Students, employees give back
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
By Charlotte Crystal
Charity and public service are part of the culture at Mr.
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
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
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
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
sends college graduates into classrooms in low-income, urban and
rural public schools
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,
Tracing its roots to 1856, Madison House puts students in touch
with 70 different area community-service organizations, including
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
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.
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
not keep track
of individual employees volunteering outside of work, it
does tabulate employee
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
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
chief financial officer for the Health System. In 2001
alone, the Medical Center provided $66 million in care
serving more than 27,000 people who could not pay for
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
representing nearly one-fifth of the total raised.
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
Campaign, said Caroline
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
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
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
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
U.Va. the largest
single contributor to the clinic for the
year, Viccellio said.
University makes a big difference in the community,” Emerson said.
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 http://www.virginia.edu/public.html.
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 — www.virginia.edu/insideuva/ — and
on the Community Relations Web site at http://www.virginia.edu/communityrelations/engine.html.