August 26, 2010 Your Monthly Source of Community Service-Learning News Vol. 7, No. 6

Chancellor Reed with CSU student leader mentors and CCE staff

During a planning meeting at the CSU Chancellor's Office, Surdna student leader mentors and CCE staff take a break to meet with Chancellor Reed.

(Back row - left to right): Deanna Berg, CCE student leadership consultant, Kristina Barger, CSU Chico student, Chancellor Charles B. Reed, Anna Leeper, Humboldt State student. (Front row): Judy Botelho, CCE director and Roxanne Visaya, Cal State LA student.


Like the four programs that inspired their projects, each of the Surdna-funded teams used a different approach to develop a student leadership program that was unique to the campus.

East Bay: Leadership By Design

The East Bay team developed student leadership positions to support Special Event Planning, a service-learning course where enrolled students developed a “Leadership By Design” Summer Day Camp for at-risk high school students. Student leaders were involved in all stages of the project:

  • designing camp activities for youth
  • conducting outreach to other student organizations
  • recruiting and training other students to serve as camp volunteers, securing funds
  • recruiting youth participants
  • organizing logistics such as housing, food and meeting locations.

After a successful Leadership By Design Summer Camp in August 2010, the team is determining how best to sustain the camp, to build a leadership institute for students, and to replicate this model in other service-learning courses.

Fresno: Richter Center Ambassadors

The Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning is dedicated to engaging the entire Fresno State campus in creating a better community. The Richter Center Ambassadors program began when students in the service-learning course PR Cases and Campaigns recommended adding a student leadership program for the Center. The seven most recent student Ambassadors worked as a team to:

  • develop a vision for the program
  • create formal job descriptions for Ambassadors
  • design a recruitment and selection process for the 2010-11 academic year
  • secure incentives for student leaders
  • document their efforts as a way to manage transition from one academic term to the next

Fullerton: Center for Internships and Community Engagement

Students and staff at CSU Fullerton's Center for Internships and Community Engagement (CICE) spent the spring semester developing an appropriate organizational structure that would support its 26 student-leader positions. This led to eight (8) student leadership job descriptions and the design and implementation of a 3-day comprehensive training program. In fall 2010, some of the responsibilities of these student leaders will be to provide support to students enrolled in service-learning courses, and assist with recruiting, training and managing service-learning students placed with local non-profits.

San José: Legacy Building Initiative

Staff and students from San José State’s Center for Community Learning and Leadership and the Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center launched the Legacy Building Initiative to highlight their partnership. The student planning committee designed and hosted a retreat where engaged students (primarily) and faculty/staff developed leadership activities and strategies necessary to support coalition building in community engagement.

Following the retreat, participants continued the dialogue, each office promoting and supporting the other’s community engagement efforts. Currently, they are working to secure funding for future retreats that would institutionalize these efforts.


CSU Student Leaders: Partners in Advancing Community Engagement

Surdna FoundationIn 2007, the CSU Center for Community Engagement (CCE) was awarded a three-year grant from the Surdna Foundation, The Next Stage: Boosting Service Learning to New Heights, to expand and formalize training for leaders in community engagement, including students.

During the initial year, representatives from each of the offices charged with service learning and community engagement in the 23 campuses gathered and identified three key focal areas of interest and need:

  • strategic relationship building,
  • marketing and public relations, and
  • leadership development.

Systemwide retreats, regional meetings, ongoing consultation and follow-up technical support were integrated into a comprehensive 3-year professional development program (see chart in 411 section for some overall results).

While a few CSU campuses already had strong student-training programs, many more wanted to create them. Four campuses provided model programs:

Drawing on these successes, training materials and useful examples were gathered, adapted, and published as Advancing Community Engagement with Student Leaders: A 'How-To Manual from the California State University. Following its release, CCE announced competitive sub-grants to develop new opportunities for student leadership in the CSU.

Four campuses – East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton and San José – were funded, and during the spring 2010 term, teams of students and their advisors designed and implemented initiatives with student leaders at the forefront. Each team took such elements as campus history, geographic setting, resource availability, and student culture and demographics in tailoring the ideas to fit their unique profile. They also received training and technical support from CCE.


Three student leader mentors were instrumental in supporting funded campuses as they developed new student leadership for community engagement programs. They also helped to disseminate the manual at regional and national conferences. Kristina Barger (Chico - CAVE) was a tireless advocate for student voice during the project and helped represent CSU student leadership at several national conferences. Anna Leeper (Humboldt – YES) was instrumental in designing effective training sessions and offered problem solving insight to emerging campus programs.  Roxanne Visaya (LA – EPIC) provided excellent one-on-one consultation and resource sharing to emerging campuses throughout the project.

Watch this short video - training in action!


The graph below shows how community engagement leaders rated their offices in the dimensions of visibility, integration on campus, and value at the start of year one activities of the Surdna grant program and in 2010 (the final year).  The differences between the ratings given for “initial status” and “current status” indicated how much progress, if any, leaders felt their offices had made during the period of the Grant. 

Overall results of the 3-year Surdna grant program


Tools and Resources and Training and Consultation
Visit these links to get you started on how-to develop a student leadership program to support community engagement efforts within your college/university or organization.



Questions?For ideas, comments, or questions
about editorial content, e-mail Judy Botelho at

Review past issues at the CSU Impact Archives.
Visit the CCE 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.