George Fox University closes campus Sept. 11 so 2,000-plus students, staff can serve local communities

August 30, 2019

Image for George Fox University closes campus Sept. 11 so 2,000-plus students, staff can serve local communities

University’s 21st annual Serve Day will assist local schools, nonprofit organizations, churches and elderly in Yamhill, Clackamas, Marion, Washington and Multnomah counties  

NEWBERG, Ore. – For a 21st straight year, George Fox University is closing its doors for a day to allow students, staff and faculty to assist nonprofits, public agencies, churches, retirement homes and individual citizens during a day of service on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

More than 2,000 students and employees are expected to participate in Serve Day, performing a variety of projects – including construction, painting, weeding, cleaning and visiting with seniors – for 112 sites in Yamhill, Washington, Marion, Multnomah and Clackamas counties. Stops this year will include visits to fire stations, the Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg, Portland Rescue Mission and Neighborhood House, the Boys & Girls Club at Woodburn Teen Center, and the Department of Health and Human Services in McMinnville.

Other stops will include the Chehalem Health and Rehab Center, where music faculty and students will sing for and with residents while also assisting with gardening and wheelchair cleaning; the Hope Chinese Charter in Beaverton, where art faculty and students will paint a mural at a local church; and the Chehalem Aquatics and Fitness Center, where members of the university’s swim team will help with deep-cleaning projects.

One special focus this year will be remembering the victims of 9/11. The day will begin with a time of prayer, and the morning kickoff will include a representative from the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue squad.

The day begins with a kickoff celebration at 9:15 a.m. before volunteers depart for sites. The groups will return to campus by 4 p.m. The day concludes with a church and activities fair from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and a chapel time from 4:15 to 4:45 p.m. The Serve Day theme is “Simply Serve,” based on this year’s theme Scripture from John 13:14-17.

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.

In 20 years, more than 30,000 students and employees have volunteered more than 200,000 hours for Serve Day projects, and more than 200 organizations or churches have been assisted, according to Brad Lau, vice president for 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 and the surrounding area,” said Brad Lau, vice president for student life. “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.”

For more information on Serve Day, visit or call the Serve Day coordinator Stephanie Lopez at 503-554-2326.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian universities in the country and is a Christian college classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier regional university. Money magazine ranked it the No. 1 school in Oregon in its 2017-18 “Best Colleges for Your Money” list. More than 4,000 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem and Redmond, Ore. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, six seminary degrees, and 13 master’s and doctoral degrees.


Stephanie Lopez
Serve Day Coordinator