CSUN Students Partner with Alum to Help Unhoused Community College Students

Above is a group photo of some of the IXLA creatives at the Adobe Max 2022 event. The team .. Photo courtesy of IXLA.

Above is a group photo of some of the IXLA creatives at the Adobe Max 2022 event. The team has partnered with a nonprofit to help unhoused community college students. Photo courtesy of IXLA.

California State University, Northridge’s student-based brand management and creative services agency: IntersectLA (IXLA) has partnered with the nonprofit Los Angeles Room & Board to help unhoused community college students in the Los Angeles area.

The students, mostly from CSUN’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, are working with Northridge alumnus Sam Prater, who graduated from the university in 2018 with a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. 

The team is working with Prater to bring the Los Angeles Room & Board’s website to life, additionally creating video walkthroughs of the nonprofit’s housing facilities and resources. The goal is to increase awareness of the services Los Angeles Room & Board is offering to unhoused community college students.

“We’re putting on a new coat of paint,” said Josh Fajardo, a third-year student expected to graduate in fall 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis in Communication Design. He is also serving as the project’s lead and web designer. “We are not completely rebranding or redesigning their website, but rather working with the natural evolution of the brand.”

Los Angeles Room & Board’s mission is to ensure that California’s community college students can realize their educational goals by providing transitional housing designed to end homelessness and, through its residential education program, promote persistence, retention and completion from their certificate, associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs.

CSUN art professors David Moon and Joe Bautista, who co-founded IntersectLA, said the partnership with Los Angeles Room & Board provides the students with real-world work opportunities while at the same time giving Prater and his nonprofit an updated look that will appeal to their target audience.

“Sam is a visionary,” Moon said. “This work that we are doing with Los Angeles Room & Board is the exact type of work that our students should be getting involved with. The students get to practice what they’re learning in the classroom, while seeing the impact they could make by working with a community.”

Fajardo and his teammates have been working on multiple phases of Los Angeles Room & Board’s website, from minor text and blurb edits to developing copy. They also develop interactive portions of the website and are currently finishing the development of staff pages, as well as pages that will showcase the nonprofit’s housing facilities.

Bautista said the work with nonprofits like Los Angeles Room & Board not only provides CSUN students with professional experience while still in college, but it also provides them opportunities for personal growth. 

“Despite any part that IntersectLA has taken, we are excited and proud to take any part in the telling of people’s stories,” he said.

IntersectLA, which has more than 40 CSUN students on its team, provides brand marketing and creative strategies to external corporations and nonprofits while at the same time offering the students real-world work experiences. The design-focused team includes students interested in careers in photography, videography, motion design, marketing, brand strategy, public relations and web design.

“IntersectLA functions as a place where design and strategy or marketing can intersect to form a new kind of enterprise,” Moon said.

Ultimately, Moon said, he has one focus.

“My focus has always been on the students,” he said. “We are a teaching institution and, let’s not forget, we’re here to make an impact on our students.”

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