The Associated Students initiated the use of electronic voting for student body elections held last spring. For the first time, students were able to access polls online, 24 hours a day, and vote when and where they chose. Students received an email from BigPulse Opinion Markets, the polling company, with a link to the voting site where they could read short candidate statements and place their votes. BigPulse Opinion Markets was chosen based on their proposal, demonstration, ease of implementation, accessibility, pricing structure and security. The switch to electronic voting allowed the AS to extend the polling period an additional day and increased voter turn-out by more than 112 percent.
On October 22, an advisory panel of Beach Crew alumni was selected to form an interim board that will build the foundation of an alumni association. With the help of current Beach Crew members, the CSULB Foundation and the Division of Student Services, a Beach Crew Alumni Association was officially formed. The mission of the Beach Crew Alumni Association is to enhance the CSULB rowing program, provide scholarship opportunities to student athletes and maintain relationships with Beach Crew alumni. The Beach Crew Alumni Association is open to men and women who have rowed with the university at least one season.
CAPS welcomed three doctoral interns for 2008-09 to complete full-time, 12-month internships in its American Psychological Association internship program. Interns are Vinetha Belur, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University; Jennifer Bowers, Psy.D., Chicago School of Professional Psychology; and Veronica Stotts, Ph.D., State University of New York, Albany. The CAPS internship program remains the only APA doctoral internship program in the CSU system. The program received its first accreditation in 1987.
In September, CAPS and DSS received word that CSULB is one of 17 campuses nationwide to receive $83,477 for three years to support a Campus Suicide Prevention Grant. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the project is titled “On Campus Emergency Assistance Network (OCEAN) at The Beach,” and aims to provide training so front-line staff can identify and refer students who may be at risk for suicide. CAPS and DSS are collaborating with Student Health Services on the project.
On October 20, DSS sponsored a Mental Health Awareness Day event that featured Colleen Coffey, program manager for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign. Coffey shared her personal struggles with mental health disorders and addressed the personal stigmas surrounding mental health disorders and eating disorders among college students. Event co-sponsors included the Associated Students, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Women’s Resource Center.
A 2008 contract monitoring review of the center by the California Department of Education, Childcare Division found that the center meets requirements in key dimensions of parent involvement and education; governance and administration; standards, assessment and accountability; staffing and professional development; opportunity and equal educational access; and teaching and learning. The center received a perfect score in all areas evaluated on the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale.
In September, the Recycling Center learned that, during the prior year, it had a significant impact on greenhouse gasses per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s climate change waste reduction calculator. The center was able to reduce nearly 3,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, about 800 metric tons of carbon equivalent and had a savings of 30.6 billion BTUs. “This impact is equivalent to removing 449 passenger vehicles from the road for an entire year, which saves 245,318 gallons of gasoline or 5,290 barrels of oil,” said Lee Johnson, coordinator of the center.
In spring 2008, SLD conducted an online survey of 298 students to assess student satisfaction and program quality. Ninety-three percent of respondents indicated participation in campus clubs, organizations and activities enhanced their college experience and 88 percent reported that participation developed skills that will help prepare them for their careers. Eighty-three percent felt more motivated to stay in college. The SLD Office received 94 percent ratings for professionalism and 95 percent in friendly service.
Survey questions also assessed student experiences with the Lois J. Swanson Leadership Resource Center. More than 86 percent felt their self-awareness and ability to identify and articulate core beliefs and values improved as a result of participating in the leadership program. Eighty-seven percent reported increased confidence working with people from different backgrounds than their own and 96 percent indicated they would recommend the Leadership Academy to a friend. The center received positive feedback on professionalism, with 97 percent of respondents reporting the center is excellent to good and 94 percent indicating it provides friendly service.
Also, the 26th annual Teamwork Leadership Retreat—CSULB’s cornerstone student leadership development program—was held October 3-5 at Camp Arbolado in the beautiful mountains of Angeles Oaks. The retreat was designed to build community among student leaders and empower participants to become agents of change in their communities. This year, attendees explored the concept of civic engagement and participated in activities to develop citizenship skills in a leadership context. Students participated in outdoor teambuilding initiatives and experiential activities aimed at increasing their awareness regarding personal/group decision-making and community service involvement. These activities allowed students to articulate their civic responsibilities and rights and develop skills to analyze campus issues, build coalitions and create common goals. The retreat program was developed and implemented by SLD staff and a committee of faculty, staff and students.
The Educational Benchmark Institute survey, a national assessment of student satisfaction in which more than 600 CSULB students participated, reported in March that the University Student Union scored high points in all areas. Most notably, students saw extremely significant improvements in entertainment, cleanliness, life and leadership and thought the USU was extremely student-oriented and offered a positive environment. More than half of the students said USU activities enhanced their college lives and leadership.
In July, the Upward Bound program received word that it was awarded a two-year $90,000 grant from the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network. The grant will provide intensive services to 30 in-school youth, ages 14-18, who reside in the Long Beach/Signal Hill area and require assistance to complete an educational program or find employment. The in-school youth project is a collaboration with the Career Development Center and the City of Long Beach Neighborhood Services Bureau.