Living and learning through service
Launched in 2009, SERVE’s mission is to create a nurturing residential community that fosters personal growth and civic responsibility. We embrace VT’s motto ‘Ut Prosim’ (That I May Serve) through community engagement.
All students new to our community live together in Pritchard Hall, creating a tight-knit community within VT’s largest residence hall. Currently, there are 28 first-year students in SERVE. Living with service-oriented peers, mentors, and designated Resident Advisors allows our students to build relationships with one another outside class.
Through service, working with community partners, studying, and socializing, we help our students make the most of their time in Blacksburg and the New River Valley. Throughout the evolution of the program, SERVE students have been key in taking leadership roles and creating deeper opportunities for Virginia Tech students to be involved in service.
Faculty from the VT Engage office coordinate the program. Our partners include: Housing and Residence Life, ePortfolio Initiatives, the School of Public and International Affairs, the Human Development department, and Sociology department.
In the classroom
Sudents new to the SERVE community are required to take our introductory courses in the fall and spring semesters. These courses are three-credit, graded academic classes that use service-learning, discussion, and reflection to explore community development, social change, and leadership theories.
Join SERVE for the 2017-18 year
Joining the Hokie Nation as a new first year or transfer student? We'd love for you to join SERVE! Applications are open through the Housing Contract process for those who have accepted their offer of admission and paid their matriculation fee. All applicants should hear a decision within a week of applying.
Want a tour the next time you are on campus? We are happy to arrange a tour of Pritchard and campus for you. Contact SERVE director Catherine Cotrupi at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
Looking for a roommate?
If you have already found a roommate, please speak with them about applying to SERVE as well. If you have been accepted, email Catherine to let her know look for your roommate's application. Your roommate can also let us know in their application.
If students apply to SERVE without knowing who they'd like to room with yet, we help facilitate the matching process via email.
Why join SERVE? Hear from SERVErs:
Greetings from SERVE director, Catherine Cotrupi
Welcome SERVErs and potential SERVErs! If you're looking for a place to call home at Virginia Tech, you've found it in SERVE. Our tight-knit community is focused on exploring what VT's motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) means to them through service and community engagement.
We have a lot of fun in class, out in the community, and on the hall. SERVE helps a big place like VT feel small. As you make your decision on where to live on campus this coming year, please feel free to reach out to me any time with questions.
I'm happy to talk with you anytime, connect you with current or past SERVErs, and give you a tour of Pritchard next time you're in town. Be sure to check out the below video to hear what our students think of SERVE and take a look at the ePortfolios that our 2016-17 class put together - these are all great ways to get a sense of what SERVE is like!
SERVE Director & Assistant Director for Student Engagement at VT Engage
What makes SERVE special?
Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and majors, united by their passion for service and interest in social issues. They form tight bonds by living on the SERVE hall in Pritchard, taking introductory SERVE courses, serving in the community, and having fun - together. Here are some of the ways they’ve helped make SERVE home:
Learning principles of community engagement
- In our interactive, discussion-based classes, SERVErs learn to critically reflect on and explore leadership, service, and social change.
- Engaging thought-provoking activities like “BUILT”, a board game where teams design communities, making decisions that impact the community.
- Students build strong servant leadership and facilitation skills in class that make them more effective at working with communities.
Service & reflection: putting ideas into action
- Service trips and reflection sessions are planned each semester by SERVE students, for SERVE students.
- SERVErs have ample opportunities to explore the social issues they care about through a variety of experiences.
- SERVErs are challenged to examine preconceived ideas about issues they encounter, motivations for service, and privilege.
Weekly & monthly community traditions
- Wednesday community meals in the Pritchen include current residents and older SERVErs who no longer live on the hall.
- On Thursdays, SERVErs come together to play Wallyball. It’s a favorite SERVE tradition for new and old SERVErs.
- We have six active student committees that work hard to keep current and former members of our LLC engaged with one another: SERVE Serves, Peer Mentors, Keystone, Social, Recruit&SERVE, and Alumni Connection.
Bookending the year with bonding & celebration
- At the annual SERVE fall retreat, new residents and returning SERVErs get together to learn about SERVE, each other, and what the year has in store for them.
- Family Day each spring invites SERVErs, their families, and friends to serve in the community and celebrate the year.
In fall 2012, SERVE received two prestigious national awards. The Bronze Certificate from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), is an excellence award based on whether the applicant program demonstrates having a positive influence on student education.
Other credentials for the award are whether the program exhibits creativity and originality, supports the university’s mission, works with other departments, and shows sustainability.
In addition to NASPA’s excellence award, SERVE received the Best Practices Award from the Dalton Institute. The Best Practices Award is given to a program that best develops student values, integrity-based learning, and civic education.
Meet our students
SERVErs major in a range of disciplines, and come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Check out our 2016-17 class of new SERVErs below, and learn more about them by looking through their ePortfolios. You'll find even more students by reading about our 2015-16 class!