Student Success Seminars

Community-Based Learning

Mabel Trigueros from the CSUN G.A.R.D.E.N. talks to students in Autumn Fabricant’s class.

Like First-Year Experience, Community-Based Learning is a known high-impact practice that leads to positive student outcomes in retention, higher GPA, and timely graduation. Participation in a community-based learning project during the first year at CSUN provides opportunities for students to make valuable contributions to the CSUN community through active participation in organized community service. Through these experiences with their U100 class, students also develop a sense of belonging and community at CSUN.

Fall 2022 and Fall 2023 – All freshmen enrolled in University 100 participate in a community-based learning project with their class.

Our campus partners included:

Cal Fresh Healthy Living
CSUN Academic Technology
CSUN Art Galleries
CSUN Black House
CSUN Cat People
CSUN Food Pantry
CSUN Institute for
Community Health & Wellbeing

CSUN Institute for Sustainability
CSUN Student Outreach & Recruitment
Family Resource Center
Matty’s Closet
Present Now
Quilting for Community
Sustainable Fashion
University Library

The projects vary and include:

  • creating oral histories for the library
  • transcribing old issues of the Daily Sundial for accessibility
  • working in the Sustainability gardens, composting and harvesting food
  • creating PSA social media posts about voting and CSUN resources
  • conducting food drives for the Food Pantry and CSUN Cat People
  • acting as focus groups for Cal Fresh Healthy Living
  • providing support in various forms for the Art Galleries
  • creating help videos for students for Academic Technology
  • acting as greeters at CSUN events hosted by Student Outreach & Recruitment, the Family Resource Center, and CSUN Black House
  • recruiting volunteers for the IFiT program on campus (IFiT helps students with autism to develop friendships and social skills)
  • helping Physical Plant Management to plant trees on campus and identify water waste on campus
  • encouraging participation in the Campus Transportation Survey
  • collecting and sorting professional clothing donations for Matty’s Closet
  • wrapping presents for children in domestic violence shelters
  • creating quilts for people in hospices, hospitals, and shelters
  • educating the campus community about the downside of fast fashion
  • collecting books depicting diversity for the AS Children’s Center library

Students from Corie Mesa’s class helped to plant trees on the CSUN campus.

Watch Our List Grow! Community-Based Learning by the Numbers

Fall 23: 61 sections, over 1500 students
  • More than 23 help videos on 23 distinct topics were created to be shared by Academic Technology on social media to help students navigate topics such as: finding their finals schedule, enabling Zoom transcriptions, uploading money on their MataCard, downloading Adobe, purchasing parking permits, and more.
  • 457 cans and 214 pounds of dry food were collected to help the CSUN Cat People care for the campus feral cats. They report that the high quality of the food has the cats looking healthy, shiny, and sporting their winter weight! 
  • 938 pounds of food were collected for the CSUN Food Pantry. 
  • 100 hours of service were provided to the CSUN Art Galleries, where they helped with archiving and other gallery duties.
  • Nearly 100% of the total Pop-Up Food Pantry shifts in Fall 23 were covered by U100 classes.
  • 66 pages from 1960’s Daily Sundial issues were transcribed for accessibility.
  • 50 hours of tech support were provided to Cyber Seniors.
  • 5 quilts were made for Quilting for Community, a non-profit organization.
  • Dozens of presents were wrapped for Present Now, an LA-based non-profit organization.
  • 48 trees were planted by five classes along with PPM, changing the face of the CSUN campus forever!
  • Over 80 hours of service were provided in the G.A.R.D.E.N by 3 classes; students also created 10 videos and flyers to spread the word about the value of the G.A.R.D.E.N. to the campus and students.
  • Over 130 books about diversity were collected for the A.S. Children’s Center library.
  • 22 instances of water waste on campus were identified and reported to PPM. 


Fall 22: 53 sections, over 1300 students

  • U100 students produced 60 graphics and 4 video clips showcasing authentic, powerful messages of why CSUN students should vote in the mid-term elections. These were featured on the social media accounts of the CSUN University Library, University Advancement, and the Office of Community Engagement, and they became a highlight of the CSUN Act Now outreach campaign to increase voter turnout. 
  • Enough cat food to last six months was collected to help the CSUN Cat People care for the campus feral cats: 49 pounds of dry cat food and 342 cans of wet food, including food for senior cats. 
  • 1363.4 pounds of food were collected for the CSUN Food Pantry (746 pounds by one class alone!).
  • The Black Excellence section greeted 2,792 visitors to CSUN’s Open House event. 
  • One class provided 80 hours of service to the CSUN Art Galleries, where they helped with archiving and other gallery duties.
  • Close to 80% of the total Pop-Up Food Pantry shifts in Fall 22 were covered by one U100 section!
  • Students created 18 digital literacy skills videos for Academic Technology on topics that students requested, such as how to upload assignments to Canvas, how to set notifications in Canvas, and how to buy a parking pass online. 

Students from Autumn Fabricant’s class assist in the CSUN G.A.R.D.E.N.