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What happened? It was just a few months ago and things were great. Then this year happened. The economy was a disaster. Jobs were lost. Homes were in foreclosure. All the news was bad news: Merrill Lynch, AIG, Bernie Madoff all in disgrace; Mumbai held captive; modern day pirates wreaked havoc; earthquakes rocked parts of the world; the stock market dropped to historic levels. Things were really bad. This couldn’t be happening – not this year. After all, this was also the year of hope. Just four or five decades after a contentious civil rights movement, the people of the United States elected the first African American president. Opportunity. Passion. Hope. To many, the election of Barack Obama signaled a rebirth of the American dream. It seemed to be unreal. Millions gathered around their television set to witness history on election night and millions more did the same as Obama was sworn in as the 44th President. Who would believe it? This couldn’t be happening – not this year. The challenges of the world, especially economic challenges trickled down to our campus here at CSULB. The financial crisis meant increased tuition, fewer jobs, and higher prices for personal items like books, gas, and food. The year seemed heavy for students. Everything cost more and jobs were hard to find. All these things combined seemed to overwhelm some students. Many struggled with simple things like paying for books and buying groceries. Many worked multiple jobs to stay in school so they could finish their last year of college. Of all years, they wished it didn’t happen this year. Not this year. The University Student Union (USU) was in a tough situation. Times were tough. Some thought that we should cut back and save money. “Scale back programs,” “Those services aren’t needed.” Cries were heard that students will have too much on their plate to notice if the USU lessened its contribution to the student body. There may be years when cutting student programming, closing food vendors, and laying off students would be an acceptable practice, but not this year. That’s the value of the USU. It is that place on campus where students can feel safe, the proverbial home away from home. In a year of disaster and opportunity, struggles and victories, crisis and hope, we need the USU, the campus needs the USU and, most importantly, the students need the USU. In simple ways, it is hope and opportunity. It is a job for some, a place to relax for others. This year’s “Year in Review” is different. While we still acknowledge accomplishments of the USU, we focus this issue on how the USU has helped shape the lives of the students in the USU. There may be years where the USU should not focus on students, but not this year!

Dave Edwards ASI Associate Executive Director/ Director University Student Union

“The University Student Union provides a place where students can chill and forget about stressful problems.” Says Dari Soera who frequently uses the USU to step away from her hectic day and reconnect with friends or study. With the USU’s ongoing opportunities to win prizes or sample free food, Dari says the USU offers a fun and relaxing environment that helps the day’s troubles melt away – even for just a little while.

That our programs and services must ENRICH students’ lives, contribute toward their retention and enhance their educational experience. That creativity and quality in our programs, facilities, and services are ESSENTIAL to our success. That the people of the USU are our organization’s most valuable RESOURCE.


That who we are is DEFINED by whom and how we serve. That, with a healthy dissatisfaction of the status quo, we will strive to improve, address the ever-changing needs of students, and SEEK greatness. These beliefs drive our shared vision to create a strong campus community at California State University, Long Beach.

Best at What Students


As the 2008-09 school year comes to an end at California State University, Long Beach, the University Student Union is still following its mission of being “The Best at What Students Want.” We are glad to be bringing the students the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which had its groundbreaking ceremony this year. The center will be opening summer 2010 and I know I can’t wait. It will consist of many great qualities that a great recreation and wellness center has and more. During these economic times a gym membership is costly and to be able to work out and hang out with friends and classmates at the center is of great importance. We also opened up the new Italian eatery, Sbarro, which comes with a great selection of delicious food and the University’s first full-service bank, Wells Fargo.


I would like to thank everyone who gave me this opportunity to be Chair of the USU Board of Trustees. This was my first year in Associated Students, Inc. and my first year in any student government type environment. I would like to thank the other Students-at-Large. Without them it would have been difficult. I would especially like to thank my Vice Chair Michelle Silva, who as Chair last year provided me with much-needed guidance. I would like to thank students for their feedback, which makes it possible for the USU to be what you want it to be. Go Beach!


Raul Tapia Chair, University Student Union Board of Trustees

As Dulani Perera talks with her friends about struggling to find work, or reads about another financial crisis, she is happy to have a job at the Candy Corner, where she feels safe from the current economic meltdown. “I find it fulfilling working in the USU,” she says. “I enjoy working with people and making new friends. I’m glad I have such a great job.”

The Commercial Services Department provides oversight of Retail Services, the Games Center, Conference and Event Center and Lease Operations. The purpose of this department is to offer the campus community and its guests products and services which include, but not limited to food services, bowling, billiards, table tennis, arcade, recreational classes and tournaments. The USU Conference and Event staff assists event planners with selections for appropriate space, equipment, staff support and room setups to maximize the effectiveness of programs and activities.


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The Games Center held three Association of College Unions International (ACUI) qualifying tournaments for billiards and table tennis. Winners Rudolfo Lucar and Yung Hsueh Chang represented CSULB at the ACUI Recreational Weekend Tournament at Point Loma Nazarene University, which took place in February.

In September 2008, a grand opening was held showcasing Wells Fargo Bank, and in January 2009 Sbarro opened its doors to the campus community, kicking off the day with entertainment and a ribbon cutting.

The first-ever “A Taste of the U” Vendor Fair brought out all the commercial vendors in an effort to introduce them to the campus community. The vendors handed out coupons, discounts and free food samples.

