Chelsea Buffington took the helm of the Otter Student Union (OSU) as director in December. She brings with her a considerable amount of experience and energy.
In addition to the vision and mission of California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), Buffington said the upcoming construction and opening of a new Student Union project attracted her to the position.
“There is nothing quite like working on a student union project,” said Buffington. “Plus this will be the first [for CSUMB], that is exciting. That will be the center and heart of campus. I look forward to working with students to accomplish this.”
Buffington comes to CSUMB from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. She has experience working at public and private universities, and has prior experience with student union projects.
One example of her prior work involved “opening up and being the user rep for the student union project at the University of Miami,” she said. The facility opened in 2013. The complex includes a new student center, outdoor space for programming, and a swim and dive facility.
The new student union construction project at CSUMB is slated to get underway this spring, and Buffington promises there will be more information coming soon about that.
“Chelsea’s arrival has been greatly anticipated since the departure of former Director, Shanna Kinzel, who is now at UNLV,” said Marco Dowell, Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development. “Chelsea will provide direction and leadership to the new Student Center construction project.”
Buffington will be reporting to Dr. Ronnie Higgs, Vice President of Student Affairs & Enrollment Services, until the new Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Dr. Leslie Williams arrives on March 19, said Dowell.
Buffington noted one major change for OSU this year has been to become an official 501 (c) 3, non-profit incorporated organization. She said students and staff are coming together, and this had been a lengthy process.
This past summer the OSU staff and students worked together to create new vision, mission and values, which can be found online at https://csumb.edu/osu/osu-leadership-team.
She said it is important to her for the Student Center to be a place for student voices. She wanted to express, “how excited we all are that we will be working with students to get the union built,” and to be a space to bring the whole campus together.