A Message from the Vice President for Student Life

Cal State LA Division of Student Life

April 18, 2018

Nancy Wada-McKee
Vice President for Student Life

The Office of the Vice President for Student Life continues working to establish a sense of community on campus and to further the success and wellbeing of Cal State LA students.

I want to thank the Spirit Collaborations work group for organizing a stellar Homecoming 2018 celebration at the beginning of spring semester. More than 800 alumni, faculty and staff attended. We all enjoyed the food, prizes and halftime entertainment from the Spirit Squad, not to mention meeting the new Eddie the Golden Eagle and cheering for our student athletes on the court. I appreciate the hard work that Spirit Collaborations members put into making this a fun and spirited event.

The Office of the Dean of Students has launched new programs that address the needs of students who are struggling with food and housing insecurity and/or financial difficulties. Emergency Housing provides housing on campus for up to 14 days, while the Emergency Grant program offers grants of up to $500. Unexpected circumstances should not prohibit any student from achieving their goals. The Emergency Housing and Emergency Grant programs, along with the Cal State LA Food Pantry, the CalFresh Outreach Center and other measures are in place to support students as they work toward their degree.

Henoc M. Preciado, who we recently hired as Director for the Glazer Family Dreamers Resource Center (DRC), shares that he is enjoying getting to know students, faculty and staff. Since starting in March, Henoc has met regularly with student assistants at the DRC, engaged in many conversations with visitors at the center, and met with a number of departments that provide support services for students. Through regular dialogue, Henoc hopes to explore the strengths of the DRC, opportunities for growth and ways to collaborate with other entities on campus in order to continue to support undocumented students in meaningful and impactful ways.  He brings a wealth of personal and professional experience to the position. We are excited to have him and his expertise on board.

Given the current discourse around immigration in our country, it is important that our undocumented students know they are not alone. To provide additional support to undocumented students, the UndocuAlly Training program hosted multiple training sessions this year. Approximately 80 faculty and staff participated in at least one of the sessions offered.  Trainees reviewed current immigration policy, listened to undocumented students share personal experiences and learned about valuable resources.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) reports that more than 500 faculty and staff have completed Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training since CAPS first began the training in March 2013. Similar to CPR, MHFA does not train a person to be a licensed professional but teaches them how to assist someone experiencing a crisis. Participants learn risk factors and warning signs of serious and developing mental health problems, how to talk with a person who might be experiencing a mental health problem and strategies to help identify the next best steps. Throughout the training, there is an emphasis on decreasing stigma around seeking mental health help. This effort is part of President William A. Covino and First Lady Debbie Covino’s Mind Matters initiative to help students balance the demands of college, family and employment.

Veterans Resource Center Director Dani Molina shares that Vet Net Ally Awareness Seminars are creating a campus culture that genuinely cares about the personal and academic success of military-connected students at Cal State LA. The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) has been offering the seminars to staff, faculty and administrators since the summer of the 2017-2018 academic year. The seminars teach participants about the challenges student veterans face, help foster a supportive campus culture and establish a visible network of military veteran allies. Dani said feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive and the seminar will continue to be held for the foreseeable future.

These are just some of the ways that the departments within the Division of Students help students learn, grow and prepare for the future. If you know students who might benefit from any of our programs or colleagues who might be interested in learning more about MHFA or ally training, please refer them to my office. We will be happy to answer any questions.

You may reach the Office of the Vice President for Student Life at (323)343-3100.