CSUN businesses leaving campus opens room for student groups

Samantha Tata

Student groups looking for a permanent space to meet may be able to find one this semester as businesses leave CSUN.

Debra Hammond, executive director of the University Student Union (USU) said newly open residences will be available to student groups.

“We will probably see more (vacancies) in the next six months,” Hammond said.

Digital One Hour Photo, which operated out of the Plaza Del Sol since 2005, left campus on Dec. 31, 2010 due to financial hardships.

Although she could not reveal specific names, Hammond said other tenants are considering leaving campus.

Proposed candidates for these empty offices include a bicycle co-op, a veterans resource center, a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender -Alliance (LGBTA) resource center and a wellness center in the current fitness center.

Based on student interest, the USU wants to change the Plaza del Sol’s focus from retail to student services, Hammond said.

“When you have a business in the student union, the campus has to support them,” she said.

While rents are lower during summer and winter sessions when fewer students are on campus, Hammond said sometimes that aid is not enough.

“In this economy, the amount of failure is pretty dramatic,” Hammond said.  “It’s a mom and pop store so it may be sad but it’s not surprising.”

The USU board of directors set the allocation of campus space as a semester-long objective, and will meet monthly to discuss this goal.