April 5, 2002

Cal State San Marcos Receives César Chávez Day Grant to Engage Local Students in Community Service

United Farm Worker President and Award-winning Author to Pay Tribute April 10

With sponsorship from the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism (GO SERV), California State University San Marcos is planning several events for the campus and community in honor of César Chávez, founder of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) union.

The main celebration will take place 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday, April 10, with the César Chávez Day of Service and Learning. In addition to staff, faculty and students from the university, more than 300 students from area high schools and middle schools have been invited to participate. The event is co-sponsored by several campus entities, including the Office of the Dean of Students, MEChA, the Arts and Lecture Series and Associated Students Inc.

The day will include music and dance performances, a candlelight vigil, and several tributes. Most notable will be presentations by acclaimed author Victor Villaseñor and Arturo S. Rodriguez, current UFW president and son-in-law to Chávez.

Rodriguez will speak at 6 p.m., followed by Villaseñor at 7 p.m., who will present “Heroes of Light”—a tribute to Chávez, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi and the principles of working to change society through peace, not war. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held on the steps in front of the Chávez memorial statue on campus. These events are open to the public and press.

California is the first state to honor Chávez and his legacy with an official state holiday, but Cal State San Marcos has been honoring him for the past five years.

César Chávez said that “the end of all education should surely be service to others.”

“Our university is proud to serve as a catalyst for teaching and learning on the life and values of César Chávez,” Tim Bills, Assistant Dean of Students, said. “The integration of service and learning offers great promise for engaging our youth in meaningful activities to further their education while improving our communities. We believe that our students can truly move forward by giving back.”

Isabel Solis, president of MEChA, “As Latinos, it is important to maintain our heritage and keep our culture alive in this country. For this reason, it’s an honor for MEChA to be part of the planning and organizing process of an event that celebrates the legacy of César Chávez. He dedicated his life to justice and improving the social and economic conditions of working class people. César Chávez was more then a civil rights activist and leader, for many of us he will be remembered as an instrumental teacher.”

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