CEC anniversary celebrationCommunity Engagement Center staff show their Hornet pride, from left, Francine Redada, Dana Kivel, Thamsyne Brown, and Allegra Chisholm. (Sacramento State/Jayla Lee) More photos

The Community Engagement Center (CEC) is celebrating 20 years of service in Sacramento this month, and it continues to redefine the possible for students  taking them outside the classroom and into underrepresented communities throughout the region.

The CEC serves as Sacramento State’s primary service learning office. It coordinates projects with nonprofits, schools, government agencies, and campus-based programs. Students complete these projects through Service Learning courses a teaching method that promotes learning through planned service experiences. The CEC offers more than 60 courses, and 15 more faculty are joining the movement this year.

“People are interested because they are invested in Sacramento State and its community,” says CEC Director Dana Kivel.

More than 20,000 students have participated in service through the CEC, contributing more than 1 million hours of volunteer work in the Sacramento region.

“I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with the California Protective Parents Association Family Court Watch Project,” says Anuja Lal, a social work student. “This experience was amazing in that it helped me to understand the importance of compromise and the need to have honest and open communication that can benefit a family.”

More than 2,000 students enroll in Service Learning courses each year. That number is expected to grow with the faculty in training.

“We want to continue to do impactful work,” Kivel says.

The CEC also encourages students to be civic-minded and socially aware through programs such as Constitution & Civic Engagement Week, Sac State Volunteers, Alternative Break @ Sac State, and Writing Partners @ Sac State. The center offers grants to professors to fund projects such as the construction of vegetable beds and compost bins at Evergreen Elementary School in West Sacramento.

The CEC plans to work with academic internships and Madventure’s Summer 2016 international service-learning experience – destination Fiji. The trip will be partially funded by the California State University Chancellor’s Office.

For more information about the CEC, visit www.csus.edu/cec/ or call (916) 278-4610. – Jayla Lee