The California State University is one of seven institutions in the nation and the only California institution to win the Higher Education Award for Leadership in National Service, the Corporation for National Service announced January 18.
"California State University faculty, students and staff traditionally have been active participants in their communities. Recently, the CSU has put an even greater emphasis on service learning because of the benefits it provides for both our students and our communities," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "Service learning and community service improve the quality of our communities, instill in students the value and satisfaction that comes from contributing to society, and help students learn more about themselves."
More than 135,000 CSU students throughout the 23-campus system perform a total of about 33.6 million hours of community service annually. That's a minimum wage value of about $193.2 million.
Award winners were cited for leadership in using national service resources through AmeriCorps, the National Senior Service Corps and Learn and Serve America, which are administered by the awards' sponsor, the Corporation for National Service. The honorees "engage student volunteers and work-study students in efforts like the America Reads Challenge; strengthen the role of service-learning in their curricula; and support students' and faculty members' interest in service in a variety of ways."
The CSU specifically was cited for responding "to Governor Gray Davis's call to make community service a requirement for all students enrolled in California public institutions by developing service-learning courses and offices at all 23 campuses."
In September 1997, the CSU developed a Community Service-Learning Strategic Plan. Now, all the campuses facilitate service-learning, and their programs are supported by the CSU systemwide service learning department, which was created three years ago.
The strategic plan provides direction for each campus to maximize the potential of service learning. The two key objectives of the five-year plan (1997-2002) are to engage students at each CSU campus in at least one service-learning experience prior to graduation, and to offer an ongoing variety of service-learning experiences so that all students will have those opportunities. All CSU campuses now have identified a service-learning coordinator, two-thirds have established a service-learning office and most campuses have built service-learning implicity into their mission statements.
Last year, Governor Davis included $2.2 million in the CSU 2000/01 budget to support the expansion of community service at CSU campuses.
In addition to student and faculty activities, many CSU executives are national leaders in service learning. For example, San Francisco State President Robert Corrigan is chair of California Campus Compact and a former member of the national Campus Compact Executive Committee. Campus Compact is a national coalition of about 600 presidents committed to engaging their students more deeply in community service. Every CSU campus is a member. Also, every CSU campus is participating in the national literacy effort America Reads. President Corrigan chairs its steering committee, and Chancellor Reed and Cal Poly Pomona President Bob Suzuki both serve on it.
"Higher education is uniquely positioned to provide leadership on so many fronts in service and service-learning - calling Americans, young and old alike, to be the active-duty citizens this country needs," said Harris Wofford, CEO of the Corporation for National Service. "These seven institutions in particular have accepted this charge to take the idea of service and leadership by the young from the periphery of American education and public life into the center."
Other award recipients are: Frostburg State University, Institution for Higher Learning, Portland State University, Temple University, University of Montana, and University of Notre Dame.
The Corporation for National Service, established in 1993, engages Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities. Through AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and the National Senior Service Corps, the Corporation offers millions of Americans opportunities to serve their communities each year.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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