The desire for extended library hours, struggles with parking, and concerns for students facing financial hardship and mounting debt were among the topics discussed at Pizza with the Presidents.
University President Soraya M. Coley and ASI President Jenny Greenberg fielded questions during the March 21 event held in the Bronco Student Center’s Ursa Major. Campus administrators also answered questions.
Extending Library Hours
Coley said the university has recently discussed extending the University Library’s hours, especially during peak times.
Emma Gibson, interim library dean, said the library sees between 9,000 and 10,000 visitors per day.
“We want to improve services for students,” she said. “We will make some changes in the fall semester to extend hours, especially during pre-final and finals week. That also requires that we have the staffing.”
Parking & Transportation
Coley said that parking issues are present at all CSU campuses. The goal is to find better ways to manage it, especially during the busier days and times, she said.
“What we are trying to do is integrate technology to determine how we use our lots and also the flow of traffic,” she said, adding that Professor Rick Willson, chair of the urban and regional planning department and a noted parking expert, is working with university administrators on a plan to improve the situation.
“We will continue to update you on the plan, so this isn’t something you have to wait until another Pizza with the Presidents to know what we’re doing,” she said. “We need to make sure the communication is consistent, and it provides you with the best information possible to help you navigate.”
University Police Chief Dario Robinson said the new Shuttle D express, a direct line between the express lots near Innovation Brew Works and the Student Services Building, was added to help improve parking. Now, the administration will look at other solutions, he added.
“It’s not just about the parking situation, but it is about connectivity,” he said. “It’s really about bringing a lot of heads together to manage this situation, so we can get to work and make it easier for the campus to manage.”
Greenberg said the parking system on campus must be self-sufficient, as it is not funded by the state. So, any additional parking lots built on campus will affect the cost of parking passes, she said, adding that she advocates for students to take public transportation if possible.
Also discussed were ways the university is assisting students struggling financially and facing mounting debt.
Coley shared information about the Broncos Care Basic Needs Program, a campuswide initiative that assists students experiencing housing instability, food insecurity and other emergency situations.
“We are wanting to make sure that you have access to well-being services, services not only about things that are troubling you but also services that can link you to other resources on the campus,” she said. “We understand the enormity of not only school pressures, but life pressures, can really challenge individuals to keep moving forward.“
Lea Jarnagin, vice president for student affairs, said the university is working on streamlining the scholarship application process. Also in the works is the establishment of an emergency financial fund, which would be available as a grant that students wouldn’t have to repay.
Jessica Wagoner, senior associate vice president for enrollment services, encouraged students to file their FAFSA application as early as possible and to reach out for assistance if their financial aid circumstances change.
The university also recently signed a contract with iGrad, a company that provides custom financial literacy programs for colleges, she said.
Greenberg also talked about GI 2025, the CSU-wide initiative designed to help students graduate as soon as possible.
“If you can graduate in a reasonable amount of time, the cost of what you have to pay is reduced,” Greenberg said.
She also urged students to get involved in ASI, which lobbies state and federal lawmakers on issues such as financial aid.
“The advocacy matters,” she said.
The next Pizza with the Presidents will be held on April 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. in Ursa Major.
We’re minutes away from Pizza with the Presidents at the BSC, Ursa Major. Come on down to the front to submit a question. The pizza 🍕 line is open! pic.twitter.com/qrAvPtRrj8
— Cal Poly Pomona (@calpolypomona) March 21, 2019