About Us

​Auxiliary organizations play an important role on every CSU campus. Learn how these organizations came to be, what they do and find contact information if you have a question about AOs for Chancellor's Office staff.

Auxiliary organizations at the California State University (C​SU) are non-profit organizations and separate legal entities. They operate pursuant to written operating agreement with the CSU Board of Trustees, have separate governing boards with close connections to a campus and follow all legal and policy rules established by the CSU system and the respective campus administration.

Auxiliary organizations were creat​ed to perform essential functions associated with a postsecondary educational institution, which under California law were difficult, cumbersome or legally restricted for the university and were not supported by state funding. The CSU established a network of supplemental services that complement the core academic programs at each campus and provide the full range of educational experiences expected by students.​

The activities of CSU auxiliary organizations can generally be classified into one or more of the following functions:

  • Student self-governance
  • Student-body center/union/recreation center
  • Externally-supported research and sponsored programs, including workshops, institutes or conferences
  • Commercial services such as bookstores or food service
  • Philanthropic activities, including acceptance of donor gifts

The function of the auxiliary organization may not be readily apparent by the name given to the organization.

A History of Auxiliary Organizations

The CSU provides the citizens of California with a full range of academic and related experiences that befit the largest four-year public system of higher learning in the country. California, while recognizing the need for an extensive network of services to complement the core academic mission and to provide the full range of educational experiences, has chosen a unique form to furnish some of these needs. The state has adopted a framework whereby some essential services are to be provided by other entities called auxiliary organizations.

These non-profit organizations are organized by the respective campus as separate legal entities under the parameters outlined in special legislation contained in the Education Code. They operate in association with campuses or the Chancellor’s Office pursuant to special written agreements and are chartered solely for the purpose of performing functions that contribute to the educational mission of the university. The CSU Board of Trustees and campus presidents have oversight and general supervisory responsibility to assure compliance with CSU policy. Most auxiliary organizations are incorporated. All have a governing board that has close ties to a campus and responsibilities defined by an interconnected and over-arching framework of Education Code statutes and trustee and campus policies.

Auxiliary organizations in the CSU have been in existence for many decades as a necessary supplement to state-supported instructional and administrative activities. The first organization, the Fresno State College Association, was established in 1922. Student associations have operated at San José State, San Diego State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chico State, Fresno State, and other campuses since the early 1920s. The growth of auxiliary organizations has paralleled the growth in size and complexity of the CSU.

These organizations are also governed by applicable laws and regulations of the federal and state governments. In addition, they operate within the policies established by the Board of Trustees, the chancellor and campuses. Most of these organizations can be grouped into major functional categories, however, in several instances one organization performs more than one of the following functions:

  1. Associated student body organizations: These are student-run organizations that operate such extracurricular activities as student government, student newspapers, athletics, cultural programs and many other student activities related to the overall educational mission of the campus. Revenues come from student fees voted by the students which are collected by the university and used by the student organization under the oversight of the university.
  2. Special educational projects: These organizations administer projects that have a direct relationship to the educational process of the campuses and are funded by numerous sources. Major sources of support come from federal, state and private grants and contracts. Projects are designed to meet the needs of the program sponsor and campus programs.
  3. Student union operations: Student union fees collected by the campus are deposited into a special state fund to pay for the principal, interest and other costs of bonds issued for construction of student union facilities. Any surpluses remaining after payme​nt of these expenses from the student union fees become available for other purposes related to the student union, including the program’s operations which are administered by an auxiliary organization. The organization also operates the student union facilities.
  4. Commercial activities: These activities consist mostly of the operation of bookstores, food services and agricultural projects. Agrarian activities are particularly important to campuses offering instruction involving direct experience with farms, cattle, poultry, etc. Revenues are derived from the sale of products and services to the CSU community of students, faculty and staff as well as to the public at large participating in community, educational or cultural events on or in CSU facilities.

In addition, there are special-purpose auxiliary organizations that perform such activities as fundraising and endowment management, sports and recreation, campus radio stations and more. The auxiliary organization must be self-supporting and does not receive funding from General Fund sources. Pursuant to existing laws and policies, the materials, facilities and services provided by the campus to these separate entities are paid for by the auxiliary organization. Revenue in excess of expenditures for a given period is used to establish working capital and reserves and to pay for capital expenditures or special campus programs.

​Chancellor's Office Contact Information

Brad Wells
Associate Vice Chancellor, Business and Finance
(562) 951-4604

Eric Andersson
Director, CSU Policy Library
(562) 951-4545




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