|San Fernando Valley State College (1958–72)|
|Motto||Where Individuals Rise |
|Type||Public state university|
|Endowment||$184.7 million (2018)|
|Budget||$450.2 million (2018)|
|President||Dianne F. Harrison|
|Provost||Mary Beth Walker|
|2,127 (Fall 2017)|
|1,758 (Fall 2017)|
|Students||38,716 (Fall 2018)|
|Undergraduates||34,900 (Fall 2018)|
|Postgraduates||3,816 (Fall 2018)|
|Campus||Suburban, 356 acres (144 ha)|
|Colors||CSUN Red, Black |
|Athletics||NCAA Division I – Big West|
|Affiliations||California State University system|
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
International Association of Universities
|Mascot||Matty the Matador|
California State University, Northridge (CSUN // or Cal State Northridge) is a public university in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. With a total enrollment of 38,716 students (as of Fall 2018), it has the largest undergraduate population as well as the second largest total student body of the 23-campus California State University system, making it one of the largest comprehensive universities in the State of California and the nation in terms of enrollment size. The size of CSUN also has a major impact on the California economy, with an estimated $1.9 billion in economic output generated by CSUN on a yearly basis. As of Fall 2017, the university had 2,127 faculty, of which 818 (or about 40%) were tenured or on the tenure track.
California State University, Northridge was founded first as the Valley satellite campus of California State University, Los Angeles. It then became an independent college in 1958 as San Fernando Valley State College, with major campus master planning and construction. The university adopted its current name of California State University, Northridge in 1972.
CSUN offers a variety of programs including 134 different bachelor's degrees, master's degrees in 70 different fields, 3 doctoral degrees (two Doctor of Education degrees and a Doctor of Physical Therapy), and 24 teaching credentials. CSUN ranks 10th in the U.S. in bachelor's degrees awarded to underrepresented minority students and has over 300,000 alumni. Additionally, CSUN has been consistently recognized as having one of the best film schools in the U.S. and in the world. CSUN is home to the National Center on Deafness and the university hosts the International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities (more commonly known as the CSUN Conference), which is held each year in San Diego. CSUN's Chicana and Chicano Studies Department is the largest in California.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Research
- 4 Rankings and Recognition
- 5 Campus
- 5.1 Locations of interest
- 5.2 Oviatt Library
- 5.3 Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts
- 5.4 Student Recreation Center
- 5.5 University Student Union
- 5.6 Veteran Resource Center
- 5.7 Oasis Wellness Center
- 5.8 CSUN Food Pantry
- 5.9 Transportation
- 5.10 National Center on Deafness
- 5.11 Film and television shoots
- 6 Athletics
- 7 Campus life
- 8 International students
- 9 Notable programs
- 10 Notable alumni, faculty, and former students
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The establishment of CSUN began in 1952 with the proposal of a new satellite campus for Los Angeles State College (now known as California State University, Los Angeles). A Baldwin Hills location was planned in 1955, but San Fernando Valley advocates persuaded state officials to change the location to Northridge.
In July 1958, the campus separated from Los Angeles State College and was renamed San Fernando Valley State College (popularly abbreviated to Valley State College, Valley State, or SFVSC), with enrollment reaching 2,525 and tuition $29 per semester. In 1959, it became the first State College to have its own computer. In 1964, the pioneering computer lab was moved into quarters in the newly completed Sierra Hall building complex, and student enrollment reached nearly 12,000.
The campus's quiet, moderately conservative and overwhelmingly white suburban setting did not shield it from a share of the noise, strife and social upheavals of the Vietnam War era. As on many college campuses, there were increasingly large antiwar demonstrations and occasional draft card burnings.
In 1966–67, there were only 23 Black and 7 Latino students. Responding to complaints about low minority representation, the administration made some attempts to boost enrollment of Latinos and Blacks in 1967. By the fall of 1968 the tally stood at about 150 Black and 75 Latino students.
In March 1968, a presidential primary campaign speech by Robert F. Kennedy drew an orderly crowd of 10,000, but in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April and Robert Kennedy himself in June, some later events were not so peaceful. On November 4, 1968, a group of Black students held the college president and more than 30 staff members hostage in the Administration Building for several hours, pressing demands for greater outreach in minority enrollment and employment and the establishment of minority studies departments. No one was hurt and, under duress, the president agreed to their demands. The administration largely kept its part of the bargain, but despite an included assurance of amnesty, 28 of the students involved were later charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment. One month later, a fire started by an arsonist gutted the president's office.
