Board of Directors
Over the last few years, the USU Board of Directors (BOD) and its committees have launched popular CSUN student destinations including the Student Recreation Center, Oasis Wellness Center, Pride Center and Veterans Resource Center. In addition, the student-led board increased funding for large-scale events such as Matador Nights, Carnaval and Crunch Time. Then, in Spring 2019, the BOD voted to initiate the successful student referendum to build the transformative “New Heart of Campus” renovation and expansion project that is now scheduled to open during the 2022–23 academic year.
As the student leaders of a non-profit auxiliary of the CSUN campus, the Board of Directors is primarily responsible for developing policy for the USU. The overall purposes and responsibilities of the BOD are to maintain USU buildings and facilities, oversee financial matters, facilitate programs and adopt policies in the best interest of students, in keeping with the policies set forth by the Trustees of the California State University system and CSUN.
Start doing more now for your campus through involvement with the University Student Union Board of Directors.
Are you interested in joining the USU BOD? There are three ways to get involved:
- Run for a seat on the BOD in the Spring Elections. Each spring, students run in the AS/USU elections for five of the ten student seats.
- Apply for an open seat on the BOD if there are any vacancies. Contact the BOD Assistant to find out about any current vacancies.
- Join a USU Board of Directors standing committee to learn about the USU and BOD while developing skills for the future. The standing committees include: the audit committee, the facilities and commercial services committee, the finance committee, and the personnel committee. Students who serve on committees and demonstrate leadership potential are always encouraged to run for a seat on the BOD.
Students who serve on the BOD or a committee must have a minimum cumulative and semester 2.0 GPA, and must have completed at least one semester at California State University, Northridge.
- Enhance USU marketing efforts within the USU, and throughout California State University, Northridge while promoting and providing information about the Center on Centers/Cross Cultural Center Initiative.
- Create a Mentor Program to help form a stronger relationship with USU faculty, staff and administration in hopes of developing student leader’s professional endeavors.
- Collaborate with Associated Students to continue strengthening relations and better support our student body.
- Continue to spread inclusivity within the USU and outside the USU while empowering student organizations on our campus by working with them to accomplish their goals.
Meet the Board
Jacob Akopnik, Chair
Chair, Retirement Committee
Major: Political Science
Jacob is the current chair of the Board of Directors having previously served as vice-chair of the board and Chair of the Finance Committee. He’s held many on-campus leadership positions in organizations outside of the USU Board including Associated Students, Model United Nations, and Lambda Chi Alpha. Although he is prepping to graduate with a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Urban Studies and planning, he has left a legacy within the USU through projects such as the USU Bookstore Grant, the New Heart of Campus, and assisting students in finding opportunities around CSUN.
Gisselle Olmedo Torres, Vice Chair
Chair, Personnel Committee
Co-Chair, Retirement Committee
Gisselle is a first-generation Latinx student, majoring in Film Production with a minor in Popular Culture Studies. During her three years at CSUN, Gisselle has been involved in New Student Orientation as an Orientation Leader, as a member in the Finance Committee, Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Committee as well as participating as the Board Representative in the Student Fee Advisory Committee. Most recently she has been involved with the New Heart of Campus project, providing her opinion and using her voice for the betterment of the students, and served as Chair for the Personnel Committee. Now in her new role as Vice Chair for the Board of Directors, she plans on creating more open and accessible communication between Board members and the student body. She is excited to push the social media initiative forward and connect more with CSUN as a whole.
Mishell De Leon, Student Representative
Co-Chair, Finance Committee
Ayana Galves, Student Representative
Co-Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Major: Biology Major/Africana Studies Minor
Involvement: USU Board of Directors
Ayana is strategic, competitive, and futuristic. She is currently an active Board of Directors member, serving as the chair of the Personnel Committee. Ayana is focused on continuing to be a leader in the USU, speaking up for CSUN students, and educational/personal development. She is aware that the USU can help her to succeed in all aspects during her educational career here at California State University, Northridge.
