Mar/Apr 2010 Your Monthly Source of Community Service-Learning News VOL. 7, NO. 4

Heather Equinoss of the Humboldt Area Foundation

Heather Equinoss of the Humboldt Area Foundation, a local grants making organization in the North Coast, along with other community partners, explores the World Café during the Town Hall meeting.


Total Number of CSU Town Halls: 57

Total Number of CSU Town Halls: 57

The “community conversations” hosted by CSU campuses were so successful that the conversations and connections are continuing:

  • CSU Fullerton established a blog and invited Town Hall participants and community partners to continue their conversations after the Town Hall at OC Safety Net Blog.
  • CSU Los Angeles and San Diego State are planning to have additional town hall gatherings in the coming months.
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo created an on-line database of potential service-learning projects as a result of their Town Hall meeting, which will continue to connect the community and the university.
  • CSU San Marcos will offer faculty mini-grants for service-learning course development in Fall 2010 specifically tied to the results of their Town Halls.

Cal Maritime Town Hall

The following campuses have posted information about their town halls on-line.

San Francisco State's Town Hall
The CSU: Working for California; Serving California; Listening to California

Listening to California: CSU Campuses Host Town Halls
The economic crisis of the last two years has taken its toll on California communities and CSU campuses alike. Furloughs, budgetary cutbacks and “doing more with less” have reached every corner of the state in just about every sector. However, innovation, commitment and collaboration have followed closely alongside the fiscal crisis in order to address the challenges that have resulted.

This year, the Center for Community Engagement in the CSU Chancellor’s Office issued small grants of $1,500-$2,500 for campus community engagement offices to host town hall meetings. These meetings were designed to “listen” to members of local communities and non-profit agencies to better understand what challenges and assets exist as a result of our nationwide economic crisis.

As a result, 57 town hall meetings, involving more than 2,700 people, were held to gain a greater understanding of the new realities faced by California communities, to better connect community-university resources, and together develop innovative solutions to address those local challenges.

Additional information about these town halls and related resources will be updated continually at the Resource Center on the CSU’s Center for Community Engagement website.

Campuses focused their town hall conversations in at least one of five areas:  food security; mental and physical health; education; housing/shelter; and financial literacy. Below are descriptions of some of the town halls.

CSU Chico held their Town Hall in October 2009, with a focus on homelessness and mental health. A collaborative effort between the campus and members of the Chico community, the town hall provided an active, problem-solving session at which participants learned about local issues affecting the lives of, and services for, homeless community members and those seeking support for mental health issues.

The Town Hall discussion was tied to the Community Reading choice: The Soloist, the ’09-’10 Book in Common for CSU Chico and the City of Chico.  The campus will now have an opportunity to follow-up on many of the issues identified during the Town Hall thanks to a Learn and Serve America subgrant from California Campus Compact. Through the subgrant, Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE), a program of Associated Students, is developing Chico Homeless Advocates. Student leaders will provide outreach and support to homeless individuals and families. Students are also providing volunteer hours to support the staff of shelters and outreach programs that focus on meal delivery, job-training, counseling and mental health.

CSU East Bay hosted a Town Hall meeting in December 2009, focused on education in partnership with the Alameda County Office of Education. CSU East Bay students, faculty from the Teacher Education department, paraprofessional staff and other community members identified a variety of service-learning projects to be implemented in local schools, including community playground development, community gardening, food composting, invasive species education, animal rescue, and homeless shelter support. Incorporating service-learning curriculum into local schools to address the identified community needs was an exciting outcome of this Town Hall.

CSU San Bernardino held two Town Halls events in October 2009, focused on financial literacy. The “Workforce and Economic Survival Summit” included educational workshops, expert panel presentations, and opportunities for participants to interact and discuss community issues related to financial literacy and the economic downturn. The town hall events also included community resource booths for families in financial crisis and for workforce development opportunities through training and education.

A unique aspect to the Summit was an assessment component in which teen and parent participants were asked to complete an assessment of their financial literacy prior to attending the event. The assessment was provided by the National Council on Economic Education from a nationally-normed study of middle school level financial literacy. Completed assessments were received from 404 teens and 32 parents.

More Information: Assessment Results and Financial Literacy Resources

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