Cal State Long Beach is a small city of about 41,000 students, staff and faculty. We are proud to be part of the great city of Long Beach, as well as the surrounding region, and strive to add value to each and every corner of our city.
When I joined the CSULB community five years ago, I was told that the university’s nickname (like we need ANOTHER name!) was “mausoleum on the hill.” Taking that as a challenge, I am committed to create positive community impact way beyond Bellflower Boulevard, the Pyramid, and well outside the 90840 ZIP Code that encompasses the campus.
As we put the wrap on another summer, I am heartened to see how our campus has once again played an integral role in the lives of young people who attended camps here and were able to participate in various activities and services before heading back to school. I enjoy seeing young people from area schools, who might one day attend CSULB, being inspired by faculty and university students working with them on art projects, coaching them on a playing field, or helping them understand STEM experiments.
Most people who know us are aware that CSULB is a place for everyone of all ages — not just a place for our students. We recognize that our campus is as much a place to acquire university level knowledge as it is a place to experience things such as world class music, theatre, fine arts, and dance; and, exciting athletic events and opportunities for life-long fitness and learning.
We are a state institution, but we see ourselves as part of the local landscape in every way. Most of our students and alumni hail from nearby neighborhoods or nearby cities. Many faculty and staff live within walking or bicycling distance. And many of us regularly use services and shop in the area. A landmark study last year underscored this, pointing out that CSULB had a total economic impact of $1.53 billion during the 2016-17 fiscal year, supported 10,600 jobs in Los Angeles and Orange counties (3,700 in Long Beach alone) and generated close to $42 million in tax revenues.
When it comes to the impact our faculty members have on our communities, our professors conduct myriad types of research, including studying homelessness and looking for solutions to its challenges; surveying historic local architecture; analyzing the health of our ocean environment; explaining politics for the news media; analyzing the prospects of local small businesses; supporting the Osher Life-Long Learning Institute; and monitoring nearby coyote populations.
At any given time, CSULB is involved with initiatives throughout our communities that benefit students and residents alike.
One example includes our College of Business students who assist low-income residents with their taxes each year. Offered at no cost, the program provides necessary help to economically challenged people. At our School of Nursing, through a public-private partnership, students conduct area home visits, checking on clients’ health and well-being. This program provides a needed service to the elderly and shut-ins, as well as hands-on experience for our students.
But some of the biggest impacts CSULB has on its communities are those that come as a result of the work of its student and alumni volunteers through various community outreach efforts. The list of organizations and causes our faculty and students are involved in is a long one. Here are a few examples: the AIDS Service Center, AmeriCorps, Boys and Girls Clubs of Carson, Casa Youth Shelter, Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment, Community Action Partnership, Community Development Commission and Habitat for Humanity.
Our campus is inextricably tied to its surrounding areas — far beyond its educational mission. Many of us live here; we study, teach and work here. And because of the special relationship among our communities, we all thrive here.