Friday, September 30, 2011

Service Fest & Post Grad Fair!

By: Angie Funnell

Twice each year, CCASL’s Service-Learning Office organizes a service fair for Gonzaga students, staff and faculty interested in becoming more involve with the local community. Nearly 120 non-profits are invited to campus to share more about their volunteer opportunities bringing awareness about their specific cause to student. Agencies represented offer opportunities to work with women, children, the homeless, senior citizens, or to help with advocacy in environmental and social justice. There are a myriad of student run mentoring programs, hospice and post grad programs represented such as the Peace Corps International, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Teach4America and more. 

A senior leader, Katy Close, is the new campus kitchens intern for the 2011-2012 academic year. Katy has been involved with CCASL since her freshman year when she started volunteering with the campus kitchens community dinners every week. As the campus kitchens intern, Katy coordinates volunteers for the Thursday night community dinners as well as is a pivotal resource for the leadership team and students. Campus Kitchen’s is a unique organization that seeks the injustice in the unacceptable amount of food wasted in our society. One of 25 branches nationwide, CKGU takes food from many sources, such as the COG and Second Harvest Food Bank, to provide nutritional and delicious meals for those in need in the Spokane community.

Get involved:

From Katy’s perspective, she’s said, “Service is important because not only does it benefit people within a given community but it also encourages growth, learning and purpose for the server. Service causes all people involved to learn and grow in a way that other involvement or engagement cannot offer.  As Gonzaga students, we are a privileged and able group of people who have no reason to not be involved with the betterment of the Spokane community.”

Campus Kitchen’s was one of the many non-profit organizations that attended the Service Fest in Cataldo Hall, on Wednesday September 21st, 2011. Katy has said, the “service festival is always an encouraging experience. It's amazing how many different organizations show up and how many opportunities students have to be involved in their community.” 

For more information about getting involved with service-learning opportunities please contact Molly Ayers at (509) 313-6487 or

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Goodbye Bridget . . .

By Emily Paulson

I have spent the last two plus years sharing an office with Bridget Desantis.  She held the position of AmeriCorp Vista with the Campus Kitchen here at CCASL.  During her reign with CKGU, she not only came up with the idea of an on-campus community garden, she saw her dream to fruition.  Bridget has worked tirelessly on the garden, the Campus Kitchen Community Dinner and a host of other service projects.

I was really excited to work with Bridget when she started.  Mostly because she was a rugby player and I was convinced that I could get her to join the roller derby with me.  It took a while for us to bond.  She was very shy and quiet, but I soon realized that she was a powerhouse.  Bridget was always the first person to lend a hand to a co-worker whether it is help programmatically, or a ride to the airport, or pet sitting.  She was always there.
In the spring of 2010, Bridget and another Vista invited Molly Ayers and me to a secret meeting at Starbucks.  There, they shared their plan to build a small community garden behind CCASL.  We informed them that this was not the first garden proposal to go to the university and none had been approved.  Regardless of this, they sent me up to ask Todd Dunfield if we could go ahead with the project.  He was supportive and helped Bridget and Kristina write a comprehensive proposal that was eventually approved by the President of the University.  The Ruellen-Day Community Garden that stands behind CCASL II and the Honors House is the brainchild and legacy of Bridget Desantis.  The garden is currently supplanting the meals that the Campus Kitchen sends out to the Spokane community.

And so it is with a heavy heart that we send Bridget off to the next chapter in her life.  I am happy to have had the pleasure to work with her and blessed to be able to call her my friend.  

Campus Kids at Gonzaga University!

With the new school year already underway, Gonzaga student mentors are pumped up once again to bring some “Zag Spirit” to kids in the Spokane community! More than 80 Gonzaga students have committed their time and energy to helping children who are at risk for academic failure, providing them with the opportunity to grow, both intellectually and socially. In preparation for Campus Kids, Zag students have participated in training sessions with coaches from the Youth Programming Quality Initiative on September 11th. 
Campus Kids brings student mentees from five different elementary schools, (Longfellow, Logan, Stevens, Garfield, and Bemiss). Mentees have the opportunity to come to campus to spend time with their mentor while working on homework, playing games, and sharing a healthy snack. Zag student visit their mentees once a month during school as well as attend Saturday excursions together, such as ice skating, Cat Tales, and a Winter Wonderland party. On October 8th, there will be a visit to Greenbluff farms for pumpkin picking and caramel apple crunching! The time that Zag students  and mentees spend together is extremely valuable, allowing them to create a vision for their future. Campus Kids has a promising year ahead, and all the participants are excited to get started!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

KPMG Community Matters

September 10, 2011 – By Shannon Henry

This past weekend on Saturday, September 10th, KPMG professionals and accounting students from Gonzaga University came together to give back to the community at Vinegar Flats. The idea for the Community Matters event came from Paul Bracich, a partner at KPMG who also serves on the Gonzaga University Board of Trustees. For the past six years, the summer interns from Gonzaga at KPMG take on the task of planning the event, which invites 50 accounting students to join 15 KPMG professionals at Vinegar Flats Garden.

As it has been in the past, this year’s event was a huge success. The volunteers spent the morning and into the afternoon serving in many different capacities at the site. Groups rotated through various tasks such as planting, weeding, watering, digging trenches, and setting up for a dinner fundraiser event to take place that evening. To take a break from the physical labor of the day, groups got to do arts and crafts and play with the children of the women from the shelter. Overall, the event was so much fun for everyone.

This event was a great opportunity for students to meet and network with professionals in a relaxed environment. The common interest of dedication to service at Gonzaga and KPMG is what truly brought people together for the event. With the help of CCASL, the event ran smoothly and we were able to make a huge difference at the site. Everyone who attended said they had a great time and are already looking forward to the annual service project next year!