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The Importance of Sustaining Service Learning

CommUniverCity SJSU is a partnership between Community (“Comm”), SJSU (“Univer”), and the City of San Jose (“City”) to improve community connections, health, and education in low-income neighborhoods in central San José, in particular the approximate 1.5 mile radius around the SJSU campus. The area served is culturally diverse; more than 50% of residents are immigrants and over 70% of households speak languages other than English at home. CommUniverCity SJSU works with faculty, students, and community partners to create and sustain meaningful course-based service-learning opportunities, at the same time encouraging civic engagement of students while increasing community connections among residents.

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CommUniverCity SJSU projects are based on priorities set by neighborhood residents and creates, supports, and enriches sustainable community-engaged learning projects in the following areas:

  • Education : Cultivating a college-going culture
  • Community Health : Contributing to healthy and environmentally sustainable lifestyles
  • Neighborhood Environment : Creating a physically safe and socially empowered community.
In short, CommUniverCity sparks and accelerates community engagement with the people power and expertise of SJSU students and faculty. We have done this across downtown neighborhoods for the past 16 years because we believe everyone deserves to live in vibrant and healthy communities.

In 2021, CommUniverCity learned that a pre-endowment fund had been opened by Dr. Stephen Kwan, a Professor Emeritus, creator of the SJSU Management of Information Systems courses, and former CommUniverCity Steering Committee Member. In order to reach full endowment status, CommUniverCity must raise $12,500 to be matched by Dr. Kwan. Dr. Kwan sees CommUniverCity as a steward of service learning. His vision for creating this fund is to provide long term, sustaining support for CommUniverCity.

Below is a sample of what was used in a newsletter. Because our organization has a hyperlocal service area, our network is also small in terms of running crowdfunding campaigns, etc. The goal for your team is after the sample text below.

Thanks to the generosity of Professor Stephen Kwan and his wife Amy, the CommUniverCity Founders Fund was recently established.
Stephen Kwan, now Professor Emeritus, is the former Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Business. Before his retirement, Stephen Kwan was active in helping craft project development and continues to be a strong supporter of CommUniverCity’s work. If you would like to help grow this fund where Dr. Kwan will match every dollar up to $25,000, visit this link and stay tuned for upcoming announcements.

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With tremendous support for CommUniverCity’s mission to create vibrant neighborhoods, we’ve succeeded in improving the lives of our underserved downtown residents. Since our inception in 2005, SJSU Service Learners have committed 432,352 hours of service in central San José neighborhoods, valued at $ 9.39 million. 
Take part in CommUniverCity’s work. Your contribution, in any amount, can help to sustain the programs that create everlasting positive change in your community. We value each individual contribution. Our community members and supporters are our greatest asset. Our main objective is to address the neighborhood’s priorities to the best of our ability.

In the donation form, please write: Steven Kwan’s dollar-for-dollar match donation program in the option “I work for a company that will match my gift.” This program is possible to Dr. Kwan,  Associate Dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. That option above will multiply your generosity. Thank you!
Please note the fiscal agent for CommUniverCity San José is the San José State University Tower Foundation, a 501(c)(3).

SJSU Students

Thanks for finding us! We’re looking forward to learning more about you.

No matter if you are a freshman or a senior, there are jobs positions and interships for you. 

Find below part-time SJSU student positions that are currently open at CommUniverCity.

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Project Coordinator-Growing Sustainably
CommUniverCity’s service area is extremely diverse. One of our biggest ongoing needs is having added multi-lingual capability. If Spanish and/or Vietnamese fluency are among your skills, and you are interested in helping develop vibrant, healthy communities check out the details below.
Half time: 15-20 (Max 20 hours per week)
Salary: $16.20-20 per hour (commensurate with experience + qualifications) Dates: January 2022 to June 2022 (with the possibility of summer work and extension to ’22-’23 academic year
Click here for more information and to apply

SJSU Student Internships
If you are interested in learning about how non profits work or what community engagement and organizing is all about, check out the details below.
Click here for more information and to apply!

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SJSU Faculty

A wide variety of SJSU  departments contribute to CommUnivercity’s initiative: from Materials Science Engineering, Geology, or Business Administration to Kinesiology, Film & Theatre, or World Languages & Literatures.


If you have a service-learning project in mind, send us a note with your idea, your major, and the associated SJSU course:

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