Students can still apply to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s #CaliforniansForAll College Corps Program. Full-time undergraduate students of all majors from Cal Poly, CSU Long Beach, Cuesta College and Allan Hancock College are encouraged to apply.

The program seeks to provide students with service opportunities that address statewide issues including climate change, food insecurity and K-12 education. It also aims to alleviate student debt by providing $10,000 to each student. This includes a $7,000 stipend and $3,000 upon the completion of the program.

The program requires that students must complete 450 hours of service throughout the 2022-23 academic year in order to receive their academic award.

The program as a whole will accommodate 6,500 students. There are a total of 315 spots waiting to be filled by applicants in the Cal Poly Consortium, which is a group of several businesses that will be partnering with the program to provide this experience. The application holds 165 spots for Cal Poly and then 50 for CSU Long Beach, Cuesta College and Allan Hancock College. 

“Typically 20 is a large number of interns and we are looking to put 350 in the field, so this is immense,” Erin Pearse, a Cal Poly mathematics professor and the director for Initiative for Climate Leadership and Resilience, said.

The program had a “soft deadline” of may 15, when they reached 510 applicants who will be given preference. However, Pearse said the program is competitive, so students are still encouraged to apply.

Pearse especially encouraged students who meet AB-540 standards to apply, as there are still four unfilled spots dedicated only for AB-540 students. AB-540 allows students of immigrant status to pay in-state tuition rather than nonresident tuition at California public colleges if they meet certain requirements.

Pearse wrote the grant for the program, but said that this was not a one man job. According to Pearse, The Center for Service in Action has done a lot of the heavy lifting in getting the program organized and  implemented as well as hiring staff.

“Ideally students will be able to walk away from this with valuable career experience — also significantly less debt,” Pearse said. 

Environmental management and protection junior Lilyana Elola says that she applied to the College Corps Program in hopes of helping low-income, first-generation students of color through her service.

“I’ve done 42 internship applications — this is the first one that was transparent in the job description and in the financial description,” Elola said.

Elola said she believes it is important to pay students for the work they are doing in the field and that is why she applied to this program.

“Climate action and the field of natural resource ecology has always been synonymous with volunteer work,” Elola wrote to Mustang News. “Some companies still think that young environmental professionals should be happy and willing to work for free/less pay than their other STEM counterparts at the same firm.”

Elola said she hopes her passion for climate action education will allow her to participate in the K-12 section of the program so she can raise environmental literacy in educational settings.

Environmental management and protection junior Gabriel Trevino said that he heard about this opportunity through a department email and decided to apply.

“Climate action and sustainability have been interests and passions of mine for many years now,” Trevino said. “I’ve witnessed firsthand some of the environmental injustices that occur because of a lack of advocacy for at-risk minority and immigrant populations.”

Trevino believes the College Corps program will give him the relevant experience he needs to address these issues, all while completing tangible work that impacts people who deserve the help.

Accepted students will be notified by the end of June, Pearse said.

Students can apply here.

Cal Poly faculty or staff interested in helping to recruit students can fill out this form.