California State University, Long Beach
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Campus Creates A Culture Of Student Philanthropy

Published: May 15, 2015

Student Philanthropy student shot

CSULB is looking to change the culture of student philanthropy to allow students to better help their fellow classmates in need. Bolstered by student philanthropy, the campus has launched a comprehensive effort, the CSULB Student Emergency Intervention Program, which will provide meals, short-term temporary housing and emergency funds for unexpected expenses that could delay a student’s academic progress. Funding for aspects of the program are raised through CSULB’s Declare Campaign, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign which encourages all students, faculty, staff and members of the community to proactively participate in achieving the university’s mission to provide highly-valued educational opportunities through superior teaching, research, creative activity and service.

“The Declare Campaign is fostering a new culture of giving at The Beach,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “We’ve had an incredible response to the campaign from the greater Long Beach community and now our students are recognizing the value of giving back. What could be better than students helping each other? They experience first hand how the act of giving not only serves the university, but is inherently fulfilling. This new culture of giving is transforming CSULB and through it, Long Beach.”

CSULB is creating that culture of philanthropy in students by encouraging them to support their fellow students and university now and as alumni. The effort represents a synergetic partnership between CSULB’s Annual Fund, which manages the raising of funds, and the Division of Student Affairs which determines how the funds are best distributed in three areas—meals, housing and a Student Emergency Fund (SEF).

“Despite our best efforts, students have to navigate an infinite number of unforeseen roadblocks that can delay progress to their degrees,” said Jeff Klaus, dean of students and associate vice president for student relations. “We have asked students at The Beach to lend a hand and they responded in an incredibly positive way to help mitigate food insecurity and even the unexpected emergency expenses of their fellow students. This program will likely be the most comprehensive in the nation and will have a positive effect on students’ health and wellness leading to increases in graduation and retention rates.”

“Feed a Need” is the meal component of the effort and asks students on meal plans to donate one meal for food insecure students at the university. Students responded overwhelmingly—about half of the students living on campus collectively donated more than 1,300 meals. Additionally the Forty-Niner Shops, the non-profit corporation that operates dining services throughout the campus, donated an additional 300 meals to the cause.

The cultural shift in student philanthropy is led by the Declare Campaign through which students can contribute to the SEF. The fund will in turn provide financial assistance to students who experience temporary financial hardships resulting from an emergency situation. Examples of emergency fund use will include a car accident, severe illness or hospitalization, loss of housing, loss of employment or uncovered medical expenses for the student, spouse or child.

Lastly, students demonstrating need could be provided access to short-term housing.

“This is really an incredible example of students helping students to make a better university,” added Klaus.

Eligible students will need to go through an application process to qualify for the program.