Every year, in every part of the region, USD community projects serve people in need with a range of programs, such as:
- CASA (Center for Awareness, Service and Action) promotes cultural awareness and social consciousness by providing outreach opportunities and making lasting connections between USD and the community.
- Free specialized legal clinics staffed by USD law students offer legal assistance to lower-income individuals and families.
- The annual Thanksgiving House Project provides USD business students the opportunity to renovate the home of a deserving family in the nearby Linda Vista neighborhood.
- The Institute of College Initiatives hosts such college preparation programs as Upward Bound, Expanding Your Horizons, and Global Youth Leadership Connection.
Service learning reflects USD’s emphasis on social justice and ethical conduct. The Center for Community Service-Learning, founded in 1994, offers students a broad spectrum of service and educational opportunities. USD’s standing as an innovator of university-community engagement has been recognized widely, including such honors as:
- One of 76 campuses to receive the Carnegie Foundation's "Community Engagement" classification, and one of 62 recognized by Carnegie for curricular engagement as well as outreach and partnership.
- Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for Distinction for Community Service.
- Chosen as one of four California sites for a $120,000, three-year “Learn and Serve” grant from California Campus Compact.
- Honored in a Princeton Review/Campus Compact book, Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement.
"Well over half of our student population, undergraduates and graduate students, are doing some kind of public service work."