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Carnegie designation acknowledges Sac State’s community standing

Sacramento State's roots run so deep regionally, says Dana Kivel, "there’s hardly an organization in town" not connected the University. Kivel led Sac State's efforts in applying for Carnegie Community-Engagement classification. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

The collective efforts of many often are required to get big things done, and to change individual lives.

Documenting the work that makes Sacramento State a great community asset and partner required cooperation from people throughout the campus community and took more than a year – but it led 
to prestigious recognition for the University.

The result is that Sac State again received the widely sought Carnegie Community-Engagement classification. That designation, coming from the Carnegie Foundation and announced in January 2020, reaffirmed that the University’s work reflects a mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that have a significant impact on the surrounding community.

After submitting an application containing the evidence-based documentation, Sac State became one of just 119 colleges and universities in the United States named a Carnegie Community-Engaged Campus, a classification that is valid until 2026. The University also earned Carnegie classification in 2010 and 2015.

“Community engagement will always remain at the heart of everything we do,” University President Robert S. Nelsen said. “Sacramento State exists to serve our community.” 

Dana Kivel, who led Sac State’s application process, said the University is an integral part of the Sacramento region.

“Sac State is so deeply rooted in the region that there’s hardly an organization in town – municipal, nonprofit and/or commercial – that is not somehow connected to our students, alumni, faculty, staff and/or administrators,” Kivel said.

How Sac State engages with the Sacramento region

These are just some of the University’s outreach programs.
  • The Social Bridging Project is a partnership among the Governor’s Office; state Department of Aging; United Airlines employees in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles; volunteers trained in FEMA disaster response; and Sac State Gerontology students. Those students make personal telephone calls to older Californians isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic, part of a statewide effort to help vulnerable seniors cope with the crisis.
  • Sacramento State is a founding member of the California Mobility Center, which is meant to become a research center and prototype development lab that will lead in the electrification of global transportation technology.
  • The annual U-Nite! arts celebration is held in collaboration with the Crocker Art Museum and
    U-Nite!, the University's arts celebration, draws hundreds of community members to the Crocker Museum each year. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)
    Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.
  • The new Master of Public Health program, based at Sacramento State-Downtown, is ideally positioned to interact and make a meaningful impact on the city and region.
  • The Office of Water Programs works with local, state, and federal agencies to provide critical hydrological and environmental 
policymaking support.
  • Sac State students participate in service learning projects at a higher rate than students at other CSU campuses. More than 3,000 Hornets annually volunteer with community partners, and their work links directly to their classroom learning.
  • Faculty and staff last year received more than $21 million in external grants centered on engagement or outreach. Faculty received $5.2 
million for public health projects.
  • The planetarium at the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex is projected to attract 15,000 area schoolchildren and adults annually.
  • Network Cafe, a monthly gathering of local nonprofits, started in 2001 
and since January 2020 has been hosted by Sacramento State. It provides an opportunity for organizations to network, give interesting presentations, and exchange information in a relaxed environment with a meal.
  • The Community Engagement Center features significant events such as Arbor Day and harvest celebrations, canvassing for the 2020 Census, and its annual Community Engagement Showcase among others.

“The Carnegie classification gives us a means to collect the data to showcase what we’ve accomplished,” said Christine M. Miller, interim vice provost for Strategic Services. “We’ve been doing things all along, but until someone taps you on the shoulder and asks what you’ve been doing for community engagement, you might continue but not tell anyone about it.”

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About News and Communications Staff

Sacramento State’s News and Communications team writes and shares stories about the University, its students, faculty, and alumni, revealing the accomplishments, achievements and milestones that characterize its standing as an educational leader and an important community center. The department’s writers, editors and public relations personnel look across the broad spectrum of the campus and the people who thrive here to support the University’s mission.

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