CSU Channel Islands grows up, starts new projects

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As time goes by, CSUN’s little sister school, CSU Channel Islands, is starting to grow up and do everything on its own.

“We consider ourselves a strong sister campus,” said Peggy Hinz, spokesperson for CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo.

CSUCI was formerly a branch of CSUN until it decided to leave its partnership with CSUN and become its own individual campus in 2002.

CSUCI is the 23rd and newest campus in the CSU system. The university is grateful to and has special ties with CSUN, Hinz said. Since being established in 2002, the university has undergone a number of changes, both physically and institutionally.

CSUN helped CSUCI by providing staff and faculty, she said. CSUN no longer has any involvement with the university, but CSUCI recognizes that CSUN was instrumental in seeing CSUCI created, Hinz said.

There has been a dramatic growth in student population at the university, Hinz said. When the university opened in 2002, CSUCI had less than 1,000 students. Now there are more than 2,500 students enrolled, Hinz said.

“It’s hard to believe,” Hinz said. “We didn’t have many students and now we have crowds walking to classes.”

The rapid increase of students and demand forced CSUCI to start making some changes. The first student housing building was constructed a year ago and another student housing project is currently in the planning stage, Hinz said.

Construction on a new state-of-the-art library will also begin soon on campus. The John Spoor Broome Library is a $50 million project that will take about three years to finish, Hinz said.

Another project being developed is called the “Town Center,” which will construct a new bookstore and other retail stores, by early Spring 2006.

Construction of new facilities is not the only kind of change going through campus, Hinz said.

The rapid increase in students also made the university offer more programs and activities, she said. Sociology was recently added as a major, as well as several in the Sciences Department.

“We are trying to add as many programs as possible,” Hinz said. “We want to be able to provide a future work force.”

Activities are starting to develop amongst the students. Students are getting more involved with the university and student groups are forming. The university focuses on its students and wants to provide them with the best college experience, Hinz said.

One advantage CSUCI has over CSUN is the relationship between students and professors, Hinz said.

“Our faculty is very hands on,” Hinz said. “They are very student focused and student centered.”

Since the university does not have many students, it is easier to have a good relationship with your professor, said Jason Greenburg, sophomore computer science major at CSUCI.

“I like the student to teacher ratio,” Greenburg said. “A lot of my classes have 10 students. The teachers are really nice and it’s a lot easier to talk to them. A lot of them give their home phone numbers or cell numbers.”

The university also has intramural athletics between students and their professors, Hinz said.

Other students like the way the campus looks, such as Carlos Gonzalez, a senior accounting major at CSUN.

“It’s very Spanish villa style,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a very nice campus.”

Despite early success for the university, there are still some things missing.

Gonzalez lives in Camarillo, but chose CSUN because CSUCI did not have his accounting major.

With a small campus community at CSUCI, class offerings are very small, Greenburg said. There are not many scheduled times for certain classes, which makes him take certain classes at night, even though he prefers morning classes, he said.

Despite being a new university, the future holds great promises, Hinz said, adding that the university keeps on growing thanks to the help and support of CSUN.

Oscar Areliz can be reached at oscar.areliz@sundial.csun.edu.