(August 12, 2016) — Fresno State has provided 10,084,974 hours of community service to the Central Valley and beyond in the past decade, a milestone achieved through the University’s service-learning efforts, a recent internal report showed.
For the seventh consecutive year, Fresno State students, faculty and staff contributed over a million hours of service with 1,198,856 hours in the 2015-16 academic year, according to the Report on Service Impact by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State.
The estimated economic impact of these hours, provided by more than 40 University programs, is more than $33 million based on calculations from the Independent Sector, a national nonpartisan network of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and professionals.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro commended those who served as well as Jan and Bud Richter, who gifted $3.5 million nine years ago to establish the center. The 2007 endowment kick-started then-University President John D. Welty’s goal to provide 1 million hours of service annually.
The Richters, longtime volunteers and benefactors of Fresno State, believed the center would provide students the opportunity to have enriching educational experiences while giving back to the community.
“We are grateful to the Richters for their investment in Fresno State’s service efforts and for the increased commitment to service that has resulted from that investment,” Castro said. “Fresno State’s commitment to service is a hallmark of our University and something we can all take pride in.”
Fresno State has been recognized by numerous national organizations for its exceptional service efforts, including the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification in 2007 and 2015 and inclusion in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since 2006.
The Richter Center, under director Chris Fiorentino, promotes and supports students, faculty and staff in a variety of service programs. The Richter Center coordinates initiatives such as the Community Service Opportunities Fairs, one-day service projects like Make a Difference Day, blood drives with the Central California Blood Center, Kids Day, Richter Center Student Leaders and Friends for Civic Engagement.
The campus offers nearly 200 service-learning courses and two community service courses.
Bud Richter said it is inspiring to see the number of hours contributed by students and the long-term benefits to improving the community.
“We are so pleased and humbled for this opportunity to support the vision and goal to have every Fresno State student involved in at least one meaningful service experience prior to graduation and give back to their community,” Richter said.
Fiorentino said the impact of student involvement goes beyond the hours served.
“The real impact is seen in the lives of our students who serve and in the lives of those their service touches,” Fiorentino said. “Recent studies by our Office of Institutional Effectiveness demonstrate that Fresno State students who are involved in service during their undergraduate years have significantly greater academic success, as measured by graduation rates, when compared to their non-serving peers.”
The Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning is housed under the Division of Academic Affairs.
For more information, contact Fiorentino at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559.278.8848.
(University Communications news assistant Erika Denise Castañon contributed to this story.)