Virginia Tech students will be planting maroon and orange Hokie flower gardens throughout the region on Saturday, April 28, as a living memorial to Virginia Tech’s students and faculty whose lives were lost on April 16.
“We are inviting Virginia Tech students, staff, and faculty to be part of this Hometown Healing effort as a way to show our unified sorrow and our continual need for healing,” said Perry Martin, assistant director of the Service-Learning Center at Virginia Tech. Hometown Industries, a service-learning program that Martin coordinates, is leading the project, working closely with Chi Delta Alpha Service Sorority and other service-oriented student organizations at the university. The Town of Blacksburg is also a partner.
Many of the gardens for the Hometown Healing Project will be on the grounds of community and non-profit organizations where Hometown Industries students do volunteer work throughout the academic year. Children from the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Shawsville will be working with Virginia Tech students to plant flowers in their community. Gardens will also be planted in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Eggleston, Pulaski, Salem, and Newport. Requests from other communities are coming in each day.
“Our goal is to do something together with the communities we serve--communities that have been so supportive in the aftermath of this tragedy--to create a memorial that will be a reminder of our unified spirit and pay tribute to our students and faculty members who lost their lives,” said Martin. Hometown Industries will be working with these communities in maintaining these gardens in years to come.
A planning meeting was held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, in the Commonwealth Ballroom, Squires Student Center, to organize the April 28 event.
Hometown Industries normally schedules community workdays on Saturdays throughout the year. Work this semester has included everything from helping to renovate the Meadowbrook Center in Shawsville to landscaping at the Jacksonville Center in Floyd. Each Friday throughout the academic year, students volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank in Salem and move furniture for clients of the Women’s Resource Center in the New River Valley.
Students will assemble at 8:30 a.m. on April 28 at the Duckpond Overflow Parking Lot 19 at the entrance to Oak Lane. Those wishing to participate should contact Martin at the Virginia Tech Service Learning Center at (540) 231-9186 so adequate transportation can be coordinated.
Businesses or individuals wishing to help in the effort or to donate maroon and orange plants should also contact Martin at the Service-Learning Center.