UVA Batten Students Volunteer on Last Day of Summer Break
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The last day of summer has arrived for students at the University of Virginia, but many of them decided to get out and work in the community Monday instead of hanging around the university.
Monday, hundreds of students from the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy went out into Albemarle County to take part in the fifth annual Batten Builds volunteer day. Batten Builds is an effort to give back to the community each year by providing hands to do work that some organizations might not have the money or manpower to get done otherwise.
"This is a chance for them to literally get their hands dirty from the start. It's not about them as individuals anymore; it's all about making sure they understand that what they're here for is to help other people do things better,” said Allan Stam, dean of UVA's Batten School.
The students were spread out all around Albemarle County, at schools, nonprofits, and other businesses that needed a few extra hands. At the Cedars Golden Living Center, students cleaned out the courtyard and played bingo with residents.
Student Nora Neus said, "I was really excited about this location because we're doing a lot of renewal work here in the courtyard. This is the only greenery that the residents here see every day so it's really important to me that they're able to come out here and have a nice space."
"A couple of them actually came out on the patio a little bit earlier and were watching us and thanked us for all we were doing to help them out,” said student Daniele DeLisle.
One thing students and staff seemed to share is an appreciation for putting their studied material into practice, even before school technically starts.
"Our whole emphasis is on doing the policy analysis to figure out which thing, thing one or thing two, you want to pursue. We like to think of leadership as the art of getting things done,” Stam said.
"It's just a really great chance to be able to actually give back to the community we live in and not just the UVA bubble,” Neus said.
Some of the residents at Cedars Golden Living Center wore UVA shirts and hats Monday to show the students their appreciation. With the community a little cleaner, those students will head back to class Tuesday.