September 1, 2014

100-Plus UMW Students Volunteer for Annual ‘Into the Streets’

Bracing Saturday’s oddly humid October weather, more than 100 University of Mary Washington students gave up their weekend slumber to team with various community service organizations through “Into the Streets,” an annual event sponsored by Community Outreach and Resources (COAR).

A group of UMW students prepared nearly 10,000 meals for the organization Stop Hunger Now.

A group of UMW students prepared nearly 10,000 meals for the organization Stop Hunger Now.

The volunteers constructed rain barrels with Friends of the Rappahannock, packaged meals with Stop Hunger Now, built picnic tables with Habitat for Humanity, cooked meals at the Micah Respite Recovery house and spruced up the City Cemetery on William Street.

Christina Eggenberger, director of service at the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service, was pleased with the student turnout.

“We mobilized more volunteers this year than in years past, and we were able to make a measureable impact on the Fredericksburg community as well as globally,” she said.

Eggenberger and the rest of COAR staff provided volunteers with Into the Streets T-shirts, a Chick Fil-A breakfast and Vocelli’s pizza for lunch after their hard work.

Through their morning of service, volunteers were able to see the difference they could make over only a few hours of labor.

“It shows students ways they can get involved in Fredericksburg, and it shows our community that students want to be a part of the larger community,” Eggenberger said. “They see themselves as Fredericksburg residents, not just UMW students.”

Students working with Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) on Saturday constructed 20 rain barrels, using power tools and listening to music on Ball Circle in the process.

Students prepared a meal at Micah Ministries as part of Into the Streets.

Students prepared a meal at Micah Ministries as part of Into the Streets.

UMW senior David Chambers, environmental educator at FOR, said the job of a rain barrel is to collect running water from roofs, storing the water for future use instead of letting it run off and eventually find its way to local streams and rivers.

This water runoff can lead to increased stream bank erosion, flooding and water pollution, according to the FOR website.

FOR sells the barrels for $75, a less expensive alternative to the barrels sold at retail stores. The barrels used also are economical since they would alternatively end up in a landfill.

Another group of about 60 students worked in Lee Hall with the Stop Hunger Now organization to ready some 10,000 meals to be sent around the world. Students spent the morning packaging the nutrient dense food packs of rice, dehydrated soy and dehydrated vegetables into cardboard boxes to be mailed.

Stop Hunger Now is an international food hunger relief organization that works with local partners to package food to be sent to about 65 different countries, according to Hannah Craddock, assistant program manager at the Richmond headquarters. Craddock led students through the process of packaging the meals throughout the morning.

Off campus, four students, including junior COAR council member, Sarah Arnold, worked at the Micah Ministries Respite Recovery house, a place for homeless individuals who need extra time for recovery after being discharged from the hospital.

The group prepared lunch for the residents, but gained much more than just a cooking lesson.

“I think that projects such as spending time at the respite house are an important aspect of community service, because it helps break down barriers,” Arnold said. “The valuable part of this project was the company, friendship and sense of community that we got a taste of for two hours. Just having a meaningful conversation can make a huge impact, for the students and the people at the respite house.”

A Helping Hand

UMW upperclassmen helped freshmen settle into their new homes.

UMW Staff Volunteer for “Day of Caring”

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.

Director of Campus Recreation and the Fitness Center, Mark Mermelstein, worked with other staff members to wash the vans.

“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.

Peace Corps Again Ranks UMW First in Nation Among Top Producing Small Colleges

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.

Jennifer Davis '08 served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali

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.

UMW Athletics Hosts Special Olympics Fun Run; Helps Raise Over $5,000

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.”

UMW Dahlgren Campus Sponsors Days of Caring Team

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 msaffers@umw.edu 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.

UMW Staff Volunteer at Day of Caring

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.