What I found was that working within the institution gave me the opportunity to express my concerned about how little role the university plays in the life of its neighbors. I wanted desperately to be involved in helping to break down the barriers that existed between the campus and the community.
And in less than a year, through that position, I would with others to build the university's first office of Community Service. And today, the office continues to provide students with opportunities to help reshape relationships between the university and its surrounding community. students there today are volunteering in local elementary schools, serving as mentors at high schools, organizing neighborhood watches, and worshiping in local churches.
But you know a little something about working with your community here, don't you, Merced? UC Merced, its faculty and its students seem to already have a handle on this need and it speaks once again to the character of this community. As I learned more about what you have done, I am so impressed with how the students, faculty and the community are collaborating to ensure that every child in this community understands there is a place for them at this big beautiful university if they study and stay out of trouble.
There are local leaders like police office, Nick Navarette, who coordinates a program that brigs about 60 UC Merced students to local elementary schools each week to mentor students from poor neighborhood.