Center for Community Engagement
Search CCE

California's Call to Service Overview

In April 1999, Governor Gray Davis called for a community service requirement for all students enrolled in California's public institutions of higher education. This was formalized in a letter to each of the leaders of the public systems of higher education on July 15, 1999, calling on them to work toward the development of a community service requirement for graduation.

View: "California's Call to Service, Fall 2001," a publication of the California State University.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed.

The governor stated that the primary purposes of his initiatives were to enable students to give back to their communities, to experience the satisfaction of contributing to those in need, and to strengthen an ethic of service among graduates of California universities. Governor Davis requested that faculty members from the California State University, the University of California, and the California Community Colleges work through the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates to address the issue.

Read articles that appeared on the matter here.


The CSU was the first segment of California's system of higher education to respond to the governor's call to service. The Academic Senate CSU, campus faculty senates, students, community partners, community service and service-learning coordinators, and the CSU Advisory Group on Community Service participated in months of intensive dialogues around ways to strengthen and build upon the service initiatives that have developed over the decades.

View documentation on some of those conversations here.

Through these dialogues - as stakeholders across the CSU articulated their perspectives - an overarching view became clear: the CSU endorsed Governor Davis's interest in strengthening an ethic of service as an important part of undergraduate education. Community service, service learning, and community-based activity are longstanding traditions in the mission and purpose of the CSU, and the CSU has an ongoing interest in expanding opportunities for all students to participate in service. A 1999 CSU survey indicated that more than 135,000 CSU students perform community service annually. Additionally, 39% of CSU students have either taken or are interested in taking service-learning courses.

Following these deliberations, at its March 2000 meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees passed a landmark resolution on community service and service learning in the CSU.

You may view the RESOLUTION here.

As a result of the CSU's commitment, Governor Davis authorized $2.2 million in the state budget each year for four years to support the development of courses with new service-learning components and to create or expand service-learning offices on all of the CSU campuses. The CSU developed the "Service-Learning Curriculum and Infrastructure Development Initiative" to accomplish its goals with the state support. For more information about the Initiative and the campus allocation process, click on the link above.

Content Contact:
Judy Botelho
(562) 951-4749
Technical Contact:

Last Updated: June 17, 2016