October 30, 2020

Peace Corps Ranks UMW as Top-Producing Small College

For the 11th year, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington among the nation’s top-producing colleges for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Taylor Parker ’11 (left) served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. UMW ranks 20th on the Peace Corps’ list of small schools or institutions with less than 5,000 undergraduates, making it the seventh-highest volunteer-producing institution in Virginia this year and the sixth-highest all-time producer in the Commonwealth. According to the Peace Corp, UMW currently has nine alumni serving around the world. UMW has been included in the top 10 of the Peace Corps’ list of top-producing small schools since 2005. In all, more than 230 UMW alumni have served the 27-month commitment around the world since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961. Leah Kieff graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2011 with a degree in political science and currently works as a community economic development volunteer. She credits UMW with helping to prepare her for service in Moldova, where she works with a non-governmental organization that provides medical and social services to the elderly. “I wanted a job where I knew I was making a difference and where my work was helping to make the world a better place,” said Kieff, 26, a native of Fairfax, Va. “One of the many things I love about Peace Corps is that no two days are the same. There’s always a new adventure or funny moment to be had.” The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. For the full list of top-producing colleges and universities, visit peacecorps.gov.

Peace Corps Ranks UMW Among Top-Producing Small Colleges

For the 10th year, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington among the nation’s top-producing colleges for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

Taylor Parker '11 (left) is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana.

Taylor Parker ’11 (left) is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana.

UMW ranks 10th on the Peace Corps’ list of small schools or institutions with less than 5,000 undergraduates. Currently, UMW has 13 alumni serving around the world, the Peace Corps announced on Feb. 11.

Mary Washington has been included in the top 10 of the Peace Corps’ list of top-producing small schools since 2005.

In all, more than 230 Mary Washington alumni have served the 27-month commitment around the world since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961.

Taylor Parker ’11, a biology major with a pre-med concentration, is in her second year of service as a health, water and sanitation volunteer in Ghana. She works with the Ghana Education Service at the community level to incorporate health education into the curriculum, and is president of the Peace Corps Ghana HIV Committee.

Parker is in her second year as a health, water and sanitation volunteer.

Parker is in her second year as a health, water and sanitation volunteer.

“Everybody says that during your Peace Corps service you will learn a lot about yourself and experience a life-changing event,” she said. “They were right.  Your Peace Corps service is a great time to reflect and decide what you truly want to do for your future endeavors.”

While a student, Parker had conversations with former Peace Corps volunteer and Professor of Biology Alan Griffith about his experiences in Senegal.

“It was one of his stories that sealed the deal,” Parker said. “I began my application the next day.”

For any interested students currently enrolled at UMW, representatives from the Peace Corps will attend the Spring Career Day on Thursday, March 20 and will hold information sessions on campus on Monday, March 24 from 4 to 5 p.m. and from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

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 2013 data as of September 30, 2013, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers. A complete list of colleges and universities can be viewed at Peace Corps’ Top Colleges.

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 coarumw@gmail.com. “It is incredibly heartwarming that students are really interested in dedicating their time on their break to providing affordable housing to others,” Moravitz said.

UMW Receives National Recognition for Service

Two dozen University of Mary Washington students spent their Spring Break serving others. The students, who spent a week in Albany, Ga., and Melbourne, Fla., built houses with Habitat for Humanity through a program known as Alternative Spring Break. The annual program is one of many service opportunities that have given UMW a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fourth consecutive year. UMW is one of 690 U.S. colleges and universities recognized for engaging students, faculty and staff in substantial, relevant and meaningful service to communities. The honor roll, announced March 4 at the American Council on Education’s 95th Annual Meeting, is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. During this year’s Alternative Spring Break trips, the 24 students, along with Director of Service Christina Eggenberger and Accounts Receivable Manager Paul Griggs, built houses in the local communities. “It’s so rewarding each year to experience something new and gain a new perspective on life,” said one of the students on the group’s Tumbler page. “I’m proud of everyone who has dedicated their breaks to a great cause. I feel blessed to be a part of it every year.” To follow along with UMW’s Alternative Spring Break trips, visit http://wearehardcoar.tumblr.com/.

