VT Engage staff member Jake Grohs and seniors Analise Adams and Ryan Brock
VT Engage staff member Jake Grohs and seniors Analise Adams and Ryan Brock

February 15, 2013- This past fall, SERVE was presented with two prestigious national awards.  The Bronze Certificate from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), is an excellence award based on whether the applicant program demonstrates having a positive influence on student education.

Other credentials for the award are whether the program exhibits creativity and originality, supports the university’s mission, works with other departments, and shows sustainability. President Charles Steger and Tech’s senior student affairs officer will be given letters of commendation from NASPA.

In addition to NASPA’s excellence award, SERVE received the Best Practices Award from the Dalton Institute.  The Best Practices Award is given to a program that best develops student values, integrity-based learning, and civic education.

Jake Grohs, SERVE faculty advisor and two student representatives from SERVE attended the award ceremony.  They received a $500 award and were recognized at the Dalton Institute on College Student Values conference.  SERVE will also submit a best practices article to the Journal of College and Character as well as the Character Clearinghouse.

SERVE began as a pilot program in 2009 and has preserved its values ever since. With the mission to foster a nurturing Living Learning Community that encourages personal growth and civic responsibility, SERVE has given first year students, as well as returning members, a place they can feel welcomed, challenged, and valued.

Senior SERVE mentor and intern Analise Adams wrote on behalf of SERVE when applying for the Dalton Institute’s Best Practices Award.  She described SERVE as an organization that “creates[s] meaningful experiences that encourage reflection and continued action.”  She used words such as “authentic,” “welcoming,” “a safe place,” “team,” and “break[ing] out of the normal undergraduate experience” to further depict the Living Learning Community.

Current SERVE freshman Hannah Perlman shares that, “SERVE has been a wonderful experience, connecting with other people via service – whether it’s with other volunteers or with the people you are serving. And I like it because I’m starting to figure out that there are many different ways to serve and give back to others both inside and outside of SERVE.”

Many SERVE freshmen have returned their second, third, and fourth years to continue their involvement, a testament to the impact this group has on its members.  SERVE exemplifies “Ut Prosim, that I may serve,” and weaves it into the lives and hearts of its members, who in turn, share it with the rest of campus.  Rarely does one find a group that so embraces a group of students and encourages them to rise beyond their potential.

-Written by Audrey Semel

You can learn more about SERVE here or read the press release about these awards!