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Civic Involvement

UCR Talk to Focus on Civic Involvement

A UCR political scientist will discuss volunteerism in the Inland Empire at a breakfast meeting of the Citizens University Committee on March 25.

(March 18, 2009)

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Riverside and San Bernardino counties have experienced significant population growth in the last two decades. Civic involvement in the region has not seen a corresponding increase, however.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science at UC Riverside, will discuss “Increasing Civic Involvement in the Inland Empire” at a breakfast meeting of the Citizens University Committee on Wednesday, March 25, from 7:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in University Extension, Room D/E, 1200 University Ave. The cost is $18 for members or $22 for non-members. Reservations are required by March 20. For information, call (951) 827-5184 or e-mail

Ramakrishnan will discuss changes in the region, and nationally, in terms of volunteerism and nonprofit activity as a result of the economic downtown.

The political scientist led a team of UCR researchers that published a study, “Inland Gaps: Civic Inequalities in a High Growth Region,” in 2008. That study found that Latinos and Asian Americans in the Inland Empire lag in civic participation behind African Americans and whites in activities ranging from voting to writing elected officials and attending public hearings. They also have lower levels of civic volunteerism, which ultimately lessens their influence in local politics.

Those findings are concerning for fast-growing regions such as the Inland Empire, where no group can claim majority status, because participation in community organizations bears a strong relationship to subsequent involvement in political activities, Ramakrishnan said.

The study, which was funded by the James Irvine Foundation, is available online at

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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