Together, United: Using a Student Union to Improve a Diverse Campus Culture

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM


Research shows that a positive school culture is one of the biggest indicators of a safe school environment that reduces disciplinary issues, and bullying, by creating connections between students and allowing them to grow socially. A student union can play a key role in developing a positive school culture. This session will examine student unions of varying size, scale and use for different ages, from middle-high school to higher education, and how they contribute to school culture and social climate, including health and wellness. Programmatic adjacencies such as co-location of student services, dining, and activity spaces can increase student access. The contribution of indoor and outdoor spaces to student union function, and the influence of landscape features such as quads and amphitheaters will be examined. A recent Student Union project for the California State University Northridge will be featured.

#1: Recognize the benefit of a positive school social climate to school safety.
#2: Identify ways in which student unions can support a positive school social climate.
#3: Discover design features that support student well-being and mental health.
#4: Identify student engagement strategies when planning student unions.

Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning: Manages a master planning process that combines educational planning, facilities assessment and utilization, demographic research, capital planning and educational specifications with a community-based vision to establish a plan for learning environments. This includes the ability to translate existing or aspirational instructional models to specific programming and spatial relationships.

Community Engagement: Leads the internal and external communities through a discovery process that articulates and communicates a community-based foundational vision, forming the basis of a plan for the design of the learning environment. The vision is achieved through a combination of rigorous research, group facilitation, strategic conversations, qualitative and quantitative surveys and workshops. Demonstrates the skill to resolve stakeholder issues while embedding a community's unique vision into the vision for its schools.   

Winston Bao, CID Associate, LPA Design Studios
Winston has over 20 years of professional experience and has dedicated his career to focusing on how design can influence experiences and, ultimately, shape quality of life. As an Associate and (CID), he has designed high-performance learning environments for all ages. With career highlights in the education segment, Winston ongoing passion has been working with clients to deliver solutions that provide practical value and celebrate their unique culture.

Jimmy Francis, Associate Executive Director, Operations & Services CSUN Division of Student Affairs | University Student Union
Jimmy started with the University Student Union in February 2011, and served as the Director for the Student Recreation Center before being appointed to the Associate Executive Director role. He provides leadership and direction for the operations and services areas of the USU, and also leads its renovation and construction projects. His passion is to help students achieve their educational goals by providing valuable employment experience and quality programs, services and facilities. Jimmy earned his master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Management from The Ohio State University and his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Ohio Wesleyan University. 

Andrea Pippin, LPA Design Studios
Andrea has been a life-long planner, with a degree in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly, SLO. Her role with LPA is focused on the planning process of educational facilities using a multi-layered toolkit to draw the connection between a need and a solution. Andrea’s favorite piece of the puzzle is the human element as she takes joy in tailoring the planning process to meet the needs of specific stakeholders and community members. 

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



+1 480.391.0840
11445 E. Via Linda, Ste 2-440
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259 USA