Outreach brings SF state of mind
October 25, 2007 7:43 PM
Standing tall with UC Berkley and Stanford University, SF State’s title as a “College with a Conscience” by the Princeton Review is rewarding for both the student body and community all around.
Given the title in 2005, SF State was selected based on criteria including the college’s admissions and scholarships, rewarding community service, student activism and level of social engagement of the student body, according to a press release from the Office of Public Affairs & Publications.
According to the latest data available from the Student Needs and Priorities survey in 2005, students were asked how often they engaged in any kind of community service or community betterment activities. The survey is usually part of the registration process and only takes a few minutes for students to fill out.
In the survey of approximately 2,500 students, 77.6 percent, or about 1,940 students, said they had engaged in community service or activity.
Another question was if the students had taken a course at SF State that involved the student with community service. Approximately 25.6 percent, or about 642 students, said they had.
“Community is in the lifeblood of the campus. San Francisco historically is progressive,” said Gerald Eisman, the acting director of the Institute for Civic & Community Engagement (ICCE).
“It’s our job to help connect our community and civic organizations to San Francisco,” said Eisman.
Around 8,000 students and 415 faculty members work with ICCE, according to Eisman. “It’s a big program,” he said.
Eisman said that there is great involvement on every California State University campus, but “not as deep as SF State.”
Every campus has a service-learning learning office but SF State had one of the first offices, according to Eisman.
“We are a very educated city, we have a great university. Because of who we are, we are closer to the ground,” said Eisman.
One program that has a high level of social engagement and has been involved in communities all over San Francisco is the Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (Project SHINE), through the Marian Wright Edelman Institute. The direct of Project SHINE is Gail Weinstein.
Project SHINE started in a different form around 1985 in Philadelphia but eight years ago she came to SF State, and Project SHINE as it is now began to take shape.
“There are students from many different disciplines, and different disciplines find different ways” to coach, said Weinstein.
Weinstein said that her job was created because students wanted to become involved.
The feedback from the communities involved is positive.
“The elders love these coaches,” said Weinstein. “They are very moved.”
Project SHINE operates on an approximately $10,000-yearly budget. Eisman said that the ICCE is well funded and receives lots of support from the SF State administration.
Despite the programs on campus that get students involved, they do not have to go through SF State to be involved with the outside community in a rewarding way that the Princeton Review looks for. Steve Meyers, 32, works at Making Waves, a non-profit group that helps tutor at risk kids starting in the 5th grade.
“I like working with the kids,” said Meyers, who is working towards his teaching certificate. “The tutoring has given me practical experience.”
Meyers hopes to work in San Francisco when he gets his certificate.
Despite the high involvement from the student body, Gerald Eisman would like every student have some sort of community awareness.
What he’d like to see is every student, “graduate with a sense of civic responsibility,” he said.
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