Panelists discuss benefits of civic engagement

Erin Resnick

CSUN’s Civic Engagement Community hosted a panel comprised of both students and faculty members on Oct. 24 to inform fellow colleagues about the benefits of community service-learning.

The Civic Engagement series was formed so that CSUN students could go to their neighboring colleges and communities and share their expertise, while helping them develop the skills, values and motivation that it takes to make a difference in their community.

“Community service work provides the glue that fits us into the community,” said psychology professor August Hoffman, who perked up the grounds of Compton College by planting a few flowers outside his office, which soon became a three-acre garden with the help of the Compton community.

“We’ve seen communities dramatically improved because of the students’ planting,” Hoffman said. “Our environments influence how we feel, and people get along much better when they have something to offer each other.”

Community service learning is about working together to serve the best interests of the community.

CSUN student Erika Mejia changed her major to sociology because of service learning. She said she now wants to be a social worker and make a difference in her Echo Park community.

“There are so many things that need to be done in my community,” Mejia said. “Half of the people are working nine to fives and didn’t graduate high school. It’s nice to go back to my community with results and say look you can do it too.”