Several massive antiwar demonstrations took place during 1969–1970, variously resulting in campus shutdowns, heavy police responses, violent clashes, hundreds of arrests, and in a few cases serious injuries to demonstrators. The last such demonstration was in May 1971, on the first anniversary of the Kent State shootings.
The college officially renamed itself California State University, Northridge in June 1972. In 1975, the construction of the CSUN sculpture began at the southeast corner of campus. By 1977, enrollment at the university was 28,023, with tuition at $95. In 1981, the campus officially established a foreign exchange student program with Japan, China, Ukraine, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil and the Netherlands. In 1988, the campus had an enrollment of 31,575 and a $342 tuition fee.
In 1990, the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics was established; the Oviatt Library east and west wings were added; and the campus could boast of having the California State University system's only fully established astronomy department with a planetarium.
The 1994 Northridge earthquake struck on January 17 and caused $400 million in damage to the campus, the heaviest damage ever sustained by an American college campus. The epicenter was less than two miles (3 km) away on a previously undiscovered blind thrust fault. Later the same month, Vice President Al Gore visited with a promise of funds to help with the reconstruction. Entire sections of the main library, the art building and several other major structures were either physically unusable or too hazardous to occupy, but classes soon continued in alternative locations and hastily erected temporary facilities. Among the structures judged to be so seriously damaged that repair was not a practical option were the Fine Arts building, designed by noted modernist architect Richard Neutra, and the South Library, the oldest permanent building on campus. The art courtyard survived. Due to inadequate earthquake engineering, the parking structure next to the Matadome was completely destroyed. It is currently a grass field used for kinesiology instruction, though the driveway formerly used to enter it is still visible from Zelzah Avenue. As of August 22, 2007, the university had completed the rebuilding project.
In the aftermath of the 1994 earthquake, CSUN civil engineering faculty and students enthusiastically took part in the research on earthquake protection of building structures, in particular, in the field of seismic performance, vibration control, and base isolation.
In April 1999, the Board of CSU trustees decided to give $27 million to construct post-earthquake projects. The university opened the first Central American Studies program in the nation in May 2000. In fall 2006, the university had a 34,560 enrollment and a tuition of $1,260. The university in 2007, with clean energy advocates built the new 1 megawatt fuel cell power plant which was the largest of its kind in any university in the world.
California State University trustees on March 15, 2006, voted their unanimous approval of Envision 2035, the Cal State Northridge planning initiative that will help frame the university's physical development for the next several decades. The vote approved the revised master plan as well as an increase in the campus’ master plan enrollment capacity from 25,000 to 35,000 full-time equivalent students (FTEs). That growth is equivalent to 1.6 percent annual growth over 30 years. The trustees also certified the final environmental impact report on the plan.
Specifically, the plan defines sites for about 1,900,000 square feet (180,000 m2) of future campus academic and support facilities to accommodate the increased FTE enrollment. Near-term projects will include a 163,000-square-foot (15,100 m2) arts, media and communications complex; a parking structure for nearly 2,000 spaces and a centrally located mass transit hub for students, faculty, staff and community members. It also proposes the development of about 600 on-campus faculty/staff housing units, mostly on the North Campus, and allows for student housing, parking and transportation sufficient to handle enrollment growth while maintaining desirable open space.
On December 5, 2018, the university received a threat in the form of graffiti in one of the men's bathrooms at the Sierra Hall building complex. The writing read: “SHOOTING IN SIERRA HALL 12/12/18” and included a drawing of a Swastika. CSUN posted a response with the message: "CSUN is aware of the hateful and offensive graffiti in Sierra Hall. CSUN Police are investigating this use of hateful language and symbols and threat against our community. We are working to remove this offensive graffiti immediately. CSUN condemns this graffiti in the strongest possible terms." A second threat was found in the form of a handwritten note on December 10, 2018. Again it read that a shooting would take place on December 12, 2018. The note read that there would be shootings at both CSUN and Northridge Academy High School.  The credibility of these threats were questioned by the police and university conducting the investigation. December 12th was the beginning of the fall semester final exams. CSUN faculty were instructed by CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison to provide alternative options for finals for those who did not feel comfortable physically attending finals.  The shooting specified in the threat did not occur.
In the fall of 2016 there were 61,683 applicants, of which 28,497 were admitted with an acceptance rate of 46%.
