New Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander has been listening and learning a lot in his first six months. In his next six months he is planning on doing more.
Improving the community atmosphere on campus, doubling the amount of people living on campus, building a new recreation center, having a better relationship with the city of Long Beach and meeting more students are all goals for Alexander in the coming months.
This fall, Alexander is hoping to make CSULB more student-friendly. He said there are going to be more activities on campus and more places to eat that will be open later at night.
“Right now, students come to school, go to class, get something to eat, go to class and go home,” Alexander said. “We want our students here, we want them hanging out, we want them to feel like part of the school.”
One way Alexander is hoping to have a more cohesive student body is by increasing the number of students living on campus from 2,100 to 4,200 in the next three years. He is hoping to break ground on new construction of dorms in spring 2007, and there are already plans in place to upgrade the dining facilities for on-campus students.
“The amount of students living on campus is way below the average for an institution of our size,” Alexander said. “We have a waiting list for students who want to get in, and we lose many high quality students who don’t get into the dorms through the lottery.”
Alexander is also still pushing for CSULB to have its own recreation center, which he would like to see built at the same time as the new dorms. According to Alexander, CSULB is one of only two universities in the country with a population over 25,000 that does not have its own recreation center.
“I have seen how [recreation centers] can be great gathering places for students to get know each other,” Alexander said. “It is also one of the few opportunities where faculty can come out of their departments, and students out of their rooms, and bring them into an interactive area outside the classroom.”
Off campus, Alexander wants to strengthen the ties between the university and the city of Long Beach. Alexander said the university and Long Beach already have a close relationship, but believes the city should start considering Long Beach a university town.
“We have a large university that generates 490 graduating engineering students a year, 250 nurses, 700 school teachers. These are the numbers we are putting into our local economy.” Alexander said. “We are a huge economic benefit for the city and when the city makes future plans, they need to make sure the university is a very integrated component of what they expect to have in the future.”
Lastly, Alexander wants to get to know his students. He said he was too busy in his first six months to reach out to the student body as much as he would have liked to, but he is looking forward to meeting more of his students next semester.
“One thing I was uncomfortable with was not knowing as many students as I knew at my previous job,” Alexander said. “But I want to make sure the students know me and when they see me they can come to me about their concerns.”