The Center for Community Service-Learning honored three individuals, two organizations and one faculty-community partnership that have made significant achievements in service-learning and community service. The awards were given at the seventh annual Civic Engagement Awards Ceremony on May 24.
“By honoring these individuals and organizations for their commitment to service, we celebrate their commitment to changing the lives of others and empowering our communities,” says Christina Gonzalez-Salgado, civic engagement coordinator.
The award winners are:
Student Organization Award for Civic Engagement: Cal Poly Pomona Science Council
The Cal Poly Pomona Science Council is a student organization committed to the betterment of their community. Members volunteered on Saturday afternoons to assist medical and dental professionals in providing free health care to underserved communities. They assisted with the Helping Hands soup kitchen and food pantry, serving families and homeless individuals. They participated in the annual Kingsley Elementary School Beautification Project by building and planting vegetable gardens while teaching youth about gardening and the environment.
Staff Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement: Jenni Adams
Jenni Adams, coordinator of Greek Life and Education, has created collaborations with community partners to motivate the Greek community to be more civically engaged. She collaborated with the Pomona Chamber of Commerce on the annual Pomona Beautification Day. She coordinated the Greek Council’s participation with St. Jude’s Hospital “Up till Dawn” event, which has collected more than $55,000 for children with cancer. She organized college workshops for Pomona and Ganesha high school students. In addition, she engaged others to serve in the Weed and Seed canned food drive; last year the collection netted 6,500 cans. She continues to encourage students and peers to be active in their communities.
Student Award for Civic Leadership: Natalie Gasca
Natalie Gasca volunteered with the Prison Education Project as an academic orientation presenter and language arts tutor to inmates at the California Institute for Men. She coordinated the Let’s Can Hunger Food Drive as part of the Students in Free Enterprise. She also mentors local Pomona High School students in their preparation for Advanced Placement Calculus exams. Natalie served as an English as a Second Language and computer instructor to day laborers at the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center. She volunteered with the Inland Valley Hope Partners organization to raise donations for those in need.
Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Engagement: Professor Mariappan Jawaharlal, Mechanical Engineering
Since 2004, mechanical engineering Professor Mariappan “Jawa” Jawaharlal organized an annual robotics competition in which hundreds of elementary students participate and learn about science and technology. As part of the robotics outreach program, he trains teachers to keep the program self-sustaining at their schools. He worked with Ability First to design products for children with disabilities as part of his service-learning courses. He serves as the advisor for the Cal Poly Pomona chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Jawaharlal is currently involved in the design of a water distribution system for a small town in Guatemala.
Community Partner Award of Excellence: Santana High School
Santana High School of the Rowland Unified School district has partnered with the liberal studies department since 2008. As part of its school-teen-parent program, Santana High School administrators and staff have taught Cal Poly Pomona students about public education and civic engagement. They provide meaningful short-term service opportunities such as beautification projects, the establishment of a food pantry and academic and career planning. Their partnership with the liberal studies department has been successful in demonstrating the reciprocity of university-community partnerships. The leadership of guidance counselors and school administrators has shown students the need to be civically engaged as professionals.
Partnership Award of Excellence: Professor Gwen Urey, Urban and Regional Planning, and Daryl Grigsby, Director of the City of Pomona Public Works
Gwen Urey, urban and regional planning professor, and Daryl Grigsby, director of public works for the city of Pomona, created a field research project to assess demand for bicycle infrastructure around parts of downtown Pomona as part of a URP 431 service-learning course. The city was updating its general plan and developing a bicycle plan to reduce pollution and increase exercise among residents. The project assisted the city in making road improvement plans for South Campus Drive that will include repaving with a bike lane. An amazing outcome of this partnership is that Pomona was selected to be a CicLAvia site, or a “temporary web of public space on which residents of Los Angeles can walk, bike, socialize, celebrate and learn more about their own city.” The project has now been listed as a best practices bicycling redesign site for the county.
(Photo: Daryl Grigsby, director of Pomona Public Works, and URP Professor Gwen Urey, receive the 2012 Partnership Award of Excellence from the Center for Community Service-Learning.)