COVID can’t stop Community Building Day

by Nara Shin | News Writer

 Community Building Days of the past have been busy affairs, with students traveling via bus, car, and foot into the greater Spokane community to serve Whitworth’s partner organizations. 

 But, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, sending students out into the community quickly become an unviable option for CBD 2020, which took place on September 23. The Dornsife Center for Community Engagement, which runs CBD, was challenged to find creative ways to help Whitworth students think actively about their broader role in society. This year, they designed a special virtual curriculum for CBD called “Pathways of Civic Engagement.”

 From virtual speeches given by directors of local organizations, students could hear vivid experiences from representatives who have effectively impacted the community. Additionally, by researching demographics and news during seminars, students gained knowledge about Spokane – their home during their time at Whitworth.

 Usually, the whole Whitworth community participates in events for CBD. This year’s program, however, was focused primarily on first year students.

 “I always did direct services at schools or churches, but I knew that my interest is in community activism.”, said first-year student Byeongchan Jeong.  

 Presented to students were multiple pathways concerning different aspects of social change. These options included policy and governance, social entrepreneurship, direct service, community engaged learning, community activism, and philanthropy. While many students are familiar with community service, the knowledge about these specific areas gave students other ways to think about helping society.

 Ross Brooke Watts, the director of the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement, said that the history of Community Building Day “began more than a century ago”. In the early 1900s, CBD was known as “Campus Day,” a day to clean up the campus for the purpose of Whitworth’s beautification project. However, the event changed to Community Building Day in the 1980s to help students get off campus and become involved in local community-based organizations. 

 To learn more about Community Building Day and the Dornsife Center, log on to: