We are united by a dedication to the idea that communities and universities can work together to improve quality of life and to enhance learning. As a public land-grant university, a commitment to service is the very foundation of Virginia Tech’s culture.
At VT Engage, we continually define the meaning of service for current and future members of the global family of students, faculty, alumni and friends who understand that Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) is more than just a motto.
- VT Engage and Student Affairs receive $1 million donation from alumnus Kevin Crofton. This incredible gift is an endowment that will support VT Engage's service immersion program and make trips more financially accessible to students for years to come. These student-led experiences are unique opportunities that connect students to community through service, emphasize learning, and push participants out of their comfort zones.
- First immersion trip to Peru emphasizes learning, service. Over three weeks, the group of 11 students from a variety of majors was immersed in Peruvian culture, serving with two nonprofits and learning about Peru’s history and social issues.
- VT Engage wins an Exemplary Department award from CIDER. This year’s awards were given to programs and departments that have developed and sustained innovative and effective departmental approaches to fostering Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) at the undergraduate or graduate level. The award comes with $5,000 to fund the center’s work.
- As a result of Virginia Tech’s new global focus, VT Engage receives funding for a new position: associate director for global engagement. The position focuses on building new international service partnerships and working throughout DSA to bring consistency to international trips. In May, Eliza Wethey begins work in the position, bringing more than seven years of experience working abroad coordinating service trips and building community partnerships.
- VT Engage re-locates to New Hall West from Burruss Hall in early January.
- VT Engage moves to the Division of Student Affairs. The new partnership is designed to help students reach their potential as engaged leaders in their communities. While new and innovative opportunities come with this new placement in the university, VT Engage also remains focused on building strong community partnerships and service-learning programs that fulfill Virginia Tech’s land grant mission. VT Engage was previously housed with Outreach and International Affairs.
- A new AmeriCorps State/National program is launched in September. A collaboration with the American Red Cross and Smart Beginnings New River Valley, 19 members are placed with each organization in full and part-time positions to serve the New River Valley. Members serving the Red Cross focus on disaster preparednesss. Members serving Smart Beginnings focus on building the Reading Hour program, which partners adult volunteers with children in childcare centers to work on literacy skills once a week.
- A new grant program is established to fund students interested in implementing community-based civic engagement projects. The John E. Dooley Student Engagement Grant will award one or two $750 grants per year going forward. Highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students, and student teams are encouraged to apply.
- SERVE Living Learning Community is presented with two prestigious national awards.The Bronze Certificate from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (Dalton Institute. The Best Practices Award is given to a program that best develops student values, integrity-based learning, and civic education.
- Concurrent with the launch of the new name, VT Engage launches a set of new programs and announces several new initiatives. Of note, are the funding of the Remember-Serve-Learn Initiative (RSL) by the Corporation for National and Community Service in August, and the elevation of VT Engage to a coordinating unit for the AmeriCorps VISTA program in the New River Valley in November.
- Dr. Gary Kirk joins CSECP and picks up on the fine work of the center’s talented staff. The new name, VT Engage: The Community Learning Collaborative, emerges from a collective evaluation of our history, vision, and philosophy of engagement and became the official moniker for the center in July.
- SERVE Living Learning Community launches in the 2009-2010 academic year. SERVE’s mission is to create a nurturing living-learning community that fosters personal growth and civic responsibility. Faculty from the VT Engage office coordinate the program, but it is a partnership between the Division of Student Affairs Department of Housing and Residence Life, ePortfolio Initiatives, and the Department of Agricultural Extension Education.
- The Center for Student Engagement & Community Partnerships (CSECP), is established under Outreach & International Affairs at Virginia Tech. The Service-Learning Center, the original VT-ENGAGE program, and other service-related endeavors previously housed in other campus units are united under the CSECP umbrella. The first director, Dr. James Dubinsky, becomes instrumental in defining the vision for the center, bringing together functions related to service-learning, community partnerships, and the integration of service and volunteerism in the co-curricular life of Virginia Tech students.
- In January, Michele James-Deramo begins as the first Director of Service-Learning. Within its first year, the Service-Learning Center received a multi-year Learn and Serve America: Higher Education grant enabling the development of a robust infrastructure and facilitating partnerships with units across the university. Subsequent Learn and Serve grants, along with support from Jessie Ball DuPont, Dollar General, and the Foundation of the Roanoke Valley generate opportunities linking as many as 3,500 students annually to communities across the region.
- In March, a coalition of faculty, students, and community partners, launch an initiative to formalize service-learning at Virginia Tech. Led by Lucinda Roy, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Cornel Morton, Dean of Students, the committee proposes that service-learning may be the most innovative and creative means to combat student apathy, foster communication between campus and external communities, and serve the needs of Southwest Virginia in practical and lasting ways.