- Mike Curb College of Arts, Media & Communication
- David Nazarian College of Business & Economics
- Michael D. Eisner College of Education
- College of Engineering & Computer Science
- College of Health & Human Development
- College of Humanities
- College of Science and Mathematics
- College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
- Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning
Cal State Northridge faculty have been recognized for their high quality. Eight faculty members have been awarded prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships for research and creative activity, while 59 have won Fulbright awards to conduct research or teach abroad. Notable faculty include Julian Nava, Hans Burkhardt, Harold Hellenbrand, Bess Lomax Hawes, Vern Bullough, Fritz Faiss, and Rodolfo Acuna.
The university, in partnership with Southwestern Law School, offers a dual B.A./J.D degree. The program allows students to graduate within six years instead of the traditional seven if both degrees were taken separately. The program began in fall 2014 with an estimated cohort size of 35 students. In addition, students accepted into the program receive an initial $10,000 Wildman/Schumacher entering student scholarship. Students in the program will have their first year of law school double count as their fourth year of undergraduate education.
The Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning is a division within the university aimed at addressing the educational needs of mid career professionals. The college develops and offers study opportunities which are designed to ensure that the individuals, communities and organizations served by the university achieve their lifelong learning goals.
Community College Collaboratives
CSUN offers a pathway program for academic progression in the field of Nursing that links CSUN with designated California Community College (CC) partners. This program enables students who are interested in attaining an ADN to earn a BSN degree in just 2½ years from starting the program. Students will be concurrently enrolled in both nursing programs, taking courses for their BSN while completing their associate degree at the community college. On completion of their ADN students will be able to complete their BSN in one year. Students must be accepted into an ADN program at one of the participating community colleges.
The following California Community Colleges are currently partnered up with CSUN Nursing: Glendale Community College, College of the Canyons, Los Angeles Valley College, Pierce College.
Central American Studies Department
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Central American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic space with an emphasis on the transnational character of Central American experience. The department is the only program to focus on Central Americans in the United States. Faculty and students in Central American Studies develop curriculum and research about Central American identity, literature, human rights, diverse ethnic and cultural practices, immigration, gender, and globalization. The department strives "to empower the large and growing Central American community in the United States by promoting academic excellence, community involvement, and cultural diversity; to open spaces of global citizenship and dialogue between academia and society that contribute to the construction of a Central American transnational identity; and to promote an understanding and appreciation of the diverse Central American cultures, ethnicities, experiences, and worldviews from an interdisciplinary global perspective." 
The Central American Studies program was established in 2000. The program began with a minor which required 18 units for graduation and developed into a Bachelor of Arts program with 13 graduates in 2017. In 2008, CAS faculty, Beatriz Cortez and Douglas Carranza Mena edited an influential text, Introduction to Central American Studies. The reader is a textbook used in the introductory freshman classes and a source of knowledge to share with the community.
The Central American United Student Association (CAUSA) is a student-run club, founded at CSUN. CAUSA works with the Central American Studies Department to raise awareness of the growing Central American population in the greater Los Angeles area. Students led the establishment of CAUSA.
Despite only offering doctorates in education and physical therapy, CSUN has long been recognized as a major supplier of PhD students by the National Science Foundation. CSUN ranked fifth in the number of students who go on to earn a PhD in the category of master's colleges and universities, with a total number of 264 alumni who went on to earn a PhD in the 1999–2003 time frame (the last time this data was included in the NSF report). The other universities in the top 5 of this category, with the exception of the James Madison University at fourth place, were also California State Universities.
CSUN also has a high amount of research activity for a master's level university. Since 2015, CSUN receives around $35 million annually in research funding from over 210 awards each year. For the most recent fiscal year of 2018, CSUN received funding just shy of $35.5 million from 232 grants. The College of Math and Science at CSUN is the biggest recipient of grant money, with just over $10.5 million in funding in fiscal year 2018. Its faculty are published in numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals each year.
To support research activities for both faculty and students, CSUN built a 10,000-square-foot research facility. Half of this building, named Lilac Hall, is currently occupied by The Health Equity Research & Education (HERE) Center, which is funded by a $22 million NIH grant to support biomedical and health equity research at CSUN in the form of the BUILD PODER program; the other half of the building houses a laser lab containing femtosecond lasers to study energy flows and electric charges in nanomaterials, with the intention to design more efficient solar energy devices and nanomaterial-based photothermal therapy for cancer treatment. Another major research program at CSUN is the CSUN-UCLA Bridges to Stem Cell Research program. This ongoing collaboration allows undergraduate students to perform research in one of 50 stem cell research labs headed by UCLA faculty. CSUN has also been collaborating with the Princeton Center for Complex Materials at Princeton University since 2006.
