CSUN also delivers a strong social impact through its commitment to underprivileged students, with many of the University’s students coming from traditionally underserved communities. In fall 2014, nearly 45% of CSUN’s student population identified as either Latino or African-American. In Southern California, students from these communities, on average, live in lower-income households, which in many cases leads to lower levels of educational attainment. CSUN provides an opportunity to receive an exceptional university education to individuals from these communities who may not receive a similar opportunity elsewhere. To this end, CSUN students received the second-highest Pell grant disbursement, totaling more than $87 million for nearly 20,000 students. Moreover, the returns these students receive from their education at CSUN are even greater than the returns to students who come from more affluent communities.
Leading the Way
The Associated Students (A.S.) group is the primary advocate for the student body at CSUN. A.S. has spearheaded a number of campus-wide initiatives. The A.S. Campus Recycling program, established in 1991, fosters environmental stewardship by supporting the collection of recyclable materials at more than 200 locations across the CSUN campus. A.S. also operates a high-quality early-childhood program for student parents. The availability of affordable, quality child care has been cited as one of the most critical barriers to the academic success of students with young children. A.S. Children’s Center first opened its doors in 1973, and in 2001 expanded to its present size with a licensed capacity of 140 children. The Center provides children with nutritious meals and snacks and social opportunities that make their care a strong developmental experience and a much less stressful experience for their parents.
A.S. is also responsible for many of the extracurricular programs offered at the University. The organization maintains the Sports Clubs program, which provides CSUN students an opportunity to participate in competitive intramural sports and recreational activities. There are currently 30 sports open to students, including archery, cheer, rock climbing, salsa libre, and water polo. The CSUN Outdoor Adventures program sponsors several different recreational opportunities, serving more than 6,000 students each year. Students can participate in Camp Matador, a three-day adventure filled with zip-lining and hiking, or the Wilderness Welcome program, which offers four to five days of camping, backpacking, or canoeing trips. Meanwhile, A.S. Productions is responsible for bringing concerts, cultural events, lectures, and special events to CSUN’s campus. The marquee event for A.S. Productions is “Big Show,” a major concert on campus that has become a university tradition since its inception 13 years ago. Clearly, A.S. serves as a major source of social and cultural life at the University, and its presence within CSUN delivers a very substantial social benefit to students and their families.
11 “Children’s Center.” California State Northridge Associated Students.