NeighborFest gathering kicks off another EWU school year


Students enjoy a slice of pizza as they walk around the campus mall during Neighbor Fest. | Dayana Morales for The Easterner

By Dayana Morales, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Over a thousand students along with 220 clubs, organizations and local business made it out to EWU’s campus mall for its annual NeighborFest, Sept. 22, SAIL Director Stacy Reece said.

SAIL and the Office of Community Engagement sponsored the event. Reece said the event has been going on for more than 15 years.

The event started off very small and informational and has grown ever since. “For the last six years we really are kind of studying the success we’ve earned each year, learning how to tweak things.” Reece said.

Tables ranged everywhere from the Spokane Teachers Credit Union, The Mason Jar and Rockwood, to the EWU Gaming Club, the sororities and the fraternities.

“Each year our campus partners, our community partners, business and non-profits all get even more interactive that’s how we get folks to come here, I am impressed how they show up every single year,” Reece said.

Students, community members and faculty walked around the mall curiously stopping at booths that caught their attention. The booths offered games with prizes and other free goodies. For example, the Housing and Residential Life booth had a spin the wheel for a trivia question game. If you answered the question correctly you got a chance to pick a prize of your choice: a shirt, pen or a USB drive.

The Mason Jar was handing out some of their popular pastries and the local STCU Cheney branch was a huge hit with their cotton candy machine.

The EWU Office of Community Engagement also had a booth at the event. This office connects the university to the community to do service. They have all kinds of opportunities like one-day events.

Coming up on Oct. 14 at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the office will be partnering with the Red Cross. They will be going into the Garland neighborhood in Spokane to install smoke alarms in people’s homes. Transportation to and from EWU, training and lunch will be provided that day.

They also have year-long programs. They partner with the community and schools to run a mentor program. They partner you with a young student in the Cheney School District to do one-on-one mentoring.

“The cool thing about that is that the kid that you are partnered with once a week is the same kid for the year,” said Brian Davenport, the director of the office. “They don’t care that you have homework, they don’t care that you have a test, they care that you care.”

This is an opportunity where you can take one hour per week to be more than a college student. An opportunity to take one hour out of your own student life and invest in another’s.

“The other piece I dig about is that most students are here because of some point in their past a caring adult invested in their life. It is difficult to pay that person back but it is possible to pay it forward. The mentoring program is an opportunity to do that,” Davenport said.

After students walked around for three hours they ended the event with a performance at 1 p.m. hosted by the ladies of Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority inc. They also had other chapters, associated with the diversified Greek council, perform.