President's Newsletter, 2/13/2017

One of the best parts of my presidency at CSUMB has been getting to know and work with the student leaders on campus.

They are committed, idealistic and action-oriented, and have been effective both in raising student concerns and in stepping forward to help address them.

Anyone who saw all the students carrying bags of groceries from the Associated Students-organized food pantry last week witnessed a prime example of both identifying a problem and coming up with at least a partial solution.

Food insecurity is a very real issue for college students across the nation. According to the 2016 CSU Food and Housing Security report, 24 percent of students in the CSU are experiencing some degree of food insecurity. A national survey of college students reported similar findings.

If our campus reflects those averages, that means that more than 1,800 CSUMB students must deal with food insecurity issues.

Last academic year, the Associated Students’ leaders stepped forward to organize food pantries to provide bags of healthy food to students who needed those supplies. The program has expanded in the 2016-17 academic year.

AS President Lauren McClain said the most recent pantry handed out 300 bags of food. AS uses student fee revenue to purchase the bags for $5 each from the Food Bank for Monterey County.

While there is no question that the program is making a difference for students, Lauren acknowledges that much more can be done. She encourages students who qualify to apply for the Cal Fresh program, which provides food benefits to low-income households. Someday, she hopes that CSUMB can establish a storefront food pantry, which could help meet students’ needs on an ongoing basis.

I greatly appreciate the willingness of AS leaders to keep this issue in the forefront as they seek to make life better for their fellow students.

Comments on the Master Plan

Last year, students, faculty and staff from across our campus offered their ideas on revisions to our campus master plan. The latest draft of the plan is now available on-line and we encourage everyone to take a look and tell us what you think. Comments will be accepted through March 6. Given the potential growth of CSUMB, we have a unique opportunity to shape a sustainable, pedestrian-friendly campus that makes the best use of the matchless site and the natural resources available to us.

Upcoming Events

February will be a busy month with a variety of worthwhile events. A few highlights:

· The second event in our 2016-17 President’s Speaker Series, featuring futurist Dr. James Canton, will be held at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Colligan Theater in Santa Cruz. The presentation also will be simulcast at CSUMB’s World Theater.

· Our 19th Annual Have a Heart for Students Dinner and Auction will be held starting at 5 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Portola Hotel and Spa in Monterey. Over the years, the event has raised well over $1 million to support student success.

· Our first Sustainable Hospitality Development Symposium will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the InterContinental The Clement in Monterey. The symposium will feature tourism leaders from across our area, along with officials from Costa Rica, a nation that has become a leader in eco-tourism.

I welcome your comments on this newsletter, future subjects you would like to see addressed, or on any issues facing the university. You may direct them to president@csumb.edu