Help students help our community

Dr. Glen Toney, an Oroville native and North State resident, is two years into a seven-year term on the California State University Board of Trustees.

Feeling inspired?
CAVE is accepting applications from Chico State students through Feb. 20. Check for more information on joining or assisting the program.

An alumnus of Chico State and a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, I have witnessed the power of students. I see it when I come to campus, and I see it when students speak at trustee meetings. They have passion, drive and a spirit to succeed at their causes. They are not unlike those of us who graduated in the 1960s, but they seem to be more focused on the public good.

Our community needs more students like a special group of 2,000 Chico State students. In fact, our state needs more students like those of Community Action Volunteers in Education.

CAVE is a student-run nonprofit agency that offers more than 20 volunteer programs that serve our children, the elderly, adult nonreaders, low-income residents and state institutions. This past year, CAVE provided 90,000 hours of service, worth an estimated minimum-wage benefit of $13.5 million.

These students help maintain our quality of life. Yes, they get academic credit for much of their work, but my guess is that even if they did not, they still would serve those who need help.

This is an appeal for a “call to action” for more students to follow the CAVE example so that they too can experience hands-on learning in the community and develop leadership skills.

Without Chico students helping to fill a void in the community, there would be a major gap in services provided. With more caring Chico students out there, maybe the gap would shrink further. My experience as a trustee and K-12 educator confirms that our students are on the right track, but I hope we can find more to participate.

How do we get more people involved in these programs?

I appeal to the community for help. Please get more involved with Chico State by offering your businesses, schools and other organizations as places where students can perform service.

I also turn to the students—I am asking that you take advantage of the opportunities your university offers.

I turn to the faculty and ask you to consider adding service components to your classes where appropriate, and I ask the administrators to work on achieving this goal.

We all have a role to play because this is our community. And if we don’t all accept this “call to action,” then what kind of community are we?