First years volunteer through Project SERVE
Event offers first years community service opportunities
Last Friday, first years dispersed to sites around Charlottesville to participate in Project SERVE, a once-yearly event in the University’s Orientation and New Students Program.
The community service projects are launchpads for first years to become involved at the University, giving them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with service agencies in the community. The group organized 25 service projects this year, covering everything from making hospital cards for children, cleaning trails in nearby parks and collecting food for food drives.
Fourth-year College student Jane Richards, one of the group’s chairs, said the service event can ease the transition into life at the University.
“I hope that Project SERVE acts as a bridge between high school volunteering and involvement in service organizations at U.Va.,” Richards said. “This event is another fun way to welcome the first-year class to our wonderful community here and hopefully the friendships they make and their desire to participate in service organizations will last far beyond the day of Project SERVE.”
Chairs and vice-chairs plan for Project SERVE year-round, cultivating relationships with community partners, selecting dates and finalizing projects. By Winter Break, members release and review site leader applications to select students to facilitate events.
New initiatives this year included a re-vamped survey and refined training for site leaders.
“I love that Project SERVE facilitates friendships in the most simple of ways,” said fourth-year Education student Katherine McCole, another chair for the organization. “My first year as a participant, I spent my morning with Project SERVE sorting cans at a Kroger food drive with a girl who is now a great friend of mine. The site leaders often serve as mentors and older friends to the participants well beyond the day of the event.”