Our University contributes many things to the Bay Area: accessible, quality higher education; a skilled workforce; stable employment; cultural/athletic events; and recreational spaces. What is sometimes overlooked, however, is another key feature that CSUEB brings to the community: service.
Our University, in addition to being a place of ideas, discourse and learning, is also a place of service. From the way we provide students with an excellent educational experience, to the manner in which we work together toward common goals, service is at the root of who we are and what we do.
What I hope our students gain through service learning activities is a commitment to give back to the community in which they live. The outreach to our communities by faculty, staff and students has been one of the hallmarks of Cal State East Bay. It is an aspect of this University that both distinguishes who we are and contributes to a vibrant and thriving region.
During Homecoming Week, I was able to join students, faculty and staff as they volunteered at nearby Park Elementary School in Hayward. They painted and restored sports and recreation equipment; repaired a retaining wall; worked in the school’s gardens; and performed much-needed “fixes” on other school facilities. The experience of working side-by-side with fellow Pioneers – making positive and lasting contributions to our communities – was both fulfilling and fun! See a photo gallery of the day's activities at Park Elementary School.
I am particularly proud of the countless contributions many of you make to our off-campus communities. In addition to pitching-in as fellow Bay Area citizens, community service fulfills one of the University’s “Eight Strategic Commitments.” Specifically, this is the pledge to “Support the civic, cultural, and economic life of all communities in the region we serve through partnerships that promote education and social responsibility.” We must actively “give back” to our communities.
When I joined the University almost three years ago, via a series of “listening tours,” I heard the University community take pride in serving the region and express a desire to do more. To give you an idea of how committed our CSUEB family is to the ideal of service, just three years ago Cal State East Bay volunteers were logging approximately 70,000 hours per year. In the ensuing years, Pioneers have continued to answer the call to serve, and now volunteer about 200,000 hours annually.
In a word, this is remarkable.
Imagine how much more we can do for our communities when our students, faculty and staff more than double that number. With your help, we have the expertise, energy and numbers to reach beyond our campuses’ borders and increase our impact of enriching the lives of everyone this University touches.
One opportunity I invite you to participate in is an upcoming community event, the Healthy Promise Run, Walk, Stroll and Roll & Community Resource Expo on Saturday, April 5th from 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. in Hayward. (Click here for more information.) This event is sponsored by Hayward Promise Neighborhood (HPN) – of which CSUEB is a partner – benefitting local area residents while underscoring our leadership role and desire to serve the region.
In closing, service learning is a key component of the educational experience we want to enhance and expand at CSUEB. I continue to invite you to send your stories to me, here. I look forward to sharing your experiences and ideas with other members of the Cal State East Bay community so that we can strengthen our leadership in building a thriving East Bay Community.
Leroy M. Morishita