CSUN is also home to the San Fernando Observatory. It has operated this observatory since 1976 and moved the observatory from its location in Sylmar to the campus in 2016. The observatory mainly functions as a solar observatory, and due to its decades long operation by CSUN, has allowed hundreds of students and faculty members to collect solar data. The photometric images from this facility are used to determine energy changes in the sun and the data collected by this observatory are used by researchers worldwide. The observatory, in combination with the Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium and the stellar (night time) observatory, form the only comprehensive astronomy network in the entire California State University system.
Additionally, over 70 CSUN Engineering and Computer Science students designed, built, programmed, and tested a CubeSat named CSUNSat1, which was funded by NASA's Small Spacecraft Technology Partnership program. Its mission is to test a low temperature-capable energy storage system in space, developed by JPL, which will raise the technology readiness level of this storage system from 4 or 5 to 7. The success of this energy storage system will enable future space missions and scientific studies to conduct more experiments while requiring less energy, mass, and volume. The satellite was launched on 18 April, 2017 as part of the ELaNa 17 mission by NASA on the Cygnus CRS OA-7 from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral to the ISS. The satellite was deployed by NanoRacks on May 17, 2017, and the nominal and cold temperature experiments were completed on June 18, 2017. The satellite is still operational and proceeding with its mission operations.
Rankings and Recognition
|U.S. News & World Report||73 (West)|
|Master's University class|
USNWR departmental rankings
- Money Magazine ranked CSUN 89th in the country out of the nearly 1500 schools it evaluated for its 2018 Best Colleges ranking.
- The Daily Beast ranked Cal State Northridge 124th in the country out of the nearly 2000 schools it evaluated for its 2014 Best Colleges ranking.
- Washington Monthly ranked CSUN 21st in its Best Bang for the Buck – West ranking.
- Forbes ranked CSUN 114th in its 2018 ranking of America's Best Value Colleges out of the 300 universities that were included.
- CSUN was ranked as the #13 college in the United States by the Social Mobility Index college rankings.
- CSUN was ranked 3rd in the nation and 1st in California in the amount of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics. CSUN was also ranked 10th nationally and 4th in California in the amount of master's degrees awarded to Hispanics.
- CSUN has been consistently recognized as having one of the best film schools in the U.S. and in the world.
- The undergraduate engineering program ranked fifth among California public colleges (Masters level) and fourteenth among U.S. public colleges.
- CSUN, in collaboration with the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), ranked 10th worldwide as a top business incubator in 2017/2018. LACI also collaborates with UCLA, Caltech, USC, and California State University, Los Angeles.
- The College of Business and Economics has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce for its vital role in promoting international trade in the Los Angeles area.
- In 2018, CSUN was designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University by the APLU.
- In 2011, CSUN ranked eighth in the nation for universities that award bachelor's degrees to minorities in the field of communications.
- CSUN ranked second among 529 master's level universities in preparing students who later earn doctoral degrees (National Science Foundation). The university ranked first in number of graduates who went on to earn Ph.D.s in the social sciences and psychology.
- In 2008, CSUN ranked ninth among top 20 undergraduate schools whose alumni pass the California Bar Exam (#1 among all the CSU campuses).
Locations of interest
The CSUN Botanic Garden is located in the southeast quad, near the intersection of Zelzah Avenue and Nordhoff Street. It is part of the Biology Department for university curriculum, and also a regionally important demonstration garden and educational resource for the community. It has new focus projects for plants usable for regionally local sustainable landscaping using sustainable gardening techniques and studying and 'planting' ethnobotany insights and links. One of the few remaining historic (circa 1920s) orange groves is thriving on the southeastern campus quad. The citrus industry formerly had groves covering much of the San Fernando Valley. The rows of large eucalyptus trees, historic windbreaks for agricultural fields from the late 19th century, are found towering over the perimeters of the campus, surviving planners developing campus expansions with valor.
Oviatt Library provides educational, cultural and information services and resources to the students and faculty. Its primary mission is to support and supplement classroom and independent learning; facilitate student and faculty research; and provide students with lifelong skills in identifying, locating, evaluating and synchronizing information.
