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An International Service Project team serving in East Asia this summer worked with students.
An International Service Project team serving in East Asia this summer worked with students.

CBU contributes more than 681,000 hours of community service

RIVERSIDE (June 26, 2013)--California Baptist University students, faculty and staff contributed more than 681,000 hours of community service during 2012, with a monetary value of nearly $16.8 million*, according to Independent Sector, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group. Service areas included the Inland Empire area and the state of California, as well as across the nation and around the globe.

“Service is an integral part of the experience at CBU,” said Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of California Baptist University. “The commitment of students, faculty and staff to be involved in service activities represents a very practical application of one of the university’s core values: equipped to serve.”

Most of the service hours were a result of service learning in academic areas, where students applied what they are learning in their major areas. The Collinsworth School of Music accounted for a large share of the service learning hours through more than 400 concerts and vocal performances by about 400 students. The College of Engineering contributed the second largest number of service hours through a cross-cultural experience requirement in all of its major areas.

Many of the community services hours were a result of CBU’s flagship programs, administered through the Mobilization Office. International Service Projects, United States Projects and Summer of Service sent 422 volunteers to 20 countries last year.

“Under Dr. Ellis’ leadership, we commissioned our first teams in 1997,” said Kristen White, CBU director of global mobilization. “Our faculty and staff leaders seek to connect with and invest in students to challenge them to take their next step in engaging the world.”

Compassion Ministries, with oversight from the Office of Spiritual Life, also contributed service hours during the year through local ministries with the elderly, teens, children and the homeless.

One group of students working with the homeless said they want to be a stepping stone between area churches and various homeless programs.

“Our hope is to build relationships with the people we encounter, with the goal of meeting their physical needs and eventually being able to share the gospel with them,” said Melody Henderson, a CBU student involved in the ministry. “Our desire is to be Jesus’ hands and feet in this community and to love the people around us as best we can.”

The combined efforts of 18 California Baptist University athletic teams helped raise 5,640 canned food items to be donated to charity.

"I am really proud of our athletes," Micah Parker, director of athletics, said. "It's important that they recognize how fortunate they are to have so much."

The canned food drive was also a competition to see which team could raise the most cans per athlete. The cheer team won the competition by raising 1,866 cans, which averaged 50.43 per athlete.

Men's golf raised 487 cans, or 37.46 per athlete, the highest total of any men's team.

"It was fun to see our teams talk about who was going to give more this year," Parker said. "It is great to see them give back."

The 5,640 cans were donated by CBU athletics to Set Free Ministries. 

In addition, the teams volunteered time at the local YMCA, worked with a food pantry, a toy drive and various sports clinics.

The Division of Institutional Advancement partnered with Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful to work on a street beautification project. Staff worked with alumni volunteers to remove trash, weeds, debris, leaves and graffiti on a local street. In addition, a group of freshmen picked up trash at the city’s Don Derr Park as part of their FOCUS orientation group.

Some of the community service hours came from service learning projects that enable students to use professional skills. Freshmen engineering majors worked on projects sponsored by the College of Engineering, and students from the School of Business contributed approximately 500 hours in free tax preparation for low income taxpayers and seniors in the Riverside community.

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 *The value of CBU's community service was previously reported as $5.4 million, based on minimum wage. However, Independent Sector publishes annual values of volunteer service by state, which are widely used by non-profit organizations.