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Central Washington University

CWU Students Respond to Call for a Better Kittitas County

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (October 16, 2012) — Hundreds of Central Washington University students will spend their Saturday mornings making Kittitas County a better place through three events sponsored by the university’s Center for Leadership and Community Engagement (CLCE): CWU on the Farm, CWU in the City, and CWU in the Canyon.

These events are designed to help students familiarize themselves with their peers, campus, and community as well as establish habits that promote civic action.

“The CLCE strategically refocused several of its annual fall projects,” says CLCE Director Lorinda Anderson, “to engage new scholars in community awareness and involvement as well as support the public purpose of the university.”

CWU on the Farm
On Saturday, October 20, student volunteers will work to preserve Olmstead Place State Park, located five miles east of Ellensburg. Students will collaborate with pioneer re-enactors, forming small teams to paint, clean, and weed the150-year-old farmstead. Maurya Broadsword, Olmstead’s interpretive specialist, will provide additional guidance and education for students to work with historic tools.

“Having these students out on the farm helps us to preserve the past for the future,” says Broadsword. 


The Olmsteads were among the first homesteaders to settle in the Kittitas Valley. They built their farm in 1875 and continued to live there until donating it to Washington State Parks in 1968.

CWU in the City
On Saturday, October 27, student volunteers will join with the Ellensburg Downtown Association and Ellensburg Morning Rotary to decorate the town for the holidays. This program is part of Ellensburg’s Moments to Remember festival. Students will decorate the Memorial Tree at Safeway, make window displays for local businesses, and plant and decorate trees throughout the downtown—all to create a spectacular holiday backdrop for area residents and downtown visitors.

For more than three decades, Moments to Remember has helped the Ellensburg community welcome in the holiday season. Each Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving, the Kittitas County Fairgrounds and downtown Ellensburg host a variety of family activities, including two parades, a craft bazaar, a live nativity performance, and photo opportunities with Santa Claus. The festival ends at nightfall on Saturday with the downtown lighting ceremony.

CWU in the Canyon
Originally scheduled for October 6, CWU in the Canyon was postponed until next spring due to unhealthy air quality caused by area wildfires. When held, the event will involve approximately 200 CWU students, staff, and faculty as well as dozens of local groups and community members working throughout the Yakima River Canyon to restore trails, renovate campsites, and collect trash.

“CWU in the Canyon is a great way to jump feet-first into being a civically responsible student,” says Braden DenHerder, one of the CLCE’s CWU in the Canyon student coordinators. “It provides an easy way for students to work in diverse teams and make a positive impact on the environment.”

CWU in the Canyon is an expansion of the Yakima River Clean Up effort. It is also the first time that the federal Bureau of Land Management has partnered with the university and community on the project. The agency has identified nearly a dozen areas in need of support and donated more than $1,000 worth of tools and supplies to the project.

For more information about these events and other service opportunities, visit www.takeactioncwu.com. To volunteer through the CLCE, visit the center’s office in Student Union and Recreation Center 256. 


Media contacts: Patrick Hasseries, CWU Public Affairs intern, 509-963-1493, hasserip@cwu.edu
Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, loweryr@cwu.edu