Cal State San Bernardino has been named one of five universities and colleges from across the country to receive the prestigious Washington Center Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, established the awards program to showcase one-of-a-kind service learning programs and the schools that are behind them.
“The New York Life Foundation is proud to partner with The Washington Center to honor California State University, San Bernardino for recognizing that service learning should be part of their curriculum,” said Chris Park, president of the New York Life Foundation. “Students learn the practical applications of their studies and become contributing community members in the process.”
Cal State San Bernardino, like the other honorees, was chosen for the strong commitment of its students, faculty and staff on their leadership, innovation and support of community programs and projects.
“Developing a curriculum that includes community building teaches life lessons – lessons that cannot be learned in the classroom alone,” said Mike Smith, president of The Washington Center. “Cal State San Bernardino has excelled in this, creating impactful civic engagement initiatives and it is a true leader within the academic community.”
“The theme of Cal State San Bernardino’s application was service for and with military veterans. One highlighted program was CSUSB’s annual DisAbility Sports Festival. The festival provides athletes of any disability and age with the opportunity to participate in at least 20 sports coached by current and former Paralympians,” said Diane Podolske, director of CSUSB’s Community University Partnerships.
This year’s DisAbility Sports Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6, and will include as many as 800 participants, including more than 100 disabled veterans, competing in sports including wheelchair and standing basketball, tennis, soccer, wall climbing, swimming and hand cycling. Including volunteers, supporters, spectators and athletes, an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 will come to the university, said Podolske.
“Our service for and with military veterans is just one aspect of our community engagement. Although volunteer service isn’t a graduation requirement here at Cal State San Bernardino, it has been woven throughout the university’s mission and culture,” said Podolske.
In 2011-2012, Cal State San Bernardino offered 139 service learning course sections, taught by 55 faculty members, with nearly 2,000 service learning students addressing community needs. Through their more than 60,000 hours of volunteer service, CSUSB students contributed over $1.3 million to local communities, she said.
In all, the university shares more than 500 partnerships with area nonprofits, school districts and government organizations. Cal State San Bernardino has been recognized nationally for six consecutive years on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and by the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement. NASPA has selected CSUSB as one of 25 lead universities nationwide to participate in the new Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement initiative.
Also for the past three years, “G.I. Jobs” magazine ranked CSUSB among the top 15 percent of “military friendly schools” in the nation. CSUSB leads a number of community initiatives to welcome, serve and engage veterans.
Cal State San Bernardino was one of two universities selected from California. The other recipient was the University of San Francisco. The other academic institutions receiving the 2012 Civic Engagement Award are Columbia College, Roosevelt University and Tulane University.
The award will be presented to CSUSB during The Washington Center’s annual award luncheon in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club on Oct. 1.
About The Washington Center
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic seminars is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C., for academic credit. The largest program of its kind, The Washington Center has close to 50,000 alumni who have become leaders in numerous professions and nations around the world. It was established in 1975. For more information, visit the Washington Center website.
About the New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $155 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its focus on “Nurturing the Children,” the foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Life program. To learn more, please visit the foundation’s website.
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino Community University Partnerships and service learning, contact Diane Podolske at (909) 537- 7483 and visit cup.csusb.edu.
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit http://news.csusb.edu.