SERVE, a signature program of VT Engage, is focused on creating an environment for students that fosters personal and civic growth. While studying community development and social change theory, SERVE students are also engaged in a variety of service experiences, including group service projects. Given both theoretical context and shared engagement experiences as a common ground, students discuss and reflect during class, online, and through written reflections in an attempt to blur lines between the academic, social, and civic realms.
There are two required courses that all SERVE students must take:
Fall: Community Service Learning (3 hrs, 3 credits): An introduction to community engagement with an emphasis on “active citizenship”. This course covers concepts of community, service and volunteerism, servant leadership, and social change.
Spring: Community Systems Thinking (3 hrs, 3 credits) An exploration of local and global community systems and their relevance to ethical, sustainable problem solving and decision making. Students collaborate with community partners to create a viable program or product.
Students in this community live in Pritchard Hall and take a course together in the Fall and Spring semesters. The Fall course focuses on leadership (specifically servant leadership) motivations for and criticisms of volunteerism, understanding local historical/social/economic context and its impact on community issues and “wicked problems”. The Spring course takes an inclusive, justice-focused approach to community engagement and community-identified need.
Students interested in continuing in the program beyond the first-year community have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles within SERVE and pursue the associated minor. Leadership opportunities include mentoring first-year SERVE students, facilitating courses, and leading service immersion experiences during academic breaks.
SERVE is housed within Pritchard Hall, though SERVE students quickly find themselves calling the beautiful New River Valley their home as they volunteer throughout the region surrounding Virginia Tech.
To read more about SERVE from students themselves, visit the SERVE website.
"Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. This is why we are here." -Jon Muth