Releasing our 2017 Annual Report

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Each year the Center strives to honor the legacy of Leo T. McCarthy through programs and scholarship that promote public service and the common good. This includes undergraduate community-engagement learning, faculty and university-wide development, graduate engagement, and community partnerships at both the local and global level. We are excited to share our 2017 annual report in advance of our 15th anniversary celebration on November 9th.

Some of this year’s highlighted achievements include:

  • 19 co-sponsored events
  • 11 advocates for community engagement placements
  • 3,000 service-learners
  • 541 faculty development hours
  • 10 global sustainable development projects
  • 8,400 graduate intern hours
  • 200% increase in public service and community engagement minors
  • 166 local community partners
  • 624 LTMC alumni

We thank all of you for your continued support and look forward to another great year!

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Global Privett Scholars Summer Update

The 2017 Global Privett Scholars are spending the summer in Bolivia and Argentina working on community-based sustainable development projects. Our students are cultivating an appreciation for their responsibilities as global citizens and developing personal skills, professional competencies, and values consistent with the mission of the University of San Francisco.

Scholars in Cochabamba, Bolivia  

 Gio Paganini – CeDRUS (Centro de Desarrollo Rural y Urbano Sustentable)

“I’m really excited about meeting my host family in Bolivia. I’m from South America and can’t wait to be able to see how other countries in the continent live. Working side by side South Americans is a priceless experience.”

Natalia Caprile2

Natalia Caprile – Vivo en Positivo

“I’m looking forward to meeting people in my host family and organization, and to start growing in community with them. After learning so much about the social, political, and historical contexts of Bolivia, I’m ready to jump in and start to experience life there!” 


Juliet Baires – Pro Mujer Bolivia

“I will be working with Pro Mujer, a nonprofit organization that works to support women who are living in the conditions of socioeconomic exclusion. I am excited to be a part of a movement that supports women with their small businesses, while recognizing and including women’s values and potential, opening the door for women to have an active role in their own personal and community development.” 


Diego Jones – Tukuy Pacha

“I’m really excited about three things: meeting my new family, working at my internship, and taking cool pictures of Bolivia. I’m really looking forward to also meet the rest of the U.S. students who will be working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) this summer.” 


Carter Santini – Martadero

“I’m filled with both excitement and nerves. My job placement at Martadero seems like a gift from the heavens as it aligns all my interests in music, community development and public service. I’m excited to throw myself into a new place and give my all.”

Rosa Olascoaga1

Rosa Olascoaga- Performing Life

“I am super excited to be an intern at Performing Life. I can’t wait to work with young people and to be surrounded with the beautiful culture in Bolivia.”

Rachel Starling4

Rachel Starling- Asociación Amigos del Árbol, Bosques, y Parques Nacionales

“I’m hoping to learn more about the role of community engagement in development this summer.  I’m looking forward to the challenge that working in another language presents, and I’m excited for the chance to work in my community with the issues that are important to me.”


Kaitlin Chassagne- Caminar Con Valores

“Although I was nervous for the language barrier with my rusty Spanish skills, my host organization has done a wonderful job integrating me into their community and making me feel both needed and welcomed. I’m excited to apply my perspectives as an outsider raised in other countries and schools to their newest project focused on gender perspectives.”


Elizabeth Spears- CeDRUS (Centro de Desarrollo Rural y Urbano Sustentable)

“I’m most excited to be in a position to learn about how the local people of Salta understand their relationship to the non-human world, or the rest of the environment. Also, I am looking forward to seeing how the relationships between people and their environment differ between a community in city of Salta, San Rafael and an indigenous community farther north in the province, Pichanal.”


Janelle Nunez- Caminar Con Valores

“I am looking forward to putting into action everything I’ve learning in the classroom. I’m excited to participate in a cultural experience unlike any other and I look forward to all the new amazing relationships I make along the way.”

Alumnus Sees the Future of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center



Jerry Trotter

Program Director, Booker T. Washington Community Service Center

Ayah Mouhktar, our Communications Assistant, interviewed Jerry Trotter at the construction site for the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center. Below is a reflection on her experience meeting Jerry, discussing the new facility and what it will mean for the families and children of San Francisco.

Putting on a hard hat and entering a construction site was not how I planned to spend my Thursday afternoon but what came out of it ended up being one of the most eye opening and inspirational experiences I have ever had.

Walking into what would soon become the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center left me with a sense of hope of a brighter future for the children and families of San Francisco.


Jerry Trotter, Program Director of the facility, is a University of San Francisco alumni (’02) and was recruited by the Multicultural Retention and Recruitment program, which traveled to high schools and recruited students to USF to continue their studies in social justice and the Jesuit mission.

“USF brought me to San Francisco and San Francisco brought me to Booker T. Washington” said Trotter when describing what gave him the drive to want to help the local community.

