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Catalysts of Community Engaged Learning: The 2022 Celebrating Partnerships Event

Celebrating Partnerships 2022 on the John Carlos Olympic Black Power Statue lawn.

Every other year, CommUniverCity holds a huge event called “Celebrating Partnerships,” where core partners of the organization come together to take a grand look at active projects that CommUniverCity has been maintaining or is involved in.

This past Thursday on May 5th, in which some of you know as Cinco de Mayo, CommUniverCity their biennial Celebrating Partnerships event! This year’s theme: Catalysts of Community Engaged Learning.

But what does the theme mean exactly? For us, Catalysts of Community Engaged Learning came into fruition after realizing that San Jose State students who participate in projects, or community engaged learners, experience hands-on, real worldly lessons that strengthen their understanding of subject matter while also exchanging a sense of understanding from the community and the community being able to express their needs and wants.

This year’s Celebrating Partnerships was held last Thursday on a bright, sunny May afternoon by the Olympic Black Power statue from 3-5PM. There were approximately 70 CommUniverCitans who came to celebrate with us, a few of them being there from start to finish! With delicious refreshments from Spartan Eats, 70 CommUniverCitans were able to have some fun under the sun by interacting with program tables, listen to speeches, enter raffles (and win), and receive free goodies.

The last Celebrating Partnerships event was held back in 2019 with just over 400 attendees. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and wanting to keep our CommUniverCitans safe, this year, we decided to have a smaller, more intimate scaled down version of our usual big celebration.

We opened Celebrating Partnerships with a few kind words from MC Jennifer Nguyen, a 4th year Advertising major with a shiny personality and an enthusiastic voice. Soon after followed a speech from Interim President Steve Perez who said that it was “A good day to be a Spartan.”

Pictured from left to right are CommUniverCity superstars Elizabeth Figueroa (Special Programs Manager), Dr. Michael Oye (Executive Director), and Imelda Rodriguez (Community Director) receiving a commendation from  Deputy City Manager Angel Rios for the City of San José.

With great pleasure, as of May 5th, 2022, CommUniverCity was given a commendation from City of San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, delivered by Deputy City Manager, Angel Rios, who also said a few kind words about the longstanding of CommUniverCity even during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also received a certificate from Santa Clara County District 2’s Supervisor Cindy Chavez. 

CommUniverCitan celebrities did not go unnoticed of course. Joan Rivas-Cosby, Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee meetings, past Growing Sustainably Program Manager Matthew Spadoni, and community member Alan Gouig were just a few of the CommUniverCitan celebrities present that afternoon.

Under the sun and with some good music playing throughout, the four activity tables seen were Growing Sustainably, College-Going Culture, Community Development, and Student Learning Community Earning (SLCE). Each table had activities that gave attendees a chance to sharpen their skills and knowledge based on the coordinating program.

For example, the Growing Sustainably table had a trivia game that tested one’s knowledge about climate issues and ways one can be environmentally conscious. If you got an answer correct, you would walk away with prizes such as vegetable seeds or adorable plant stickers.

We figured that the program activity tables would be the perfect opportunity for CommUniverCitans to see our pillar model “Engage-Learn-Build.”

It is the individuals involved with CommUniverCity that make our community more vibrant and healthy. The passion that each and every one of our active core partners have is one of a kind!

To help continue the civic work of this organization, please donate to our Stephen Kwan Founders Fund.

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