Couches and high-top tables along with food and coffee are now accessible to faculty and staff in a single-room lounge and outdoor patio called Club 57. It’s located on the first floor of Titan Shops in room 109 at Cal State Fullerton.
The new lounge, which was planned and built over the summer, was announced Thursday by interim President Fram Virjee in a surprise email inviting university faculty and staff to its grand opening the same day. Its purpose is to give faculty and staff a space to meet, work on curriculum together or sit down with students.
“It’s a place for faculty and staff to come together, collaborate and communicate, build bridges, work on interdisciplinary activity and be a center where they can all relax and get to know each other,” said Virjee during its grand opening.
Food will be provided throughout the semester at a “modest” charge, and menu items are posted on the Club 57 website, said Danny Kim, vice president of administration and finance. Free coffee service is also available all day.
Beginning Sept. 4 and ending Sept. 20, the grand opening special includes a buffet and salad bar priced at $7.57, and the salad bar alone at $6.57. For the rest of the semester, the buffet and salad bar will be priced at $10.57, and for the salad bar only at $9.57, according to the CSUF Club 57 website.
The name, Club 57, refers to the year CSUF was founded (1957) and is not the first of its kind since the university opened.
Twenty years ago, a similar lounge was available to faculty and staff on the second floor of the bookstore, said Amir Dabirian, vice president of information technology and chief information officer for the campus.
The reasons for its closing are unknown, but Virjee said it might have been due to budget cuts or lack of interest.
Hart Roussel, director of planned giving at university advancement, said he thinks the lounge is useful for faculty who travel far to get to campus, or for those who sometimes forget their lunch. He envisions himself using the space to meet with potential donors.
“There aren’t necessarily a lot of informal meeting spaces on campus. There’s usually very formal meeting spaces. People can actually have the kind of informal communication that really helps to grow the organization in a place like this,” Roussel said.
Several groups worked together over the summer to arrange the setup and function of the lounge including Auxiliary Service Corporation, Facilities Management, and Campus information technology. Virjee credits the quick execution of the lounge over the summer to these groups.
The Titan Bookstore will be managing the space on a daily basis and OC Catering will be providing the food service as well as following health code regulations, Kim said.
Virjee said the campus master plan, which is still in the process of being planned, will involve similar initiatives to create more “convening” spaces around campus for faculty, staff and students.
“We are a state institution, so things take time. Sometimes way too much time,” Virjee said. “What we were able to do here is evidence that when we think outside the box, when we think inventively, when we think innovatively, we can do things in record time and we can do things with record results.”
Club 57 will be open to faculty and staff Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m to 5:00 pm.
Briggetta Pierrot contributed to this report.