The new facility is being built at 800 Presidio Avenue and will be made up of 5 floors compiled of 49 housing units, an NBA regulation size gym, a mind/body health center, computer and career lab and a community garden on the roof. It began as an idea as a place for families in the community to convene and organize and is a realistic way to meet the needs for food, education and secure housing. Trotter cares for the children of San Francisco and wants one simple thing to come out of all the great work he does, “we want to have them stay and live in the city they grew up in”

San Francisco and USF in particular played a large role in Trotter’s work and his passion for social justice and the mentality of leading to succeed, and not just to seeing himself succeed alone but taking rising with the community as a whole. The hard work of Jerry Trotter is one that is admirable and inspirational not for just the common citizen but especially USF students who look to actually change the world from here- less than a mile away from the center of campus.

Teaching, Research, Service – and Social Change: Prioritizing Community-Engagement

Brigham USF

Erin Brigham
Adjunct Professor Catholic Theology and Ethics

Like many faculty who integrate community engagement into their teaching, I find it easy to surround myself with people who pat me on the back and cite research that supports my pedagogy.   Studies have shown and my own experience has confirmed the potential of experiential education to transform students. And through community based teaching, I have found true co-educators who share my passion for forming students to be agents of social change—at least when they graduate. But is it enough for educators to plant seeds for future change when the demand for social justice is now? I have been wrestling with this question since attending Randy Stoecker’s workshop on community engaged scholarship. Stoecker’s approach prioritizes social change over student learning—a reversal that I find both invigorating and unsettling for my work at the University of San Francisco.

Stoecker conference

Dr. Randy Stoecker, professor of sociology at University of Wisconsin, Madison and a leader in the field of community-engaged research, recently held a full-day workshop with the University faculty and community partners

Perhaps my most important take away from the workshop was Stoecker’s challenge to think about who does the labor of research and teaching in a university/ community partnership.   I have taken for granted that reciprocity—the hallmark principle of community based learning—has guided my efforts. But so often the community does the labor—providing research questions and data; offering student learning opportunities and supervision. Stoecker challenges faculty to take the responsibility for the labor, using our training to generate knowledge-power in the community and inviting students into that exciting process.

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Why Master of Public Affairs Students Go to Reno

Bianca_Master_of _Public_Affairs

Bianca Rosen
Master of Public Affairs Candidate 2017

As a first year graduate student in the Master of Public Affairs (MoPA) program at the University of San Francisco, the possible career paths one can take seems daunting, especially in a dynamic and exciting place like the Bay Area. You may have a strong idea about the direction you want to go in, but can never fully articulate where that direction will ultimately take you.

Sometimes, the only feelings of security for a young professional are glimmering moments of, “I am supposed to be here, in this program, in this city”. But, you may not exactly know why. The MoPA program has pointed me in the direction I’ve wanted to go, and told me, “here’s why”.

I was first drawn to this program because of its dedication to social justice, advocacy, and community-based solutions to public policy issues. As someone who strongly identifies as a feminist and is active in the anti-rape movement, I felt passionate about large scale change-making. I knew I wanted to ambitiously confront the intersection of all inequalities in my career, as sexual violence is a tool for all forms of oppression. Yet, I never knew how that passion would manifest into something tangible that could achieve such change.

This semester, I signed up for a grassroots advocacy and mobilization class. It is week four of the semester, and the class has already turned my abstract career goals into that tangible reality I had been seeking. As I learned about the undeniable power of communities coming together to advocate for policies or candidates that pursue “a more humane and just world”, I could see clearly that this is the avenue of change-making I’ve been looking for. To hear my spirited teacher describe the ins and outs of grassroots advocacy, and to learn about the great necessity for passionate people — leaders who create other leaders — I was truly moved. I thought to myself, “YES, yes, yes, yes, this is me. This is where my path has been directing me.”

When my teacher then asked if any of us wanted to go to Reno, Nevada to get first hand experience with electoral organizing on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I was already out the door and ready to go.

MoPA in Reno

Reno was a whirlwind. A whirlwind of organizers telling their story as to why they were there, why they had dedicated chunks of their lives away from their friends and family to engage Nevadans and get them out to vote for Hillary Clinton. A whirlwind of people, with stories, values, and reasons, for volunteering for the campaign. A whirlwind of doors to knock on and strangers to meet. A whirlwind of canvassing packets, names, and addresses of people we were trying to encourage to caucus for Clinton. Most significantly, it was a whirlwind of people power, of humans connecting to other humans for a shared purpose.

Whether or not you’re a Clinton supporter, to knock on a stranger’s door to find that they are in fact, an avid supporter, and then have them share a deeply personal and revelatory moment in their life to illustrate why, was healing.

MoPA in Reno

It was healing because we all have stories of “why”. “Why” we support a candidate, a policy, or a movement, and those stories of “why” connect at those moments in time to create a collective, “because”.

