” process. There were performances by The Cuddlers, a subsidiary of The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, CSUN Hip-Hop, and the CSUN Theatre Guild, whose members performed coming-out stories that were submitted by CSUN students. Poets Madison Dinapoli and Jealinda Mills of the CSUN Poetry Slam Team also performed. About 200 people attended the event that featured a photo booth, a message wall, the history of National Coming Out Day and written personal narratives shared by students.
“Garage Band Studio” was the theme of this year’s talent show where CSUN students performed before peers for prizes. Eleven student acts, including bands, solo singers, poets, solo dancers, and group dance teams, performed before a crowd of 400 and were scored by a panel of judges, including CSUN alum Mike Viruet who appeared in the movie Pitch Perfect. Comedian Chris Spencer hosted.
Producer, actor, and photographer Nev Schulman, best known for the 2010 documentary Catfish and as the host and executive producer of Catfish: The TV Show on MTV packed the Northridge Center for an evening of anecdotes about social media, online relationships, sexuality, self-identity, and self-esteem. Speaking to a standing-room only crowd of 790, Schulman shared about his rise to fame and challenged students to be unique. Afterwards, Schulman met privately with 30 contest winners. The term “Catfish” has been coined to define a person who pretends to be someone that they are not and use social media to create a false identity to pursue deceitful online romances.
To honor the men and women of the U.S. Armed Services, names of California service men and women who lost their lives in battle from 9/11 to the present were read in the Plaza del Sol. CSUN student veteran Hugo Valencia gave the opening remarks, following the presentation of the colors by CSUN ROTC. Many of the 388 students on hand wrote notes of thanks to CSUN student veterans and made para-cord bracelets. The CSUN service program Unified We Serve was on hand with a letter writing campaign for Operation Gratitude, a national organization that sends care packages to new recruits, veterans, first responders, wounded warriors, and caregivers stationed overseas.
Wellness and recreation were the focus of this activity day and Matadors took part in intramurals, group fitness classes, circuit training, massage and personal training. Trivia questions and other challenges took place inside the Student Recreation Center while Peer Nutrition Counselors offered BMI (body, mass, index) assessments. Raffle prizes were awarded and included: $50 REI gift card, Polar Watch, $50 Matamoney gift card, $50 Sprouts gift card, $50 AS Outdoor Adventures Voucher, and an XBOX One. Students were given free produce from the “Healthy Hut” farmers market and Jersey Mike’s lunches for their participation and interaction with campus partners that provided services and information related to mind and body health. Partners for the event included: the Klotz Student Health Center, Peer Nutrition Counselors, JADE (Joint Advocates Against Disordered Eating), Kinesiology Majors Club, Associated Students Rec Sports, and CSUN Athletics.
The 17th annual international event, “Wonders of the World,” showered CSUN students with educational and cultural experiences that showcased each continent. There were with informational banners and food samplings. Various cultural acts performed, including Hawaiian Poet Laureate Kealoha, Bollywood dancers, Celtic dancers, Native American storytellers, Brazilian Samba dancers, Aztec dancers, Chinese martial arts dancers Wushu Shaolin, Afro Caribbean dancers, and Polynesian hula and fire dancers. Activities included henna tattoos, Tarot card readings, and the making of crafts such as making “Ojos de Dios” (woven spiritual objects), African masks, and tepees. Games included Loteria (Mexican Bingo), Scrabble, Sudoku, and Chinese Checkers. International cuisine was provided to more than 2,000 students.
The University Student Union Board of Directors (USU BOD) is the official governing entity for the University Student Union that provides leadership, direction, and policy making for the advancement of union programs, services, and facilities.
The Board is comprised of 10 Student Representatives, an Alumni Representative, a Faculty Member, the Principal Student Affairs Officer or designee, a Staff Member, the University President or designee, and the USU Executive Director.
Serving as the Board’s majority, student representatives engage in leadership development workshops, trainings and conferences, and serve as committee chairpersons as they learn and employ corporate leadership practices.
Several student representatives attended:
All student representatives participated in the Gallup Organization’s StrengthsQuest® training throughout the year.
“In my role as a BOD student representative and Facilities and Commercial Services Committee chair, I was able to attend leadership conferences, such as ACUI’S I-LEAD and CSUnity Conference,” said Diana Madueño. “Such opportunities enabled me to see the meaningful purpose of representing one’s own campus community, and it also helped me reinforce my desire for a career in Student Affairs.”
Each year, the Student Representatives of the USU Board of Directors and their committee members undergo a half day of committee training. Topics that are covered include identifying SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) and Decision-Making tips. The student leaders are mentored throughout the year as they utilize the principles and are assessed at year’s end to measure what learning took place.
The Board co-sponsored 47 events ($44,700) with various campus departments, clubs and organizations that drew 9,680 attendees
The Board sponsored eight Performance Hall events ($36,000) for campus departments, clubs and organizations
The University Student Union (USU) has spent the past five years integrating the Gallup Organization’s StrengthsQuest® philosophy and training into its employee development program as a way to enhance the quality of employee communication, value added articulation, and workplace engagement. Beginning in 2009 with a limited number of staff, today the program is corporate wide, affecting more than 360 student and 56 staff employees.
A range of professional and personal development opportunities exist for the more than 360 student assistants who work for the USU. Their professional evolution begins at hire at the departmental level where supervisors mentor in timeliness, public speeking, customer service, engagement, teamwork, responsibility, accountability, and achievement. Departmental meetings promote these skills further through group exercises and by serving as a platform by which students are encouraged to deliver speeches, report on assessment findings, and lead functional work teams.
