Chancellor's Friday Letters

Honored for being of service

Honored for being of service

May 27, 2011

Dear Friends,

As the University for California, service to the people of this state is part of our DNA.

And as UC Riverside, a campus whose very existence evolved from the needs and welfare of this community, service to Inland Southern California is part of the fabric of much that we do.

This is especially true of our students, and is a great point of pride for me and I suspect all of us.

And now, the federal government is beginning to take notice of those efforts.

This year for the first time, the President’s Corporation for National and Community Service placed our campus on the Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, citing our students’ 2.5 million – yes, that’s million – hours of volunteer work in Inland Southern California last year.

One of the 10-year goals of UCR’s strategic plan is community engagement. That includes providing every undergraduate with an opportunity to be involved in a community engagement activity.  Judging by our students’ efforts, they are already well on the way to accomplishing that goal.

In the most recent Undergraduate Experience Survey, 59 percent of the undergraduate students across the UC system indicated that they took part in community service. Some students volunteered to tutor neighborhood children, while others were involved in mentoring, serving food, fundraising and community cleanup.

In all these areas, UCR students participated to a greater degree than the average UC student.

This fact is remarkable given that UCR undergraduates generally do not come from affluence and have sometimes multiple competing work obligations . . . in fact, UCR undergraduates have higher levels of paid employment than students at any other UC campus.

Perhaps for that very reason, our students understand the sacrifices that their families and communities have made to get them here, and they are committed to giving back to the community.

Consider some of the community service projects that the Honor Roll recognized:

• University Eastside Community Collaborative is a longstanding partnership among UCR, the city of Riverside and the Riverside Unified School District in which 80 students tutored 672 at-risk youth in the city’s Eastside neighborhood. They also mentored 169 youth and recruited 213 volunteers to help address other community needs.

• ALPHA Center, a partnership between UCR and 13 unified school districts, enhances undergraduates’ community consciousness; increases the college readiness of underrepresented students and develops methods for improving student performance in mathematics and motivation for college.

• Undergraduate Research in the Community is a program that offers structured support for undergraduates and faculty interested in community-based research projects. In the program’s first year, 58 undergraduates collaborated with more than 25 community partners on 19 research projects.

• Early Academic Outreach Program is the largest and most comprehensive UC academic preparation program. Nine faculty and staff devoted 14,000 hours to mentor 3,000 students, helping students at 25 high schools with historically low college-going rates prepare for college.

• GEAR UP is a federal program designed to increase the college-going rate of low-income students. Two students, and five faculty and staff members tutored and mentored 1,300 middle and high school students, providing academic support and information about college and financial aid.

• TRIO: Upward Bound Classic and Educational Talent Search is a federally funded outreach and student services program that identifies and provides services to low-income students who are often first-generation college students. It provides academic advising, tutoring, summer programs and campus tours to 725 students from 15 area middle and high schools.

Commitment to community service is deeply rooted in our tradition as a land-grant public research university, but the level of dedication demonstrated by UC Riverside students, faculty and staff speaks to their tremendous personal commitment and generosity of heart as well.

I tip my hat and say thank you to all so engaged.



Tim White, Chancellor

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Bringing the Ocean Inland
David Kisailus, an assistant professor in the Bourns College of Engineering, is using corals and crabs to illustrate how engineers can mimic nature’s hard shells and solar-powered energy sources. He will discuss this in a free lecture Saturday, June 11, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum in downtown Riverside.

Pathway to Grad School
UCR professors Vorris Nunley and Erica Edwards have received a grant to help increase the number of African American scholars in the pipeline to graduate school. They have named it for Lindon Barrett, a colleague in the English department who died much too young.

Prized for late-night pizza
Congratulations to graduating senior Moses Preciado, one of six finalists for National Association of College and University Food Services Student Employee of the Year award. Among his many talents, organizing a popular late night pizza service for our students.

Find out what else is going on at UC Riverside: http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

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