CalState S4

Harnessing Technology to B​uild Community​

CalState S4

Mis​sion ​of CalSt​ate S4


We all want to feel connected. ​We believe harnessing technology to create a platform that strengthens our ability to be our authentic selves whether we are learning, serving or working, contributes to our sense of connection with ours​el​ves, others and our community at large.


CalSta​te S4 is CSU’s integrated web application that provides a user-friendly interface to manage experiential learning opportunities (e.g., service learning, academic internships, undergraduate research and professional field placements) for university students. Its flexibility allows for sustainable partnerships and processes that promote high-quality, on- and off-campus experiential learning experiences that contribute to the common good. With an informed focus on supporting student success and safety, CalState S4’s consortium approach includes collecting key data and strengthening relationships that ultimately promote a culture of outreach and connection.​ To see a list of member campuses, visit our network ​and look for the S4 Logo icon.

Guides experiential learning and strengthens authentic
relationships t​hat contribute to student success


The features of CalState S4 are efficient, streamlined ​​and allow the CSU Center for Community Engagement and the S4 consortia of campuses to more accurately assess student and community impact.

Campus Integration

Establish queries that regularly import course data from campus' Student Information Systems.

Partner Database

Retain and make available information about the organization, including student placement requirements, status of the site, and contact information.

Flexible Forms

Tailor multiple risk and program form templates, or create something from scratch.

Time Tracking

Enable students to digitally log their hours via their placement record and provide partners a secure, digital process to review and approve hours.

Experiential Learning

Centrally manage students' co-curricular opportunities and off-campus academic learning experiences in community engagement, academic internships and professional field placements. 

Meaningful Data

Collect reliable and accurate data about off-campus academic learning activities. Assess impact on student success and inform future program and campus directions. 

Supports Partnerships


With a foundational commitment to building collaborative and deep relationships, S4 allows organizations interested in partnering with CSU universities to easily provide detailed information about off-campus learning opportunities they would like to make available to students.​

S4 also supports inter- ​and intra-campus collaborations. Programs and disciplines in the CSU system that might not have been collaborating or sharing information about their programming are now talking to each other with greater regularity. Collegiality and communication are greatly enhanced.

Provides Key Data


CalState S4 provides accurate and timely data on community-based high-impact learning experiences which research shows positively increases retention and graduation rates.

S4 makes it easy to track student placement information, while also learning about our community partners to create efficiencies, and successful collaborations.

The reporting download feature allows for more extensive analysis to occur at the campus and system level.

Informs Equity & Inclusivity Approaches

Day of Caring fall 2008

CalState S4 effectively uses technology to integrate equity and inclusivity approaches through the use of language and training designed to change institutional culture and increase understanding amongst our users. We provide asset-based language and training about these features in S4 as a way to encourage our users to name and address potential biases. The S4 team aims to support our consortium members in creating more inclusive campus and community environments.

​“We help students and ourselves reconnect to our shared humanity, when we are open to having difficult conversations and commit to listening for understanding.” Brianna Wagner, CSU Chancellor's Office

Reduces Risk &​
Informs Emergency Responses


CalState S4 greatly strengthens our risk management & risk reduction effort. Connectivity means that we aren’t just tracking student success, but that we are even more effective in tracking student safety.

In the event of an emergency, CalState S4 allows campuses and the system office to have information about where and when students are serving at their fingertips, thus providing campus personnel with fast and accurate information when they need it most. Through S4 students can be contacted directly to share updates or instructions, at a moments notice, to keep students safe and informed. 

“Users and adopters of S4 will find it extremely valuable that they can track the locations of students placed out in the community. It’s critical that during emergencies we are able to track and contact students as well as the emergency contact they’ve listed in the system, if needed. Regrettably, emergencies do occur and we have to be positioned to respond effectively.” —Rob Pierce, CSU Fullerton

Saves Time

VITA students Toribio- Jenny Toribio, a senior accounting major, helps Kathy Verlinden with her income tax preparation as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at the Pomona YMCA March 19, 2011.

As a one stop shop, CalState S4 now offers the ability to capture multiple e-signatures on various types of placement forms. This feature not only allows for easy cooperation among users, but it also saves them time. Program staff have found that university-agency agreements that would typically take 3-6 months to be executed, are being reviewed, signed and finalized in less than 48 hours. S4's web interface enables students to quickly and easily log their hours and sign placement forms using their smart phones.

The time required to process and finalize a university-agency agreement has decreased by 83% for the majority of our campuses, allowing program staff to spend time where it matters most — building relationships and establishing partnerships.


The time required to process and finalize a university-agency agreement has decreased by 83% for the majority of our campuses, allowing program staff to spend time where it matters most —​ building​ relationships and establishing partnerships.