Building a Community Network
October 20, 2011
By Stephanie Thara
With a campus located in nearly every region of the state, the CSU is a resource to many communities. The system takes pride in maintaining centers and institutes, graduating well-trained students and developing degree programs that give back to the local area.
The CSU develops facilities that serve as a resource and guidance center to business and community members. For example, San Francisco State’s Center for Ethical and Sustainable Business is dedicated to leveraging the growing momentum among conventional businesses to implement socially and environmentally responsible business practices. Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, the largest accredited business school on the West Coast, has numerous centers covering a vast array of topics including everything from economics of pharmaceuticals and corporate reporting to family business and entertainment tourism. The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State assists innovators and entrepreneurs in the development of their ideas into a business. Cal State East Bay’s Human Investment Research and Education Center researches and evaluates programs and policies designed to further employment and educational opportunities.
Additionally, faculty create curriculums that give students opportunities to develop and enhance their skills and simultaneously lend assistance to community members. Recently, Cal State San Marcos Professor Scott Landow decided to change the agenda of his entrepreneurship class from the typical textbook reading and mock business plans to creating a lemonade stand for charity. The assignment allowed students to apply their sales, marketing and finance skills to the project, as well as donate proceeds to nonprofits.
Similarly, CSU campuses host an IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program where student volunteers provide low-income families with free e-filing services every spring. VITA benefits every party involved: the IRS gets volunteer help throughout the busy season, low-income families save money and students get hands-on experience while serving their communities.
The CSU is also a pioneer when it comes to developing unique degree programs that benefit the local community. Cal State Bakersfield just launched an agriculture business program to meet the needs of farming and ranching in the Central Valley. The goal is to teach students the business of the agricultural industry so that local companies can hire qualified graduates to join their management teams.