The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Private gift pays the bill for CSUN’s campus initiative

The ongoing CSUN initiative to seek community input has a pricetag.

Developing the platform cost $167,639.66, which was allocated for the advancement communication initiative that led to CSUN Shine, said Carmen Ramos Chandler, director of news and information at university advancement.

The funds were spent on research workshops, surveys, one-on-one interviews, consultants, and focus groups conducted in phases over the course of two and a half years. This preliminary research was payed for by a private gift from the Drown Foundation for marketing and outreach purposes.

Seven different payments were made for the initiative, with the largest bill being more than $40,000 in Sept. 2011, Chandler said.

Since the research phase, there have been no additional costs according to Vance Peterson, former vice president of university advancement.

The school will use existing channels to promote CSUN Shine so that costs are kept at a minimum, Peterson said. The platform will be displayed by each department at CSUN via social media, promotional handouts, the “Northridge Magazine” and KCSN-FM broadcasts. Because these promotional tools already exist and would be used with or without the new platform, further spending is not expected.

President Dianne Harrison informed CSUN faculty, staff, and students last month that the school is seeking community input on ways to improve campus life.

This new initiative, which was announced in an email from Harrison, is called Make CSUN Shine Brighter, and suggestions can be made through an online forum.

The campus-wide notification stated new topics will be open for discussion every few weeks or months and will include ways to make CSUN “more effective, more efficient, and easier to navigate.”

“This initiative is a wonderful opportunity for everyone in the campus community to be engaged with the university and have their constructive ideas and solutions heard,” Harrison said.

Improving pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow around campus is the first topic open for suggestions by the university. Campus members are encouraged to provide ideas for future questions or issues.

More than 100 responses were submitted, said Barbara Gross, chief of staff for the office of the president at CSUN.

“We hope that students, faculty, and staff who have suggestions will submit them,” Gross said.

Employees were also asked to contribute their ideas in the address.

“As a university, we will consider how to implement promising ideas and recognize employees who contribute innovative solution-based thinking,” Harrison said in her speech.

This initiative follows a first-time campus positioning platform, CSUN Shine, which was also announced during Harrison’s August convocation address as a “unifying theme for communicating with pride CSUN’s identity and distinctive qualities.”

The foundation for the platform began in 2010 when research consultants were hired for a nonspecific campus advancement initiative. They were retained through 2011, but the initiative was paused after Jolene Koester announced her retirement. When Harrison became president, she wanted to proceed with the creation of a platform using the research done by consultants through 2011, said Chandler.

“We no longer needed the consultants but used the research for in-house development. Thus emerged CSUN Shine. We had the skill sets internally to move forward,” Chandler said.

The visual communication team was responsible for deciding how the slogan would look, and some options included “CSUN. Shine.” and CSUN Shines, according to Peterson.

“We have wonderful facts and pride points that haven’t been widely shared,” Peterson said of the school.

These pride points include CSUN being ranked No. 1 nationally in sending students to get doctoral degrees in psychology and ninth among top universities whose alumni pass the California Bar Exam, Peterson said.

Some students are not yet sold on the new platform.

“The school doesn’t need a word to describe our pride. Our pride is coming to this school,” said Wendy Villegas, junior biology major. “The new gym is a great light to the community, and the library is one of the best around.”

Diana Saenz, junior pre-CTVA major, does not think that the new platform will unite the CSUN community. “CSUN Shine” are just “extra words,” Saenz said.

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