Story Student Success

6 Stories You May Have Missed

Alex Beall

Take a look at stories from the CSU you may have missed this year.


​​​As the California State University endeavored throughout the year to offer a high-quality education while leading the state to a better future, there were plenty of empowering stories from across the university of students, staff, faculty, alumni and communities working toward that goal.

1. Looking Out for the Coast

​​Student collects sand samples on the beach.

On October 1, 2021, approximately 28,000 gallons of oil spilled from an underwater pipe off the coast of Huntington Beach, California, sparking coordinated efforts to contain it, rescue wildlife and clean up the affected area. While the official cleanup ended in December, there remained questions around possible long-term effects. In response, the CSU Council on Ocean Affai​rs, Science & Technology (COAST) offered emergency response funding for projects addressing the Huntington Beach oil spill.

Read about the CSU faculty members who launched research into the spill's impact.

2. What is a Polytechnic University?

​​Students study lichens and bryophytes in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Recognizing the impact of the CSU on the state's economy and workforce, California Governor Gavin Newsom made a significant investment of $458 million in his 2021-22 state budget to help propel Humboldt State University's transition to become a polytechnic university. The funding will enable California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt to add new academic programs that will help fill workforce gaps, modernize existing facilities and build new infrastructure and increase access for the state's students seeking science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees.

Find out what it means to become a polytechnic university.

3. Changemakers in Wine

​​Woman looks over vineyard.

Four million people globally are proud to call themselves alumni of the CSU's 23 campuses, and one in 10 employees in California is a CSU graduate. With those numbers, it's no wonder the impact that CSU alumni have on California's economy. One of the state's key industries is also uniquely impacted by CSU alumni: California wine. But the industry lacks diversity. Thankfully, California's wine industry is benefitting from a handful of female pioneers, including inspiring CSU alumnae who are exploring new frontiers in a male-dominated business.

Meet four CSU alumnae making their mark on California's wine industry.

4. The Healing Power of the Arts

​​Incarcerated individuals create a Mandala Circle.

Annie Buckley—director of the Institute for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Justice at San Diego State University—founded the Prison Arts Collective in 2013 with the mission of encouraging “self-expression, reflection, communication and empathy" through the arts. Today, PAC has chapters at several CSU campuses working in 13 prisons across California and features arts courses, from creative writing to music to painting, led inside the prisons by CSU faculty, students, volunteers and peer facilitators.

See how PAC has transformed the lives of hundreds of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.

5. How the CSU Transformed Them

​​SDSU student poses with her stole.

The CSU conferred an estimated 134,000 degrees on graduates from the Class of 2022 this spring, welcoming them into an alumni family that is already more than four million strong. These graduates are California's next leaders—in policy, philanthropy, science, social justice and more—and behind every one of them is a parent, mentor or friend who cheered them on and stood in awe of their achievements.

Learn how the CSU transformed these student leaders from those who helped them on the path to graduation.

6. Opportunities for Growth

​​Students garden in a raised bed.

From growing bunches of kale on a vertical planter to cultivating a field of corn, campus gardens and farms often perform a key role in their campus communities. Not only do they offer hands-on learning experience for agriculture or horticultural students and foster social connections among student volunteers, but their yields can put food on the table for students in need.

Discover how these four CSU campuses cultivate opportunities for growth to address basic needs.