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Hundreds of Whitworth volunteers to partner with Spokane organizations for Sept. 22 Community Building Day

September 18, 2009
Event to kick off year-long celebration of Whitworth's Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement

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On a crisp fall morning in September, hundreds of Whitworth students, faculty and staff will gather on campus and then fan out to nonprofit organizations across Spokane to lend a hand in efforts to improve the community. This year, the century-old tradition will also mark the beginning of the 10th anniversary of Whitworth's Center for Service-Learning & Community Engagement.

The year-long anniversary celebration will include events such as a tour of service to explore the effects of the partnership between Whitworth and the West Central neighborhood, a teaching round table focused on community-based research, service-learning fairs, an urban plunge, a rally, and a celebration of service.

Community Building Day is an annual Whitworth 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. More than 800 volunteers are expected to participate this year, making the 2009 Community Building Day the largest in Whitworth's history.

"Community Building Day is a tradition that Whitworth students started to connect with the Spokane community in a meaningful way," says Rhosetta Rhodes, director of service-learning and community engagement at Whitworth. "Ten years ago, that tradition was expanded through the addition of the service-learning center at Whitworth. Thus, this year we not only celebrate the highest number of participants in the history of the event, but we also honor 10 years of engaging minds, encouraging hearts and enriching communities."

Community Building Day will take place Tuesday, Sept. 22, 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.

Whitworth volunteers will work at 43 sites throughout Spokane. Sites include Goodwill Industries, where 40 volunteers will sort donations. At Lilac Services for the Blind, about 20 volunteers will do landscaping and cleaning. Volunteers will work at various sites for Catholic Charities Spokane, including the Cathedral Plaza Apartments, the Fahy West Apartments, the House of Charity, St. Anne's, and St. Margaret's Shelter. Thirty volunteers will help with art projects at Center Pointe. About 20 volunteers will do building maintenance and walk dogs at the Humane Society. Thirty-five volunteers will help clean and organize merchandise at the Market Street Market. At the Rockwood Retirement facility in north Spokane, about 20 volunteers will work with live animals and help with fair day.

Other sites will include Avista Community Garden, the Boys and Girls Club, Camp Dart-Lo, Cat Tales Zoological Park, Mission Community Outreach Center, New Hope Resource Center, Odyssey World International Education Services, Riverfront Farms, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Spokane County Parks and Recreation, Spokane Guilds School & Neuromuscular Center, Union Gospel Mission, World Relief Spokane, and Youth for Christ, among others.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Emily McBroom, SERVE coordinator, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4553 or

Rhosetta Rhodes, director, Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4238 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or