BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 22, 2012 – Jessi Preussner has been named VT Engage: The Community Learning Collaborative's new project manager for the Remember-Serve-Learn Initiative, a grant-funded project through the Corporation for National and Community Service.
As project manager, Preussner will coordinate a regional initiative to commemorate the National Sept. 11 Day of Service and Virginia Tech's Day of Remembrance by commissioning students to volunteer as tutors and mentors for at-risk children and youth, or with emergency response teams. Additionally, she will be in charge of developing the program including creating community partnerships in Southwest Virginia, organizing volunteer placement, and working with local nonprofits on volunteer management.
“This is an outstanding program that allows students and members of the community to honor those affected by the tragedies of Sept.11 and April 16 by giving back to their communities,” says Preussner.
Preussner relocated to Blacksburg from Delhi, Iowa, after completing her graduate work in regional and community planning at Kansas State University in May. Her thesis work focused on community partnerships for disaster relief aid and recovery. Preussner completed fieldwork in Joplin, Mo., after the tornadoes, assessing partnerships between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and nonprofits in the community.
"VT Engage is fortunate to add Jessi's energy and enthusiasm to our outstanding team. I'm really pleased that we were able to find someone with her background to lead the Remember-Serve-Learn Initiative,” says Gary Kirk, director of VT Engage. “Drawing on her recent experiences building community partnerships and working directly with volunteers in Iowa and Kansas, she is poised to make our initative a nationally-recognized program highlighting Virginia Tech's commitment to service and community engagement."
Preussner joins the office at a very exciting time. VT Engage recently completed a new strategic plan that will include a renewed focus in community and civic engagement. New initiatives such as Get on the Bus, will serve to introduce students, staff and faculty to volunteerism with a focus on inspiring a long-term commitment to community. VT Engage is also embarking on the President’s Interfaith Community Service Campus Challenge this year. Through this challenge the office will be sponsoring interfaith dialogue among student groups and supporting international service projects.
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.