Special Program, Day of Service to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hollins University is observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in advance of the January 19 national holiday with events and activities on Friday, January 16.

Students, faculty, and staff will commemorate King’s life and work with a program of poems, songs, and original works at 12:15 p.m. in the Moody Student Center’s Wrobel Dining Room. The program is presented by Hollins’ Office of Cultural and Community Engagement (CCE), the class of 2018, and the President’s Office.

Then, CCE and the student volunteer organization S.H.A.R.E. will sponsor a Day of Service in the Roanoke community from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Students will be helping at a variety of area organizations including Angels of Assisi,  Bradley Free Clinic, Carilion Children’s Clinic, Carilion Elderly Unit, Friendship Manor, Roanoke Rescue Mission, and Roanoke Valley SPCA.

Hollins Competes in Second Annual Canstruction Southwest Virginia

Hollins is one of nine contending teams taking part in the second annual Canstruction Southwest Virginia, a “can do” event raising hunger awareness and collecting food through a colossal canned food sculpture competition.

This year’s exhibit will be on display at downtown Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art, November 7 – 22.

All day on Friday, November 7, the public is encouraged to vote for their favorite “cansculpture” by bringing $1 or one can, per vote, to the Taubman. Opening Night Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and winning cansculptures are revealed during an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced at 7 p.m.

Collection bins will be placed inside the Taubman Museum throughout the entire Canstruction SWVA exhibit to accept donations of even more cans of food from the public. When the exhibit closes, cansculptures are dismantled and all cans collected and used to create cansculptures go directly to the Feeding America Southwest Virginia food bank for distribution to people confronting hunger who live throughout our region – just in time for the Thanksgiving season.

Last year’s inaugural Canstruction SWVA event raised nearly 27,000 cans, totaling more than 27,181 pounds of food, making it Feeding America’s second largest food drive. Event organizers estimate that this year’s Canstruction SWVA will contribute more than 35,000 cans plus the donations of canned food dropped off at the Taubman by visitors to the exhibit.

For more information, visit www.canstructionswva.com, www.facebook.com/CanstructionSouthwestVirginia, or @CansSWVA on Twitter.

Hollins to Explore Affiliation with State Department’s Women in Public Service Project

womenserviceHollins University President Nancy Gray joined other women’s college presidents from throughout the nation at the inaugural colloquium of the Women in Public Service Project, held at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C.

“The goal of the Women in Public Service Project is to cultivate a generation of women leaders who will invest in their democratic countries, be willing to provide leadership through public service to the governments, and change the way global solutions are forged,” Gray explains. “The project intends to create training and mentoring opportunities for emerging and aspiring women leaders to establish and sustain an international network of such leaders.”

Gray adds that the project is currently an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of State and five of the “Seven Sisters” colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley. However, she notes that “the partnership is eager to expand and include other colleges, especially women’s colleges.”

The colloquium, which Gray describes as “a remarkable event,” was keynoted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and featured addresses from Christine Lagarde, president of the International Monetary Fund, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Hollins Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

honorHollins University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

“The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities,” said Elson Nash, acting director of strategic partnerships for the CNCS. “Hollins’ selection to the Honor Roll is recognition from the highest levels of the federal government for its commitment to service and civic engagement on its campus and in our nation.”

Honorees for the award are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Hollins offers students a number of ways to get actively involved with community service. For example, the annual Day of Service helps new students connect with the Roanoke Valley during their first week on campus. Students Helping Achieve Rewarding Experiences (SHARE)  recruits and places student volunteers with a variety of community agencies and organizations. Sandusky Service House is a campus residence hall where students are required to perform at least ten hours of volunteer work each month and promote service activities on campus and in the community. And, for more than 20 years, the Jamaica Service Project has invited students to spend Spring Break helping an impoverished community in the island nation.

The CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative. It oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.

Hollins Community Helps Build New Segment of Tinker Creek Greenway Trail

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAApproximately 80 Hollins University students, faculty and staff volunteered their time and labor to help clear a new portion of the Tinker Creek Greenway trail on April 6.

The two-foot wide walking path runs three-quarters of a mile across Hollins property and ultimately will provide access to over 40 miles of trails at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve.

“Hollins has a long and distinguished tradition of community service, and we’ve worked closely with Roanoke County and interested citizens to establish this route,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray. “Helping build this greenway is a great way for our campus community to give back to the Roanoke Valley and enhance the quality of life in our region.”

Here’s a video of the day’s work.

Hollins Answers the Call to Help Fill “Elijah’s Backpack”

elijahThe Hollins University campus community donated 530 food items in support of the Elijah’s Backpack Food Drive, held October 10 – 17.

Sponsored by Roanoke’s St. Philip Lutheran Church, Elijah’s Backpack provides local children with healthy meals when their families struggle to do so. Officials at Mountain View and Burlington elementary schools in Roanoke County select students on the basis of need to receive a selection of individual serving-sized breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack items in their backpacks each Friday afternoon.

The chaplain’s office at Hollins placed donation boxes in Moody Dining Hall and duPont Chapel and collected cereal, fruit cups, soup, oatmeal, juices, macaroni and cheese, apple sauce, granola bars, and many other nutritious food items. Donations were still arriving at the chapel as University Chaplain Jenny Call and student volunteers prepared to transport the goods to St. Philip on the afternoon of October 17.

 “I am always overwhelmed by the generosity of Hollins’ students, faculty and staff, and how they give of their time and resources to help others,” said Call. “Through the food collection drive we are able to support 42 students in need at two local elementary schools. We are honored to partner with the wonderful ministry that Elijah’s Backpack offers to our community.”

