You have to be doing something right if you are selected for a prestigious honor every year since it began.
Cal State San Bernardino has stretched its current streak to seven years in a row as a member of the President’s Community Service Honor Roll, it was announced March 4 by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
“The students, faculty and staff at Cal State San Bernardino have a strong sense of commitment to community service and service learning that extends far beyond the boundaries of the campus and surrounding cities,” said university President Tomás D. Morales. “We’re honored to receive this prestigious award, but the credit goes to our students, faculty and staff, who are invested in this region and whose dedication and energy are responsible for helping make the Inland Empire a better place to live, work and go to school.”
The university’s commitment to meaningful community partnerships and outstanding service to the community was recognized with its seventh selection in the seven years since the President’s Community Service Honor Roll was established in 2006.
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. It highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve. It is considered the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
“I am very proud of our faculty, staff and students who have taken action to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others and who have incorporated service into their academic and personal lives,” said Diane Podolske, director of CSUSB’s Community-University Partnerships. “This recognition affirms our on-going commitment to improving the lives of the underserved in the Inland Empire.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual honor roll award, recognized a total of 690 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.
“Congratulations to Cal State San Bernardino for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”
“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, regarding the honor roll. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.”
Podolske said that in 2011-2012, Cal State San Bernardino offered 139 service learning course sections, taught by 55 faculty members, with nearly 1,600 service learning students addressing community needs.
Through their more than 60,000 hours of volunteer service, CSUSB students contributed more than $1.3 million to local communities. In all, the university shares more than 500 partnerships with area agencies, businesses, school districts and other organizations.
Among the numerous CSUSB volunteer projects over the past year was “America’s Finest: Serving Our Veterans,” in which the university serves and engages returning military veterans and current student veterans through a variety of community service efforts.
For example: CSUSB has also responded to the needs of people with disabilities to learn about adaptive sports through an annual DisAbility Sports Festival. Athletes of any disability or age — including veterans — have the opportunity to learn about and participate in 22 sports, with most events being coached by current or former medal-winning Paralympians, other athletes with a disability and military veterans. This received national recognition from the Washington Center’s 2012 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award, which showcases one-of-a-kind service learning programs.
In addition, Cal State San Bernardino also has developed and funded a service-learning internship program for student veterans, with placements at local nonprofits, schools and government agencies. CSUSB’s Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity also hosted the campus-wide Beta Boot Camp fundraiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. And the Student Veterans Organization joined a local Disabled American Veterans Chapter to establish a Veterans Exploration Garden to provide support to veterans in their recovery.
Another community service program was the “Campesino Project for Migrant Farm Workers,” where CSUSB students, faculty and staff collected and delivered non-perishable food and money to migrant farm workers 95 miles away in the substandard Duroville mobile home park on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation. The annual holiday drive also provided toys and clothing to the workers, most of whom are Purépecha, an indigenous people from the central Mexico who speak only their native language.
The university’s “Pajama Drive for Foster Youth” helped collect more than 1,250 sets of pajamas and nearly $15,000 in cash for foster children ages six months to 18 years in San Bernardino County. Many of the children previously slept in the same clothes they wear during the day, but the pajama drive provided many of them with their first experience of having new, clean pajamas. Organized by the CSUSB Educational Counseling Graduate Student Association, the program earned the campus 2012 Outstanding Community Service Award, and the club adviser received the 2012 Adviser of the Year Award. In addition to the pajama drive, the university collaborates with community partners to promote an active foster youth-to-college program through its Educational Opportunity Program.
Along with these programs, Cal State San Bernardino is taking its place as a leading institution in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement. The university is one of only 50 institutions in the nation serving as a Civic Learning Leadership Institution through NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. As a participant in the NASPA program, CSUSB is continuing to develop partnerships to build student leadership roles in active community service.
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation’s leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to improving their communities through service. These are institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund and other programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
A full list of recipients and descriptions of their service can be found at President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll website . Also, visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website.
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.