All library materials are housed in the Delmar T. Oviatt Library, a 234,712-square-foot (21,805.5 m2) state-of-the-art facility. There are over 2,500 seats for in-house study. Of note are the Learning Commons, the Creative Media Studio, 5 computer equipped library instruction labs, and over 150 computer workstations devoted to library information resources. Specially equipped computer workstations are located throughout the Library for individuals with disabilities, including four assistive technology equipped study rooms for students. During Fall and Spring semesters, the building is open 90 hours a week. The library maintains its own server and web pages providing access to online electronic information and archives 24 hours a day for students and the public at the Oviatt Library Digital Collections. The library also maintains its own AS/RS (Automatic Storage and Retrieval System) with the capacity of 1.7 million volumes.
The Oviatt Library has a physical collection containing 1.3 million volumes, of which over one million are books, and over 245,000 bound periodical volumes. The library subscribes to over 84,000 online journals, 200 online databases and more than 500,000 ebooks. The microform collection contains 3.1 million pieces. There are over 14,000 sound recordings and over 60,000 film and video recordings. The Special Collections & Archives section of the Oviatt Library has a large collection of materials on Human Sexuality—possibly the "second largest private collection on human sexuality" behind the Kinsey Institute. In addition, the Teacher Curriculum Center provides a circulating collection of curricular materials for education students and local educators.
The library is heavily used, with 2.4 million uses of its web pages annually, an annual gate count of 1.4 million, and over a half a million interactions per year with Library personnel.
Other campus departments and centers with collections:
- The Aronstam Library, devoted to communication studies research and scholarship for Communication Studies Department undergraduate, graduate, and faculty members
- The Geography department holds a large collection of Sanborn Maps
- The Script Library in Manzanita Hall features over 800 screenplays
Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts
The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Valley Performing Arts Center) is a performance venue completed in 2011 at a cost of $125 million. Its 166,000 sq. ft. house a 1,700-seat three-tier concert hall and a 175-seat black box theater, as well as rehearsal rooms, academic and production support spaces, classrooms, and a lecture hall. In 2017, Younes Nazarian and his wife, Soraya Nazarian, donated $17 million to rename the Valley Performing Arts Center to the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, also known as The Soraya.
Student Recreation Center
The Student Recreation Center is a 138,000 square foot facility for exercise and leisure activity.
University Student Union
The University Student Union or USU, is a non-profit student organizations that strives to better the college experience. The USU provides a variety of involvement opportunities, programs, services, and job opportunities.
Veteran Resource Center
The Veteran Resource Center (VRC) is located within the University Student Union (USU). The VRC is a designated area for veteran students to seek camaraderie and support as they transition from military service to academia. The VRC has a variety of resources such as: several desktop computers, a rest area, sitting area, and a TV for community use. The VRC is open to all CSUN students.
A service provided by the Veteran Resource Center is their Mentoring Program. The Veteran Mentor Program provides support and excellent resources to Veteran students. The goal is to help Veterans transition from military service to college life as students at CSUN. The mentor program will meet with the Veteran throughout the semester, offering referrals and to serve as positive role models. The program provides someone with shared experiences, connection with other CSUN students and programs.
Oasis Wellness Center
The Oasis Wellness Center is located beneath the USU computer lab and next to the Plaza Pool. The Oasis Wellness Center opened in the fall semester of August 2015 with the sole purpose of providing students with a place of peace and tranquility in order to help achieve academic success. Some programs and services provided at the Oaisis Wellness Center include massage therapy, Power-napping sleep pods, by appointment, nutrition classes and yoga. The Oasis Wellness Center is open to all CSUN students.
CSUN Food Pantry
The CSUN Food Pantry's ultimate goal is to help students in need by providing basic emergency necessities like food and personal care items. It's free of cost with no questions asked. It's to help students in need so their academic success isn't affected by these situations. Having over 40,000 students on campus this service opened up in August 2017. The pantry is in Laurel Hall. This is open to any CSUN student, staff/faculty and local community members.
|Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander||0.3%|
CSUN is served by
Metro Bus Lines
- 152 North Hollywood Station via Fallbrook Ave.: Roscoe Blvd (Connection needed at Reseda Bl with Line 240 or 744)
- 158 Chatsworth Station: Sherman Oaks via Devonshire St & Woodman Av
- 166 Chatsworth Station: Sun Valley via Nordhoff St, Osborne St
- 167 Chatsworth Station: Studio City via Plummer St, Coldwater Canyon Av
- 239 Sylmar Station: Encino via Rinaldi St, Zelzah Av, Lindley St, White Oak Av
- 150/240 Northridge: Universal City Station via Reseda Bl, Ventura Bl
- 353 North Hollywood Station via Roscoe Bl.: Lankershim Bl. Limited (Connection needed at Reseda Bl with Line 240 or 744)
- 364 Chatsworth Station: Sun Valley via Nordhoff St, Osborne St Limited
- 744 Northridge: Tarzana via Reseda Bl Rapid-Limited
Lines 150/240/744 connects with the Metro Orange Line at Reseda Station. The Metro Orange Line (Warner Center – Van Nuys – North Hollywood) connects with the Metro Red Line (North Hollywood – Hollywood – Downtown Los Angeles) & Santa Clarita Bus Line 757 at North Hollywood Station.
AVTA Bus Line
- 787 West San Fernando Valley: Lancaster/Palmdale Express.
Route Stops at Plummer St & Reseda Bl.
LADOT Bus Lines
- DASH Northridge: serves Northridge Metrolink Station, Northridge Fashion Mall, and Reseda Community.
- 419 Chatsworth: Mission Hills – Downtown Los Angeles via Devonshire St Express
- CSUN: Northridge Station.
CSUN provides three shuttle systems: the Housing Shuttle, the Metrolink Shuttle, and the Valley Performing Arts Center Shuttle.
National Center on Deafness
The National Center on Deafness was established in 1972 as a way to serve deaf students at the university. Support services such as sign language interpreters, real-time captioners, and notetakers are coordinated from this center, as well as serving as a location of academic advisement and gathering of deaf students. For the 2008 Fall semester, approximately 200 deaf students were served by the National Center on Deafness.
Film and television shoots
Because of its proximity to Hollywood and its diverse array of modern architecture, the campus has long been an attractive filming location for motion picture and television productions. An early example is the 1966 film The Glass Bottom Boat, for which parts of Sierra Hall and the Engineering Building were temporarily dressed up as NASA facilities. It has appeared in American Idol, Arrested Development, Ringer, Chuck, Dexter, My Name Is Earl, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Minds, Commander in Chief, Van Wilder, Six Feet Under, The Karate Kid, Battlestar Galactica, The Office, McMillan & Wife, Son in Law, Bring It On: Fight to the Finish, Legally Blonde 2, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell, The Nick Cannon Show, Quincy, M.E., Georgia Rule, and Sky High (in which the Oviatt Library is prominently featured). The Barry Levinson-directed What Just Happened was filmed at the Oviatt Library and featured Robert De Niro and Sean Penn. The pilot of the remake of the television series "Knight Rider" filmed a car chase on the campus, which stood in for Stanford University. During the spring break of 2008, the library served as Starfleet Academy for Star Trek (2009 version). The parking lots to the north of the campus were featured in the movie Superbad. In September 2014, CSUN's Matador Bookstore and Oviatt Library served as backdrops for the movie We Are Your Friends, starring Zac Efron. In the Fall of 2016, CSUN's Citrus Hall, Jerome Richfield Hall, and Sierra Quad were featured in the television series Lucifer. The Valley Performing Arts Center saw extensive use in the web-series VGHS.
With one of the most recent filming of The Orville, Season 2, a Fox show starring Seth McFarlane was filmed in front of The Oviatt Library in April 2017. Following the filming of The Good Place, a NBC TV show that is a comedy fiction series created by Michael Schur, who was a writer for Parks an Recreation and The Office. Cast members, including Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, were spotted at CSUN. The Good Place Season 3 was filmed in front of the Bayramian Hall and Manzanita Hall in April 2018.
CSUN fields 19 teams at the NCAA Division I level. CSUN fields both men's and women's teams in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball. CSUN also has baseball and softball and fields women's teams in beach volleyball, tennis and water polo. Due to state and university budget deficits, CSUN dropped football following the 2001 season. The football team cost the university $1 million a year and had little fan support. CSUN also dropped men's and women's swimming in 2010 due to a statewide and campus budget crisis. CSUN is one of only 45 schools in the nation that has a beach volleyball program.
CSUN moved up to Division I in 1990. Before moving up, the university won 34 national titles at the Division II level which still ranks third all time. CSUN was a member of the Big Sky Conference from 1996 to 2001. They have been a member of the Big West Conference ever since for most sports. The men's and women's indoor track and field teams and the men's volleyball team compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation instead.
