Cesar ChavezMembers of two campus organizations earned a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in recognition of their work during the Cesar Chavez Challenge at CSU Monterey Bay.

March 30 marked the start of the university’s second annual challenge, a 36-day community service drive – coordinated by the Purposeful Service Opportunities program – that started on Chavez’s birthday and ended on Cinco de Mayo. PSO is a joint project of the AmeriCorps VIP program and the Service Learning Institute.

The theme was “Creating a Culture of Service,” and involved friendly competition among student clubs, Greek organizations, athletic teams and residence halls to document their hours of service.

The Cesar Chavez Awards, presented on May 10, celebrated the achievements of these groups in the areas of leadership and purposeful service.

Omega Delta Phi logged 654 hours of community service, by far the most of any group. Kappa Sigma won the points competition with 4,317, for making the best use of Purposeful Service resources and infrastructure. Both earned a visit to the aquarium in appreciation for their contribution to building and enhancing a culture of service on campus.

The end of all education should surely be service to others.

– Cesar Chavez

Collectively, student organizations documented more than 3,408 hours of service during the challenge – a considerable increase over last year's total of 2,929. Each organization received a certificate of appreciation at the awards presentation.

In addition, three individuals were honored.

“While conceived of as a group competition, three students made such significant contributions that we decided to recognize them with the Cesar Chavez Award for Leadership in Purposeful Service,” said Steven Goings, AmeriCorps member and CSUMB’s service opportunities coordinator.

They are:

Janet Jacquier, Associated Students community affairs representative and environmental senator, led Associated Students in documenting hundreds of hours of service and organized Earth Week activities on campus.

Robyn Lance, Otter Christian Fellowship service coordinator, led OCF’s Service Saturdays by forging new relationships with Star Riders in Marina, the Monterey County Food Bank and a homeless ministry in El Estero Park. She also renewed connections with Ag Against Hunger, Return of the Natives and Dorothy’s Kitchen.

Nicole Onuska, who parlayed her Service Learning placement with Community of Caring Monterey Peninsula into a capstone project, the PURSUIT Youth Expo. By developing partnerships on and off campus, she organized an event that brought 225 high school students to CSUMB for a day of activities and workshops on the values and rewards of service. She involved university students and community organizations as partners and mentors for the high school students.

The awards presentation also featured a short video on Chavez’s life and the contributions of the AmeriCorps workers who have supported and supervised Service Learning students at community sites throughout the year.

To learn more about Service Learning at CSUMB, click here.