Corporately, students take part in two on-site development conferences each year known as Student Summit. The conferences mimic professional conferencing by allowing student employees to pre-select workshops, participate in pre-conference activities, and present or co-present with staff and/or fellow student employees. Students also apply to attend student affairs related professional conferences, including those sponsored by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), and the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). Many present workshops at these and other regional, national and annual conventions.
The USU’s focus on student development also prepares students for post-university employment. One means of doing that is inviting students to be a part of interview teams for both student and professional positions. In so doing, students gain valuable insight into the factors that employers consider when hiring by experiencing first-hand how candidates present themselves, articulate answers, and prepare for interviews.
Here are but a few examples of ways in which some departments developed students this year.
Kingson Leung, Coordinator, Special Initiatives, facilitated a New Student Orientation Group on behalf of the Office of Student Involvement and Development.
Patrina Croisdale, Coordinator, Veterans Resource Center:
Veterans Resource Center student assistant employees Dylan Moore and Natacia Medina attended an Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America conference to learn about the Rapid Response Referral Program.
Matt Eickhoff, Program Coordinator, Training & Development, served as the advisor to Acasola, CSUN’s original acapella singing group
Debra L. Hammond, Executive Director
Michal Jankowski, Manager, Student Recreation Center (SRC) Facility Operations co-presented (with Liat Vorobiev, International Student Advisor from the International and Exchange Student Center) the online ACUI webinar, “How Do You Support International Students?”
Michal Jankowski, Manager, SRC Facility Operations and Sarina Loeb, Coordinator, Pride Center and LGBTQ Initiatives, co-presented the online ACUI webinar, “How Do You Support LGBT Students?”
Sharon Kinard, Manager, Administration and Communications, served as the advisor to Campus Advance — a Christian club
Sarina Loeb, Coordinator, Pride Center and LGBTQ Initiatives:
Audrey Martinez, USU Events Supervisor, served as the advisor to the CSUN Hip Hop Culture Club
Jonathan Navarro, Accounting Supervisor, served as the advisor to Hermanos Unidos, a social change club
Sandra Salute, Manager, SRC Fitness and Wellness:
Jenny Soto, Marketing Supervisor:
Student Assistant of the Year
Staff Member of the Year
Aida C. Salazar Award
BOD Achievement Award
Board Chair Award
Debra L. Hammond
Janie “JJ” Jones Outstanding Team of the Year Award
SRC Fitness and Wellness
Veterans Resource Center
Most Inspirational Student Assistant Employee
Most Resourceful Student Assistant
Bob Alexander Memorial Scholarship, ACUI Region 15
Debra L. Hammond New Professional Award, ACUI Region 15
The USU was recognized at the 2013 ACUI Region 15 Conference’s Steal This Idea contest with the following awards:
Red Rally Pub Graphics, Anthony Brown
Fagbug Poster, James Matzen
Pride Center Online Chat, James Matzen
Tuesday Talks, Marlene Orozco
Fagbug Flier, James Matzen
SRC Brochure, James Matzen
Annual Report 2011–12, James Matzen and Steven Wein
As Coordinator of the Pride Center and LGBTQ Initiatives, Loeb was recipient of the university’s first CSUN Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award. The award will be presented annually to an employee who exemplifies through leadership and positive interactions with others, a commitment to the spirit of diversity and a profound respect for all people from different backgrounds, life experiences, learning styles, and points of view within the University community.
Advisor of the Year (CSUN Clubs & Organizations Awards Ceremony)
|Statement of Financial Position||2014||2013|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$2,531,909||$7,214,880|
|Accounts receivable, net||$42,118||$41,755|
|Prepaid expenses and deposits||54,572||$49,168|
|Total Current Assets||$2,630,718||$7,305,803|
|Property and equipment|
|Equipment and software||$1,527,522||$1,698,700|
|Construction in progress||$28,224||$8,305|
|Total propery and equipment, net||$970,724||$1,176,807|
|LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS|
|Current portion of postretirement benefit payable||$7,023||$6,210|
|Total current liabilities||$1,271,244||$1,053,015|
|Postretirement benefit payable||$1,108,768||$981,557|
|TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS||$3,601,442||$8,482,610|
|Statement of Activities||2014||2013|
|UNRESTRICTED NET ASSETS|
|REVENUE — UNRESTRICTED|
|Student activity fees||$10,884,854||$10,540,000|
|Recreation center income||$648,704||$475,534|
|Total revenue - unrestricted||$12,955,634||$12,647,535|
|Net Assets released from restrictions||$105,072||$301,125|
|Total unrestricted revenue||$13,060,706||$12,948,660|
|General and administrative||$1,135,494||$1,380,841|
|Pension related changes other than net periodic pension costs||($9,020)||($92,749)|
|Transfer to the University for construction projects||($6,500,000)||-|
|Net nonoperating (expense) revenue||($6,504,695)||($92,165)|
|(Decrease) increase in unrestricted net assets||($5,226,608)||$1,820,704|
|TEMPORARILY RESTRICTED NET ASSETS|
|Net assets released from restrictions||($105,072)||($301,125)|
|(Decrease) increase in restricted net assets||-||($187,702)|
|CHANGE IN NET ASSETS||($5,226,608)||$1,633,002|
|NET ASSETS AT BEGINNING OF YEAR||$6,448,038||$4,815,036|
|NET ASSETS AT END OF YEAR||$1,221,430||$6,448,038|