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Auxiliary Organizations Association Annual Conference

Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
Auxiliary Organizations Association Annual Conference
Pasadena, CA
February 8, 2015

Thank you, President Mitchell, for the kind introduction – and for being here with your wife Barbara to celebrate the work of campus auxiliaries – especially their outstanding work at CSU Bakersfield.

Thank you, Taren. I appreciate the tremendous leadership you’ve provided for this organization, and I appreciate your years of service on behalf of the students of CSU Bakersfield.

Thank you as well to all the business partners represented here today.

I also want to acknowledge Student Trustee Kelsey Brewer. The CSU is richly served by our two student trustees. They are strong representatives of their peers, and offer a critical insight on the work of the board. Kelsey, the recognition you are receiving tonight is greatly deserved.

Finally, I’m pleased to acknowledge the leadership team from the system office – including Steve Relyea, Fram Virjee and Lori Lamb. Steve, Fram and Lori are all working to strengthen the partnership between the system office and campus auxiliaries. This partnership will be increasingly important as we work to empower student achievement and to create a stronger financial foundation for the university.

You know – even working for a university – it is not every day that you sit with someone who is exploring another planet. But tonight I am seated next to Jordan Evans of the Mars Science Laboratory at JPL… an alumnus of San Diego State.

Jordan, I hope you don’t mind if I take some license with your story… but I think what you do underscores a key point. Truly amazing accomplishments take a team. Landing a car on Mars takes a team. Exploring a planet more than 40 million miles away takes a team.

And launching a student into a successful career in a high-demand field, like aerospace, takes a team. Everyone here is part of that team.

You are all members of Team BOOM!

For those who may not have been able to attend last year, I made a suggestion for a new Acronym for this group: BOOM!

Now I should probably quiz you all on how many remember the words that go into BOOM!

For some of our students and the folks here tonight, BOOM! might stand for Be Organic On Menus.

In some capital project circles, BOOM! might stand for Build Own Operate Maintain… without giving us more money to do so.

Yet, for me, BOOM! has a deeper meaning about how auxiliaries contribute to the university achieving our primary objective.  Auxiliaries are Building Optimal Organizational Mission.

BOOM! Like the sound of engines firing, pushing a rocket into space.

I am willing to bet that each of you provide that push to success everyday… in the lives of students, faculty and staff… in the communities that surround your campuses… in the applied research activities that are driving California’s future.

Over the last 12 months, your efforts have culminated in a powerful BOOM!

  • You enriched public and private partnerships while preserving the ‘public’ nature of our enterprise.
  • You re-designed and innovated programs and operations to meet changing needs and expectations.
  • And you integrated your programs and services more fully into the lives of all students.

Let me celebrate three of your successes.

First, the CSU is celebrating 3 million living alumni. Your alumni associations, many of which are associated with a campus auxiliary, have worked hard to help get the message out. The reach of the CSU is reflected in its community of alumni.

1 in 10 employees in California…

1 in 20 degree holders in the United States…

Consider those two numbers. That is the power of 3 million.

No other public university system has the same impact as the CSU. I doubt any other institution comes close.

…. BOOM!

Second, CSSA and campus Associated Students leaders worked side-by-side with faculty, staff, alumni and friends to remind leaders in Sacramento that the CSU is essential to this state’s future.

Students told the CSU story in ways that only they can. They spoke to their own journey and those of their peers. Their voices echoed down the halls of the capitol. They challenged legislators to Stand with the CSU.

Their efforts helped set the stage for this year’s budget discussion. And to date, the governor and leaders of both the Assembly and Senate have come forward with proposals to enhance public funding for the CSU.

… BOOM!

Third, philanthropic and research auxiliaries on CSU campuses and at the system are sustaining record-high levels of external support for the university.

This past year was the best year ever in fundraising at the CSU – with nearly $300 million in gifts received.

These dollars prove that donors believe in what we do, who we serve and how we create new pathways for success. Every gift, large and small, marries the passion of a donor to an opportunity for excellence at the CSU.

