The California Higher Education Student Summit (CHESS) is an annual conference in which CSU students come together to gain knowledge about the California state government and how various bills and processes affect students and the CSU system. Students also gain exposure to the various statewide student leadership positions that are available.
CSU Student Leader Conference (“CSUnity”)
The “CSUnity” Conference is an annual conference in which CSU students have the opportunity to gains the skills and information needed to effectively and adequately serve on a nonprofit board of directors. The conference is planned in partnership with the Auxiliary Organizations Association (AOA). Students attend sessions focused on, but not limited to, leadership practices/philosophies, how the CSU system fits into the state government structure, how the CSU system is set up and how students can participate in university governance.
CSU Student Trustee Search
Per the California Education code (state law), CSSA is vested with the authority and responsibility for conducting the annual search for CSU Student Trustees who serve on the CSU Board of Trustees. Each year, the CSSA Board of Directors elects a committee that is charged with executing this high-level, confidential search process. The ultimate appointment of the CSU Student Trustee is made the state governor.
State Government Relations & Advocacy
CSSA’s Office of Government Relations and related programming offers students the opportunity to participate in and gain an advanced aptitude in working within California’s three-tier governance process: legislative, executive, and special interest (lobby groups).
Just as the CSU Office of State Advocacy & Relations works on behalf of the CSU system, CSSA’s office and related programs work on behalf of CSU students. Through our government relations structure, students develop working relationships with the state’s elected lawmakers and constitutional officers and articulate policy positions and testimonials on higher education issues affecting CSU students.
Federal Government Relations & Advocacy
CSSA’s Office of Government Relations and related programming also offers students the opportunity to participate in and gain an advanced aptitude in working within the federal governance process.
Just as the CSU Office of Federal Advocacy & Relations works on behalf of the CSU system, CSSA’s office and related programs work on behalf of CSU students. Through our government relations structure, students develop working relationships with the federal awmakers and constitutional officers and articulate policy positions and testimonials on higher education issues affecting CSU students. Our program offers students the opportunity to better understand the role of the President and Congress in public higher education policy.
Shared Governance: Student Participation in CSU Policy Development
The opportunity for students to have an impact on the development of university policies and procedures that have or will have an effect on current and future students is vital to the well-being and life of a university. This opportunity includes participation by students in developing recommendations to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, and/or the Campus Presidents. CSSA and local student association’s facilitate this crucial student participation in policy-making in order to enhance institutional effectiveness and responsiveness to student needs.
Through CSSA, students are given the opportunity serve as student representatives on the approximately 10-15 CSU systemwide governance/advisory committees, to communicate policy positions on behalf of student constituents, negotiate compromises on difficult policy issues, and develop strong knowledge of the CSU system’s executive management and participation in decision-making processes.
The Greenovation Fund has been established by the CSSA as a resource to fund student-led sustainability projects at CSU campuses. The program aims at enhancing the sustainability profile of CSU campuses and providing hands-on experience for the students who administer the fund and for students applying for a grant. Through this program students learn and gain experience through managing the grant program in conjunction with CSSA staff and gain knowledge of practical application of sustainability curriculum.
Executive Committee Leadership
CSSA’s Executive Committee consists of five students who are elected annually by the CSSA Board of Directors, which consists of one student representative from each of the 23 CSU campuses. Students on the CSSA Executive Committee may be students-at-large or student leaders at the local campus level. CSSA Executive Officers work with the Board of Directors to set the vision and priorities for CSSA, develop strong networks with trustees, administrators, faculty and students, and are vested with responsibilities related to the day-to-day needs and practices of a nonprofit organization.
The CSSA Internship Program offers students the opportunity to gain experience in areas of interest that complement their educational experience in the classroom. CSSA staff works with each individual intern to determine the scope and activities of the internship in areas such as public policy and administration, higher education leadership, communications, and government relations. Currently, the internship program is limited to 2-3 students per semester, however it is an organizational priority to expand these valuable opportunities.