But ever since coming to UVa as a first year student, I’ve found that one of my favorite things to be involved with at the university is actually volunteering and giving back to the Charlottesville community. I believe that this comes in large part from the number of CIOs and organizations that we have here that are dedicated to service and volunteer work—organizations that give back to the community, but also become a community in themselves.
For me, I found a home in Alpha Phi Omega, or APO, a co-ed service fraternity with chapters at many universities across the country. Collectively, at our UVa chapter, we complete over 3,000 hours of service each semester in Charlottesville and beyond. Much of this service is completed on Saturday mornings throughout the school year, when we volunteer for projects from building chicken coops to clearing trails to setting up cots and linens for temporary shelters. These projects gave me the opportunity to really step outside the ‘bubble’ that you may find yourself in on a college campus, and really explore and better understand the realities of the city that I now call my home.
While for me, I found my love for service at UVA within APO, others can also find the opportunities for service within many of the other university organizations. For example, Madison House is a student-run and student-led organization that encourages one to three hour volunteer shifts a week with any of its over 160 partner organizations in Charlottesville. Greek sororities and fraternities also put on a number of philanthropies to raise money for many different Charlottesville organizations and charities.
|Madison House (photo courtesy of The Cavalier Daily)|
|Past Project SERVE Participants (photo courtesy of publicservice.virginia.edu)|
Whether it's cleaning up the river under Beta Bridge on Earth Day with university sustainability groups, growing plants with City Schoolyard Garden, or doing construction with Habitat for Humanity, there is always a chance to partner with organizations to connect the UVa experience with the greater Charlottesville community. Service is not only a great way to meet others and get involved, but is also an important aspect of doing your part to better the city that you call home as a University of Virginia student.