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Our Commitment to Public Service

February 16, 2022
Re: Our Commitment to Public Service
To: All campus
February 16, 2022
Dear Campus Community,
During my first months as chancellor I was invited to join our USDA food distribution program, which is this month celebrating its 10th anniversary of serving the Greater Merced community. Under the guidance of Vernette Doty of our Community Engagement Center, a number of our students, staff and faculty — partnering with Merced College, the Merced County Food Bank, and stalwart local business Image Masters — have made a tremendous difference in the lives of many families in our region.
The passion and commitment of our students stood out — particularly when so many saw themselves and their families reflected in the faces of those they helped to serve.
I have also participated in local park cleanups with groups of students who delight in creating cleaner and safer places for families to gather and children to play, and in giving back to a community that has been a great host and partner to UC Merced.
That level of passion and commitment to improve our communities will now be formally supported by the state of California. The announcement in January of the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps program is an important investment in both students and communities, and UC Merced is proud to be a founding partner in this worthy endeavor.
Under this innovative program, students at our university and other institutions can earn $10,000 toward college by volunteering in critical fields such as climate action, K-12 education and COVID recovery efforts. As UC President Michael Drake said, “Providing more pathways to a debt-free degree while empowering students to pursue service-oriented career paths is a reflection of our shared commitment to access, affordability, and public service.”
The mission of the University of California since its founding has been teaching, research and public service. In the latter category UC Merced has done much at so many levels —making critical scientific advances in climate change, wildfire prevention and water use, offering public access to arts such as Shakespeare in the Park, faculty and staff service on community boards and as youth coaches, and students putting their energy and enthusiasm to work making the Central Valley better for all.
The College Corps initiative is not only an important way for California to show that it values the efforts of our students — it is another significant advancement in helping more students complete college without financial stressors that can follow them into their early careers. I applaud Governor Newsom and his staff in advancing this program, and as always, I applaud our students for their selfless service that will now be recognized with more than praise.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, PhD
Remarks and Addresses