Overseas Adventures

Bethany Farrell '11 is one of 21 UMW alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps.

UMW Rugby Players Spend Weekend in Service

For members of the University of Mary Washington club rugby team, Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend was all about community service. The players painted porches, spread mulch and cleaned up properties for Empowerhouse, formerly known as the Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence. The team plans for another service day in April. “UMW Rugby Team Sponsors Annual Service Project” in The Free Lance-Star on Saturday, Jan. 19 Photos by Kimmie Barkley ’14

For Third Year in a Row, UMW Named to President’s Community Service Honor Roll

The University of Mary Washington has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third consecutive year.  UMW is one of 642 U.S. colleges and universities recognized for engaging students, faculty and staff in substantial, relevant and meaningful service to communities.

The honor, presented to UMW’s Community Outreach and Resources (COAR), was awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.

For information about COAR’s impact to the local community, read the full press release from Monday, March 19.

UMW Students Give Back During Spring Break

Students in Tennessee help clean up debris after a tornado

This week, 51 UMW students are spending Spring Break helping others. The Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) team organized three alternative spring break trips, in Wilmington, N.C., Avery County, N.C., and Cookeville, Tenn., from March 3 through 11. At each location, students are working on Habitat for Humanity projects.

When the rash of tornadoes tore through the Tennessee Valley almost a week ago, the Cookeville group made their way to Overton County, Tenn., a small community just south of the Kentucky border.

In Overton, the students are working with residents to clear debris and sort donations, and are sharing their experiences along the way: http://wearehardcoar.tumblr.com/.

One student took this stark photo of the destruction and captioned it “we were so thankful to have the opportunity to help.”

All three groups will make the trip back to Virginia on Sunday.

“Spring Break is one of my favorite weeks of the year since I get to spend the entire week doing hands-on service with such civic minded students,” Christina Eggenberger, director of service, said.  “The students learn practical skills but more importantly they help and learn about people in need. It is a transformative experience for all involved.”

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.”

Inauguration Week Starts Monday

Monday, September 26 marks the beginning of inauguration week, themed “Engaging Minds. Serving the World,” to celebrate the inauguration of President Richard Hurley.

The week of festivities kicks off with “Partners in Prosperity for the Rappahannock Region,” an economic development conference for the business community. The conference, featuring Eugene P. Trani, former president of Virginia Commonwealth University, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, will take place Monday from 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Stafford campus.

The week continues with Karl Rove’s presentation at the Fredericksburg Forum on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Tickets for faculty, staff and students are $15, limit two, and are available at www.umw.edu/forum or (540) 654-1065.

Thursday will offer multiple activities, including the “Serving the World” service activity with Habitat for Humanity and two discussion sessions. The service activity, which will involve members of the UMW community building tables and a shed, will take place from 2 – 6 p.m. on Ball Circle and will include a barbeque. “Engaging Minds: The Legacy and Future of the Stafford Campus” will feature the accomplishments of graduates from the Stafford campus during a session from 6 – 8 p.m. in University Hall at the Stafford campus. From 5 – 7 p.m. in Lee Hall, “Engaging Minds: Teaching, Service Learning and Research” will include discussions about innovative teaching, undergraduate research and study abroad, and faculty-directed service learning activities.

The culmination of inauguration week is the Presidential Installation Ceremony on Friday. The ceremony is from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium, followed by a reception. Tickets are required and may be reserved at http://inauguration.umw.edu/events/installation-ceremony.

On Saturday, nearly 100 student volunteers will participate in COAR’s “Into the Streets” day of service. COAR will pair volunteers with eight organizations throughout the Fredericksburg area, including Tree Fredericksburg, Habitat for Humanity and the Thurman Brisben Center as an extension of President Hurley’s call to service.

For a complete list of events and more information, visit the inauguration website at http://inauguration.umw.edu.