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CSU Stanislaus recognized for volunteer efforts
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CSU Stanislaus recently earned a prestigious place on the 2014 Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The honor, which recognizes volunteer efforts of academic institutions, was proven to be well earned on Friday when the campus donated 700 toys to Turlock Together. - photo by Photo Contributed

California State University, Stanislaus is wrapping up the semester, but not before earning yet another prestigious achievement.

The university joins 14 additional CSU campuses with its recent placement on the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. With this accomplishment, CSU Stanislaus has earned the highest federal honor it can receive for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement.

“It’s an honor for us to be recognized nationally for the wonderful work that your faculty, staff, and students do,” said Office of Service Learning director Julie Fox. “I am constantly awed by the dedication of the people here on campus to their community.”

Out of the 15 campuses honored, CSU Stanislaus was the only university to be listed as receiving Honor Roll with Distinction in all three categories: General Community Service, Economic Opportunity and Education.

On Friday, the campus exemplified why it  is more than deserving of recognition with its donation of 700 toys to Turlock Together, an effort shared by the entire community to provide food baskets and toys to children and families in need.

Fox said one factor that helped the university earn a place on this honor roll is the number of nonprofits in the valley that have partnered with the university's faculty, staff and students.

Just last month, over 200 members of faculty, staff, and students volunteered with the United Samaritans Foundation's 10th annual Legacy of Hope. Fox reported that students worked morning to night to help put on the fundraising dinner.

“Also, at least 100 students visit USF each semester to learn more about the challenges of poverty and discuss ways to move our community forward,” said Fox.

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the university also volunteer their time to help low income families and seniors fill out their tax returns as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Another program the campus is involved in is the Criminal Justice Mentor Program, which partners Criminal Justice students with at-risk Turlock Unified School District students. In the 2012-13 school year, the program paired over 300 criminal justice students with at-risk students.

 “Our students spend at least 30 hours in both fall and spring semesters working with students from TUSD and mentoring them,” said Fox. “They can help them with homework, talk about their issues, and discuss their future, which can include pursuing a college education.”

Founded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was established eight years ago to recognize higher education institutions that combine, as well as support, community service and service learning programs.

“One of the reasons CSU Stanislaus is successful is because the campus is so committed to the community,” said Fox. “Our faculty is extremely dedicated to students and the community, and students stay in the area so they see the importance of being civically engaged.”