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Community Engagement Day Kicks-off Inauguration Week

Tom Parks, senior V.P. for research and Laura Snow, special assistant to the president of the University of Utah, tie blankets to be used by victims at a rape recovery center.

Oct. 23. 2012 – An announcement of the first ever Community Engagement Day kicked-off events to commemorate the inauguration of David W. Pershing as the 15th president of the University of Utah. Gov. Gary Herbert has officially declared Tuesday, Oct. 23 as Community Engagement Day at the U.

Pershing spoke today on the steps of the John R. Park Building to announce the creation of the annual day-long effort to involve the university in service projects that benefit the greater community.

“The futures of this university and universities across the nation are tied to their communities and states,” says Pershing.  “It is critical that our students become involved in service learning. I already have approved community-engaged courses that foster meaningful involvement. Those programs will be recognized and rewarded with resources, and I will continue to expand our outreach into the community through encouragement and support of the types of activities happening on this day.”

In January 2010, the University of Utah received the “community engagement” classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the “advancement of teaching” – an honor that recognizes significant demonstration of community engagement by the U’s students, faculty and staff.

Others speaking with Pershing at the kick-off event included Max Wood, student chair of Community Engagement Day, and Marj Regis, member of the student board for the Associated Students of the University of Utah. They spoke about student efforts to reach out to those in need, and encouraged the student body to make a difference.

Following his remarks, Pershing asked that all students, faculty and staff take time to engage with the community – either on or off campus – and make a positive contribution. Some examples of Community Engagement Day service projects include:

  • Sorting food at the Utah Food Bank.
  • Working with University Neighborhood Partners to restore the Peace Labyrinth at Jordan Park.
  • Assembling hygiene kits for the YWCA to give to victims of domestic violence who are seeking shelter.
  • Making winter hats for people staying at the Road Home shelter.
  • Tying blankets for rape victims seeking assistance at the Rape Recovery Center.
  • A discussion on “Civility in the Community” with Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell at the Hinckley Caucus Room, 255 OSH, on campus.
  • Pro bono law clinic for the community at the Horizonte School, 1234 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City. Areas of law for this clinic include consumer, employment, housing and discrimination.

For a full listing of planned Community Engagement activities, visit:

Inauguration Events Continue

Inauguration commemorations continue throughout the week with an Inaugural Student Social at the university’s Olpin Union on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Pershing’s official inauguration will take place the following day, on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. in Kingsbury Hall. Those unable to attend the ceremony are invited to watch it streamed live on the university’s home page at

The inaugural celebration ends with Saturday night’s football game against Cal at Rice-Eccles Stadium.