National Volunteer Week

As part of the university’s celebration of National Volunteer Week, take a look back to earlier this spring when CSUSB was named the best California college for civic engagement according to in its list of “The Best Colleges in California.”

Cal State San Bernardino has been named the best California college for civic engagement according to's list of “The Best Colleges in California.”

“CSUSB students average 96,000 hours of volunteer service annually in local communities to advance the public good,” said Diane Podolske, director of the Office of Community Engagement. “In addition, CSUSB faculty teach courses that include service components and conduct research with community partners. These valuable contributions of time and talent are critical resources for local nonprofit, school and government agencies to address community needs, advocate for equality and repair the civic fabric of our communities.”

According to, each program was evaluated on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost and reputation. Then they calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100.

“Our top picks for the best Colleges in California program are affordable, respected, and flexible,” the website reads. For a more extensive explanation, visit their Ranking Methodology webpage.

The list also includes exclusively accredited institutions to assure that the education the colleges offer is at the required standard for academic quality. A large percentage of the colleges on the list, including CSUSB, are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), which is responsible for evaluating structures, processes and resources, and verifying that colleges uphold the commission’s standards of educational effectiveness.

Civic engagement has always been an important part of CSUSB, with support from some of the university’s top administrators and faculty, including CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales, who sent a video message to students on National Voter Registration Day 2020 to highlight the importance of voting and encourage students to register.

In addition, Enrique Murillo Jr., CSUSB professor of education, and founder and executive director of LEAD (Latino Education and Advocacy Days), was named winner of the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award in December 2020 by the nonprofit higher education organization, Campus Compact. The award is presented as part of Campus Compact’s Impact Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of individuals and institutions in pursuit of the public purposes of higher education.

In October 2020, The Association of Latino Faculty, Staff, and Students (ALFSS), Associated Students Incorporated (ASI), LEAD and the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) collaborated with off-campus partners, including then-California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, for a virtual discussion on the importance of civic participation, including options for involvement for people who are not eligible to vote. This event was called ‘Mi Voto, Mi Voz, Mi Vida.’ OCE presented a nonpartisan three-step guide to become a more informed voter during the past election cycle. The event reached 182 Zoom attendees and 863 people through Facebook Live.

And for the second straight academic year, CSUSB has been formally accepted to join a nationwide study to advance the understanding of students’ interests and experiences regarding approaches to public service. OCE is partnering with colleges and universities across the nation to participate in the Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement survey led by Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement.

This isn’t the first time CSUSB has been recognized for its efforts in civic engagement. In its 2020 Annual College Guide and Rankings, Washington Monthly named CSUSB one of the best U.S. colleges for student voting. CSUSB also received a gold seal at the 2019 ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony for achieving a college student voting rate between 40 and 49 percent in the 2018 midterm election. The ceremony was to recognize colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates. CSUSB’s data reveals the student voting rate grew by 15 points from 28 percent in 2014 to 43.2 percent in 2018.

View the complete list of the “Best Colleges in California,” here.