Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

Sept. 18, 2008

Hundreds of Whitworth Volunteers to Partner with Spokane Organizations
for Sept. 23 Community Building Day

Students also to hand-harvest wheat from Whitworth's new on-campus sustainable farm


WHAT: In the next chapter of a tradition started by Whitworth students more than a century ago, hundreds of Whitworth students, faculty and staff on Sept. 23 will volunteer at nonprofits in Spokane. In keeping with Whitworth's commitment to supporting sustainable practices, student-volunteers also will help harvest wheat at a new sustainable farm on the university's campus.

Community Building Day is an annual event that initially began as a campus-beautification endeavor, but has evolved into a partnership between local nonprofit organizations and Whitworth volunteers who work on clean-up and improvement projects throughout Spokane. Roughly 800 volunteers are expected to participate this year, making the 2008 Community Building Day the largest in Whitworth's history.

"The goal of Community Building Day is to introduce freshmen to Whitworth’s philosophy of engagement," says Jacob Spaun, assistant director of service-learning at Whitworth. "The hope is that this experience will be the first of many interactions with the community during students' time at Whitworth, and that they will carry a commitment to serving others into post-college life and develop a lifelong ethic of service." 

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 23, from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. After working in the community, volunteers will gather outside the Hixson Union Building on campus for a barbecue lunch, during which a student band will perform. Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will speak to the participants at 12:30 p.m. to conclude the event.

WHERE: A new Community Building Day site this year is the environmentally-friendly wheat farm that was planted last May on the far north end of the university's campus. Roughly 20 students will learn how to hand-harvest wheat on Whitworth's farm and the wheat they harvest can be made into bread. The farm grows spring wheat using sustainable farming practices and products from the Shepherd's Grain alliance of local family farms, which supplies Whitworth's bread products.

Whitworth volunteers also will work at 40 sites throughout Spokane. Sites include World Relief Spokane, where 15 students will organize donations, create inventories, and assemble supply kits. At Christ Kitchen, about 20 students will help build shelving and organize food products. Roughly 20 students will wash and walk dogs at the Spokane Humane Society. Thirty-five volunteers will do landscaping work at the YWCA and help organize donations for the Our Sister's Closet professional clothing bank there. Twenty volunteers will help construct a new building at the New Hope Resource Center, and twenty-five volunteers will do landscaping work at Cat Tales Zoological Park. Students also will work for Catholic Charities Spokane, at the St. Margaret’s Shelter, where they'll help build a new play area. In addition, volunteers will partner with Odyssey World International Education Services, where they'll spend time with refugees and teach them basic skills such as how to purchase movie tickets and use the bus system.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.



Danika Heatherly, SERVE coordinator, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4553 or serve@whitworth.edu

Jacob Spaun, assistant director, Center for Service-Learning, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4673 or jspaun@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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