By Mina Inaba
The Student Union provides services that can help improve college life for CI students living on-campus as well as off-campus. As classes and University activities came back in-person, the Student Union resumed providing in-person events and services as well. The Student Union hosts many resources and students are encouraged to utilize them.
Many students frequent the Student Union, especially as a place to spend time between their classes. Jose Medina, a junior history major, said he comes to the Student Union “four times a week…to study, read, hang out and get some food.” Similarly, junior business major Jacquelyn Magaña told The CI View she comes to the Student Union about twice a week, saying, “I tend to come after class or between my classes…I come, get a snack, and I just sit down and do my homework.”
Jesus Quintino, a senior Chicana/o studies major who was waiting for his class in the quiet computer area, shared that he comes “maybe about twice a week…to study (and) get some snacks before going to classes.” Quintino added that he prefers the Student Union over John Spoor Broome Library because “it’s smaller, you can come in and out and it’s right in the middle of the campus, so people don’t have to walk far out if they have class nearby. For example, some of my classes are in Bell Tower and Del Norte, so it’s pretty easy access.”
Many of the students interviewed were not aware of what other services the Student Union offers. Four of the five answered that they did not know when The CI View asked them what resources the Student Union provides.
Only Magaña knew of several services, explaining that there is a wall where they provide necessities for students like maps, masks and feminine products. She added that “there is also a counter with some students working here so you can ask them any questions.”
As for the main services, they provide customer service, which includes giving directions around campus or helping students to access other campus resources. They also offer supplies and resources for students, clubs and organizations to check out such as craft supplies, laptops, headphones, office supplies, tables, chairs, storage space, video and board games and picnic blankets. They help host events in the Student Union such as gaming tournaments and provide arts and crafts for students to use too. Students can also check out spaces such as meeting rooms and indoor and outdoor event spaces.
In addition to the services mentioned above, there is even more for students to access at the Student Union. Casandra Serrano, the Student Union Operations Coordinator, shared more detailed information about what they offer.
A service students may not know about is the Student Union Perks Program (SUPP). SUPP is an incentive program to encourage students to attend events at CI. Students can sign up to participate and receive prizes. When students attend SUPP-sponsored events hosted by other ASI entities such as the Student Programming Board and Student Government, they earn points which they can then redeem for useful and fun prizes. More information about SUPP can be found at https://asi.csuci.edu/student-union/supp.htm.
Additionally, the Dolphin Discount Program (DDP) connects with local vendors and stores to provide discounts to students. It includes discounts at in-person and online stores, restaurants, amusement parks and more. More information can be found at https://asi.csuci.edu/student-union/dolphindiscounts.htm.
As for what services or offerings could be expanded in Student Union, students’ responses were mixed.
Medina suggested, “I think that (having printing services) would be helpful…other printing services on campus are kind of hard to find.”
Second-year chemistry major Athalia Nonato said, “I think everything that’s available is pretty useful. I don’t have any recommendations.” Quintino, along with senior psychology major Josie Fialko, shared the same sentiment, agreeing that the Student Union’s offerings are already helpful.
There are also some recent new additions that students should keep an eye out for in the Student Union. New board games and video games for students to check out have been added. There is also new outdoor furniture in the Student Union courtyard so students can have more space to eat, study and socialize outdoors.
Serrano added that the Student Union team are always looking for and working on ways to expand, such as new furniture, new televisions, more outdoor options for lectures and events, more gaming options indoors, new décor and including more awareness months. She also explained that the Student Union has been reimplementing in-person services, as well as keeping some services online to create more opportunities for access.
The Student Union is a great option for students seeking a place to hang out and take advantage of free resources. As Quintino summed up, Student Union is “one of the coolest spots…because it provides enough safe space for everyone to get their work done and get some snacks.”
Student Union is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. More information can be found at https://asi.csuci.edu/student-union/.