Public Affairs

USA Weekend Honors CSU For Community Service Activities

USA Weekend, a Gannett Company magazine with a circulation of 42 million, has honored the California State University with a California regional award for the system's community service activities on National Make a Difference Day 1999. Only two awards are given in every state.

National Make A Difference Day was held last October when more than two million people nationwide served as volunteers in their communities. About 5,500 of them were CSU students. CSU activities included Chico State students cleaning up the Sacramento River; Cal State Los Angeles students participating in the AIDS WALK LA; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students helping with winter preparation at a homeless shelter; and San Diego State students heading a book drive that collected hundreds of books for children in inner-city schools and reading stories to the children. The efforts of CSU students throughout the state helped more than 20,000 Californians in one day.

The $2,000 USA Weekend awards are co-sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and Wal-Mart. The CSU donated the proceeds of its award to Jumpstart, a nonprofit organization that engages young people in service to help children be prepared to enter school.

Make a Difference Day in only one example of community service at the CSU. More than 135,000 students volunteer 33.6 million hours annually. That's a minimum wage value of about $193.2 million.

In recent years, the CSU has dramatically increased its efforts to expand opportunities for all students to participate in service learning, which links academic courses to community service activities. Currently, all 22 campuses support service learning, and have a designee appointed to lead these initiatives.

In addition, the CSU Trustees last month approved a resolution requiring that each campus president ensure all students have the opportunity to participate in community service and service learning deemed appropriate by the faculty; that the Trustees endorse campus efforts to make service an expectation, condition or requirement for the undergraduate education experience; and that the chancellor report to the Trustees annually on CSU's increasing efforts to provide those opportunities to all students.

April 26, 2000