Cal State LA President William A. Covino speaks at a lectern during the news conference alongside California’s Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday and officials from the other universities participating in the new fellowship program. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

Cal State LA has been selected to participate in a new statewide fellowship program that encourages student dedication to community engagement and public service.

The Civic Action Fellowship program, which involves eight universities across California, was unveiled by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s California Volunteers office during a Feb. 10 news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento.

Under the program, Cal State LA will select up to several dozen students who will serve as fellows with nonprofit organizations in eight cities and two unincorporated areas of Southeast Los Angeles County. The nonprofits are working with community partners to address environmental, economic development, and health and education issues in neighborhoods that straddle the 710 Freeway.

“As part of our commitment to public service, we collaborate with communities across Los Angeles to leverage opportunities and address challenges,” said Cal State LA President William A. Covino, who spoke at the news conference. “We’re proud to work with the governor’s office and AmeriCorps to deepen our impact in historically underserved communities.”

Participating undergraduate and graduate students will sign up as AmeriCorps Fellows as part of the Civic Action Fellowship program. Scholarships will be awarded to the students after they complete their fellowships, according to the governor’s office.

“Governor Newsom has laid out a bold vision to unite Californians around service and provide opportunities for every Californian to help tackle our greatest challenges,” said Josh Fryday, California’s chief service officer. “We hope this new partnership with universities will become a model for calling on young people to serve, while helping them pay for college.”

In 2018, Cal State LA was designated as an anchor institution by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. Anchor institutions are dedicated to enriching the economic and social vitality of communities, which aligns with Cal State LA’s ethic of engagement and service for the public good, as well as the goals of the Civic Action Fellowship program.

“By deepening our partnerships with nonprofit organizations in Southeast Los Angeles, we will be better positioned to work together to serve our communities,” said Cal State LA Provost and Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez.

The other universities announced as participants in the new program were Cal Lutheran, Dominican University of California, San Jose State, Stanislaus State, UC Berkeley, UC Merced and the University of the Pacific.