May 18-24, 2001
Back Issues
Waters' mission runs deep
Ending sexual violence one of Oldham's goals
Two graduates honored for their service to humanity
Student aids the homeless

Mellon winner redefines "Jim Crow" era

Pre-med student shares his passion for music
Fast-track grad driven to help his family
Student leads effort to install Braille on Lawn room doors
Creative recycling: Students convert crate into studio
Lawson lives richly
Can you go home again? Issues facing international students
Education delayed but not denied
Weaver finds election laws discriminatory
Quilter gets A+
Students to go abroad on Fulbright scholarships
Weddle will research Peruvian women
Graduate rich in lessons learned
Anthony defender of public good
Affinnih plays her cards strategically
After earning degree in two years, graduate going for two more
Student develops new sign language system
Student trio pushes for late-night joe
Rebecca Arrington
Andrew Oldham

Ending sexual violence one of Oldham's goals

By Ida Lee Wootten

During Andrew Oldham’s second year at the University, his best friend was sexually assaulted. The agony of that horrible event prompted Oldham to help start an organization of men committed to helping sexual assault survivors.

Although Oldham will soon graduate, the organization, One in Four, will remain strong, with chapters in at least six other universities. And before entering Harvard University to pursue master’s and law degrees in public policy, Oldham will spend a year volunteering at the Violence Against Women Office in the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Andy is committed to devoting his public service to ending violence against women,” said John D. Foubert, an assistant dean of students, who advises One in Four and was instrumental in starting chapters at U.Va. and the University of Maryland. The organization’s name comes from a 1987 study by Mary Koss involving 6,000 students on 32 campuses that found one in four college women have been victims of rape or attempted rape between their 14th birthday and their fourth year of college.

Oldham sees his years of volunteer service as an ideal way to explore his interest in public policy and the law – an interest whetted by his experience in helping organize One in Four.

“I learned that a group of similarly impassioned individuals can make a difference in a short time. I’ve learned it is possible to create a positive outcome from a terrible event,” said Oldham. On May 20 Oldham will graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average from U.Va., earning a degree with honors in government and foreign affairs, with a minor in economics.

“I’ve learned it is possible to create a positive outcome from a terrible event.”

Andrew Oldham

His commitment to sexual assault education helped Oldham last year win a Truman Scholarship, which will pay for his studies at Harvard. As part of the Truman application process, he wrote a public policy proposal on sexual assault education, crafted as a fictional memo to the Virginia Secretary of Education. In it Oldham implored the secretary to establish an organization like One in Four to help sexual assault victims.

“One in Four started with 16 men who wanted to learn and teach other men how to help sexual assault victims.” U.Va.’s chapter is now 30-members strong, said Oldham. Nine of these members will graduate this year.

As the organization’s first Vice President for New Member Selection, Oldham created the selection process for new recruits.

“He created the process by inspiring a shared vision among the group. He designed a thorough review process with multiple interviews, wrote out each interview question, designed rating sheets, reserved rooms, and insured that all current group members had files of applicants,” Foubert said. He dealt with approximately 80 candidates and designed a computer program to tabulate interview results.

“Throughout, he showed that leaders create their best work by serving others. Andy personifies the term, ‘servant-leader,’” Foubert said.

In addition to his pioneering work with One in Four and his stellar work as both an Echols and Jefferson Scholar, Oldham has served others through more than 25 organizations, including the Shelter for Help and Emergency, the University Guide Service, Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, Madison House, Habitat for Humanity, SERVE, the Raven Society and Resident Staff.

“Andy is that rarest of rare student who is able to be involved in numerous activities and do each well,” Foubert said.

What has Oldham learned from his commitment to serve others?

“I’ve learned to question assumptions. The world is full of gray areas. I’m learning to plumb the depth of grayness and that makes things interesting. That effort spills over into my social, spiritual and emotional life,” Oldham said.

“Andy cares deeply about others, strives to serve others in all that he does, is successful in serving a wide variety of people in many contexts, and does so out of a sincere love for his fellow human beings,” Foubert said. “He has grown to be a legend in his own time at U.Va.”



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