After a whirlwind of a few years around the world, I shouldn’t have been surprised at how much everything has changed since I wrote my last post for this column six months ago. Even though the world is still unfolding reasons for anxiety and compassion, there are times when something of hope and future dawns and it feels a bit like spring is in the air. Like many of you, I negotiate when and where I always feel most comfortable with and without a mask, but I love those times when we see someone’s smile.
I was a spectator on the Zoom call when the CSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename Humboldt State as the third Cal Poly in California. Among the support they cited for change, they recognized the value of the university’s hands-on learning and the support the university receives from the community around it. Professional development, internships, and community learning are hallmarks of a Cal Poly education, and Humboldt was well positioned to continue providing these elements as a polytechnic program. This is partly due to the incredible support our students receive from our local businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to organize their hands-on experiences.
Already, more than a thousand students serve in the community each year. They serve as future teachers, social workers, nurses, interns of all kinds, and service learners in a variety of majors. Students often shared that working with local organizations made them feel at home in Humboldt County for the first time. Many graduates who still live in Humboldt may point to their experience with a host organization as the reason they found their career and want to stay here.
With Cal Poly Humboldt expected to have 12 new academic programs by 2023 alone, the number of students serving in the community is expected to increase significantly. These new programs include: Applied Science and Fire Management; cannabis studies; cyber security; data science; energy systems engineering; engineering and community practice; fair and sustainable future; geospatial science and technology; Marine biology; mechanical Engineering; and software engineering.
Fifteen other programs are already proposed for development over the next seven years. Many of these programs are already looking for community partners, shared learning opportunities, advisory board members, and other ways to connect students to the work of your organizations. For more details on the new programs, please visit https://www.humboldt.edu/polytechnic/academic-programming-build-out.
To start this growth of sorts, the Center for Community Based Learning in Humboldt was awarded a place in the Californians for All College Corps. This statewide program will provide 100 Cal Poly Humboldt and College of the Redwoods students with $10,000 scholarships, similar to AmeriCorps, for serving 450 hours with local nonprofits and government organizations. . Over the next few months, we will design our program and recruit community partner sites to host these scholarships throughout the 2022-23 academic year to address issues of food insecurity, climate change, or K-education. 12. Stay tuned for more information on how to apply to host students in this program. In the meantime, you can find more information and submit an interest form here https://www.californiavolunteers.ca.gov/californiansforall-college-corps.
If you are interested in connecting to existing or upcoming academic programs or have questions about how to connect with Cal Poly Humboldt students, please feel free to reach out to the Center for Community Based Learning by contacting our Coordinator of community partners [email protected]
Loren Collins is a Humboldt and HSU (now Cal Poly Humboldt) alumnus. He has worked in the field of employment and career development for 14 years and has worked at Cal Poly Humboldt as an employee for 11 years.