The importance of empowering people, of building stronger communities that outlive the campaign, and ultimately building a stronger democracy, jumped off the pages of notes I had written in class and came to life in front of me.

I came back to school energized, inspired, and feeling like the dreams for my career had also been brought to life. As MoPA provided me with the opportunity to witness change-making in action, I was simultaneously nudged one step closer to understanding my career goals and how I will play a part in redefining the human experience as one that is characterized by justice.

Donations by supporters like you helped turn Bianca’s dream into reality. Donate today so more students like Bianca can participate in experiences that enrich their academic careers with us.

*The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of the Leo T. McCarthy Center or the University of San Francisco.

Handful Players + Engage San Francisco = a Community Partnership with Mutually Shared Goals


Ryan Marchand, Artistic Director, Handful Players

Ryan Marchand
Artistic Director, Handful Players

Earlier this month, Ryan Marchand, Artistic Director of Handful Players visited our offices and explained how he became involved with Handful Players –one of Engage San Francisco’s inaugural Community Engagement Grantees. Ryan describes the relationship between the youth theatre group and the University of San Francisco’s place base initiative with the Western Addition. NOTE: This interview has been abbreviated for publication.

Question: How did you get started with the organization and what does an being an Acting and Movement Instructor for Handful Players entail? 

I first got started with Handful Players when I graduated from San Francisco State University where I was really active in the theater department there. I understood Judith Cohen, the Executive Director for Handful Players, reached out a couple of times to the musical theater department there and a professor recommended me. I started working with Handful Players in 2009 and became the Artistic Director in 2011.

Several concurrent programs run at Handful Players including a year-long flagship program, as well as smaller eight to twelve week residency programs throughout the year. As the artistic director I help oversee the acting and movement portions, as well as keeping a high standard of quality as possible while teaching art. Our mission is helping our students find their voice and empowering them and using musical theater as a vehicle to deliver on that. We balance between finding exercises that are fun and engaging and help our students develop artistically, but also that they’re also developing the social skills that they need to be successful.

We also have a co artistic director and we’ve worked together for awhile so we’ve kind of created our own pedagogy that’s unique to us. We also have a playwright who writes original material for us and for the year long program we always put on a world premiere musical. We get feedback at the beginning of the year from all sorts of stakeholders from the principal of the school that we operate out of, the school district and different community partners about what they want to focus on and what ideas they want to communicate. The playwright will come and talk with the students about what stories they want to talk about this year. I really want to incorporate a step where we get family feedback.

What is the partnership between Handful Players and Engage San Francisco from your perspective, and what is your role within that partnership?

The first step we did was begin building a partnership with USF’s Department of Performing Arts & Social Justice and conducting a student workshop. Teaching artists from Handful Players went to campus and gave the students an overview of what our organization is about, how we were founded and how we operate. This helps set the context for the interns that will be working with us from USF. My role within this partnership is to be there as support and guidance for the interns as they work with us throughout the semester.

How do USF students and/or faculty benefit from the work and mission of Handful Players?

I think just in general, Handful Players embodies your mission and your vision and is really representative of what I think a lot of what USF is trying to accomplish and trying to create, especially the Leo to McCarthy Center. That’s right in line with what we’re trying to accomplish. Handful Players was developed specifically for the African American community and that population is so quickly dwindling in San Francisco and we’re really aligned on helping to address that and so is Engage San Francisco.

We bring a really high caliber of professionals coming to work in this neighborhood with children so there’s exposure on both ends – the kids are having a chance to see role models and actors in action who look like themselves. We make an effort to have as diverse a teaching staff and artist staff as possible. I think it’s really important for our students to have visibility for people they can relate to doing amazing things. What USF and the Leo T. McCarthy Center does are really aligned with what we do and that partnership can help foster change.

How do you imagine the campus-community partnership evolving?

My personal dream would be growing Handful Players to accompany residents of performers who also work as teaching artists and start a touring company to different educational institutions, like to different schools in the area. I would love for that work to be generated by teaching artists and performers as well. That’s like my huge dream. I think Engage San Francisco and USF can continue to cultivate and develop relationship with interns from the department of Performing Arts & Social Justice to create that pipeline of skilled teaching artists. Hopefully some of the students will enjoy working enough that the want to stick around I hope that we can continue to build a base and lay groundwork to continue broadening the reach of Handful Players. I think it’s amazing what we’ve been able to do with so little and I imagine if we had not even that much more we can really broaden our range and make our message that much more impactful. I would love to try to incorporate artists who incorporate this vision of social justice into their everyday lives that’s not just a gig. I’m still a performer and I still perform when I can and have those opportunities, but I also think that the social justice component of a huge factor of my artistic life overall and I would love to be able to keep growing Handful Players to get to that point where we have and continue gaining visibility in the community.  People know us when we walk around the neighborhood and that’s a great feeling of community.

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