Civic Engagement Fair hosted at Cal Lutheran


Photo by Serena Zuniga- Reporter

First-year student Anna Balana speaking to a representative from the Special Olympics of Southern California.

Serena Zuniga, Reporter

The Community Service Center hosted the first Civic Engagement Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 5 in Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University. The event was planned with the goal of increasing student involvement off campus, and 31 organizations were present to display opportunities offered to students. 

Community Service Center intern Josh Gatison said the event was strategically planned to be as appealing to students as possible. 

“We try to formulate our programs and projects and service opportunities to students so they’re things students want to do. Like always have food there, and show students that community service isn’t always just cleaning up or picking up trash,” Gatison said. 

Madeline Liberti, coordinator for community service and organizer of the event, said the Civic Engagement Fair was created because of a desire to highlight some of the partners the center works with. Feedback from students and organizations made her see the event as a success, Liberti said. 

“I got really great feedback from some of the organizations there, and that they have never seen a better interaction with students coming to a campus,” Liberti said. “So that was just amazing to hear, that like not only did we get people to come, but the students that came really, really wanted the information and were really interested. So I mean that’s a huge win for me.”

Organizations present at the event included the Special Olympics and Food Share of Ventura County. The array of organizations present was meant to provide students with as many options as possible to fuel student’s passions, Liberti said. 

“I think it’s a really great opportunity no matter what stage of life you’re in, to be able to find some kind of service to others that you’re passionate about,”  Liberti said. “Hopefully [students] can find something that they really are passionate about,and they hopefully will continue to help out their community no matter where they are, and then even beyond when they’re here at Cal Lutheran.”

Community service is a central idea to student life at Cal Lutheran, Liberti said. 

“It’s an important kind of foundation of the university,” Liberti said. “You know there is that hope that that’s part of the experience at your time at Cal Lutheran no matter what. I think college is such an awesome time to get to know yourself and to get to have a better awareness of the world around you, and I think this is such an important way of doing that.”

Gatison also emphasized the importance of getting involved while attending Cal Lutheran.

“I definitely think it’s super important to be involved, especially at a campus like Cal Lutheran which makes it really easy to get involved. Definitely do what you can and like make new friends and meet new people, because that’s what college is about,” Gatison said. 

First-year student Anna Balana said she attended the Civic Engagement Fair in hopes of finding an opportunity at Cal Lutheran that would spark passion and satisfaction in her life. Balana participated in many volunteer opportunities while in high school, and found the Civic Engagement Fair to be very helpful for continuing her passion. 

“I thought it was very, very good. I really liked it,” Balana said.  “Everyone was very nice and they were very open like to discuss any questions that you had, and they were very open about their schedule, their location and things like that. I feel like they didn’t only want to like recruit just to recruit, they really like were feeling like a passion to do it and like, they really wanted you to do it.” 

Liberti said the Community Service Center continues to offer opportunities to students so they can explore different organizations and perspectives. 

“It really just opens up your perspective on life so much and hopefully helps you be a more compassionate and aware person and citizen,” Liberti said.