Campus resource fair offers tools, opportunities for students, public to engage and make change in their communities
October 12, 2022
Allison Isham, a Sacramento State History major, intended to cross off a class requirement when she visited the Civic Engagement Resource Fair on Oct. 11, but she came away with much more.
“I found a helpful group that has a bunch of information about the upcoming elections’ candidates and propositions,” Isham said. “That’s always been hard for me to find because everything is always so biased. This is offering great facts about both sides and what the possible outcomes are.
“I think it’s really important to understand what your vote could potentially do.”
The sixth annual Civic Engagement Resource Fair, held in the Library Quad and presented by Sac State’s Community Engagement Center, featured 24 organizations from the University and greater Sacramento region offering important material and insights.
“We wanted to bring in that motivation for students to say, you can be part of whatever change is moving you and to get passionate about something,” said Sherell Branch, CEC volunteer and program specialist.
“It’s about them voting and having a voice, but it’s also about inspiring them to be change makers in our community.”
The CEC started the Civic Engagement Resource Fair to encourage students to vote. The scope quickly expanded, helping students make positive changes on campus and in the community, CEC Community Partnership coordinator Noel Mora said.
“This resource fair is intended to equip students with how to do very immediate things, such as vote, but also tap into some energy within each student to go one step further,” Mora said. “Civic engagement is going to be something different for everyone, depending on the field of study or interest.”
In addition to the California Secretary of State’s office and other voter groups, the event welcomed organizations that provided information about how to get involved with issues such as race and gender equity, immigration, schools and education, the LGBTQ community, the environment, and medical care.
“We wanted all types of community concerns where change can happen to hopefully appeal to as many students as we can,” Branch said.
Students had access to information about leadership programs and internships with various branches of the government and advocacy groups.
Aaron Armer, who represented the Sacramento LGBT Community Center at the event, said students become more active in bringing change after first becoming part of a community.
The center, which offers health and housing services as well as programs for youth and seniors, and respite adult care, is working with Sac State’s PRIDE Center to offer free monkeypox vaccinations and rapid HIV testing on Monday, Oct. 17, at The WELL.
“I think it’s really good for us to be on campus,” Armer said. “We have a lot of services – like the other organizations that are here today – that people don’t know about. … This is the students' entryway to our center.
“For students, especially ones who just came from high school, where there may not have been an (LGBTQ) alliance on campus, this is a way they can see the different opportunities they have to get involved.”
Nutrition student Peer Hamdami connected with Sacramento ACT, a multi-faith community organization, to find ways to help feed the hungry.
“I want to be more involved in the community, particularly in health issues and food poverty and food security,” Hamdami said. “I want to be an advocate and help make peoples’ lives better.”
The resource fair was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19 safety concerns.
“I’m super excited that we’re having it in person and on campus this year,” Branch said before the event. “It makes such a difference when you’re trying to engage people to have that in-person contact.”
Mora, a Sac State graduate who served as Associated Students Inc. president in 2018-19, emphasized the value of making the event open to the public.
“Anything that has to do with civic engagement and civic resources should be open to everyone,” Mora said. “We are a campus not just for Sac State students, but for Sacramento.”
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