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CSUMB celebrates AmeriCorps Week

They work with the Arts Council for Monterey County, Dorothy’s Place soup kitchen, the National Steinbeck Center, Seaside High School and the Boys and Girls Clubs, helping them recruit volunteers and better achieve their mission.

They are the 12 AmeriCorps VIPs who are based at CSUMB’s Service Learning Institute. As part of national AmeriCorps Week, their work will be showcased at the Student Center West Lounge on March 14. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., visitors will have an opportunity to meet the VIPs and learn about the community organizations they serve. The week, celebrated March 8 to 14, is a time to salute the national service provided by AmeriCorps members and alumni across the nation, thank their community partners, and communicate the impact that AmeriCorps has on communities and on the lives of the members who serve. In 2010, CalServes launched a new AmeriCorps program called the Volunteer Infrastructure Project – VIP – and CSUMB’s Service Learning Institute became one of 14 supervising agencies in the state. Laura Lee Lienk , CSUMB professor and director of the Return of the Natives restoration education project, coordinates the program. VIP Fellows work behind the scenes of service, recruiting volunteers and ensuring that the community’s needs are met.

Last year, the university’s VIPs recruited 5,400 volunteers who contributed 41,287 hours of service to local communities. Read about the 2012-13 class of CSUMB AmeriCorps VIPs. In addition to CSUMB’s 10 VIP Fellows, two VIP Leaders are working on campus – Zac Walker and Steven Goings.

Walker is the program specialist for the Service Learning Student Leader Program, which employs students with prior service learning experience in leadership roles to help inimplement CSUMB’s service learning mission. Goings serves as a liaison between the Service Learning Institute and Student Affairs and runs the Purposeful Service Opportunities Program that provides volunteer opportunities for CSUMB students and student organizations. This semester, Purposeful Service Opportunities launched the King/Chavez Semester of Service Challenge, a friendly competition between CSUMB student organizations to earn points by documenting their service. Students who attend the various AmeriCorps Week activities earn double points for the contest. See the full schedule of events here.

Nationally, AmeriCorps is known as the domestic Peace Corps and provides a huge array of services to those in need. The AmeriCorps VIP Project is designed to address the significant challenges faced by California communities due to the recent economic downturn. AmeriCorps is not a job, it’s a paid service experience. All positions are full time and last 10 or 11 months; all pay a living allowance and an educational award upon completion. Students interested in joining AmeriCorps after graduation can learn more here.

More information is available from Goings at

Learn about Service Learning at CSUMB.