In addition to food items, the Elijah’s Backpack program welcomes financial gifts as well as volunteers to help pack and deliver backpacks on a weekly basis. For more information, contact Pastor Kelly Derrick at (540) 366-7046 or pastorkelly@stphiliplutheran.net.

Playwright’s Lab’s New Works Initiative Builds Artistic, Economic Partnerships Locally and Nationwide

PlaywrightsLabFrom Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City to Burlington, Vermont, and here in Roanoke, the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University is developing an impressive number of new stage productions by emerging student writers, thanks to a collaborative program described as “re-inventing Off-Off-Broadway.”

The New Works Initiative of the Playwright’s Lab was established in 2008 and has already helped provide production assistance and travel costs for dozens of student readings and productions in legitimate theatres nationally and locally. It enables student writers to work with guest professional directors and offers support for them to work as actors, dramaturgs, and designers on plays by prominent guest writers associated with the Playwright’s Lab such as Lucy Thurber, recipient of the first Gary Bonasorte Memorial Prize for Playwriting; television writer and playwright Jeff Goode; and Obie Award-winner W. David Hancock.

“We have been able to bring more than 70 top-tier artists to Roanoke to work with our students and build an energized, enthusiastic audience for new plays,” says Todd Ristau, program director of the Playwright’s Lab. “It is the perfect place to develop new work that can go on to productions in major theatre centers.” For example, The Arctic Circle and a Recipe for Swedish Pancakes, written by Playwright’s Lab student Samantha Macher, was produced at Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Theatre and then transferred with the original cast to the Playwright’s Horizon Studios in Manhattan.

“We’ve mounted more than 25 full productions of plays associated with our program, and we’ve staged dozens of readings, presented special touring events and workshops by nationally known theatre artists, and provided support for our students who are creating their own new companies and doing new work all over the country.”

Ristau notes that in many cases the biggest barrier to producing new work is finding adequate funding to cover the production and travel costs. However, he emphasizes that “the Playwright’s Lab feels it is an important part of our mission to sponsor our student writers when opportunities to realize their work on stage arise. That’s why we have established a separate fund for the sole purpose of offsetting costs associated with the production and presentation of plays by or involving our students,” a fund that depends largely on individual donors as well as local businesses and area arts organizations.

“It’s mutually beneficial,” he explains. “In exchange for financially supporting the work that we’re doing, businesses and organizations get exposure to a growing demographic of hip, smart, vocal audiences. The relationships we forge therefore have a profound cultural and economic impact on our community.” In addition, Ristau says these associations are helping make Roanoke more and more of “an ignition point” for new work that creates strong connections with the international theatre scene.

“Building partnerships like this and creating opportunities for the success they afford our students is nothing short of revolutionary.”

The Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University will present The Matador, “a one-act anti-play” by Robert Plowman and directed by Todd Ristau, on the Waldron Stage of Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Theatre February 6 – 10.

President Gray Joins Other College Leaders in Calling for Tougher Gun Control Laws

guncontrolHollins University President Nancy Oliver Gray has joined more than 160 college and university leaders from across the nation in signing an open letter urging the President and Congress to take immediate action on gun control.

“As educators and parents,” the letter says, “we come together to ask our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of our children by enacting rational gun safety measures, including:

  • Ensuring the safety of our communities by opposing legislation allowing guns on our campuses and in our classrooms.
  • Ending the gun show loophole, which allows for the purchase of guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check
  • Reinstating the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines
  • Requiring consumer safety standards for all guns, such as safety locks, access prevention laws, and regulations to identify, prevent and correct manufacturing defects”


Hollins Hosts Fear 2 Freedom Event to Help Sexual Assault Survivors

Hollinfreedoms University students are partnering with the nonprofit organization Fear 2 Freedom and Carilion Clinic to aid those who have been sexually assaulted or abused.

Students will gather on Tuesday, February 19, at 6:30 p.m. in Moody Student Center to prepare aftercare kits, which will subsequently be given to sexual assault victims receiving forensic exams at Carilion Clinic hospitals. The packages will contain toiletries such toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and washcloths, and clothing intended to replace personal effects that are held for evidence. The items will be donated by the students themselves.

Fear 2 Freedom was founded in 2011 by Rosemary Trible, wife of Christopher Newport University President and former U.S. Senator Paul Trible. Her 2010 book, Fear to Freedom, tells the story of her rape at gunpoint in 1975, her recovery, and how she has reached out to others who have experienced a similar trauma.

“The ‘2’ in Fear 2 Freedom is for the fact that every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in America,” she explained in a 2011 interview with the Newport News Daily Press. “It is through my own dark road of pain that I have become so passionate about helping victims and fighting against abuse.”

Members of the Hollins Student Government Association Senate will be dedicating their regular Tuesday evening meeting to this community outreach activity, and Rosemary Trible will be in attendance.

(Photo courtesy VCU University Relations)

Hollins Named to 2013 Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

honorFor the sixth time, Hollins University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). By recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve, the program annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.

The CNCS has administered the award since 2006. In addition to this year, Hollins was recognized in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. (The President’s Honor Roll was not produced in 2011.)

“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy, and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.”

College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, according to the most recent Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country – a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.

Hollins offers students a number of ways to get actively involved with community service. For example, the annual Day of Service helps new students connect with the Roanoke Valley during their first week on campus. Students Helping Achieve Rewarding Experiences (SHARE) recruits and places student volunteers with a variety of community agencies and organizations. Sandusky Service House is a campus residence hall where students are required to perform at least ten hours of volunteer work each month and promote service activities on campus and in the community. And, for more than 20 years, the Jamaica Service Project has invited students to spend Spring Break helping an impoverished community in the island nation.

The CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.