FRESNO STATE — Karlie Bradbury, a graduating senior majoring in sociology was awarded the Fresno State 2022 University Volunteer of the Year Award. The award, which includes a $1,500 scholarship, is given each year to a student who has made a difference in the community through their time and talent. Bradbury has volunteered over 125 hours in the last year.
During the pandemic, national housing reports showed that Fresno experienced the second highest rent increase in the nation, with an average increase of 24%. There is also a significant shortage of affordable housing in Fresno, and the region experienced a 45% increase in homelessness from 2019 to 2020. Bradbury saw this problem and wanted to make a difference.
Bradbury was dedicated to raising awareness about housing protections and resources to keep families stably housed during the pandemic. She started by organizing research meetings with campus leaders, including Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Interim Provost Dr. Xuanning Fu and Dr. Carolyn Coon, dean of students and acting vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Karlie helped lead research meetings with Fresno city leaders, and worked alongside residents to host virtual listening sessions and community education workshops to ensure community voices were centered in public policy efforts.
Her efforts contributed to the passage of the city’s Eviction Protection Program, which included $750,000 in funding to combat the housing and homelessness crisis and ensure fairness in housing court.
Bradbury has a deep passion for working with others to undo structural inequities and to help create thriving communities where everyone has safe, healthy, affordable housing.
“I hope to continue using my passion for helping others and working with the community,” said Bradbury, who is part of Faith in the Valley’s Housing Committee, a local organization working to ensure Fresno County residents have access to a safe home. “I want to mention the impressive work done by [Fresno State professors] Dr. Janine Nkosi, Dr. Amber Crowell, and community organizer Alexandra Alvarado. In no way were they the only people who have helped me through this journey, but among the ones whom I have most looked up to.”
The University Volunteer of the Year award is administered by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning.
Story by Taylan Parker.