Community gathers to celebrate RSU’s opening with ribbon-cutting ceremony

President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, ASI President Caroline Alvarez and other community members and supporters gather for the RSU's ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 4, 2022. (Alexa Barraza/The Collegian)

Fresno State celebrated the opening of the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union (RSU) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning that highlighted the students involved and the Resnicks’ donation. 

The event attracted students, staff, faculty, alumni and community leaders, including council members Tyler Maxwell and Nelson Esparza, Rep. Jim Costa and Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, before opening the building to the public at the north entrance of the building. 

Fresno State student Nancy Campos Ledezma, who serves as chair of the Student Union Board of Directors, opened with the land acknowledgment that the RSU is built on the traditional homelands of the Yokuts and Mono peoples and recalled the history behind the RSU’s construction.

“In 2018, thousands of students came together to leave their legacy at Fresno State. From the beginning, this building has been a student-led effort,” Ledezma said.

Following Ledezma, fellow student Francisco Licea represented Lynda and Stewart Resnick, whom the building is named after, as one of the Wonderful Scholars.

As the son of a father who works for the Resnicks’ corporation, The Wonderful Company, Licea was able to join the Wonderful Education Program in the ninth grade to receive tutoring and coaching. Upon realizing his dream to be an aerospace engineer, the Wonderful staff helped Licea with his college application and recommended Fresno State’s mechanical engineering program.

“I started here in the fall of 2018 and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision. Support from Wonderful Education didn’t stop when I got to college. [It] offered me and over 900 Wonderful scholars across the country a scholarship throughout college plus dedicated tutors, coaches and peer mentors to ensure I would earn my degree,” he said.

Licea, who will be graduating in December, credited the Resnicks and their company’s assistance in helping him land his dream job as an aerospace engineer at Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. 

Associated Students Inc. (ASI) President Caroline Alvarez and Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval thanked student leaders and community sponsors who assisted with the building’s construction during their remarks, with Jiménez-Sandoval acknowledging the struggles that delayed its opening.

“The [RSU] is a testament to the ingenuity and tireless efforts of our construction and facilities team, our architecture firm as well as our many partners who battled supply chain challenges and a global pandemic to construct what is truly a magnificent jewel on our campus,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.

The student union previously held its soft opening on Sept. 22 and held tours throughout the following week to introduce students to the new facility. 

David Bautista, a fourth-year transfer student, visited the facility during that time and later attended the ribbon-cutting event. He praised the inclusivity of Tuesday’s event.

“Of course, you know, you have Lynda and Stewart on the building, but, as a student, I didn’t know there were other organizations that kind of added to the whole construction of it,” Bautista said.

In 2018, two-thirds of students who voted approved a fee referendum of $149 per semester to support the construction of the RSU. As a recent transfer student, Bautista did not vote but believes the increase is worth it.

“I feel like finding a good place to study or just hang out and escape the heat is pretty hard. It’s another building to relax [in and] get out of the heat,” he said.

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