While most students were still sleeping at 7 a.m. on a recent Saturday morning, the Barringer-Vawter Service Corps departed the Virginia Tech campus on a mission to give back to the community. 

Made up of residents from Barringer, Vawter, and O’Shaughnessy Halls, the group got up early and worked together to build a house in Roanoke for Habitat for Humanity.

The 22 residents took six hours out of their Saturday to plant shrubs, trees, rose bushes, and put up siding. The Barringer-Vawter Service Corps decided to organize this particular trip because of the interest shown by hall residents, many of whom have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in the past.

“Volunteering at Habitat is an excellent way to combine the engineering/construction/urban planning interests of many of our residents with their desire to reach out and use their skills for the benefit of their community,” said Barringer-Vawter Service Corps resident advisor Nicholas Roberts of Manassas, Va., a junior biochemistry major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Shushok Jr. said he believes that these students engage in projects like this because it’s who they have become. "When people ask me about a Virginia Tech education, I'm always inclined to point them to stories like this one,” he said. “Ut Prosim isn't simply a motto; it's a way of life that gets translated into real-life encounters with people. They inspire us all to go further in our commitment to Ut Prosim."

The resident advisors of Barringer and Vawter Halls organized the Barringer-Vawter Service Corps to organize service trips for students because of residents’ strong desire to get involved in community service. It began as an idea passed around during resident advisor training in August 2010. The number of students varies depending on how many residents are available to volunteer and what they’re interests are. “We try to mix up the type of projects to interest different people,” Roberts said.

The Barringer-Vawter Service Corps had participated in other various service trips over the course of the semester with help from the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnership. They were involved in the Turnip-Picking for the Poor trip, through the New River Valley Hunger Relief Organization as well as the Stop Hunger Now event, where volunteers packaged and packed boxes of rice to benefit Haiti. By contributing their time to these events, Roberts said he believes that they “demonstrated the means of utilizing the group’s interests to serve others.”

The Barringer-Vawter Service Corps’ Habitat for Humanity trip was funded by Housing and Residence Life, is a department within the Division of Student Affairs. For more information about community service and where the Barringer-Vawter Service Corps gets ideas for service projects, contact the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnership.



Written by Stephanie Paradiso of Rockville, Md., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
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