USU board working with LGBT and veteran resource center and bike co-op

Julian Reyes

Students approved allocating part of the campus quality fee to renovate and refurbish LGBTQ and veteran resource centers in the University Student Union (USU), but did not approve funding for a bicycle cooperative.

“We want to make CSUN bike friendly, we simply act as a resource for the school,” said Carlos Hernandez, former organizer for the bike cooperative.  “We have plan b and plan c, there are other avenues.”

Spaces in the USU were allocated to the student groups last semester, and a March survey of 10,000 students proposed funding their creation using the campus quality fee.

USU Executive Director Debra Hammond said a bike co-op would change the campus’s atmosphere, offering repair services, workshop and a rental program.

“We need to sit down and figure out and see how the co-op would be viable,” Hammond said.

The board has met with the LGBTA, but do not expect to meet with the veterans and the bike co-op until the semester begins, Hammond said.

Increasing tolerance among the CSUN community is a shared theme among the new spaces, especially the resource centers.

Hammond said the campus needs to be more LGBT-friendly, including training students and staff to be respectful.

Thia Nilawat, the president of student veterans, described his organization’s center as a safe haven, a place to share ideas and experience.

“It’s more beneficial for veterans of CSUN to have a resource center,” said Nilawat. “It makes us feel a little bit more welcomed, we have a place to go and meet with people like us.”

Responding to the changing needs and demographics of returning veterans is a priority for the USU, as well, Hammond said.

Financial proposals are the last piece of the puzzle to create the spaces, which have the option to opt out of university help and budget their own revenue.

The three new groups are working together to develop and present their proposals to the USU by the Dec. 31 deadline, Hammond said.