Goal Nine

Goal 9: Community engagement and community-based partnerships will increase from 9% to 18% and ensure every student who wants a quality civic engagement learning experience will be offered the opportunity. (Target: 2022)


Gonzaga University received the prestigious 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in January 2016 and will hold the designation for a decade before renewing. GU is one of 361 universities and colleges nationwide to receive the designation since the program began in 2006. The certification demonstrates a deep, strategic, university-wide commitment to working with the communities we serve as partners in mutually beneficial relationship that contribute to the public good.

Living lives of leadership and service for the common good are at the core of our Jesuit mission. The Center for Community Engagement (formerly Center for Community Action and Service Learning) provides students 18 distinct service programs and 100 non-profit agency partnerships with which to address needs and enhance academic and personal formation. Areas of outreach include:

  • Service Immersion locally, nationally and around the globe, with programs such as Mission: Possible, Justice in January, the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice and RISE

  • Youth Programs, including mentoring to elementary, middle and high school students, pairing elementary students with disabilities with college students with like disabilities for arts-based mentoring, and after-school programs

  • One-time service projects with organizations like Northeast Community Center, The Lands Council and 2nd Harvest Food Bank

  • Community Engaged Learning builds civic and citizenship skills by joining classroom theory with experience in the community, coordinated through more than 40 GU faculty members

  • Zag Volunteer Corps pairs students with area non-profits to serve, reflect and learn about social justice and support organizations working on housing, poverty alleviation and food justice

Gonzaga’s community engagement efforts continue to evolve.  In spring 2020, after two and a half years of planning, Gonzaga University formally launched Opportunity Northeast, a place-based initiative strategically focused on improving outcomes for children, youth and families in Northeast Spokane.  This endeavor engages Gonzaga students in transformative, real-world educational experiences, and offers staff and faculty the opportunity to engage more deeply in the shared work of community development through community-engaged scholarship, teaching, research and practice.  Building on the strength of Gonzaga's excellence in academics and community engagement programs, we seek to live out our mission by expanding and deepening the ways in which we partner with and serve our community.

Opportunity Northeast animates Gonzaga's mission and builds upon our strengths by leveraging the expertise and assets of the institution.  The initiative seeks to activate institution-wide engagement through its three priority areas:

  • WHOLE HEALTH: Improve whole health outcomes for individuals and families residing in Northeast Spokane by developing programs and partnerships that increase access to health and wellness services, healthy foods, and high-quality affordable housing while building a more connected community and strengthening social capital. 

  • EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: Build a pipeline of support that improves educational access, outcomes, and opportunity for children and youth living in Northeast Spokane.  Offer educational opportunities and programs for adults that contribute to job readiness and increased financial security. 

  • ENGAGED CAMPUS & COMMUNITY: Build campus and community capacity to engage in and sustain community change efforts through innovative programs and partnerships that build community leadership capabilities and engage the whole institution in providing transformative learning and engagement opportunities for Gonzaga students, faculty, and staff. 

For more information visit www.gonzaga.edu/ONE


Center for Community Engagement Service Statistics
Year # of Students Participating # of Service Hours Completed
AY10-11 2,702 77,594
AY11-12 2,821 68,152
AY12-13 2,896 71,492
AY13-14 3,135 76,483
AY14-15 3,124 82,506
AY15-16 2,919 83,983
AY16-17 2,978 76,248
AY17-18 2,641 79,323
AY18-19 2,599  80,778 
AY19-20 3,104  63,182 

The Center for Community Engagement's Annual Report can be found here.