Since moving up to Division I CSUN has produced two NCAA national runner-up teams: the men's volleyball team in 1993 and softball team in 1994. The Matadors softball team has appeared in three Women's College World Series in 1981, 1993 and 1994, advancing to the title game in 1994 before falling to Arizona. In 2010 the men's volleyball team spent several weeks as the number one ranked team in the nation and also made the Final Four but lost to Penn State in a semi-final match.
The men's basketball team has made it to the NCAA tournament two times in 2001 and 2009. The team made it to three Big Sky championship games in 1997, 2000 and 2001. CSUN beat Eastern Washington in 2001 to advance to their first NCAA tournament. CSUN was seeded 13th and lost to the fourth seed Kansas in the round of 64. CSUN has played in two Big West championship games in 2004 and 2009. CSUN beat Pacific in 2009, and was seeded 15th in the NCAA tournament and lost to the second seed Memphis.
CSUN men's Soccer reached the 3rd Round of the 2006 NCAA tournament, knocking out Big West Conference rival UC Santa Barbara in the 2nd Round.
The Women's Track and Field team won six straight Big West titles from 2006 to 2011. The men's Track and Field team has won three Big West titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
The men's and Women's Basketball and Volleyball teams all play in the 2,500 seat Matadome located in Redwood Hall.
CSUN's sports teams are known as the Matadors. In 1958 a student vote chose the school colors red and white and 'Matadors' as the school mascot over 158 nominations for possible nicknames. Matadors was elected over four other finalists Apollos, Falcons, Rancheros and Titans.
Clubs and organizations
CSUN encourages students to enhance their overall college experience by joining clubs and organizations. There are more than 300 student clubs and organizations at CSUN. Through the Matador Involvement Center, students also have the opportunity to start a new club. All clubs and organizations at CSUN must sign a non-hazing contract. CSUN has a zero tolerance for any form of hazing.
Fraternities and sororities
The university is home to many fraternal organizations and each are members of a council. There are five councils at the university; Independent Greek Council, Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Panhellenic Council, and United Sorority and Fraternity Council. The Organizations in the North-American Interfraternity Conference are Zeta Beta Tau, Kappa Sigma, Sigma Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Nu, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, along with eight National Panhellenic Conference members, which includes Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Zeta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi. The university's Pi Kappa Phi chapter surrendered their charter in 2014 following the hazing related death of Armando Villa.
The campus has fourteen United Sorority and Fraternity Council members, such as Gamma Zeta Alpha Fraternity and Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Alpha Pi Sigma Sorority, Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Lambda Sigma Gamma Sorority, Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity, Phi Lambda Nu Fraternity, Phi Lambda Rho Sorority, Sigma Alpha Zeta Sorority, Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Sigma Omega Nu Latina Interest Sorority, and Sigma Tau Alpha Veteran Fraternity (co-ed). Lastly, Independent Greek Council includes Alpha Epsilon Omega, Alpha Gamma Alpha, Alpha Nu Kappa, Alpha Psi Rho, Alpha Sigma Theta, Beta Gamma Nu, Gamma Rho Lambda, Omega Phi, Phi Psi Omega, Rho Delta Chi, and Tau Omega Rho.
Greek Life at the university is not only beneficial to the student life, but it has been beneficial for the campus and the surrounding community. One thing the Greeks were responsible for was the addition of Matador Patrol which is a service the campus offers to students that provide free safety escorts to students, faculty and visitors on campus. However, the Greek community changed when student Armando Villa died during an 18-mile hike when pledging for a fraternity. Since then Greek involvement decreased until recently when the Greek life started to revamp itself.
After the death of Armando Villa CSUN abolished hazing from any on campus organizations/clubs. CSUN created a non hazing agreement for all clubs and organizations on campus to follow. Any club/organization that did not complete the agreement would not be recognized by the university. In the agreement, it clearly states that the university will have zero tolerance for any and all acts of hazing. Anyone found to be in violation of these guidelines may be held collectively and/or individually responsibly through the CSUN clubs and Organization Review Process, the CSU Student Code of Conduct, and/or additional authority review.
 Not only are there just Greek organization, but there are also many political and cultural clubs on campus including Chabad at CSUN and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life for Jewish students, Students for Justice in Palestine, MEChA and the Hip-Hop Think Tank.
