Community Service Learning Makes Strides at CSU

Contact: Colleen Bentley-Adler,, 562-951-4800

The California State University, a national leader in the field of community service learning, is a pioneer in developing a systemwide approach to the issue. Its effect upon the state is significant and growing.

Each year CSU student volunteers contribute nearly 30 million hours, both as part of their academic experience and as a university-encouraged service. This is the equivalent of a $200 million contribution to their communities, even at a minimum wage level.

In this past year, the CSU reached a new milestone: academic classes offering service learning elements are now reaching more than 15 percent of all CSU students. But the outreach is not limited to the academic side. As a result of the CSU’s emphasis on community service, nearly half of CSU’s 400,000 students are at work locally - bringing tutoring, civic outreach, and other service contributions to their neighbors.

“CSU students are strong contributors to the needs of their local communities. As they engage in these campus-sponsored activities, they develop deep, life-long values for community service and leadership,” said Chancellor Charles B. Reed.

Although community service is found across the 23 CSU campuses, that service is tailored to the needs and interests of the students and their local communities. For example:

  • Fresno is one of the top Jumpstart program sites in the nation. Jumpstart Fresno pairs college students with low-income preschoolers to help them get a good start in life by doing well at school.

  • At East Bay, health science students joined with recreation and community service students to plan and promote the Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society, raising over $90,000 for cancer prevention programs.

  • Monterey Bay, which has since its inception in 1996 emphasized broad student service, has graduated its first group of students with a minor in Service Learning Leadership, the first such degree program in the nation.

  • San Marcos students are aiding the Library of Congress Veterans’ History collection by gathering oral histories from veterans and their spouses and helping pass that story on to a new generation through a mentoring project with local middle school students.

To learn more about community service learning, visit the website at If you would like to learn more about how the CSU affects the economic, social, intellectual and cultural life of all of California, please access the CSU impact report at

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Last Updated: July 25, 2005

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