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CSUSM Synergy Groups

CSUSM Synergy Groups provide campus employees an opportunity to network outside of their department while discussing fun topics such as hiking, sustainability and gardening. Synergy groups are open to all campus faculty, staff and MPPs.

Ready to Join a Group?

You can join any of our groups. Or if you are interested, facilitate an existing or new group.
Join or Facilitate Group


  • All About Food
    Facilitator: Jo Schaffer
  • Book Dragons

    Voratious readers unite. Share what you are reading, find your next read or talk about a favorite book with others. We welcome all genres! 

    Facilitator: Susan O'Connor -
    Most of the time, you'll find my nose in a book. My genres of choice are Sci Fi and fantasy, but I love the classics and just books.

  • Crafters
    Facilitator: Natalie O'Hara
  • Fun Places to Visit (Locally & Beyond)

    Want to impress your family and friends with some place new to check out?  Come feel inspired with us!  We offer ideas that are close-by or further away that include restaurants, shops, hikes, markets, events, and so much more.  Please share your ideas, too!

    Donna Davis loves being a member of the Cougar Care team and knows that exploring new places is the best retreat for the mind and soul!  She hails from Massachusetts and joined CSUSM in 2022.  She is thrilled to be living on the west coast with her husband and loves visiting her son in Los Angeles. She has driven cross-country twice (both the northern and southern routes) and most recommendations she makes will generally include a fun sweet treat, too!  Life is short – live a little!!

  • Gardening

    Do you have a growing passion for gardening? Whether you’re thinking about planting your first plant, starting your first full blown garden or have been gardening for years, this is the group for you! If it’s gardening related it’s on the table for discussion and with a little help from each other, you might end up with something on the dinner table for consumption… that you grow yourself! Post your questions and get tips, tricks, events, resources and tools to help you start and keep your garden growing.

    Facilitator: Mike Geck

  • Healthy Lifestyle
    Facilitators: Arely Villalobos Ayala and Alison Desopo
  • Hiking and the Great Outdoors

    Nothing better than hiking and the great outdoors! Join our group and embark on exploration as we discuss all thinking related to being outside! No hiking experience, no problem, all levels of activity are invited to participate. In this group you will be met with guides, tips, stories, would you rather and in-person events!

    Facilitator: Susie Martinez  -
    I have been hiking and outside my whole life. Growing up, my parents did not register me in any sports so we would have more time to camp. Some of my favorite outside activities include hiking and off-roading!

  • Living Sustainably

    Interested in learning more about Sustainability? Want to utilize sustainable practices and products on and off campus? Well this group is just for you! We welcome all who are interested in sustainability, if you are just a beginner and want to learn more or if you are an expert and want to share your expertise and advice! Please share your interest with us, we are excited to connect and share our sustainability ideas and practices.

    Facilitator: Marissa Acosta, (Zero Waste & Sustainability Specialist)
    She joined CSUSM in February of 2022, moving here from Fresno, CA. She is excited to be able to combine her two passions of sustainability and higher education. Her goal is to shift the campus culture as it relates to sustainability while making meaningful connections across campus.

  • Movies and TV
    Facilitators: Chris Bertram and Yvonne Villalobos Cope
  • Music (opens Aug. 28)

    Ongoing Activity: Calling all aspiring disc jockeys! Become a part of the Music Group, where each month, our group will create a specially curated playlist with a unique theme. The playlist will be sent out to all members for asynchronous listening.

    Engage in lively group discussions as we dive into the selections of the month, and together, let's ignite our creative sparks to brainstorm and finalize the theme for next month's playlist picks. Your passion for music meets collaborative artistry in this captivating journey!

    Facilitator: Jason Eberwein

  • Pets

    Pet lovers unite! Do you own or love pets? Join our group and share your love for animals; No need to have a pet, all we ask is that you love them! Everyone is welcome!

    This group is about sharing anything and everything about pets. It’s a great opportunity to meet like-minded pet owners and share your love for animals. Feel free to share pictures, pet memes, and funny videos.

    Facilitator: Alejandra Sanchez –
    I have had pets all of my life, the majority of them have been dogs but I have owned the occasional hamster and fish. Currently, I’m a chihuahua mom to a 7lb. little girl named Dixie who is 10 years old.

  • (Sports) Fan Zone
    Facilitator: Collette Magoon

Most interactions will be virtual, though all groups are encouraged to provide opportunities to connect in-person.

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us at