Kasey Schoen says the USU contributes greatly to her quality of life at California State University, Long Beach, with various avenues for entertainment and culturally diverse programs. She says, “I believe everything you could want out of the USU is here! It targets culture, cuisine, student involvement and services.”

The University Student Union Programs Department includes College Beat Productions, ASI Communications, USU Program Council, the Maxson Student Organization Center and the ASI Street Team. Together, these teams plan and promote some of the campus’ most exciting events including Kaleidoscope & film sneak peaks.


The Long Beach State Poetry Slam Team won second place at the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Region 15 Recreation Tournament in San Diego.

College Beat Productions worked hand-in-hand with CSULB’s Athletics Department on athletic campaigns, including 49-second spots featuring various athletes and alumni, such as Olympic Gold Medalist Misty May Trainer.

ASI Communications walked away with first and second place at the National ACUI “Steal This Idea” contest for the USU Games Center T-shirt design and multi-page publication, the 2008 USU Year in Review, respectively.

Tefary Buford on a typical day directs students to their destinations and sells discounted theme park tickets. He says it feels great to introduce the low-cost services to each student who crosses his path. “It has offered me a great job that helps keep the gas tank full,” Tefary says of the Information and Ticket Center in the University Student Union.

The Facility Operations Department does an incredible job each day cleaning the building, setting up for events and maintaining the various components that make up the University Student Union facility.


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The water fountain in the Center Courtyard, which was installed just before the Spring 2009 semester, provides to students a calming atmosphere, as well as compliments the architecture of the USU.

The Information and Ticket Center added new tickets to the theme park options available, including Medieval Times, the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, AMC and Regal theaters and the Queen Mary.

New bicycle racks were added to the USU to accommodate more students.

The South Plaza has new furniture and umbrellas that have doubled the seating capacity.

As graduating senior Brian Troutner thinks back on his experience at CSULB, the USU and the Associated Students, Inc. are always on the forefront of his mind. “Being ASI Treasurer and on the USU Board of Trustees has really helped me grow as a person,” he says. “I’ve had the privilege to meet great people and even in the stressful times, have always loved coming to work in the USU. I have always felt supported, and for that, I truly love this place.”

It took $3,945,882 to operate the USU. Of that, $2,744,829 was received from student fees and $1,221,053 from generated revenue, which includes ticket sales, Conference and Events Center rentals and other services. This year, the Commercial Services Department was completely self-sustaining and did not have to be subsidized.


Nori Kato comes to campus every day, whether she’s going to class or to work in the USU as an ASI Communications Assistant. She says being in the USU makes her feel like she’s part of a unit, rather than a spectator. “Every town has a refuge, every village has a shelter and the University Student Union is ours,” she says.

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) was approved by student voters in 2006 by nearly 75 percent, and on Jan. 30, 2009, the USU hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate this major milestone. The center will be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silvercertified building on campus, as well as one of the first LEED Silver-certified recreation centers in the California State University system.


The 126,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building will feature weight and fitness machines; cardio theater; a wellness center; a rock-climbing wall; indoor running track; basketball, volleyball and badminton courts; multi-activity courts; outside recreation pool and spa; sand volleyball; racquetball courts; health-food eatery; group fitness classes and hundreds of student jobs. As a LEED Silver Level building, several of the SRWC’s elements are environmentally friendly, starting with the groundbreaking itself. Pulverized asphalt from Parking Lot 11, on which the center is being built, will be reused as the SRWC’s foundation. Also, the SRWC will use reclaimed water for irrigation; waterless urinals; adjustable lights that brighten as the day grows darker; recycled lumber; and new technology – like biometric scanners – to decrease paper waste. Look for the SRWC to open next year!

John Yang says he uses the USU as a one-stop shop to eat, de-stress and study, all the while saving money in the process. He sees the USU as a haven for weary students, whether it offers concerts, movie screenings or just a quiet place to take a quick cat nap. “It gives me a place to relax and congregate.”

The University Student Union has launched its “Sustain U” campaign as part of a growing concern for conservation and the environment. The “Sustain U” campaign started on a smaller scale in April 2009 when all trashcans in the USU were replaced with recycling bins for paper, bottles and cans. Also, posters accompany each set of recycling bins that educate students about the importance of sustainable living. The “Sustain U” campaign is expected to hit a larger scale in the fall 2009 semester during the Residence Hall Move-In. The purpose of the newly formed USU Sustainability Committee is to set the direction for the USU in regards to sustainability and conservation for the years to come by:


Identifying and recommending both long-term and short-term management practices for the environmental sustainability of the USU.

Developing an educational/marketing program for USU users.

Developing a comprehensive recycling program for the facility targeting procedures for all offices, tenants and users of the building.

Providing insight for the direction of the facility and the overall environmental impact the USU has on the campus and Long Beach communities.




Written And Edits By:



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Christina L. Esparza Nori Kato Dave Edwards Sylvana Cicero

Art Direction: Aaron Elimelech Steven Tran Andy Danger

Design: Steven Tran Andy Danger

Illustration: Steven Tran


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Photography: Aaron Elimelech

Contributors: Dave Edwards Pamela Lewis Sylvana Cicero Lisa Molina de la Loza Scott Christopherson-Schorn Keya Allen-Littleton Parker Chalmers Dari Soera Raul Tapia Dulani Perera Kasey Schoen Tefary Buford Brian Troutner Nori Kato John Yang

University Student Union Year in Review 2009