George Fox University Closes for Day so 1,500 Students, Staff Can Serve

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University hosts 11th annual Serve Day on Wednesday, Sept. 9

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Each year results in new lives touched, both in our surrounding community and on our campus. Planning an event that leaves an impression on the lives of so many people has been a blessing and brought me great joy.

George Fox University will close its doors for one day to allow more than 1,500 students and employees to serve nonprofits, public agencies, churches, retirement homes and individual citizens for the school's 11th annual all-campus Serve Day on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Teams of students, faculty members and employees will do a variety of projects -- including construction, painting, weeding and cleaning -- for recipients in Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Yamhill counties. Stops will include the Oregon Zoo and Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children in Portland, the Sherwood YMCA, the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, and the McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Other locations to be served include churches and nonprofits in Tigard, Sherwood, McMinnville, Dayton and Beaverton.

Volunteers will meet on the Newberg campus quad at 8:20 a.m. and depart for a record 70 work sites at 9 a.m. The groups will return to campus by 4 p.m. The day concludes with a volunteer fair, church fair and campus-wide celebration with a tropical theme.

The theme of the event is "Rejoice!" and is based on Psalm 68:4-5: "Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds - his name is the Lord - and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."

"Serve Day is a tradition reaching into its 11th year, yet every time it is a new experience for those involved," Serve Day coordinator Rachel Lee said. "Each year results in new lives touched, both in our surrounding community and on our campus. Planning an event that leaves an impression on the lives of so many people has been a blessing and brought me great joy."

George Fox began its Serve Day tradition in 1999. According to Campus Compact, a national coalition that promotes community service in higher education, it was the first instance of an entire university shutting down for a day of such activity.

"We just lend ourselves as helping hands to all the people around us," said senior Angie Leder. "We want to be there for them in whatever capacity they need, whether that be to do painting, yard work or just being with people - sitting down and having a conversation with those who don't normally get that relational interaction."

In 10 years, more than 10,000 students and employees have volunteered about 110,000 hours for Serve Day projects, and more than 175 organizations or churches have been assisted, according to Brad Lau, vice president of Student Life.

"This special day has become a deeply rooted tradition in the life of the George Fox University community as we seek to show the love of Christ by serving Newberg, Portland, Salem, and the surrounding area," Lau said. "Our hope is that Serve Day will challenge those inside and outside George Fox to make a difference in their communities by serving others as a way of life."

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as one the top 100 colleges in the country and highest among Christian colleges. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a national university. More than 3,300 students attend classes on the university's campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor's degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 12 master's and doctoral degrees.

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