Cal State Northridge’s Unified We Serve: The Volunteer Program received the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Outstanding Service Project of the Year Award for its “Project: Reduce Poverty.”
CSUN was selected from among 50 other colleges and universities that submitted projects.
Last November, Unified We Serve pulled students, faculty and staff together to focus on poverty. The campus collected thousands of canned food items and clothing for MEND, a Pacoima-based private social service agency. Judges also applauded the “Survive the Night” program, a mock homeless village and soup kitchen, organized as a teach-in on homeless issues.
“This award is reassuring. When we unify students, faculty and staff together in service, we see how much can be done throughout the community,” said Justin Weiss, coordinator of Unified We Serve.
The program launched Nov. 14, 2009, with student going door-to-door in low-income areas of the San Fernando Valley identifying families who needed assistance during the holidays. That evening, students spent the night in a mock “homeless village.”
The following week, the students held a campus-wide food and clothing drive that culminated with a display of the items gathered covering much of the main staircase in front of the Oviatt Library.