In the past two weeks, UMW students, faculty and staff have shown their generosity through Day of Service activities and National Student Day.
When Governor Bob McDonnell declared September 29, 2012 to be the “Day of Service in Virginia,” the UMW Staff Advisory Council (S.A.C.) moved into action. The S.A.C. Eagles in Service quickly replaced their school supply drive boxes with Day of Service food donation boxes and then went to work soliciting donations to fight hunger in Virginia.
When September 29 arrived, the group delivered 300 pounds of food to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank. Priscilla Sullivan, S.A.C. activities chair, said she is very grateful to each UMW employee who donated to this crucial effort. The next donation campaign will kick off at the employee luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
On Wednesday, Oct. 3, more than 50 student volunteers gathered in Lee Hall for UMW’s Stop Hunger Now event. The students packaged 10,000 meals for children and families from impoverished areas who have been affected by natural disasters. The Center for Honor, Leadership and Service and the UMW Bookstore partnered to bring the event to UMW as part of National Student Day, a day that celebrates the volunteer work of students nationwide.
University of Mary Washington staff formed four volunteer teams that participated in one of the Rappahannock United Way “Days of Caring” on Friday, Sept. 14.
A total of 42 UMW staff members volunteered this year, an increase from last year’s 28 volunteers. Participants came from UMW’s Facilities Services, Advancement and University Relations, Academic Services, and Student Affairs divisions.
The volunteers spent the day at the Boys and Girls Club in Fredericksburg, and helped with weeding, cutting grass, planting flowers, mulching and washing the vans that transport the children. UMW also donated used computers to the club.
UMW’s Director of Service, Christina Eggenberger, has helped involve staff in the Rappahannock United Way’s program for the past three years.
“It’s fun to hear each team name being called…and to show UMW spirit to the community,” she said.
Other local businesses and organizations volunteered, however UMW had the biggest group there, Eggenberger said.
“It’s a great opportunity to get out and work on something together,” Mermelstein said.
Rappahannock United Way expanded the opportunity for community volunteering when they changed the “Day of Caring” into “Days of Caring.” Likewise, Mark Thaden, director of alumni relations, has a similar mindset.
“I hope to see our numbers continue to grow every year in participation,” said Thaden.
For the second year in a row, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington No. 1 in the nation among small universities for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
Currently, UMW has 30 alumni serving around the world, the Peace Corps announced on January 20.
“I am delighted that our civically minded students and alumni continue to be nationally recognized for their global service,” said UMW President Richard Hurley.
Mary Washington has been named to the Peace Corps list of 25 top producing small schools for the ninth consecutive year. In 2011, the university placed No. 1 among small schools or institutions with less than 5,000 undergraduates, with 32 alumni serving in the Peace Corps. In 2010, UMW ranked No. 2 in the same category, with 23 alumni volunteering for the Peace Corps.
In all, 245 Mary Washington alumni have served the 27-month commitment around the world since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961.
The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to the size of the student body. The rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2011 data as of September 30, 2011, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.
“The Peace Corps is actively and successfully engaged in 76 countries, and our successes, both this year and during the last five decades, are directly attributable to the outstanding support we have received from the University of Mary Washington,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams in a letter to President Hurley. “These volunteers are applying the skills and knowledge they acquired during their time at the University of Mary Washington to help improve the lives of people across the globe. They are making important contributions to grass-roots projects in agriculture, education, the environment, health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, small business development, and youth development.”
Ryan Marr ‘11 is following that Peace Corps tradition. He received notice today that he will leave for Benin, Africa.
An English major and French minor, Marr was active in global service at UMW. In 2009, he traveled to Honduras with the Students Helping Honduras.
“The Peace Corps always has been in the back of my brain since I was a freshman,” he said. “It’s probably one of the most exciting things I’ve ever had to think about.”
Since its founding, more than 200,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the 139 countries where volunteers have served. Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age.
The University of Mary Washington athletic department co-hosted the first annual Run with the Law 5K and Special Olympics fun run on Saturday, October 22 with the Fredericksburg City Police. The races raised over $5,000 for Special Olympics Virginia, and more than 350 UMW student-athletes provided support for the fun run by lining the course and cheering for the runners.
“I was truly blown away by the support of the UMW athletes”, said Carrie Dyer, the Director of Development for Special Olympics Virginia. “I know our athletes felt extra special with all those fans cheering them on… Truly spectacular.” Several UMW athletes also accompanied some of the 75 competitors throughout the race.
The day began with a 5K run, followed by comments from UMW President Richard V. Hurley. The final event was the fun run, which began at the William M. Anderson Center and stretched to the Campus Bell Tower and turned back across campus to the starting point. The Student Athlete Advisory Council provided UMW athletes with t-shirts, lining the course and providing support.
“The 5k race for the Special Olympics and one mile ‘fun run’ helped raise over $5,000 dollars for the Special Olympics,” said UMW men’s basketball coach Rod Wood, who helped organize the event. “That pales in comparison to the reward our athletes, coaches, and UMW community received from the special friends we met, encouraged, and shared with on Saturday. This will be a life-long memory for all of us. It really puts in perspective what we do and what we, as a community, can do. We changed lives this weekend, mostly ours. It was a powerful day and something I hope we can continue for years to come.”
The UMW Dahlgren campus, in support of the Rappahannock United Way’s second annual King George Days of Caring, invites you to join Team UMW Dahlgren as a volunteer on Thursday, October 20. You’ll join other UMW volunteers who will invest their time and energy to assist a Rappahannock United Way member agency complete a project that is valuable to the agency and meaningful to the agency’s clients. Classified staff, with supervisor approval, may take one day (8 hours) of paid School Assistance and Volunteer Leave. Administrative/Professional Faculty, with supervisor approval, may take one day (8 hours) of Leave to Provide Community Service.
To volunteer or for more information, contact Mark Safferstone, executive director of UMW’s Dahlgren campus at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 286-8013. Volunteers will be accepted on a first-come basis until 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 13th and Team UMW Dahlgren will be limited to a maximum of 10 team members.
Go to http://eagleeye.umw.edu/2011/09/15/umw-staff-volunteer-at-day-of-caring/ for the recent EagleEye article and photos of UMW’s participation in this year’s Days of Caring on September 15th.
For more information, go to the United Way’s website – http://www.rappahannockunitedway.org/daysofcaring.html.
Two teams of University of Mary Washington staff traded in their desks and computers for paint brushes and shovels as volunteers at the Day of Caring on Thursday, September 15.
A total of 28 volunteers, 16 from Student Affairs and 12 from Advancement and University Relations, spent the morning cleaning, painting and landscaping for local agencies.
The team from Student Affairs volunteered at Thurman Brisben Center and Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services while the team from Advancement and University Relations volunteered at the Rappahannock Emergency Medical Services Council.
This is the second year that a group from Mary Washington has volunteered with the Day of Caring, a project of Rappahannock United Way.