Exemplary community service programs and strong community partnerships have earned Stanislaus State a place on the 2015 President’s Higher Education Community Service Roll, marking nearly a decade that the local university has made the list.
“I’m so pleased that our entire university community is dedicated to public service, and delighted that year after year our service is recognized on a national scale,” said President Ellen Junn. “I can’t emphasize enough the importance of volunteering as a component of a well-rounded college education.”
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Roll recognizes higher education institutions that support exemplary community service programs and campus community partnerships in four categories: general community service, interfaith community service, economic opportunity and education. It is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community, service-learning and civic engagement, and one that Stanislaus State has been awarded every year since its inception in 2006.
Although 14 California State University campuses earned a spot on at least one of the four honor roll lists, Stanislaus State and Cal State Bernardino were the only two campuses to be honored in three categories: general community service, economic opportunity and education.
“This recognition reflects the university’s commitment and leadership in the development of high impact community-based educational opportunities that prepares our diverse population of students to become active learners and offer opportunities to improve the quality of life in our region,” said Office of Service Learning Administrative Analyst Brett Forray.
Nationwide, 3.1 million students engaged in community service in 2015-16, logging in 118 million hours of community service, which equates to $2.5 billion in student community service value. More than 3,400 Stanislaus State students participated in service learning courses, logging more than 184,000 hours of community service with an estimated volunteer time value in excess of $4.3 million.
“Stanislaus State has a strong commitment to identifying and serving the needs of our region. As a result, community-based learning opportunities are offered in disciplines throughout all four of our colleges,” said Forray. “This objective continues to be met by supportive faculty and staff who are committed to provide students with the tools and innovative research and community-based opportunities that can prepare our students to become future leaders throughout the Central Valley.”
Stanislaus State has many ongoing community service efforts, including the Pathways to Success Mentor Program, which pairs 327 Stanislaus State students with more than 327 at-risk K-12 students through a collaboration between Stanislaus State criminal justice faculty members and the Turlock Unified School District.
The Criminal Justice students establish positive relationships with their younger peers in order to reframe challenging behaviors and promote greater engagement at school, said Forray.
Stanislaus State science faculty and student volunteers engage in monthly Science Saturdays to encourage young students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—or STEM—disciplines, as well as careers in health care. They also host an annual Science Day, which brings in more than 2,300 families and individuals to campus to learn about the variety of sciences offered by the University, and science faculty and students visit local elementary schools to present grade-specific science activities.
On an annual basis, more than 200 student volunteers log in hundreds of hours at local food banks and homeless services providers, as well as participate in the annual Legacy of Hope community outreach effort to help the United Samaritans Foundation distribute over 35,000 meals per year to low income individuals throughout the region.
“The university’s community service efforts are an integral part of the university’s mission which states that as a university we will challenge one another to realize our potential, and to appreciate and contribute to the enrichment of our diverse community,” said Forray. “Stanislaus State will continue to be a leader in the region with innovative teaching and community-based research and educational opportunities to help our students become future leaders and lifelong learners solving challenges in our growing and diverse region.”