California State University, San Bernardino’s Office of Community Engagement will be returning this spring with their ninth Coyote Cares Day during Random Acts of Kindness Week 2023.

This volunteer opportunity to give back to the community will take place on Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18. The Friday event will take place in CSUSB’s Student Union East and run from 1-4:30 p.m. The Saturday event will take place in Wilson Park (next to the CSUSB Student Recreation Center) and Student Union East and will run from 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

“Coyote Cares Day is a day where the entire campus community can play a part in giving back and serving others,” shared Cam Fowler, community partnerships analyst in the Office of Community Engagement. “I think that’s what makes this specific event unique: the entire campus is welcomed and encouraged to participate.”

She added that Community Engagement has added a second optional day to increase opportunities for service. The specific volunteer projects will be announced closer to Coyote Cares Day.

Pre-pandemic, campus members contributed over 100,000 hours of volunteer service in local communities annually. While that number was affected recently by restrictions created by COVID-19 and the need to move temporarily to virtual volunteer opportunities, the university’s commitment to supporting the local community remains strong.

“Our dedication to community involvement and positive change makes an important difference here at home and around the globe,” explained Diane Podolske, director of the Office of Community Engagement. “I am incredibly proud of the spirit on both our San Bernardino and Palm Desert campuses for engaging with the community surrounding each campus.”

The university also recognizes CSUSB students, staff and faculty with the Do Good Volunteer Recognition Award. During the 2021-22 academic year, for example, CSUSB volunteered more than 6,320 hours. The 2021 Independent Sector Value of CSUSB’s volunteer service was estimated to be $224,739.  Last year’s awardees included 40 students, nine staff, three faculty and one administrator.

Additionally, CSUSB brings the spirit of giving back into the classroom through service-learning opportunities woven into courses. During the 2021-22 academic year, 702 students enrolled in 71 course sections that offered service learning. Students provided more than 21,060 hours of service to San Bernardino and Riverside communities. In total, the Independent Sector Value of Community and Volunteer Service valued the service contributions made by CSUSB students at more than $748,000 that year.

“I say this over and over, community service and community engagement are part of this university’s DNA,” stated CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales. “I see it in our currently enrolled students and our alumni, as well as in our faculty, staff and administrators. It truly humbles me. The CSUSB community has such an enormous heart.”

The Office of Community Engagement also works to encourage student civic participation through voting. Those efforts have borne fruit. CSUSB earned a Silver Seal in the ALL IN Democracy Challenge for increasing college student voting participation rates between 60% to 69% for the 2020 presidential election.

“Even during a pandemic, our Coyotes came together as a community to make their voices heard,” said Podolske. She underscored that CSUSB students are debunking the idea that college students don’t vote, and instead demonstrated their active engagement in local, state and national issues.

For more details about 2023 Coyote Cares Day, please visit the CSUSB Community Engagement webpage.