CSUSM Received National Recognition for Community Service, Named to President's Honor Roll

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement for the fourth year in a row.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice.

"Congratulations to Cal State San Marcos and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities," said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."

Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

"Community service is an important component of our commitment to being a university fully engaged in our community," said CSUSM President Karen Haynes.  "Student interactions address community-identified needs, deepen their civic and academic learning, and enhance community well-being while enriching the scholarship of the institution."

Last year 2,820 students were engaged in 166,000 hours of regional community service or service-learning projects - an increase of nearly 60 percent of the year before and represents, at minimum wage, a value of $1.3 million for their services.

CSUSM's "Hands Across Our Border" initiative is one example of an ongoing project that has actively engaged university students on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border for the past four years. Through this project, students from CSUSM and the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California (UABC) in Tijuana, Mexico join forces to help communities in need on both sides. Past projects have included painting elementary schools, cleaning and organizing a community food pantry, and readying apartments for move-in by families experiencing homelessness.

During spring 2009, Cal State San Marcos students teamed up with the East Los Angeles Society for Film and Arts (TELA SOFA) and met UABC students at an orphanage in the slums of Tijuana. The university students, guided by a TELA SOFA representative, used art activities to break down language and social barriers, providing the nearly 120 Casa Hogar Sion orphanage children with education, entertainment, and companionship.  Additionally, CSUSM students collected and delivered 600 pounds of donations of food, clothing, cleaning supplies, diapers, and other essentials to the orphanage.

"Hands Across our Border" is organized and supported by CSUSM's Office of Community Service Learning.

"Community service is an important component of our commitment to being a university fully engaged in our community," said CSUSM President Karen Haynes.