Home building project, spring break 2016

Connecting with community, learning about complex issues

Service immersion trips are designed to connect students with community members. These hands-on experiences prompt learning about community issues, encourage self-understanding, and inspire commitment to future action. The trips emphasize communication with community partners in order for students to connect more deeply to the issue areas they were serving.

All the trips offer an outside-of-the-classroom platform for discussion about community issues such as homelessness and poverty in urban areas, public health in rural areas, refugee resettlement, and rural building and town restoration. In addition to having meaningful discussion, students immerse themselves in new environments.

Interested in trips outside the U.S.? We lead trips to the Dominican Republic and to Peru.

For information on our upcoming weekend and spring break trips, sign up for our eNewsletter to get all the latest VT Engage news first.

Weekend trips 

On our weekend immersion trips, you’ll serve a cause that matters to you, dive more deeply into social justice issues through reflection, and meet other students passionate about questioning and serving. You’ll leave on a Friday night, and return on Sunday afternoon, with new friends, new questions, and maybe some new ideas. Trips are open to all students.

Spring break trips

Each spring break , VT Engage develops alternative break trips with our student leaders. These trips are opportunities for students to immerse themselves in a new place, spend the week engaged in service projects, broaden their horizons as they learned about social and environmental issues impacting our region, and make connections with fellow Hokies and community members.

Trip locations and trip costs vary based on location and year. All undergraduate and graduate students are welcome on trips, and a limited amount of need-based financial assistance is available. Below are the regional trips that ran during spring break 2017; these trips may not run this coming year.

Rural community development
Location: Hurley, Virginia
Focus: challenges facing rural communities, home repairs, grassroots organizing
Cost: between $200 - $250
Partner: Hurley Community Development Inc.

What happens to a town when people leave to pursue other opportunities? How does it affect those who stay behind? What can the town's residents do to help change this?

On this trip, we'll explore these questions and take a holistic look at efforts to revitalize the town of Hurley and the challenges its residents face. Participants on this trip will assist with home repairs for low-income families, and work on projects at clothing and food banks.

Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Location: Sparta, North Carolina
Focus: National Parks preservation, Appalachian culture, impact of large-scale infrastructure project
Cost: between $300 - $350
Partner: Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway

How can we make sure our national parks are preserved for years to come? What impact does a large-scale infrastructure project have on a park and the surrounding community?

We'll look at these questions and more as we partner with Friends on Parkway on preservation projects such as repairing fencing and trail maintenance. Participants will also work with local clothing banks and soup kitchens to learn about the economic and social impacts of the Parkway on surrounding communities. 

Trip cost
These trips vary in cost based on a variety of factors, including number of people attending and location of the project. All transportation, food, and lodging are included in the price of the trip. 

Scholarships available!
We want all Virginia Tech students who are interested in immersion trips to have the opportunity to go on them. Due to the generosity of donors, there is a limited amount of need-based financial assistance available for service immersion trips.

These scholarships will cover up to half of the cost of the trip. All applicants will be considered. Contact us at engage@vt.edu for more information.