Freshmen Hoopsters Give Back To Community

            SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's Summer Term (GUST) offers incoming freshmen the opportunity to become familiar with campus and college life in an academically focused and fun, intimate setting.

            Included in the six-week summer bridge program are the 2011 entering classes of GU's men's and women's basketball teams.

            GUST participants are enrolled in various core courses in a structured and supportive environment, allowing them to get a head start on their degree and to have access to professors in small and intimate class settings while being introduced to campus resources and networking with their peers.

            The Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) unit is providing additional programming for the Zags with success strategy workshops and community outreach opportunities. The workshops specifically address the unique needs freshmen student-athletes face during their first year on campus. The service projects incorporate Gonzaga's tradition of developing a mature concern for others while serving the community and have been a highlight of the summer program for the student-athletes.

            The Zags enjoyed a sunny early July summer morning with special needs youth while volunteering at The 4th Annual Soapbox Derby hosted by the Spokane East Rotary Club and GU's Spokane Alumni Chapter. The Bulldogs assisted with the start and finish lines, waved the starting flag and cheered on the youth participants, bringing many smiles and a joyous time for everyone at the event. The East Rotary Club promotes service, understanding, goodwill and peace. and supports local children through their fundraising efforts.

            In late July the Zags visited The Boys and Girls Club of Spokane County where they interacted with the children, played games and enjoyed being in a youthful and energetic environment. The Club is often frequented by GU student-athlete volunteers and offers young people adult mentors in a safe, fun environment designed to build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

            Jason Anderson, The Club's Northtown Branch Director, noted his appreciation of the Zags' involvement.

            "The Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane County truly believes that success is within reach of all our members.  Having energetic, motivated, goal oriented individuals mentoring our kids gives them a great view of the all the things they can all accomplish," Anderson said. "Since the Club opened in 2001, we have had a valuable partnership with Gonzaga University and their student athletes. They have been true role models and have provided valuable support to our program."

            Other community bonding events held by the GUST program include a retreat hosted by University Ministry, barbeques, bowling, a day at Silverwood Theme Park and a Spokane Indians baseball game. The incoming freshmen look forward to the culmination of the GUST program and their first semester in the classroom and on the court in a few short weeks.



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