sexual violence one of Oldham's goals
Ida Lee Wootten
Andrew Oldhams 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.
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 masters
and law degrees in public policy, Oldham will spend a year volunteering
at the Violence Against Women Office in the U.S. Department of
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 organizations
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.
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.
learned that a group of similarly impassioned individuals can
make a difference in a short time. Ive 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.
learned it is possible to create a positive outcome from
a terrible event.
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.
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.
the organizations first Vice President for New Member Selection,
Oldham created the selection process for new recruits.
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
he showed that leaders create their best work by serving others.
Andy personifies the term, servant-leader, Foubert
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.
is that rarest of rare student who is able to be involved in numerous
activities and do each well, Foubert said.
has Oldham learned from his commitment to serve others?
learned to question assumptions. The world is full of gray areas.
Im 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.
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.