Home > News > 13th Annual Celebration Brings Smiles & Laughter

Authors: Marisela Castro, Communications Specialist; Katherine Cushing, Executive Director

Engage, learn, and build. Those are the three core pillars that inspire students, faculty, residents, and partners to continuously build social capital in the local community. Every year, we acknowledge and recognize the hard work of all those who work with us in common cause to design and implement our community-building projects at Celebrating Partnerships. This past  Wednesday’s gathering marked CommUniverCity’s 13th anniversary with 275 supporters in attendance. The event provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate our sincere appreciation of everyone’s efforts and expose newcomers to a wide range of CommUniverCity projects in one place.

(From left to right) Executive Director Katherine Cushing, Associate Director Dayana Salazar, Founder Susan Meyers and Co-Founder Terry Christensen sharing some smiles with Sammy the Spartan.

During the event, attendees roamed the room, learning about the impetus and impact of over a dozen community-based projects at interactive learning stations. SJSU student volunteers from Communications Studies, Business Marketing, Advertising, Justice Studies, Health Science, Environmental Studies, Engineering, and Urban Planning curated posters and explained how they applied their classroom learning to support projects in the community, which ranged from identifying unsafe street crossings to inspiring k-6 students to learn more about astronomy.

SJSU student volunteer talking to a community member.

This year’s lineup of projects included:

Dozens of lively conversations took place between attendees and student, faculty, and partner volunteers who guided guests through their projects. Another highlight included a raffle where lucky winners received prizes provided by University Advancement, Santa Clara County’s Consumer & Environmental Protection Agency, SJSU Athletics, and Associated Students’ Transportation Solutions.

Near the end of the evening, San Jose District 3 Councilmember, Raul Peralez, and San Jose State University’s Associate Vice President of Student and Faculty Success, Stacy Gleixner, recognized the hard work of CommUniverCity and congratulated awardees on being selected as CommUniverCitans of the Year.   The three award recipients exemplify community leadership and long-term commitment to building great neighborhoods in San Jose. And to top off our gathering, the office of United States Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren commended CommUniverCity for its longstanding supporting of community action and for its impact in increasing the vibrancy and health of Central San Jose.

Community Leader: David Vieira, Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace
SJSU Faculty: Michael Oye, Biomedical, Chemical, & Materials Engineering at SJSU
City of San José: Julie Edmonds-Mares, Former Deputy City Manager

(Left to right) Councilman for District 3 Raul Peralez, Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace Community Member David Vieira, Representative from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s office Sandra Soto, SJSU Associate Vice President of Student & Faculty Success Stacy Gleixner.

Beyond the festivities, Celebrating Partnerships served to cement the foundation of strong relationships that already exist within the community and create the framework for new and stronger projects yet to be established, putting the ideas of social justice and civic engagement into action.

Kevin Nad & SJSU students in an Integrated Marking Communications class drum up interest in Catholic Charities’ Senior Bites program. 

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own. -Cesar Chavez

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