March 26-April 8, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 6
Back Issues
Someone else’s shoes
Fraser answers call
Research week showcases students’ work
Headlines @ U.Va.
Conference to examine where the arts belong
Ayers wins Bancroft Prize
Davis Parker’s Magnum Opus
Move over, Sigmund
Emily Couric’s political papers now part of U.Va. library collection
‘Telling Moments’ project aids high school Spanish teachers
Expert to discuss new findings on equity in higher education
Students, employees give back to community
Students, employees give back to community
William Fletcher Freeman and Josa C. Perry
Photo by Matt Kelly
William Fletcher Freeman and Josa C. Perry, both of Facilities Management, attach hinges to a sandbox at the Westminster Child Care Center on Rugby Road. Hundreds of U.Va. employees volunteer their time each year for projects ranging from landscaping to painting to reading to children and visiting the elderly.

By Charlotte Crystal

economic engineCharity and public service are part of the culture at Mr. Jefferson’s University.

John F. Kennedy expressed a similar spirit in 1960 when he challenged students at the University of Michigan: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Since the Peace Corps was founded, more than 168,000 Americans — including more than 730 U.Va. graduates— have volunteered to help others around the world.

“U.Va. has always been in the top 25 universities sending volunteers to the Peace Corps,” said Sara Johnston, public affairs specialist for the Peace Corps’ mid-Atlantic region.

In fact, the University sends more volunteers into service with the Peace Corps than any other school of its size, according to the Washington-based volunteer organization. Nine recent graduates headed overseas last summer to join about 60 U.Va. alumni in the field.

“We’ve found that professors and support staff at our best schools push community-service learning and study-abroad programs that promote cross-cultural awareness,” Johnston said. “They encourage students to look beyond self-serving goals and think about serving the larger community and the world.”

The University is also among the top universities in the country in terms of the number of graduates joining the Teach for America program, which sends college graduates into classrooms in low-income, urban and rural public schools throughout the country to teach for two years.
But the Peace Corps and Teach for America are only two of many ways in which U.Va. students, faculty and staff serve the public.

Thousands of U.Va. students take advantage of opportunities to volunteer locally through Madison House, a student-managed, volunteer community-service office. Tracing its roots to 1856, Madison House puts students in touch with 70 different area community-service organizations, including Hoos Against Hunger and Homelessness, Migrant Aid and Youth Mentoring Program.

During the 2002-03 academic year, 3,000 students signed up with Madison House and completed more than 110,000 volunteer hours, according to Mark Andrews, Madison House’s associate director for programs. Madison House volunteers provide 50 percent or more of the volunteers needed locally, he said.

“Madison House tends to attract service-minded students who are looking for other experiences beyond traditional academics,” he said. “But we’ve found that by graduation, more than half of [U.Va.] students have volunteered with Madison House.”

Like the students, University employees also donate thousands of volunteer hours to community service. While the University does not keep track of individual employees volunteering outside of work, it does tabulate employee participation in the Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring, an event sponsored by the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area.

In 2002, 257 U.Va. employees participated in the one-day community-service program — 33 percent more than the year before, according to the University’s Office of Community Relations. Thanks to these volunteer efforts, 36 projects were completed at 20 nonprofit organizations, including the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program, the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, the Nature Conservancy and Stone-Robinson Elementary School. U.Va. volunteers tallied 1,079 hours with an estimated value of more than $21,000.

Even in their day jobs, U.Va. employees provide service to the public. Through the U.Va. Medical Center, the University provides a significant amount of free health care to Virginia’s most vulnerable residents on a routine basis.

Serving patients around the state and beyond, the U.Va. Medical Center provides quality health care and acts as a safety-net hospital, said Larry Fitzgerald, chief financial officer for the Health System. In 2001 alone, the Medical Center provided $66 million in care for uninsured Virginians from around the state, serving more than 27,000 people who could not pay for their care.

“Our mission is to treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay for medically necessary care,” Fitzgerald said.

Another way the University gives back to the community is through the annual Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, a charitable fund-raising campaign for state employees. In 2002, U.Va. employees donated $563,585 to the statewide campaign, representing nearly one-fifth of the total raised.

“U.Va. employees and students feel strongly about the importance of giving back to the community through volunteer service and financial donations,” said Ida Lee Wootten, director of community relations and chairwoman of the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign at U.Va.

The United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area received nearly $57,000 in 2002 from U.Va. through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, said Caroline Emerson, vice president and campaign director for the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area. She said state employees, including those at U.Va., were among the United Way’s top supporters.

Beyond the financial support, the United Way enjoys a close relationship with U.Va. and its employees, many of whom volunteer for United Way programs and serve on its board, Emerson said.

U.Va. employees also have a special relationship with the Charlottesville Free Clinic. Founded in 1992 by two U.Va. medical residents to serve the medical needs of the working uninsured, the Free Clinic treated 1,200 patients in 2002 and treated even more last year, said Erika Viccellio, Charlottesville Free Clinic executive director. U.Va. medical students, nurses and doctors continue to volunteer their professional services, and many in the University community make financial contributions as well.

U.Va. employees earmarked more than $47,000 to support the Charlottesville Free Clinic in the 2002 Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, making U.Va. the largest single contributor to the clinic for the year, Viccellio said.

“The University makes a big difference in the community,” Emerson said.

For more information about the more than 400 service programs that U.Va. offers around the state, visit the University’s Public Service/Outreach Web site at

An Economic Engine: This concludes Inside UVA’s seven-part, Economic Engine series on how U.Va. contributes to the local, regional and state economy. The stories are accessible in Inside UVA online — — and on the Community Relations Web site at


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