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Not all of the Fresno State students who were on hand for Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union will still be on campus when it opens in the fall of 2021, but that didn’t dampen the day’s excitement.

Construction actually started in November. But the official groundbreaking was the time for speeches and for dignitaries to wield the traditional gold shovels at a ceremony that included appearances by the Bulldog Beat scholarship band and Fresno State cheerleaders.

Nancy Price

School Zone

The Resnicks, owners of The Wonderful Company, are providing $10 million to help build the new $60 million facility, which is being constructed on the former site of the university’s outdoor amphitheater southeast of the University Student Union. The current student union will continue to provide programs and services after the new one opens.

“Stewart and I are gratified to support this central hub that will enrich the student experience on campus while serving as a place where students can connect with each other and feel a greater sense of belonging,” Lynda Resnick said.

An artist’s rendering of the Resnick Student Union now under construction. (Fresno State)

Students Also Will Ante Up

Students voted overwhelmingly in a March 2018 campus election to help underwrite the new facility. They will begin paying facility fees after it opens.

“The Resnick Student Union will forever represent the power of the student voice,” said Lauryn Florez, chair of the University Student Union board and the event’s emcee. “Students identified a need and took a bold step to make change. They worked tirelessly to ensure that future generations would have access to the resources they deserve, and that is exactly what this building will provide.”

The 84,000-square-foot structure will be a home for clubs and student organizations and will include dynamic meeting spaces and an outdoor terrace.

Thursday’s groundbreaking also was accompanied by a major gift to Fresno State. The Bank of America is giving $250,000 in support of the Bank of America Welcome Center.

Books — And Kindness — Coming to King Students

Each of the 675 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade at King Elementary School will get a book next week through the Fresno Assistance League‘s Action! Week.

King Elementary was chosen for the donation, which celebrates the birthday of the organization’s founder, Anne Banning.

The books will be handed out at three assemblies Tuesday.

The Assistance League also is introducing a human kindness program at the southwest Fresno school. The program, which will encourage students to perform acts of kindness every day, runs through the end of the year.

The Action! Week project is designed to nurture students through reading, diversity, and kindness.

‘Cultivate Conference’ Opens Window on Missions Projects

Fresno Pacific University and the Central Valley Youth Network are sponsoring a conference on mission and service projects, “Cultivate Conference 2020: Prepare to Serve.”

The event is from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 7 in the Special Events Center, Shehadey Dining Hall and classrooms on the main campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave.

Admission is $20 and registration information is at fpu.edu/cultivate.

Participants will get information on preparing for local and international mission trips, working with people from different cultures, how to raise support, and leadership.

Joe White, directional leader and pastor for the Neighborhood Church movement in Fresno’s Jackson neighborhood, will be the keynote speaker.

Up in The Air, Junior Birdmen

Reedley students may someday be among the solutions to the nation’s pending shortage of airplane pilots.

The Kings Canyon Unified School District recently got flight simulators — described as a “gamified” version of the ones actual pilots use for training — for elementary school classrooms, paid for by Boeing in a collaboration with the city of Reedley and Reedley College, which has long had an aviation program.

Reedley High students can take aviation classes through the Aviation career pathway in partnership with Reedley College, and after graduating from high school can complete a program in flight science or aviation mechanics at the college.

The program could provide an economic boost to the Reedley community, which has a poverty rate of 12% — three times the national average. According to Boeing, more than 800,000 pilots will be needed worldwide in the next 20 years, in part because a large number of pilots are nearing the mandatory retirement age of 65.

Flight simulation at Reedley College’s flight science degree program. (GV Wire Photo/ Jahz Tello)

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