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Erin R McIlraith
May 2, 2016

Seven WSU Students Honored at the Washington Campus Compact’s Students Serving Washington Awards

May 2, 2016 by Erin R McIlraith

On Tuesday, April 26, at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, seven Washington State University students received Washington Campus Compact’s (WACC) newly created Presidents’ Award as part of the Students Serving Washington Awards (SSWA) program. These exemplar students, representing four of WSU’s six campuses, were honored for their service and leadership in their local communities. Students are selected for this award by their institution’s President or Chancellor.

Roy Puchalski and Kari Whitney, representing the Pullman and Global campuses respectively, were honored for their high levels of involvement with local community organizations. Puchalski, a staff member with the WSU Center for Civic Engagement, regularly leads his peers on service projects in the community. He is also regular volunteer with Harvest House rehabilitative home, Orphan Acres horse rescue, and Palouse Bicycle Collective, amassing over 580 hours of service. Whitney, a WSU Global student body senator living in Tacoma, interviewed and wrote narratives of clients for the FISH Food Banks of Pierce County. The narratives help FISH Food Banks to put faces to the issues of food insecurity, increasing their support from the community.

From the WSU Vancouver campus, students Sean Philbrook and Shain Wright were honored for their on campus work helping students become more involved in civil discourse and diversity. Philbrook coordinates the Initiative for Public Deliberation program on campus, while Wright is both the WSU Vancouver student government president and a member of the Student Diversity Center’s strategic planning team.

The remaining three students honored with the WACC’s Presidents’ Award, Brent Ellis, Melanie Ford, and Elinor Lake, are studying at the WSU Tri-Cities campus. Ellis earned was an instrumental member of the planning and construction of a Habitat for Humanity house in Pasco, WA for a family of Burmese refugees. Ford and Lake both have focused their efforts on sustainability and environmental protection with Ford researching the impact of climate change on Washington agriculture and Lake helping to redesign the recycling program at WSU Tri-Cities to reduce the university’s waste.

To learn more about the Students Serving Washington Awards, visit To learn more about service learning and community service at WSU, visit