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SFSU hosts daylong discussion on promoting student involvement in civic life

Leon Panetta, Joe Marshall and community leaders join faculty and students for a discussion on how the University can become more involved with a nation and world made more uncertain.

SAN FRANCISCO, October 5, 2001--- With the events of Sept. 11 sparking a renewed interest in community service, how can an institution of higher learning better promote involvement in the community and in public life? San Francisco State University will host a conference Tuesday, October 9, that will seek to answer this question.

The daylong symposium, "Challenge for Change," will feature panel discussions and a keynote address by Leon Panetta, a longtime member of Congress representing Monterey Bay, a former White House Chief of Staff in the Clinton administration and current co-director of the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy based at California State University, Monterey Bay. He will speak on the "Challenge for Change in an Uncertain World."

The symposium will also feature Joe Marshall, SFSU alum and founder of the Omega Boys Club. Panel discussions will include SFSU faculty members, students and community representatives who are involved in community service. It will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

The University will also use the occasion to celebrate and reflect upon its long history of service by students and faculty in the community.

Last year more than 3,500 San Francisco State University students provided volunteer service to schools, community centers, local government agencies and non-profit groups throughout the Bay Area, as part of their classroom work.

They tutored elderly immigrants in Chinatown who wanted to prep for the U.S. citizenship test, helped create public service announcements for a fair trade advocacy group, and spent time with children from the Home away from Homelessness program at Fort Mason.

These students wanted to serve, but they also earned course credit in general education courses for their community work. More importantly, they used these experiences as a way to reflect on the theories, ideas and skills they were learning in class.

Also speaking on Tuesday, October 9:

The idea of combining community service with academic courses took root at San Francisco State in 1996 with a pilot program supported by the CSU System. In 1997, the University launched 11 "service learning" courses.

Five years later, there are 119 courses approved as "service learning" courses. This semester, the University, a national leader in service learning, offered 70 of these courses in a variety of disciplines, from chemistry to creative writing to American Indian studies.

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Last modified October 5, 2001, by Office of Public Affairs