And consider this… if we combine fundraising, grants and contracts, auxiliaries have brought in more than $700 million in non-state resources – enabling faculty research, student research, scholarships, professional training and public service while filling critical regional needs.

$700 million is a powerful push towards excellence.

Now for a little audience participation, say with me… BOOM!

I know that grants, contracts and donations are not free money. They are investments in the excellence of CSU programs, and they require an investment of your limited time to be successful. These projects mean more work for those involved, not less. So, I thank each and every one of you for the extra work you’ve taken on to help the CSU be successful.

Indeed, auxiliaries lead the way in helping campuses meet the triple bottom line:

  • Good for students
  • Good for the people of California
  • Good for the environment

There are hundreds of examples on every campus. I would love to mention them all, but we would have to extend the conference by several days…

Instead, I’ll give one example from a business enterprise, one example from a research auxiliary and one example from a student-led operation.

Forty-Niner Shops launched the Bowling for Books fundraiser in 2009 to create a new option for those students who couldn’t afford their textbooks and course materials.

As part of this annual fundraising event, teams of Cal State Long Beach students, employees and corporate sponsors head to a local bowling alley to knock a few pins down… and of course raise funds for textbook scholarships.

The funds are distributed to students who apply by submitting a one-page essay demonstrating their financial need. The past five tournaments have cumulatively raised more than $400,000.

OK, ready? … BOOM!

The University Enterprises Corporation at CSUSB is enabling:

efforts to sustain limited water resources through the sound research, analysis and public policy collaboration of the Water Resources Institute;

and efforts to develop local business leadership through the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship.

… BOOM!

And Associated Students Dining Services and the Wildcat Store at Chico State are making huge strides toward zero waste – composting 422,000 pounds of material from their dining facilities on campus while recycling 150,000 pounds in 2013.

This means that more than 85 percent of otherwise wasted materials went back into useful circulation – and not into a landfill.

Associated Students aims to hit a 90 percent or better waste diversion rate this year.

… BOOM!

As we celebrate our accomplishments and milestones – it is necessary to occasionally pause and reflect on how our role in this university community contributes to the success of the whole.

We stand together, not alone. We each share a piece of the university’s mission to empower student success for the benefit of all Californians.

And we all share a common goal, in the form of Graduation Initiative 2025.

During the State of the CSU address last month, I announced a new goal for student achievement – raise the six-year graduation rate for freshmen by an additional nine percentage points to 60 percent systemwide within the next decade.

This will be coupled with:

  • Increasing the four-year graduation rates
  • Maximizing transfer graduation rates
  • And reducing the historical achievement gaps for underserved and low-income students

If we are to achieve these goals, we will have to do so as a community.

The heart of the State of the CSU speech was the story of the community surrounding an amazing young man – a recent CSU graduate – whose story of triumph demonstrated the power of a community working together.

His success came not from the contributions of one department, one division or one college. Rather his success came from every member of the campus community making sure he had the tools to succeed – and being willing to invest themselves in his success.

We are one university, one community dedicated to student success. Our institutional walls are secondary… and when necessary, we must break through those walls for the sake of our students…

… We must break through with a … OK now … BOOM!

Allow me to share the three questions that I think we must ask to be successful in building the framework for the future of the CSU… as Horace said:

  • How does the university create opportunity?
  • How does the university sustain quality?
  • And how does the university enable success?

Auxiliaries are critical to answering those questions.

Just consider for a moment the new capital financing authority provided to the CSU by the state… This is an important tool in the toolbox to meet some dire infrastructure challenges. Auxiliaries will play an important role in helping campuses make effective use of these new authorities.

The flexibility – and potential risk ­– associated with this new authority requires us to be creative and considered in our actions. You all have experience in developing many of your own projects for the benefit of students and the state, yet funded through alternative means – including public-private partnerships.

So, on this – as in so many areas – we will rely on your expertise going forward.

I will conclude my remarks with the same observation I made last year. Your organizations may be called auxiliaries, but your role is to help the university achieve its primary objective – student success.

You are essential members of the team that empowers the success of students. You are essential members of the team that launches students into their future.

You are Team BOOM!

Thank you