How can we promote inclusion in our communities amidst differing political, religious and ideological beliefs? How do we find ways to see others as we see ourselves, encourage a willingness to listen openly and promote opportunities for compassionate dialogues to occur?

Cal State East Bay and CSUN have each been awarded a grant by Campus Compact to find ways to address today's divisive climate. Through its Fund for Positive Engagement, the grant will facilitate the campuses' development of efforts to bridge divisions among people and groups in their surrounding communities.

Cal State East Bay

In the wake of the White House' decision to terminate the DACA program, Cal State East Bay and the City of Hayward are using the grant to generate conversations about immigration through a common reading program, Book to Action: Immigration.

The book "In the Country We Love: My Family Divided," tells the personal story of author Diane Guerrero's resilience in the face of her family's deportation, its impact on her life, the support systems that helped her become successful and the real struggles faced by undocumented immigrants in this country. Organizers hope this program will provide a supportive environment for residents to express their opinions and have open conversations related to immigration.

The book will be assigned reading for first-year students as part of the campus' First Year Engagement program, and will serve as a theme for future events throughout the year that will engage the campus and local community. Guerrero will present two keynote speeches, book discussions and community forums and activities.

CSUN

CSUN's Institute of Community Health and Wellbeing and the Office of Community Engagement are partnering to share stories from students with backgrounds that have been historically marginalized. Titled "Stories that Connect Us," the project will allow students to share their struggles with racism, classism, gangs, immigration status and pursuit of higher education.

The project will document life experiences using the photovoice method. "Stories that Connect Us" will be displayed at galleries, community centers and online to inspire connections and build empathy across divisive boundaries.

CSU is Committed to Inclusive Excellence

The CSU remains a leader in providing excellent educational opportunities to all Californians. The 23-campus university values idea exchange and healthy dialogue, with each campus serving as a safe vocal platform for its students and community members.

As a nonprofit focused on advancing public purposes of higher education, Campus Compact hosted a nationwide search for its Positive Engagement grant program. Out of 300 entries, 38 institutions received grants with two of them in California, both CSUs.

The Cal State East Bay and CSUN projects under this funding support the mission of the CSU Chancellor's Office's Center for Community Engagement: to deepen the partnership between the CSU and local communities across the state.