Whitworth❤️Spokane?

What is Whitworth’s role within the larger Spokane community? And how well does it uphold that role?  

Odds are if you have been involved with Whitworth for any amount of time, you have heard about the “pinecone curtain.” To us, this analogy seems fitting. The “pinecone curtain” represents a sense of separation between Whitworth University and the broader Spokane community. The meaning lies in the challenges and opportunities for students engaging with the local community. Whitworth is its own little corner of the world – once you arrive on campus, it can seem hard to remember that Whitworth is part of the larger ecosystem. And with the requirement for almost all students to live on campus for their first two years, that urge to self-isolate within Whitworth plays a relevant part in many students’ lives. 

But Whitworth is not alone in the world; this university is part of Spokane County. As students, we participate in part-time jobs, make quick trips to find food during study breaks and enjoy recreational activities outside the barriers of our university. Whitworth pushes and prods their students to engage with the community through community-oriented classes, Community Building Day, part-time internships and more. 

Spokane County also directly influences Whitworth. Their policies change how the university runs. And we depend on the ability of the fire crew to quickly respond when yet another Baldwin-Jenkins fire alarm goes off… 

When you look at the larger picture, you are left with the insatiable feeling that Whitworthians should care about what is happening around them. Yet to be honest, we are not sure they do care. In the recent Spokane election, contentious decisions were made regarding the future of Spokane through Proposition 1 and Measure 1, criminalizing homeless camps and allocating funds toward public safety and criminal justice, respectively. We saw students tabling in the HUB, attempting to get students motivated to vote on these issues.  

Despite the contentious nature of the issues and student efforts, voting results as of Nov. 21, 2023, show that only one individual voted within Whitworth’s zip code of 99251. And while we realize this may not accurately reflect how many Whitworth students voted, given that many students live off campus and within different zip codes, one vote is still a small number. Some students may say their voting address is still attached to their parents’ house, and they vote in their hometown local elections. But students, you will be living at Whitworth for around four years, spending eight plus months out of every year within Spokane County. Why not cast a vote that actually matters to you, by participating in the Spokane elections?  

We wanted to examine some of the ways that Whitworth does interact with the community (since it is clearly not through voting), so we decided to do a special section focused on Whitworth in the community. The main question running through this collection is: does Whitworth love Spokane? Or do we only tolerate it?  

We will leave the answer to that question up to you. But we will give you some content that you can explore while you are making up your mind.  

This online collection of stories regarding Whitworth in the community was originally intended to be a print edition. However, due to budget constraints and a desire to experiment with new formats, we chose to move this print edition to an online collection. This collection of stories, an editorial, a calendar of community events and more all work together to provide you with a little snapshot of how Whitworth engages with the community. Play around with it, click through the stories and always be thinking: Does Whitworth ❤️ Spokane? 

This is the consensus of the editorial board.

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