Public Affairs

Community Service Kicks Off a New Year

Oct. 6, 2011
By Elizabeth Chapin

During the first weeks of the fall semester or quarter at CSU, students are not just organizing their dorm rooms or reading the first chapters of their textbooks, they are also serving the community.

This fall, campuses encouraged new students to get involved. Along with the joy of helping others, volunteering provides them with the opportunity to be introduced to the communities they are going to be living in, and a chance to recognize ways to give back.

Dominguez Hills
The CSUDH women's basketball team helps out during coastal cleanup day.Approximately 60 CSU Dominguez Hills student-athletes traded in their usual sports accessories for plastic gloves and trash bags as they participated in the Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day at Torrance Beach, hosted by Honda and the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce.

Fresno State students joined the Great Sierra Cleanup on Sept. 24-25, to remove tires, trash and other unwanted items that have been dumped into the San Joaquin River. RiverTree Volunteers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the beauty of the river, coordinates the annual clean up. Last year, 125 students and 33 community members cleared more than 13 tons of debris from the river.

Fresno State students help clear debris out of the San Joaquin river.This year exceeded those records, says Richard Sloan, president of RiverTree Volunteers.

“Around 160 community members and Fresno State students removed more than 17 tons of debris,” Sloan said. “Our group is very thankful for the students’ help with this project, and with other ongoing restoration projects.”

Working Wardrobes helps homeless and at-risk veterans.Cal State Fullerton students provided homeless or at-risk veterans with new professional wardrobes and looks during Orange County's first Stand Down event on Sept. 17-18. Students serving academic internships with CSUF’s longtime community partner, Working Wardrobes, organized and staffed WW's services featured at the day-and-a-half event. The 150 veterans attending were accommodated overnight in tents with fresh linens and provided with hot meals, showers, Working Wardrobes' professional makeovers, as well as medical and dental services, counseling, benefit claims, legal aid, and housing and employment placement assistance services.

Over 400 Humboldt State students, faculty and staff participated in the 18th Annual HSU Day of Caring on Sept. 17. The volunteers served at 34 sites in the community, including local elementary schools, a tribal health center, a homeless youth shelter, the Humboldt County food bank, a highway cleanup, and a coastal cleanup on local beaches.Cal Maritime freshman Zachary Lipnitz takes part in cleaning up a nearby coast.

Maritime Academy
72 Cal Maritime student volunteers helped move the mountain of trash and debris from a nearby shoreline during Coastal Cleanup day. Cleaning up over a half-mile of coastline, and filling an industrial dumpster with trash and debris energized the students to begin a year of service.

Monterey Bay
Incoming freshmen and transfer students visited a number of local potential service sites during CSU Monterey Bay’s Otter Day of Service on Aug. 27. Sites included the Monterey Peace and Justice Center, Sustainable Seaside and the Marina Teen Center. In addition to volunteer work, students also met community partners and learned about upcoming service opportunities.

Sacramento State’s “Sac State Serves” student program partnered with the American River Parkway Foundation for a river cleanup at sites near and adjacent to the campus. In total, 119 volunteers, including 86 students, 13 alumni, and four university staff members helped to beautify and restore the local rivers.

San Bernardino
More than 250 students volunteered in support of 700 disabled athletes, including over 100 military veterans, at CSUSB’s fifth annual DisAbility Sports Festival on Oct. 1. The Festival encourages those of any age and disability to participate in 22 adaptive sports ranging from wheelchair basketball to archery.

A participant at last year's DisAbility Sports Festival (l) and Aaron Moffett, director of the festival.Carly Rorer, 21, a pre-physical therapy major at CSUSB, enjoyed seeing the smiles on the faces of participants as they tried new things.

"It also showed me that I take a lot of things for granted and I need to step back and be grateful for what I do have," she said.

San Luis Obispo
Incoming freshmen at Cal Poly have the opportunity to attend Week of Welcome (WOW)—an interactive, fun-filled, and informative orientation program. One of the optional activities included in WOW is community service. Projects include painting, weeding, planting, cleaning, and construction. This year, over 2,300 new students participated at 50 nonprofit agencies- contributing a total of 4,500 hours. In addition to serving at local nonprofit agencies, all WOW participants were encouraged to bring a coat to campus to give to low-income youth.