Marilyn Magaram Center

Summer 2022 Director's Message

July 28, 2022

Annette A. Besnilian

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." — F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The sun is shining and leaves are growing in our new expanded garden area of the Sequoia Hall exterior courtyard. We have installed ZipGrow hydroponic towers, and have collaborated with LA Urban Farms to grow our antioxidant research project and cultivate additional produce in a variety of agricultural systems. It is our goal to continue work with other organizations and campuses, and have made connections with USC, Cal Poly Pomona, and Aquaponics Source, to name a few. We are thankful to Barbara and Gary Luboff for their generous donation to help with our expansion. This past year, our staff and students were able to present to the campus community at the Southern California Institute of Food Technologists Section (SCIFTS). This summer, we have been able to provide in-person internships for our students.   

Summer is always a great time for reflection, rest, and rejuvenation. The MMC was excited to end a very successful Spring semester offering hybrid programs and services.  

The Spring semester allowed us to return to on-campus learning. It is our highest priority as we remain dedicated to student success and development on the path to becoming future professionals. We continue to provide both in-person and virtual resources, tools, and learning opportunities that are widely accessible and in alignment with the university’s protocols for campus repopulation. Through the Pathways to Success program and generous donor funding, we were able to provide approximately 60 scholarships to our student scholars who were recognized for their achievements. We are extremely grateful to our donors, sponsors, and partners for the opportunity to implement and further expand our innovative and collaborative programs and services while improving health outcomes and enhancing the quality of life for the CSUN community and beyond. The Spring semester ended with an in-person pinning ceremony where we recognized all our amazing students, volunteers, interns, faculty, staff, donors and advisory committee members. 

June 15th marked the 31st Anniversary of our Center’s Dedication. This summer, we have successfully provided tours for CSUN President Erika Beck, Chief of Staff Genevieve Evans Taylor, Nichole Ipach, the VP University Relations and Advancement, the HHD Dean’s Circle, our Interim Dean Mechelle Best and our MMC Center and HHD donors. Our amazing staff and students were able to showcase our sensory lab of tomatoes grown in the three systems, provide food demonstrations, showcase our newly brewed herbal teas, chocolates, salads and many wellness products.  

We have continued our interactive social media posts, various hybrid events and our interdisciplinary collaborations with our campus and community partners through a multitude of programs and projectsOur students and sports dietitians provided a hands-on cooking and nutrition workshop to the CSUN Men’s Basketball team with more cooking workshops planned with additional CSUN Athletic teams. We were once again able to collaborate with the SAEP program. This summer they were able to offer an in-person culinary camp for middle school children. We continue to collaborate with the Art Department, Journalism Department, the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing, the Institute for Sustainability, and CSUN Entrepreneurship. Through the CSUN ARCS Center and generous donation from Susan Ettingerwe have participated in the NASA Deep Space Food Challenge and I am excited to inform that we have made it into the second phase of the challenge and look forward to continue working with ARCS students and staff. We are very proud to announce that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has recognized our MyPlate the Musical” with the Innovative AwardWe have been selected to present at the Food and Nutrition conference and Expo. We have been able to continue to offer the Art of Gardening workshops, Culinary Medicine planning, and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Tower Cancer Research Foundation workshopsAs we move towards the Fall semester, we are excited to work with new partners and collaborators (CSUN Child and Adolescent Development; Music therapy, counseling, the Art Department; and Interior Design program) on our exciting Tea Heaven project which will be made possible by our generous Campus Quality Fee grants. The expanded section of the interior courtyard will be used as space for students returning to campus where they can enjoy freshly grown and brewed MMC teas while participating in music or art therapy, garden training, growing food for the food pantry and nutrition and wellness education. The normalcy of campus life is upon us, as we move forward and look forward to more in person activities and opportunities. We welcome new interns, collaborations and interdisciplinary projects, and continue to remain dedicated to fulfilling our mission and vision through the valuable contributions of all those who are helping to advance our commitment to research, education, and community service in the fields of nutrition, dietetics, food science and beyond. 

Additionally, we are excited to continue expanding our product lines with new items in development such as the Wellness Line of teas, The Pickled Matador relish Giardiniera, and our protein recovery bars. Our CalFresh Healthy Living team continues to coordinate free nutrition and fitness education and activities for children and adults, outreach events at local parks, and monthly food distributions. 

As always, all of our unique products are available to purchase and pick up in-person at the MMC and at the CSUN Matador BookstorePlease continue to visit our website for more details about our current promotions, services, resources, and upcoming events and be sure to look for updates in our bi-weekly MMC Virtual Events emails. I extend my sincerest appreciation to all of our amazing staff, student assistants, internsdonors, advisory committee members, administrators, collaborators, and campus and community partners for their dedication in providing our amazing hybrid programs and services at CSUN and in the greater communityAs a reminder, you can find the most recent campus updates along with the new COVID dashboard through the Matadors Forward webpage.  

Annette A. Besnilian., Executive Director, Marilyn Magaram Center