Richter Center ambassadors promote service at Fresno State

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Richter Center ambassadors promote service at Fresno State

Nine new student ambassadors of the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at California State University, Fresno will promote the center and the university’s community-service efforts.

The Richter Center ambassadors are Madhubanti Chowdhury, Daniel Cisneros, Celeste Pilegard, Cassidy Smith and Melissa Watkins of Fresno, Lindsey Hamilton of Tollhouse, Leah Rath of Prather, Dalitso Ruwe of Boston and Maricela “Daini” Vargas of Los Angeles.

They were selected for demonstrating exceptional dedication to service and a desire to share the values of community involvement with their peers. They will organize and advocate for events and opportunities to provide service.

Fresno State’s history of leadership in matching campus resources and talents in service to the community’s needs has been recognized with the 2007 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Special Achievement Award. The university also received Community Engagement classification from the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006.

President John D. Welty has challenged the campus to provide 1 million hours of service to the community annually by Fresno State’s centennial in 2011. Welty said the Richter ambassadors “will be key in bringing the story of those million hours to life by demonstrating and extolling the depth of the impact of Fresno State’s service efforts.”

The diversity of the ambassadors matches the Fresno State student body, said Mellissa Jessen, assistant director of the Richter Center and adviser to the students.

“What these students have in common is a genuine passion for service and a shared belief that engaging in service enriches their university education,” she added. “It is exciting that they now have the opportunity to share this value with their peers while gaining leadership experience.”

In applying for selection, Pilegard said, “Creating pride in the difference the campus is making

[in the community] can give all students something to directly contribute to that is worthy of school spirit.”

She’s a sophomore psychology major who has been active in the Bulldog Pantry, which provides food to needy families living near Fresno State. Pilegard also is a student in the Smittcamp Family Honors College, which includes community service as a requirement for participation.

She believes mobilizing students to community service will “lead to massive improvement in the quality of life for citizens of this town and even put Fresno on the map.”

The Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning is dedicated to improving the education and development of Fresno State students and helping improve the community through service and learning.

For more information about the Richter Center ambassadors, contact Jessen at 559.278.6986 or

Related link: Richter Center