Bryant Garcia, Student Representative
Co-Chair, Personnel Committee
Bryant is a graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program, with an emphasis in Public Sector Management and Leadership. This is complemented by his experience in program development and implementation at the local non-profit he works for that supports children and adults with Autism and other developmental disabilities. Additionally, Bryant continues looking for ways to give back to his community as an active brother of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. With a seat on the University Student Union’s Board of Directors, he seeks to continue being an advocate for students and ensuring their needs are met. This commitment began for him as an undergraduate at CSUN, where he served as a student assistant employee at the University Student Union while also recommending policies and programs in the Board's Facilities and Commercial Services Committee. More importantly, Bryant worked on other committees and campaigns at the University Student Union including the development of the New Heart of Campus Project, bringing students new programs and state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly facilities to the USU.
Robert Jacome, Student Representative
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Christian Lipton, Student Representative
Chair, Facilities and Operations Committee
Christian currently serves as Lambda Chi Alpha’s Recruitment Chairman, IFC's Vice President, and is the former Event Coordinator for Camp Kesem and Administration assistant for USU Marketing. His goal is to engage with students to understand their needs, bring an energized attitude to the board, and promote unity throughout campus by showcasing ideas that can increase engagement. He is an award-winning content creator who is excited to bring his own form of creativity to the USU.
Fredy Perez, Student Representative
Co-Chair, Facilities and Operations Committee
Fredy is a first-generation student entering his senior year at CSUN while also serving as co-chair for the Board's Facility Committee. He has received an AA in sociology and administrative justice from Santa Monica College and is in his final semester to obtain a bachelor's in Sociology. His goal is to someday become a defense attorney for juvenile kids.
Charlie Rodriguez-Salazar, Student Representative
Co-Chair, Finance Committee
Charlie is a third-year transfer and first-generation student. He’s currently a member of Lobby Corps, Unified We Serve, and has experience as Commissioner of Human Relations hosting and directing blood drives through the Red Cross. He plans to utilize his experience as a student who has navigated multiple foreign spaces to ensure students are given the resources needed to thrive in this environment and are made aware of the opportunities CSUN provides.
Ana Zapata, Student Representative
Co-Chair, Personnel Committee
Debra L. Hammond, Executive Secretary
Dr. Carroll Brown, Alumni Representative
Benjamin Plotkin, Staff Representative
Dr. Edith Winterhalter, University Representative
Dr. Tadeh Zirakian, Faculty Representative
Kaitlyn Orozco, Associated Students Vice President*
*This position serves as a liaison to the Board of Directors and is not eligible to vote.
- July 19, 2021 (via Zoom; Meeting ID: summfall2021bodmeetings)
- Aug. 30, 2021 (Grand Salon)
- Sept. 13, 2021 (Grand Salon)
- Oct. 25, 2021 (Grand Salon)
Nov. 15, 2021 (Grand Salon)[Canceled]
- Dec. 6, 2021 (Grand Salon)
- Jan. 24, 2022 (Grand Salon)
- Feb. 14, 2022 (Grand Salon)
- March 7, 2022 (Grand Salon)
- April 11, 2022 (Grand Salon)
- May 9, 2022 (Grand Salon)
- June 13, 2022 (Grand Salon)
All meetings are held at 12:30 p.m.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these meetings may be modified and/or offered virtually.
Other Important BOD Dates
- July 2020: BOD Summer Retreat*
- July/Aug. 2020: Committee Chair/Co-Chair Training*
- Aug. 19, 2020: Student Summit*
- Aug. 27, 2020: Matafest*
- Sept. 7, 2020: Holiday — Labor Day
- Sept. 18, 2020: Matador Nights*
- Nov. 2020: ACUI Region I Conference*
- Nov. 11, 2020: Holiday — Veterans Day
- Nov. 2020: NIRSA Region VI Conference*
- Nov. 26–27, 2020: Holiday — Thanksgiving
- Dec. 9–15, 2020: Fall Final Exams
- Dec. 24, 2020 – Jan. 1, 2021: Winter Break
- Jan. 21, 2021: Student Summit
- Jan. 18, 2021: Holiday — Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Feb. 2021: NIRSA Annual Conference
- March 2021: ACUI Annual Conference
- March 15–21, 2021: Spring Recess
- March 31, 2021: Holiday — César Chávez Day
- April 16, 2021: USU Night Marketing
- May 2021: BOD Year-End Celebration
- May 15–21, 2021: Spring Final Exams
- May 31, 2021: Holiday — Memorial Day
- June 2021: BOD Orientation
*Due to COVID-19, these programs may be modified and/or offered virtually.
If you would like more information about the BOD or are interested in applying for an open position, please provide your information below and we’ll be in touch soon.