Civic engagement project receives UC systemwide award

Author: Holly Ober
March 8, 2022

A UC Riverside effort to get more students involved with university boards of trustees has received a VOICE Award from the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The Center’s Valuing Open and Inclusive Conversation and Engagement, or VOICE, Initiative provides up to $5,000 in funding for UC students, staff, and faculty who are interested in conducting research or coordinating programs and activities that promote free speech and civic engagement.

Raquel Rall

The project, “Breaking barriers through governance: The role, importance, and potential of young people on boards of higher education,” is led by doctoral candidate Valeria Dominguez and Raquel Rall, an assistant professor in the School of Education. It aims to educate students about ways they can participate in, lead, and change higher education. 

“There is a great deal to learn from these students who have spent their tenure on the board constructing what it means to be a leader, what it means to be civically engaged, and what it means to make a difference,” said Dominguez. 

Valeria Dominguez

Student board members will discuss their experiences, challenges, and growth as student leaders in seminars open to the UC student population. Rall and Dominguez hope the project will show how civic engagement plays into everyday decisions and document the actions of the students as influential decision makers.

“The work of student trustees is essential to maintaining the university at the forefront of social issues affecting our greater society,” said Rall. “Our program will advance conversations around the relevance of and need for democratic participation on college campuses and further campus dialogue related to access, diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.”