BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 20, 2010 – In less than a month, thousands of people are expected to flock to one of the largest volunteer events ever seen on Virginia Tech's campus. The mission is to fill a shipping container the size of a barge with more than a quarter-million packaged rice meals – enough to feed more than a million people. The food packed that day will be shipped from Virginia Tech's campus directly to Haiti to help thousands of victims of January's earthquake.
On Sat., Oct. 2, more than 2,000 students, faculty, staff, and community members will work in shifts at the Commonwealth Ballroom inside Squires Student Center. Virginia Tech's Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships is teaming with international food relief organization Stop Hunger Now to organize the Fall Day of Service, the final day of a three-day event called Local Food, Global Hunger: Learning, Sharing, Serving.
“The volunteers will be amazed at how much they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time working as a team,” says Troy Henson of Stop Hunger Now.
Volunteers can sign up at the Fall Day of Service website.
Seasons of Service is organized by the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships as part of VT-ENGAGE, an initiative started after the April 16th tragedy to promote volunteerism on the campus and in the community.
“Our hope is that this Fall Day of Service, part of a larger Seasons of Service metaphor, will help shift the perspective from service being occasional to service being part of the natural rhythm of life,” says Jim Dubinsky, director of the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships.
The yearlong Seasons of Service initiative looks to change the way students at Virginia Tech and people in Blacksburg and the New River Valley think about volunteering.
Community members and churches were instrumental in staging the Blacksburg event. Blacksburg United Methodist Church raised almost $60,000. Other congregations joined the fundraising efforts, such as the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, leading to almost $10,000 in additional funds to buy food.
Housing and Residence Life, part of Student Affairs, is helping to promote the three-day event Local Food, Global Hunger: Learning, Sharing, Serving. During September, on different quads and near different residence halls, booths and activities will offer students the opportunity to have fun and learn about service.
“My hope is that our community will become deeply committed to this issue of hunger relief long-term and work to become the single largest volunteer partner with Stop Hunger Now,” Dubinsky says.
Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs supports the university’s engagement mission by creating community partnerships and economic development projects, offering professional development programs and technical assistance, and building collaborations to enrich discovery and learning – all with the overarching goal of improving the quality of life for people within the commonwealth and throughout the world. Outreach and International Affairs leads Virginia Tech’s presence on five continents; its regional research and development centers across the commonwealth focus on graduate education and professional development. Blacksburg-based centers are dedicated to student engagement, language, policy, and governance.