Community service by Fresno State students, faculty, staff and administrators during the 2012-13 academic year exceeded 1 million hours for the fourth consecutive year. A total of 14,245 people contributed 1,055,257 hours of volunteer work benefiting organizations, churches and community events.
According to philanthropic standards, the estimated economic impact of Fresno State’s community service was greater than $27 million.
Much of Fresno State’s volunteer efforts are coordinated through the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, directed by Chris Fiorentino.
“While the total hour count is impressive, the real pride comes from the lives we have touched through our service initiatives,” Fiorentino said. “Those impacted include our students who grow from the experience and the people who benefit from the students’ work in the community.”
An example of work done this year is an effort to address crime and violence in the El Dorado Park and Sierra Madre neighborhoods near campus. Working with more than 16 community organizations, nearly 400 students volunteered 1,651 hours of direct service to revitalize the neighborhoods. It is estimated their efforts directly benefited 500 people and indirectly benefit thousands of others.
Other projects that were part of the El Dorado Park and Sierra Madre neighborhood revitalization efforts include:
- Support for the Bulldog Pantry, a student-run food pantry supplying food to more than 175 families each week
- Development of a Saturday Sports program, serving dozens of area children with safe, healthy activities each Saturday
- Community clean-ups to remove graffiti and trash
- Staffing a local church project that provides a healthy meal to neighborhood residents each week
- Establishing a Neighborhood Watch program
- Hosting a supply drive providing 50 area children with a complete set of school supplies for the year
Now that Fresno State’s 2013-14 academic year is under way, Fiorentino is determined to maintain this level of engagement. “Our goal will be to surpass 1 million hours for the fifth consecutive year and continue to build on the momentum we have established.”
Kick-starting that effort is the Community Service Opportunities Fair, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4 in front of the Kennel Bookstore at Fresno State. More than 2,000 students and others in the campus community are expected to meet with more than 70 agencies to learn about local volunteer opportunities.
For more information, contact Fiorentino, firstname.lastname@example.org.