August 5, 2020

UMW Students Spend Spring Break with Habitat for Humanity

Turning a concrete slab into a full-fledged structure with trusses might not illustrate the typical college spring break – unless you were one of 45 University of Mary Washington students and staff advisers who donated their time to rebuilding and rehabilitating houses last week.   UMW’s student-run Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) team organized three alternative spring break trips in Mobile, Ala., Maryville, Tenn. and Palm Bay, Fla., Feb. 28 through March 8. At each location, the students collaborated with Habitat for Humanity to help eliminate substandard housing. Click to view slideshow. Kelly Bryant, a senior psychology major, co-led the trip to Alabama this year for her third alternative spring break trip. “It is such a cool experience to learn how to hammer, square a house and put up roof trusses, all in the pursuit of giving someone a better life,” said Bryant. “It makes me so happy and proud to know that with my one short week I have made a lasting difference in someone’s life.” For some students, one trip is all it takes to change their perception of spring break. “After working with Habitat for Humanity last year, I couldn’t imagine spending my break any other way,” said sophomore and international affairs major Caitriona Cobb. “The feeling you get after volunteering is irreplaceable. The trip is such genuine fun and I was fortunate to get the opportunity to co-lead the trip with two of my best friends.” Alternative Spring Break is part of Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, which calls students to aid impoverished communities.  In the past 26 years, approximately 230,100 students have participated in the program nationwide.  UMW has been involved in the program for at least 18 years, according to Christina Eggenberger, director of service in the Center for Honor, Leadership and Service. “We have a couple seniors on the trips that have gone on Alternative Spring Break every year,” said Eggenberger. “For them, college spring break means building homes with Habitat for Humanity.”

COAR’s Annual Variety Show, Feb. 20

Bring your friends and family out to Dodd Auditorium for COAR’s 4th Annual Variety Show on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. to support UMW performance groups and help us raise money to send students to build Habitat for Humanity houses over spring break! Admission is $1 and we will be having a silent auction and raffle with great prizes from amusement parks, sports teams, and restaurants! See you there!

UMW Hosts Pumpkin Palooza

The University of Mary Washington hosted its 2014 Pumpkin Palooza on Sunday, Oct. 26 on the Fredericksburg campus.   Click to view slideshow. The event, coordinated by COAR, UMW’s student-run volunteer office, featured an afternoon of trick-or-treat and fall festivities for children and families in the local community. More than 100 families attended, with over 200 children dressed up in Halloween costumes. Children played games like “Donut on a String,” “Pin the Bow Tie on the Skeleton,” and sack races, in addition to creating  Halloween crafts. Families also went on a trick-or-treat tour of Mary Washington’s residence halls, guided by UMW students. UMW COAR had 93 student volunteers participate to coordinate the event with the help of the Association of Residence Halls at UMW. For more information about COAR, please visit the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service website:

Spring Variety Show, Feb. 8

On Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium, UMW Community Outreach and Resources is hosting its annual Spring Variety Show to benefit Habitat for Humanity and UMW Alternative Breaks. There will be lots of student talent including One Note Stand, Eagle Bhangra, Save the Arcadian, and more! We will also be auctioning and raffling off amazing prizes such as professional massages, restaurant gift cards, and gift cards for family fun! This event is open to students, staff, and the Fredericksburg community. There will be $1 admission and all proceeds will go towards the cause. Please help us spread the word!

Head Start Gift Box Drive

Fill a box for this year’s annual Head Start Gift Box Drive, and help make sure every 3 to 5-year-old child in local Head Start programs has what they need to get through the winter with a smile on his or her face.

Here’s what you can do:

Pick up a box at the Nest, Underground, or COAR Office

Fill it with: a hat, gloves, scarves, small toys, toothpaste and toothbrush, book, markers/crayons, and coloring book.

Return the box to the COAR office in the basement of Seacobeck by Dec. 2!

The presents you donate will be delivered to the children at the beginning of December!

UMW Students Spend Fall Break with Habitat for Humanity

A group of University of Mary Washington students spent their Fall Break giving back to the community through an Alternative Fall Break trip on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The four-day trip, organized through the office of Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) and Habitat for Humanity, brought the students to the small town of Exmore, just three hours from Fredericksburg. A  student sands wood as part of a Habitat for Humanity project in Exmore, Va. For the first three days, the students worked on a house in the last stages of construction, sanding, painting, and putting the final touches on the home with the help of other volunteers and the future homeowners themselves. “[The 10-year-old son of one of the residents] was very proud of seeing his own home being built,” said sophomore Maura Slocum. “It was very rewarding to have him and the homeowner right there with us.” On the last day in Exmore, the students, along with Director of Service Christina Eggenberger, helped with the demolition of a house that was in unlivable condition. The land will become the site for a new Habitat home in the future. “You get to see that the work you are doing is building towards someone else’s life,” said Madeline Moravitz, a junior COAR staff member. On the last day of the trip, students demolished a house to create a site for a new Habitat for Humanity home. COAR, part of the Center for Honor, Leadership and Service, takes service trips each year during both Fall Break and Spring Break. In 2014, students will travel to Lucedale, Miss., Smyrna, Fla., and Bluffton, S.C. for Spring Break. For more information or to register for one of the trips, contact “It is incredibly heartwarming that students are really interested in dedicating their time on their break to providing affordable housing to others,” Moravitz said.

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. 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. 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.”

UMW Club to Host Silent Auction

Mary Washington’s Young Women Leaders Program will be hosting a silent auction on Saturday, September 21 as part of Family Weekend. The event will take place on Ball Circle from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the rain location will be the 3rd floor of Lee Hall. Gift certificates to local restaurants, spa services, and gift baskets will be auctioned off and awarded to the highest bidders. EagleOne and cash will be accepted. The funds raised will go toward leadership projects with our seventh grade mentees.

Information submitted by Amanda Bletsh

A Bigger Impact

The night before graduation, Laura Allan got a life-changing phone call. Allan, a 2012 UMW graduate, had been accepted to the competitive DC Teaching Fellows program. Less than one month later, she arrived in Washington, D.C., to start an intensive eight-week training session. DC Teaching Fellows, a partnership between District of Columbia Public Schools and [...]

Spring Festival Draws Hundreds to Brompton

Hundreds of children gathered on the Brompton lawn on Sunday, April 1 for COAR’s annual Spring Forward Festival. More than 100 families came to the event for crafts, games, food and a lively egg hunt. Sixty-one UMW volunteers from Psi Chi, the psychology honor society, Kappa Delta Pi, an education honor society, Chi Beta Phi, the science honor society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Circle K helped with the afternoon’s activities.