UCLA students pledge to serve California

AcademicCivic EngagementStudents

One-hundred-twenty UCLA undergraduates rose in unison in the Grand Horizon Room at Carnesale Commons, raised their right hands and made a pledge. Repeating words from Gov. Gavin Newsom as he swore in the inaugural class of CaliforniansforAll College Corps Fellows, they collectively promised to help make higher education more accessible, especially to those who have historically been underrepresented on campuses, while engaging students across California to help solve problems in their communities.

“As a CaliforniansforAll College Corps Fellow, I am committed to make change in my community,” they all began as part of the culminating moment of the ceremony which Newsom led via livestream for the 3,200 fellows participating from 48 colleges and universities across the state. “I will serve with humility, compassion, integrity. Faced with apathy, I will take action, Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me throughout my life. I’m part of a corps connected by a common mission to build a California for all. I am a College Corps fellow and I will get things done.”

And with that moment, the biggest state-level investment in a college service program in California’s history officially got started.

Part of CaliforniansForAll, a California Volunteers service initiative run by the office of the governor, the corps aims to help create debt-free pathways to higher education and promote informed service learning that empowers students to bring what they learn back to their communities.

At UCLA, state funds will be dispersed over the course of four years, helping to make a college education more affordable for underrepresented students of color, further increasing access to a UCLA-quality degree.

“We’re so deeply appreciative of this,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block told Newsom through the livestream. Viewers on the other end could watch a sea of UCLA fellows banging thunder sticks, the UCLA Spirit Squad and Joe Bruin.

Block’s gratitude referred to the $2.55 million grant UCLA received in January to support fellows with $10,000 per academic year, $7,000 in living expenses and a $3,000 one-time scholarship after completing their 450 service hours.

“We are looking forward to having a great year and we appreciate all that you’re doing to make this a successful program,” Block said to the fellows.

Read more on UCLA Newsroom.