Public Affairs

Honoring Chavez’s Life of Service

A garland of carnations adorns the statue of Cesar Chavez in the Fresno State Peace Garden as part of the 16th annual campus commemoration of his life of service.  Photo by Cary Edmondson,

A garland of carnations adorns the statue of Cesar Chavez in the Fresno State Peace Garden as part of the 16th annual campus commemoration of his life of service. Photo by Cary Edmondson,

March 29, 2012
By Erik Fallis

While CSU campuses and the Chancellor’s Office close on March 30 in honor of Cesar Chavez, many in the university community dedicate the day and weeks surrounding the observance to serving others.  Below are highlights of programs and activities that exemplify the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning.  Event dates, times, additional details and ways to get involved are available through the campus websites.

CSU Channel Islands provides numerous options for those seeking to serve.  Students enrolled in a course on Chicano children and adolescents host art activities and serve meals at a celebration held at Villa Chavez, a farmworker housing community in Oxnard.  CI’s Center for Community Engagement partners on a Community Roots Garden and Farm Worker Housing Immersion Program.  CI also takes part in the National Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge.

CSU Chico cleans up its surrounding area in an effort led by students who call themselves “Cats in the Community.”  Students, staff and faculty also join together for conversations, presentations, a march for justice and a cultural celebration.

CSU Dominguez Hills takes on the very personal challenge of assisting one deserving family.  Like many in this recession, the Draughan family has struggled with job loss.  Jumpstart AmeriCorps students are partnering with Habitat for Humanity to help the three Draughan family members move from a substandard, 100-foot room to a home that meets their needs.

Fresno State hosts several events in observance of National Farmworker Awareness Week.  Events include the ninth annual Cesar Chavez Conference on Literacy and Educational Policy, the 16th annual Cesar E. Chavez Celebration including the statue garland ceremony (shown above), a blood drive, a movie screening and a commemorative display following the life of the United Farm Workers founder and the campesino movement.

Cal Maritime students, faculty and staff are congregating at the First Baptist Church of Vallejo to prepare food for the needy in their local community.  This follows a “Passion to Action” dinner and panel discussion hosted by Maritime’s Unity Council.

CSU Monterey Bay is on a 36-day mission to perform and document 3,600 hours of community service.  From Cesar Chavez Day to Cinco de Mayo, numerous projects are being coordinated by AmeriCorps and the university's Service Learning Institute.  March 30 marks the start of CSUMB's 2nd annual Cesar Chavez Challenge, which reached 3,000 documented hours of service last year.

CSU Northridge students attend a Cesar Chavez Day Service Fair featuring dozens of non-profit organizations from throughout the San Fernando Valley—from mental health providers to environmental groups—with representatives providing information on how to get involved in the community.

Cal Poly Pomona holds a series of activities throughout the week prior to Cesar Chavez Day that culminate in an invitation to be a farmworker for a day.  Other events include a march, blood drive and learning opportunities for children.

Sacramento State students “Re-Live the Legacy” by volunteering throughout the local area as part of the ASI Cesar Chavez Community Service Day.  Photos and video of the volunteer activities are posted here.

CSU San Bernardino hosts the third annual Latino Education and Advocacy Days.  The LEAD summit focuses on issues that include: the current state of Latino education; sustaining, replicating and bringing up-to-scale programs that work for Latino youth; creating future student leaders; the use of technological innovations to help increase Latino education and advocacy; and the effectiveness of being a Hispanic Serving Institution with the additional federal grants to Latino college students during and after graduation.

San Diego State celebrates its 10th annual Cesar Chavez Day luncheon with keynote speaker Maria de la Luz Reyes, professor emerita, University of Colorado, Boulder. Proceeds benefit the Cesar E. Chavez Commemorative Scholarship Fund.

San José State inaugurates its first ever Cesar Chavez Day Celebration at Veggielution Community Farm.  Veggielution empowers youth and adults from diverse backgrounds to create a sustainable food system in San José.  The celebration is supported by the Associated Students and the Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center.

CSU Stanislaus invites the campus community and public to its 17th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Celebration.  Activities include a poster contest, UFW flag making, Cesar E. Chavez display, Balet Folklorico and a commemorative march.  Armando Elenes, national vice president of United Farm Workers, provides the keynote address.