Thursday, August 8, 2013

CSUMB honored for civic engagement

California State University, Monterey Bay has earned the Higher Education Civic Engagement Award presented by The Washington Center and the New York Life Foundation.

CSUMB was one of five colleges and universities selected for the honor among more than 100 nominees. Recipients were chosen based on their leadership and innovation in civic engagement. The award will be presented in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 7.

As part of the award, CSUMB will receive $20,000 in scholarship funding to help students participate in The Washington Center's Academic Internship Program in Washington, D.C., in 2014

“It’s wonderful to see our program being recognized nationally,” said Seth Pollack, director of Service Learning at CSUMB. “No other university in the country has made as significant a commitment to integrating learning about social justice and civic engagement into the core of the curriculum. Our focus on developing students’ capacity for service and social responsibility truly distinguishes our degree programs at CSUMB.

“We have a very special program, and it feels great to again be recognized as a national leader.”

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, established the award to celebrate institutions in the higher education community that are reaching beyond their own campuses to achieve sustainable civic impacts. The award aims to highlight, in particular, innovation and leadership in forging partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.

On such example is CSUMB's role as the anchor of a broad coalition to revitalize the long-neglected Chinatown neighborhood in Salinas. Since 2006, more than 1,200 students and 20 faculty members have participated in this community-based effort, while CSUMB has collaborated to bring over $2 million in federal, state and private grants to the effort.

As part of the Chinatown Renewal Project, students created a 30,000-square feet community garden, designed cultural history exhibits and done other work that will be part of the permanent exhibitions at the future Chinatown Cultural Center and Museum, and opened the Soledad Street Community Learning Center.

The other schools receiving the 2013 Civic Engagement Award include The Citadel, Portland State University, Southern University at New Orleans and Syracuse University.

Submitted by Joan Weiner, CSUMB

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