Westlake campus benefits community

California Lutheran Uni-versity has now expanded its graduate programs for students and services to six locations with the main campus in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Woodland Hills, Santa Maria, Berkley and Westlake Village.

Over the summer of 2014, Cal Lutheran opened its sixth location in Westlake Village, located on Lindero Canyon Road right off the 101 freeway.

Unlike the other off-campus locations, the Westlake Village center houses three different offices, which offer services to the community rather than just the students. Those offices are the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Community Counseling Center, and the Center for Economic Research Forecast center.

“The important part of entrepreneurship is under-standing how entrepreneurs work. We have the space for entrepreneurs where they can work here and we can better help them. These aren’t students but just people from the community, people self-starting their businesses,” Mike Panesis, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship said.

Cal Lutheran took the opportunity to lend a hand to the entrepreneurs within the community. The Center for Entrepreneurship helps local entrepreneurs by providing a work space and resources for them to get started on their self-started businesses.

Panesis said the benefit of the center is strengthening the connection between the university’s services and the community.

“If you think about the other campuses as well, there’s a point where the university has to go to the people. Cal Lutheran is more spread out and it has facilities where if you can’t go to the main campus then the university comes to you,” Panesis said.

Cal Lutheran’s services don’t just stop in that section of the Westlake Village center. The university also provides counseling services for the community. The Community Counseling Center relocated to the Westlake Village center and also provides its services at the Oxnard location.

Different from the Student Counseling Services, the Community Counseling Center provides counseling services for the community and adds to the education for students who wish to pursue a career in the field of psychology.

“For the community, it’s very essential and helpful because of our mission statement. For the community we offer very low- cost treatment. So people get high quality therapy services at a very reasonable rate,” said Janice Aharon-Ezer, clinic director of the Community Counseling Center.

Not only does this center benefit the community, but it also benefits the students in the Graduate School of Psychology at Cal Lutheran. Students who are part of the program are able to gain real life experience by working as trainees in the clinic.

“Our clinics are training clinics. They are part of the Graduate School of Psychology. Students work there, there are the therapists,” Aharon-Ezer said. “They are very closely supervised by licensed professionals in the field that have had years of experience. This is in addition to them being in classes and learning from the professors.”

This clinic adds to the learning experience of the students and allows them to have beneficial work experience where they can work with all kinds of cases.

Lastly, the third addition within the Westlake Village center family is the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting (CERF).

This center does economic forecasts of Ventura, California and the United States. The services include consultation of economic analysis, publication of forecasts and seminars. The seminars are three to three and a half hours explaining and talking about the economy.

Dan Hamilton, director of economics for CERF, said the Westlake Village location demonstrates how the center actually runs like a business.

“The benefits about being out here is that the forecast center is basically a 365-day business. The thing that’s here and that is not on campus is that it doesn’t go dead here like campus does at Thanksgiving, at Christmas, or in-between terms,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said the energy at the Westlake Village location gives him a different feel of the working environment that he wouldn’t receive on the main campus.

“There’s all these times when you’re on campus because it’s completely dead and you feel like you’re on the moon or something. Whereas here there’s energy, there’s people, there’s motion, there’s activity, there’s business activity, there’s conversation,” Hamilton said. “There’s a different energy and the energy is constant. It’s all the time. It’s 24/7 and 365 all the time so I feed off that energy.”

Pleased with their location in Westlake Village, the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Community Counseling Center and the California for Economic Research and Forecasting hope to gain more attraction from the community and the students to learn about the services and programs that the centers offer.

Kristen Cueva
Staff Writer
Published October 21st, 2015