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San Diego State University

@State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

Student Organizations Unite for Community Outreach

photo: students pose at the river clean-up site

“I was able to meet people from other clubs that I would have never met otherwise.”

That was just one of the reasons Jonathan “J” Cole, an SDSU junior, said he was thrilled to be a part of the Aztec Unity Project this past November. Aztec Unity Project is a two-day service learning project held once a semester in which three SDSU student organizations work together on a project that benefits the San Diego community.

Cole said he found out about the service learning project through Timothy Quinnan, associate vice president for campus life and moderator for The Cast, a leadership group of which Cole is a member.

On Nov. 9, SDSU students from The Cast, the American Language Institute, or ALI, and the Aztec Student Union Board spent the day cleaning up trash from the banks of the San Diego River. The day before their clean-up effort, these groups participated in a series of team building exercises to ensure their work together would be enjoyable.

Chelsea Winer, assistant student life advisor for the Office of Student Life and Leadership, led the latest Aztec Unity Project.

“The Aztec Unity Project unites different groups that usually wouldn’t be together,” Winer said.

She added that she hopes there will be more opportunities each semester for groups to participate in the community service and leadership program. Currently, two project times are offered, one in the fall semester and one in the spring. Individual clubs can sign up or be asked to participate in the project.

For Cole, the project was just as much about learning as it was about service. He gained insight into larger community issues during the cleanup effort as the group came across campsites for homeless people and found liquor bottles and needles used for drugs.

“At first, we weren’t aware of the deeper issues we found there,” Cole said. “It made me more aware of issues happening to people in the community around me.”

Visit the Aztec Unity Project website for more information on getting involved this semester.