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

Spring Into Action

Students from throughout the CSU system participated in Alternative Spring Breaks activities across the country. Rather than party, these students chose to spend their time helping people and communities in need. These activities helped students become more aware of the needs of communities and helped them develop their own skills as leaders and community participants.

Students from Chico, Long Beach, Northridge, San Diego, and San José helped Habitat for Humanity rebuild homes destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.

  • Chico StateFor the third consecutive year, more than 100 Chico State students and faculty from the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management (ECC) went to New Orleans to help rebuild homes destroyed by the hurricane. "Once again, it was amazing to see the many talented students…show off their skills in the rebuilding effort," said Gina Duarte, who volunteered for the second year. "I worked with an all girl crew (or krewe as they say in NOLA) at Musicians Village putting up siding. These girls were just as skilled with power tools as they were with their speed squares and tape measures, not to mention that our siding was perfectly level and flush at all the seams!" The students raised the majority of money for the trip-more than $90,000-through raffles, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners and solicited donations. See Slideshow of Rebuild New Orleans III »
  • Even CSU Long Beach President King Alexander pitched in and helped the 33 CSULB students in their rebuilding efforts. CSULB article »
  • CSUNThirty CSUN students participated in the rebuilding with the National Relief Network. This was the third trip organized by CSUN Hillel, and the first trip co-cosponsored by CSUN Matador Involvement Center. Students got a chance to work side-by-side with CSUN faculty. Students were able to insulate a home, put up drywall, remove weeds, paint and build a fence. Full article »
  • San José StateSan José State students worked with residents in New Orleans, helping to construct local schools; working with children; conducting interviews; and assisting in HIV/AID's testing centers. San José students also participated in alternative activities in the Central Valley, staying in the homes of local residents in Spanish-speaking communities and engaging in community organizing activities as they worked alongside Dolores Huerta. And they also built a complete home in Tijuana, Mexico, creating a place to live for people who would otherwise not have one.

CSU students also participated in community service activities in other parts of the country and across the globe.

  • Chico StateFive Chico State Concrete Industry Management (CIM) students traveled with a faculty member to Point du Hoc in Normandy, France, to assist in the evaluation of concrete bunkers at the site, which was one of three locations for the historic World War II D-Day landing in June 1944. The students used state-of-the-art ultrasonic pulse testing equipment to test the soundness of the concrete in gun casements. Field-rugged computers made it possible to run tests on the velocity of the sound waves pulsing through the concrete. This research opportunity was in collaboration with Texas A&M and a report will be submitted to the American Battle Monuments Commission.
  • Several students from Cal State Fullerton took time out of their spring break on Cesar Chavez Day to work with hundreds of school children who were "gleaning" at the Second Harvest Food Bank's Field Gleaning in Irvine. This successful and productive event was hosted in collaboration with the Volunteer Center of Orange County.
  • Fifteen Humboldt State students went to the Capay Valley region, an agricultural region northwest of Davis, to learn about sustainable agricultural practices by visiting and working on two organic farms, visiting a cattle ranch and planting trees to encourage wildlife to return to the area. They learned about Latino migrant worker issues and about the history and culture of the local Wintun tribe.
  • Sacramento StateMore than 100 Sacramento State students spent their spring break locally, helping numerous community-based organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Sacramento Tree Foundation, Hands on Sacramento, the American River Parkway Foundation, and the Washington Neighborhood Center. Students spent days performing tasks such as digging ditches, pouring foundations, lifting, and removing invasive plant life from our American River Parkway. Kellie Cook, a sophomore in the Health Science department said, "The leadership skills I gained from the week will absolutely help me the rest of my life."
  • Cal Poly San Luis ObispoCal Poly San Luis Obispo students spent their spring break week in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, working on an organic permaculture demonstration garden, which is used to teach the community about farming without the use of pesticides. They rebuilt a wattle hut by weaving wood, planted various crops, and also organized a community event for the local children.
  • San MarcosSan Marcos students participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip on their way to San Francisco by cleaning up Surf Rider beach, doing office work at the Cancer Society, working in the Glide Foundation soup kitchen, and then helping at Habitat for Humanity. They raised money for their trip with many special events and fundraisers during the months leading up to their spring break week.
Questions?For ideas, comments, or questions
about editorial content, e-mail Judy Botelho at

Review past issues at the CSU Impact Archives.
Visit the CSL website.

Subscription Information: To subscribe, send an e-mail to and in the message body, insert the following with your first and last name: subscribe csuimpact firstname lastname. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to and in the message body, insert: unsubscribe csuimpact.