CSUN President Caren Yap and Vice President Abe Lugo are both excited and wary of the fall semester. As the semester takes place and the delta variant continues to occupy people’s minds, the executive board of CSUN have thought up plans for this school year.
“Older students have transitioned out and graduated, now we have a big influx of two new classes,” Lugo said. “With that influx, we have a bunch of students who don’t know what CSUN is, and that’s not where we should be. How are we going to do that if they don’t even know that we exist?”
He believes that CSUN is supposed to represent the students and what they need. As a result, there has been an emphasis on communication between students. Yap could be heard the first week of school going around campus with a megaphone, letting students walking to class know of CSUN.
Additionally, the communication line between faculty and CSUN has also grown.
“I’d like to think that myself and Abe have formed a really strong relationship with administration, in the sense where it’s strong enough so if we disagree with one of their calls on say a proposal or one of their calls on COVID-19,” Yap said.
Yap and Lugo have been regularly meeting with UNLV President Keith Whitfield.
“For UNLV, as a whole, we all have a duty to speak up for our students and to make sure that the best policies are put in place,” Yap said. “We’re all one collective UNLV.”
Over the summer break, the CSUN executive board got to work closely with administration to work out a decision on a health insurance proposal for students. The decision was to not implement mandatory healthcare on students as the administration believed making it mandatory will disproportionately affect low income students and deter students away from pursuing a higher education.
“Thankfully, we were able to communicate,” Lugo said. “We had them come to the Senate, talk to us, have that open dialogue and they kind of rescinded that proposal thankfully.”
Two boards were added to CSUN, the department of campus life and the department of student engagement.
“As we come out of COVID-19, one of the most important things that we need on campus is campus life and student engagement,” Yap said.
As they have been building the communication line around campus, registered student organizations (RSOs) are front and center for CSUN.
“What I’ve learned the most about is how disconnected they [RSO’s] are from CSUN,” Yap said. “Those who are involved in student organizations are those who are most likely to become a CSUN official, those who learn the most or who have a cause that they’re fighting for.”
The Food Pantry on campus was reinvented, as due to a lack of visibility the pantry had a lot of leftovers. This semester, CSUN has allocated the same amount of $20,000 and implemented paid positions to run the place. Half the funding will go to the food, and the rest will go to increasing paid positions.
“Any student who is unfortunately suffering from any sort of food insecurity, and it doesn’t need to have any sort of basis or level to that in general, can feel free after the grand opening to just stop by,” Lugo said. “It’s a quick form. I went there myself during the pandemic. My family was suffering from a bit of food insecurity, and I just went. It’s very easy, they pick it out for you, it’s very safe and COVID-friendly.”
CSUN is also supporting the return of the Campus Garden, located next to the Rebel Recycling Center. The garden was shut down due to the pandemic, so it needed maintenance as it was left dormant.
Food that is successfully grown at the community garden would be donated to the Food Pantry.
To help combat misinformation, students and faculty can now sign up for a New York Times subscription, paid for by CSUN. The subscription will in the future be used by professors in their classes for some assignments as more time is given for faculty to adjust.
There have been an addition of billboards with CSUN on them around the Las Vegas Valley, but not a single dollar comes out of student funding or personal funding. UNLV’s marketing department reached out to the executive board to diversify their ads and give the student government an opportunity to reach more students around the Valley, according to CSUN.
The current billboards are described as a practice and are expected to use the space to advertise for students.
The State of the Campus Address will begin at 5 p.m. on Sept. 15 in the Pida Plaza. The event will end at 9 p.m.