Founded in 1931, Aztec Shops is a non-profit organization and auxiliary of San Diego State University. The organization is comprised of a number of divisions, including Campus Stores, Dining Services, Real Estate, Conference Services and Marketing. The mission and purpose of Aztec Shops is to support student success, and it accomplishes this through a strong and diverse team of committed individuals.
Former CEO, Harvey Goodfriend helped develop the auxiliary’s programs within the San Diego State University. Harvey Goodfriend also helped form the Auxiliary Organizations Association (AOA). AOA is a consortium of diverse, entrepreneurial, service-oriented CSU auxiliary organizations whose purpose is to assist in exemplary services, programs, and facilities that further the educational mission of each campus. Over the years, these programs have grown and expanded, but have maintained their commitment to ensure the students are receiving the support they need across a variety of areas.
Aztec Shops employs 975 people including approximately 700 students, in addition to non-student management and staff members. The culture is collaborative in nature, drawing on the energy and enthusiasm of the large number of student workers, and on the dedication of employees who operate with a service-oriented mindset. The organization prides itself on solving problems together with a commitment towards transparency, openness and collaboration.
Among the programs created to better serve the student body, Campus-Grown, an initiative offered through SDSU Dining, is comprised of 30 raised garden beds and 40 aeroponic towers tended to by a team of four student gardeners. These gardens supply fresh produce grown on campus to the SDSU Dining team and ensure that the freshest nutrient dense produce is used in meals prepared for students, faculty, and staff. Campus Grown also helps the environment through efficient water use, no packaging used, and reduced transportation than if purchased through distributors.
In response to a growing number of students who were found to be facing food insecurity in recent years, Aztec Shops, along with many other campus partners, helps support the university’s Economic Crisis Response Team and Associated Students Food Pantry. Additionally, through partnerships with Associated Students, Aztec Shops helps facilitate meeting these same needs in the community by supporting the university created initiative “Aztec Rocks Hunger” which collects food and donations annually for the Cushman San Diego Foodbank. The food drive campaign runs from September 28 through October 21, 2018 and this year’s goal is to donate 700,000 pounds of food to the foodbank.
In addition, in an effort to support students and save them money, the SDSU Bookstore’s Immediate Access program offers all enrolled students access to course materials in digital format at no charge on or before the first day of classes. Students retain this no-cost access until the add/drop deadline, when they can choose to remain in and pay for the program or opt out. Since the programs start in the spring of 2016 through the fall of 2018, students have saved $3.8 million off of traditional printed textbooks.