May 29, 2008 Your Monthly Source of Community Service-Learning News VOL. 5, NO. 6

CSU Long Beach President King Alexander

CSU Long Beach President, King Alexander, pitched in and helped the 33 CSULB students in their rebuilding efforts in New Orleans during spring break.

Campus News

Springing Into Action

Students from across the CSU system “sprang into action” during their spring breaks this year, providing valuable community service, all while learning about themselves, their communities, and vital leadership skills.  Full Story »


"Community Literacy" at CSU East Bay

CSU East Bay
English 803 students were the latest to participate in the ongoing service-learning activity: "The Community Literacy Project," created by English adjunct faculty member Dale Katherine Ireland in 2000. The class partnered with the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO), a nonprofit organization comprised of over 30 local churches and community members, reaching out to serve homeless families with food, shelter, clothing, counseling and links to community resources.

Students selected new children's books from the donation library, created reading activities, and gave the books to children and their families. This year's project culminated in a poster presentation which allowed students to reflect on their understanding and value of service learning and to share their projects with the campus community. Cate Steane, Executive Director of FESCO, indicated the vital role college students play in "helping our children connect with their parents and improve their reading skills at a time in their lives when so much else is disrupted and uncertain."


A Community Tour Brings About Personal Connections

In an effort to enhance and grow campus and community partnerships, leaders from CSU Stanislaus toured the surrounding city of Turlock in February to learn about its past and hear about the community's future opportunities and challenges. For example, at the Turlock Salvation Army, university officials learned about the Volunteer Return Preparation Program tax clinics and how Child Development students work with seniors on a "life scrapbook" program. The tour ended at the Turlock Chamber of Commerce where the university group met with approximately 30 members from non-profit organizations, private-sector business leaders, and Turlock's city officials.


Earth Day 2008 at CSU Dominguez Hills

CSU Dominguez Hills celebrated Earth Day with a multicultural approach to preserving the natural environment by including everyday green measures and cultural traditions that honor the earth and nature.



An Innovative, Driving Force
After a decade of far-reaching work in community service learning, the CSU has now established a bold vision for the next five years of its efforts. That vision has grown to encompass the larger, more comprehensive perspective of community engagement.

As Season Eckardt reported at a recent Board of Trustees' meeting, "As service learning in the CSU neared its 10-year anniversary, we found that instead of simply maintaining this level of success, the opportunity and challenge before us is to continue to be forward-thinking. With that in mind, the Office of Community Service Learning at the Chancellor's Office and campus service-learning offices underwent strategic planning in order to establish a more coherent understanding of how our office could contribute to a broader community engagement agenda."

Thus, it is with great energy and possibility that the Chancellor's Office has renamed the Office of Community Service Learning to the Center for Community Engagement. We have also adopted a broader vision and mission that calls for our Center to serve as an innovative and driving force that advances the CSU's commitment to serving the economic, public policy and social needs of our state.

Jean Egan, the founder and president of Long Beach BLAST, a nonprofit with the mission to improve the academic success and elevate the academic aspirations of at-risk children in the Long Beach community, summed it up best when she shared at the Board of Trustees' meeting, "CSU-community collaboration is fundamental to the achievement of the priorities that this group [Board of Trustees] and campus leadership have identified: college access, outreach to underserved populations, workforce development and improving the public good."

Our Center will ensure that the fundamental collaboration Jean spoke of will become the strong, innovative realities of our campuses and our communities. You can read more about the Center on our newly launched website.

Policy and Advocacy Corner

Nearly 100 San José State students participated in the CSU’s advocacy day rally on April 21st outside the state Capitol in Sacramento. The SJSU Associated Students were part of the day organized by the California State Student Association. At the Capitol, students participated in a march, rally and press conference. Representatives from the student government also spent the day talking to legislators, advocating for no budget cuts to higher education. 

The following day, Student Advocates for Higher Education (SAHE) hosted a campus march, press conference, and a first ever “Dream-In” to advocate for no budget cuts, no fee increases, and support for AB 540 students. More than 30 students camped out in front of the Tommie Smith and John Carlos statues, hoping that the dream of college would remain attainable for all students.

 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students and faculty also advocated for the CSU, traveling to Sacramento on May 12 to meet with legislators as part of the budget advocacy campaign. Faculty members Lynne Slivovsky and Tom Trice traveled with the students to share stories to demonstrate the important role Cal Poly plays in preparing young people not only to enter the state's workforce, but also to act as engaged citizens who contribute at local, regional and state levels.

“Au Revoir, Season!”

"Au Revoir," the commonly-used French phrase best captures our sentiments as Season Eckardt leaves the Chancellor's Office, for it is not "good bye" but rather "till we see you again!" Season's career in community service learning and community engagement spans more than a decade, beginning with her involvement as a student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and continuing as a program coordinator and then administrative director at the Office of Community Service Learning in the Chancellor's Office. The CSU has been so fortunate to benefit from Season's many talents: her diplomacy; her ability to write, secure and implement new grants; her reflective and steadfast nature. Under her leadership, the CSU's efforts in community service learning grew into a much larger vision of community engagement. And so while we will miss Season's tremendous energy and talents in our everyday work, we know we will be seeing her again in the future doing remarkable things. Thank you, Season!

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