Annual 2022 ‘Batten Builds Day’ event

Rather than sit in classrooms, hundreds of Batten School Students are working to help their community through acts of public service.
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 4:34 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - On August 26, UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy held its “Batten Builds Day.”

Rather than sit in classrooms, hundreds of Batten School Students are working to help their community through acts of public service.

“We start the day off with speaker sessions where we talk about how diversity is a really important context for both leadership and community engagement, and then we switch over to more speaker sessions where we hear directly from Charlottesville as leaders,” said Ahana Rosha, president of the Batten Undergraduate Council.

The students started planning “Batten Builds” over the summer, and now, they’re applying classroom lessons to real world challenges.

“We really hope to illuminate how to be influential advocates and take action in addressing the issues, rather than just having a nuanced understanding of what’s going on in the community,” Rosha said. “After learning about all of these complex issues, we like to come in and then actually engage and integrate with our community partners.”

Batten School Dean Ian Solomon says that over the years, Batten Builds has helped people struggling with anything from food insecurity to hospitalizations.

“One of the beautiful things about the event is that it really always has been a student initiative going back, and now we’re on the 13th annual event of this kind. Every year it grows a little bit more, more students get involved, and more local partner organizations are a part of it,” Solomon said. “It depends on what the important organization’s mission is. In some cases, it’s direct service. In other cases, it might be advocacy, and in other cases it might be just supporting people in their time of need.”

The event is completely run and organized by students.

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