Fresno State community service again tops million hours

For the second straight year, the community benefitted from more than 1 million hours of service volunteered by California State University, Fresno, students, faculty, staff and administrators.

During the 2010-11 academic year, ended June 30, the Fresno State community provided 1,053,481 hours of service.

Fresno State volunteers were involved in everything from removing debris from the San Joaquin River and helping feed the hungry to serving at senior facilities, tutoring school-age children, serving on nonprofit boards and helping revitalize inner-city neighborhoods in Fresno.

Nearly 14,000 students, about 65% of the total student body, participated in some form of service organized by a university program or group, said Chris Fiorentino, director of the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State.

The volunteer service alone has an estimated economic impact on the community of nearly $24.7 million. When combined with the financial support students gained by their involvement in these programs, such as service-related scholarships, the total economic impact of the university’s community service-learning efforts is estimated at over $26 million for 2010-11 academic year.

To calculate the value of service time, the university multiplied the Independent Sector’s standard http://independentsector.org/volunteer_time by the number of hours provided from Fresno State.

The Richter Center is at the core of community service efforts at Fresno State, matching volunteers with community needs, working with the campus’ service-learning programs and providing a place where the entire campus community can find information about ways to serve.

The university has incorporated service-learning into academic programs across numerous disciplines. Fresno State Students have an opportunity to earn credit while enhancing their knowledge of subject matter, developing their sense of community involvement and learning more about community challenges.

Among  the goals of this initiative are to foster in students habits of community service that will continue after they leave campus and to give some students the foundation necessary for future careers in service.

Fiorentino expressed “a very sincere ‘thank you’ to each member of the Fresno State family for your vital role in fostering a culture of service.”

“The impressive number of hours served, and the ability to positively impact thousands of lives through this service, would not be possible without you,” he added.

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