General Information

In addition to our weekly volunteer opportunities, we organize annual events, also led by students. Reach out to the community service program leader organizing the event or trip you are interested in by finding them on our About the Staff page. You can also contact us by calling the Student Engagement Center at (509) 527-5183 or emailing or


Adopt-A-Family works with two local non-profits, Blue Mountain Heart to Heart and the Health Center, to pair groups with families for care packages during the holiday season. All families who qualify for the program live at or below the poverty level.

Steps to Participate

1. Collect money

Find a group of people from your residence hall, office, department, club, Greek group, sports team, etc. to commit to adopting a family and ask your group to donate whatever they can towards making your adopted family's holiday season a bit brighter. To decide what size family your group can afford, figure on $10 per family member for a food certificate and roughly $20 dollars per family member for gifts. Therefore, you should budget $150 for a family of five.

2. Contact us for a match

After collecting your money and deciding on your family's size, contact Community Service by December 1st at 509.527.5765 or to receive your family's information sheet and wish lists.

3. Go shopping

Once you have your information sheet, you can purchase your grocery store gift certificate. We prefer Super One and Grocery Outlet on 9th Street, but you can pick any grocery store in town. Put the certificate in an unsealed envelope and clearly print your family's number on the outside. Place the envelope in the Gift Cards collection manila envelope at the drop-off site. Shop for gifts at stores you think are appropriate for your family. If you get stuck for ideas, remember gift certificates are great for adults and teenagers. Also, you can attach gift receipts to items you are unsure about in case the family needs to exchange them.

4. Label gifts

Put gifts for each family member in an individual plastic grocery bag and clearly label the bag with the recipient's first name and the family's number. Please do not tie the bag closed too tightly since we'll need to take a peek! Put the bags together in a single container (bag or box) with the family's number clearly marked on the outside. Do not wrap gifts before delivering them. You may include gift bags or wrapping paper if you'd like. All items will be checked by the Community Service staff. The gifts will be wrapped by volunteers about two weeks into December. You are welcome to help wrap gifts once they have been checked.

5. Deliver gifts

Drop off location varies by year.

When you sign up for the Give 20 Challenge, you agree to devote 20 hours in a semester to serving the community. There is no penalty if you do not complete the 20 hours, but we will encourage you with reminders to keep you on track and celebrate your accomplishment if you meet your goal. You might volunteer weekly at one organization, participate in the multitude of volunteer opportunities available through the Student Engagement Center and the Community Service House, or complete one or two full-day shifts of volunteer work. If you already participate in one or more of the community service programs offered at Whitman, the Give 20 Challenge is easy!

Email or sign up at the Student Activities Fair to participate.

To keep track of volunteer hours, fill out the Volunteer Hour Tracker and send it to at the end of the semester.


Make-A-Difference Day is a national event. Each fall Whitman College partners with the Walla Walla community to support service projects for the day. We encourage groups and individuals to sign up to serve on a project.  For more information, email

Past Participants' Reflections

"Domestic violence and sexual violence is an issue that is close to home for me, and I feel so humbled and empowered to spread the message in my Walla Walla community."

"The best part of my morning was... being able to be part of something bigger than myself."

"... the elderly woman whose house we improved really benefited from the time we spent there."

"The best part of my morning was... seeing everyone's smiling faces as they served."


SCORE 2016 booklet cover

Download the SCORE FAQ sheet here and click the image for the SCORE Pamphlet.

Explore Walla Walla before classes start with a Summer Community OutReach Excursion for incoming students! In addition to working with great non-profits and community organizations in town, you'll also see some beautiful sunsets, have a picnic dinner in the wheat fields (a Whitman must), eat the legendary Walla Walla burrito, get to know parks in town, and more, all before other first-years arrive. 

The excursions are student-led pre-orientation trips that allow incoming students to contribute to community service projects in the Walla Walla Valley and get to know their fellow teammates through hard work and lots of fun. SCORE participants volunteer at a project each day and go on field trips to non-profits to gain an understanding of the social issues that affect our community. Evening activities provide opportunities for fun and reflection for the new students and leaders. Students will be housed at nearby churches and will cook most meals together.

For the most recent news about SCORE, read our posts on the SEC Blog.

How to Apply

2018 SCOREs will take place August 16-23.  Here is the application.  

Past Participant Reflections

"The SCORE program helped me feel more connected to both the Whitman and Walla Walla communities." - Zoe Brown '21

“SCORE was an incredible experience that allowed me to question my own opinions and make new and informed ones. [...] The week was filled with laughter and new understanding.” Kate Whittingham ‘18

"I think we need to understand the community we will become a part of.  We need to know its flaws to work toward fixing them.  Also, [SCORE] was fun!"  - Zidane Galant-LaPorte '21

Engaging students in service beyond Whitman.


Spring Break Service Trips are week-long volunteer trips that allow Whitman students to focus on a particular social issue outside of the Walla Walla community. Participants volunteer with a primary social organization throughout the week, in addition to working with other non-profits. Students also have a chance to explore the area they visit. The groups are often housed at local churches and cook most meals together.


Trip destinations and themes vary from year to year. Some previous examples include: Refugees & Resettlement in Seattle, WA; Environmental Conservation in Arcata, CA; Urban Education in Portland, OR; and Relief & Rebuilding in New Orleans, LA.


To learn more, download the SBST FAQ sheet here. To apply to participate or communicate with the trip organizers, contact

Past Participant Reflections

"[This trip] was very informative and I got to know so many things about incarceration that I never knew before. It was very helpful to get different perspective from people in different positions and from different backgrounds." - a spring 2018 participant

"Occasionally a person gets to do something that they can remember as monumental, life-changing, revolutionary, and this has been one of those moments.  My service trip to New Orleans has been far more than I ever expected, and something I will not soon forget." Nelson Falkenberg '14