- KCSN radio
- The Daily Sundial: college newspaper
- Valley View News: student television station
- Scene Magazine: student-created magazine
- Northridge Magazine
For the academic year 2015–2016, the number of foreign students who attended U.S institutions exceeded the one million mark. During the same year, CSUN was ranked as the number one Master's institution, having the highest number of international students in the United States. The total number of international students for that academic year totaled 3,924.
100 Citizens is a free exercise program in Southern California that offers exercise agendas for local communities. This program is implemented by volunteer kinesiology students attending CSUN. In 2012, the program obtained recognition from the White House, winning Popular Choice award in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let's Move video challenge.
Notable alumni, faculty, and former students
CSUN has been home to a range of prominent alumni, faculty, and staff. In politics and business, these include the 5th President of Egypt (Mohamed Morsi); the Minister of Finance of Afghanistan and the Minister of Finance of Nepal (Mohammad Qayoumi and Prakash Chandra Lohani, respectively); two former heads of the United States Census Bureau (Roy Peel and Vincent Barabba); a former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Kathleen Utgoff); a former member of President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers and president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (Jerry Jordan); a member of the United States House of Representatives (Katie Hill); the 42nd Lieutenant Governor of California (Mike Curb); the former Governor of Hawaii (Linda Lingle); a Senior Judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California (S. James Otero); a host of business executives and founders like Gene Haas (founder of Haas Automation, NASCAR and Formula One team owner), Stephen Bollenbach (Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hilton Hotels Corporation among other positions), and Dirk Gates (founder and CEO of Xircom and Xirrus); and various politicians at State and City level both in- and outside of California (see alumni list).
In entertainment, CSUN's alumni include Paula Abdul (winner of multiple MTV Video Music Awards, Grammy Awards, and Emmy Awards); Richard Dreyfuss (winner of an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA); Jenna Elfman (actress known for role in Dharma and Greg, Golden Globe winner); Don Hahn (film producer of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame); Alyson Hannigan (actress known for roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and How I Met Your Mother); Diane Warren (songwriter and winner of a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and three consecutive Billboard Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year); John Densmore (former drummer of The Doors); Andy Summers (former guitarist of The Police); Serj Tankian (lead vocalist System of a Down); Andy Grammer (singer-songwriter with multiple gold and platinum records); Michelle DeYoung (three-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano and winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and Marian Anderson Award); Carol Vaness (soprano); and Gordon Goodwin (composer and winner of multiple Grammy Awards and Emmy Awards). Additionally, CSUN has a particularly large body of jazz faculty due to its esteemed jazz program, with names like Fred Katz, John Daversa, Gregg Bissonette, Bob McChesney, and Gerald Wilson. Notably, Lucille Ball was an Assistant Professor in 1979.
In the visual arts and literature, CSUN has been home to Kim Victoria Abeles (interdisciplinary artist), Judy Baca (Chicano artist), Betty Beaumont (conceptual installation artist, sculptor, and photographer), Hans Burkhardt (painter), Karl Dempwolf (plein air painter), John Divola (photographer and visual artist), Mike Mandel (conceptual artist and photographer), Michael C. McMillen (installation artist), James Dickey (18th United States Poet Laureate and winner of a National Book Award for Poetry), Kenneth G. Eade (lawyer author of political and legal thrillers), and David Gerrold (author of The Martian Child).
Notably, CSUN has produced three Pulitzer Prize winners: Frank del Olmo (Pulitzer Prize for Public Service), Paul Pringle (Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting), and Ken Lubas (photojournalist).
In the sciences, CSUN has awarded degrees to Jeannine Davis-Kimball (archeologist), Scott J. Horowitz (astronaut), Adriana Ocampo (planetary geologist and NASA scientist), Olympia LePoint (NASA rocket scientist), and Ann E. Watkins (mathematician specialized in statistics). Faculty have included Barbara J. Collins (ecologist and geologist), Lorence G. Collins (petrologist and geologist), Lorraine Foster (mathematician and first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from California Institute of Technology), William Karush (mathematician known for Karush–Kuhn–Tucker conditions), Daniel Raymer (aerospace design engineer), and Velva E. Rudd (botanist).
In academics, alumni have become professors at Ivy League institutions (including Professor of Economics and Public Affairs Mark Watson at Princeton University, Associate Professor of Surgery Michael F. Daily at Dartmouth College, and Associate Professor of Services Marketing Robert Kwortnik at Cornell University) as well as various Public and Hidden Ivies, and other prominent institutions like New York University.
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