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CommUniverCity San Jose: A Partnership for Service and Learning
Unformatted Document Text:  The college-going theme is also expressed through other CommUniverCity projects in elementary schools. These include high school outreach, chemistry lessons by SJSU students for elementary school students, organized recess and lunchtime activities, tutoring and more. SJSU students wear CommUniverCity t-shirts or clothing with SJSU logos when they participate in these school programs (this also serves as a sort of dress code), and they are advised whenever possible to plant a seed by simply saying to the kids they meet “I go to college at San José State. Are you going to go to college?” Civic Engagement. Consistent with CommUniverCity’s theme of building social capital, a civic engagement project was implemented during the 2006 election cycle. The project had two components: voter registration and a candidate forum. During the spring 2006 CommUniverCity Day of Service, preceding the California primary election in June, SJSU political science students registered 60 FWBT residents to vote. Working Saturdays before the November general election, an additional 83 residents were registered. The combined total increased voter registration in the FWBT precincts by 3 percent. In reflection papers, 94 percent of student participants clearly demonstrated learning about voter participation and 80 percent successfully applied concepts from class texts to their own experience. Student Comments on Registering Voters. “The overall experience was rewarding, humbling and empowering at the same time. It is one thing to wonder how you can make a difference, but it is quite another to be given the opportunity, even on a small scale—maybe just one person—particularly in a community that is under-represented and politically inactive…. This project was an experience in engaging with people in the community and it’s one I will have trouble forgetting.” “I had no idea [registering voters] would be so difficult, but I better understand why the minority population is often unrepresented in election outcomes…. I can understand why local politics represent the communities they do, and if more minorities got involved there could be change.” 20

Authors: Christensen, Terry., Jackson, Melinda. and Agredano, Ricardo.
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The college-going theme is also expressed through other CommUniverCity projects in
elementary schools. These include high school outreach, chemistry lessons by SJSU
students for elementary school students, organized recess and lunchtime activities,
tutoring and more. SJSU students wear CommUniverCity t-shirts or clothing with SJSU
logos when they participate in these school programs (this also serves as a sort of dress
code), and they are advised whenever possible to plant a seed by simply saying to the
kids they meet “I go to college at San José State. Are you going to go to college?”
Civic Engagement. Consistent with CommUniverCity’s theme of building social
capital, a civic engagement project was implemented during the 2006 election cycle. The
project had two components: voter registration and a candidate forum.
During the spring 2006 CommUniverCity Day of Service, preceding the
California primary election in June, SJSU political science students registered 60 FWBT
residents to vote. Working Saturdays before the November general election, an additional
83 residents were registered. The combined total increased voter registration in the
FWBT precincts by 3 percent. In reflection papers, 94 percent of student participants
clearly demonstrated learning about voter participation and 80 percent successfully
applied concepts from class texts to their own experience.
Student Comments on Registering Voters.
“The overall experience was rewarding, humbling and empowering at the same time. It is one thing to
wonder how you can make a difference, but it is quite another to be given the opportunity, even on a
small scale—maybe just one person—particularly in a community that is under-represented and
politically inactive…. This project was an experience in engaging with people in the community and
it’s one I will have trouble forgetting.”
“I had no idea [registering voters] would be so difficult, but I better understand why the minority
population is often unrepresented in election outcomes…. I can understand why local politics represent
the communities they do, and if more minorities got involved there could be change.”
20


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