California State University-Dominguez Hills (CA)

California State University-Dominguez Hills, CA
Award Focus: General

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Student Service Estimates:
  • School motto: “America Happens Here”
  • Number of students volunteering: 9,554
  • Number of community service hours: 180,000
  • Key service areas: Education, Health, Environment
Our Unique Approach to Community Service
California State University, Dominguez Hills believes in academic excellence, community service, and the core values of liberal education. Community engagement is infused throughout CSUDH’s mission statement and strategic plan. In 2013, Business Insider ranked the school sixth in the nation using President Obama’s criteria of accessibility, affordability, and outcome. Washington Monthly has ranked Dominguez Hills as the eighth best master's university in the nation for "contributions to the public good." The Carson City Council has also presented the university with several awards for community engagement and regularly collaborates with the school on community events. 
Service Summary
Sixty-five percent of CSUDH students engage in service learning, both through the formal curriculum and the university’s service learning hub, the Center for Service Learning, Internships, & Civic Engagement (SLICE). As freshmen, all students who elect a First Year Experience with a service component participate in courses with defined community service elements throughout their collegiate career. Through SLICE, students regularly volunteer to mentor youth on topics ranging from college preparation to negotiation and conflict resolution. SLICE houses the Jumpstart for Young Children Program, the JusticeCorps Program, and the Volunteer Center. The Center also maintains a space for additional projects, such as packaging donations for the homeless and collecting necessities for soldiers, or for facilitating reflection sessions. 
Service Highlights
  • Jumpstart for Young Children: Communities surrounding the university have one of the lowest high school graduation rates in California; however nearly 200 Dominguez Hills students have answered the call by enrolling in Jumpstart for Young Children, a preschool program which provides book giveaways and early education mentoring for reading, math, and language acquisition, particularly among Latino families. 
  • Green Campus Initiative: The university has partnered with several agencies including Southern California Electric, West Basin Municipal Water District, and Enlightened to infuse environmental sustainability practices across the campus and into the community. The efforts are led by the College of Natural and Behavioral Science Dean, Dr. Rod Hay, who in 2006 received $192,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to establish the Center for Urban Environmental Resources (CUER). 
  • Support to Homeless Families: For 17 years Dr. Sophia Momand, a university physician in Student Health, has worked with Nursing, Biology, Psychology, and Sociology students to give ongoing free medical care to local, vulnerable homeless persons. University students gather and distribute hygiene packets to aid her efforts. In one month alone, over 2,000 homeless were served. 
  • Honoring Native American Victims of Crime and Violence: Most are unaware that Native Americans suffer from the highest rate of violent crime and are weighed down by the highest rates of diabetes, alcoholism, and suicide of any ethnicity. Students in Dr. Janine Gasco's Anthropology 330 class have helped the community tell their own story through dance, song, and drumming. In April 2014, 140 university students organized the 4th Annual CSU Dominguez Hills Pow Wow, focused on "Honoring Native American Indian Victims of Crime and Violence." 
Looking Forward
CSUDH is putting mechanisms in place to measure the impact of student service hours on the community. Many CSUDH service projects, such as homeless outreach and environmental restoration, are initiated and led by students themselves. The university looks forward to the day when all students become involved in service to our communities. 
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