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Panel encourages civic engagement

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Victoria Tavera
Staff Writer

A panel from various disciplines across the campus and the community discussed community engagement Tuesday in the Ludwick Center Sacred Space.

Around 30 faculty, staff, and students attended the event, which was followed by a community engagement fair. The purpose of this panel was to talk to the University community and engage with their thoughts and ideas about how the University is getting involved with the community.

Each speaker shared personal experiences of learning and growth through community engagement. Community engagement is one of the University of La Verne’s core values and a requirement for graduation.

Matthew Lyons, deputy district director of the 41st Assembly District, spoke about how impressed he was with the University of La Verne and how we could nurture the civic community via its academic programs.

“It’s such a wonderful education and hands-on experience to require students to go to their legislatures and show them their passionate piece of legislation,” Lyons said.

Jose Zapata Calderon, President of the Latino/a Roundtable of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley, spoke about how Cesar Chavez and his engagement with the community inspired him to become more involved in his own.

“I can assure you, whatever you become, if you use your life to organize others to create social change, I know you will say ‘My life is very meaningful’ and I can truthfully say now that my life is very meaningful,’” Calderon said.

Jeanette Ellis-Royston, president of the NAACP, Pomona Valley Branch, talked about how important voter registration is and how it is such a simple way on how to get involved in civic engagement.

She encourages everyone, especially those who are young, to register to vote.

A theme put forth by all the panelists was to not be afraid to get involved.

Each speaker echoed the common theme that we all have to start somewhere.

Brian Clocksin, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, encouraged students to jump in and to not be afraid to step out of their comfort zones.

“The first step is actually doing something,” Clocksin said. “We often try to get the perfect situation set up before we jump in, and at times just need to jump in and level through with it and learn through that experience. Don’t be afraid to jump into it.”

Victoria Tavera can be reached at victoria.tavera@laverne.edu.

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