Cal State San Bernardino continues its longstanding tradition and dedicated commitment of helping in the community and promoting service learning in spite of having to deal with postponements and cancellations of volunteer events both on and off campus in the spring quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, CSUSB students volunteered 61,210 service hours, a contribution of $1.8 million in total value of service to local communities, said Diane Podolske, director of the CSUSB Office of Community Engagement (OCE).

“Our students are amazing in their dedication to helping others,” Podolske said. “That was quite impressive considering the number of events on and off campus that were canceled due to the coronavirus, including our Coyote Cares Day, which includes students, staff, faculty and alumni who volunteer on and off campus.”

Service learning also did well. More than 2,000 CSUSB students enrolled in service learning courses offered in multiple departments for a total of 154 service learning course sections, said Podolske.

“That is a noteworthy achievement given that, historically, spring quarter has both the largest number of service learning course sections and the highest enrollment, and many of these experiences did not happen due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Podolske said. “Thanks to all of the service learning faculty who offered these important high impact practice opportunities for our students.”

This year the CSUSB President’s Volunteer Service Award (CPVSA), an annual recognition of volunteer service from President Tomás D. Morales, honored 30 students from the Palm Desert Campus for contributing a total of 1,735 service hours, and 114 San Bernardino campus students were recognized for contributing a total of 7,233 service hours. Six staff members were also recognized with CPVSA awards.

The Office of Community Engagement also hosted one-day volunteer service opportunities in honor of the National Days of Service: 9/11 National Day of Service, Make a Difference Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“These fun volunteer service events provided meaningful experiences to encourage continued involvement in addressing the needs of local communities through service with local nonprofits. A student reported, ‘The best part of my experience was being able to see first-hand the change that was made,’” Podolske said.

Other OCE events and honors included:

  • Professional development events for Community Engaged Faculty where OCE faculty associates led workshops throughout the academic year focusing on faculty innovation, scholarship and success. The workshops provided community-engaged faculty and community partners with the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other.
  • ALL IN Challenge Gold Seal for Student Voting Rate – CSUSB received a gold seal at the 2019 ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony for achieving a college student voting rate between 40 and 49 percent in the 2018 midterm election. The ceremony was held in November in Washington, D.C. to recognize colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates. Student participation in elections has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election. CSUSB’s data reveals the student voting rate grew by 15 points from 28 percent in 2014 to 43.2 percent in 2018.
  • Camp SERVE, a collaborative program between the OCE and the CSUSB Adventure Program, provided a unique opportunity for 16 students to learn about and to serve three different communities during winter break. Students volunteered in San Bernardino, Big Bear and Indio and learned about the distinctly different needs of each community and the neighborhood associations and nonprofit agencies that are working to address those needs. 
  • This year 389 CSUSB students attended the Engagement Expo, a one-stop fair of a wide variety of campus and community involvement opportunities sponsored by the Offices of Community Engagement and Student Engagement. The event focused on assisting to identify meaningful volunteer service opportunities ranging from short‐term volunteer service to in‐depth service learning internships. The expo also helps develop a better understanding of local nonprofits and the services they provide for underserved and disadvantaged communities.

For more information, visit the CSUSB Office of Community Engagement website.