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Virginia Tech to honor April 16 victims through volunteer service; kickoff Tuesday


BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 15, 2007 – Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff, family, friends, and alumni will begin signing up for volunteer service on Tuesday, Oct. 16 to kick off VT-ENGAGE, the university's new volunteerism initiative to honor the victims of April 16, 2007 and reaffirm its commitment to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

VT-ENGAGE will join university and community through service.

Kickoff events will take place on the university’s Drillfield at the main campus in Blacksburg and at ten Virginia Tech centers in Alexandria, Falls Church, Leesburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Abingdon, Danville, Critz (Patrick County), all in Virginia; and at the university’s Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. Members of the Virginia Tech community will be able to sign up for their volunteer service in person at the kickoff events or on the VT-ENGAGE website starting Oct.16.

The VT-ENGAGE challenge for students, faculty, and staff is to serve at least 10 hours of community service by graduation next May, with a total goal of 300,000 hours. The Virginia Tech Alumni Association voted to challenge its members around the world to donate an additional 300,000 hours of community service for a total of 600,000 hours. There are more than 197,000 Virginia Tech alumni.

“We are also inviting Virginia Tech family and friends and our sister colleges and universities to join us in honoring the priceless individuals we lost on April 16 and their commitment to service within their communities around the world,” said university President Charles W. Steger.

An open letter about the VT-ENGAGE volunteerism initiative (PDF) from President Steger to the higher education community was published as a full-page ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Roanoke, Va.’s WSLS Channel 10 television has volunteered to host a phone bank in its studio downtown so that friends of the university and those who cannot attend the Kickoff Event or do not have Internet access can join in the volunteer effort and make their pledges on Oct.16. WSLS is partnering with the university to sponsor the event.

The free Kickoff Event will take place in Blacksburg on the Virginia Tech Drillfield with Cassell Coliseum designated as the rain location. Over 75 non-profit, community, student groups, and other service organizations will have information on their volunteer needs and opportunities. There will also be volunteer signup stations and tents with computers for on-line pledging of service hours. The event will feature live music, stories about volunteer experiences, carnival food, and games. Events at the ten other locations will be similar.

The VT-ENGAGE website will provide a gateway to information about volunteer opportunities and will allow visitors to pledge and track their hours of service. It will also feature stories with photos about participants’ volunteer experiences.



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