Civic Engagement

The University of Richmond encourages students to engage with the various civic and cultural groups that make City of Richmond and surrounding communities such great places to live. The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) helps connect students with the broader Richmond community, including sponsoring volunteer opportunities, community-based work-study, summer fellowships, and more. The UR Office for Sustainability provides internships and other opportunities to promote environmental health on campus and beyond. Many student organizations are also active in partnering with local charities to make a positive difference in our community at large.

Meet a Health Studies major

Picture of Victoria Lara

Victoria Lara ’24, a health studies major who is also pursuing a minor in data science and statistics, spent Summer 2023 interning with CrossOver Health Ministry, a nonprofit organization that provides clinical services to uninsured and underinsured residents of the city of Richmond and neighboring Henrico County.  Lara, a Bonner Scholar and Civic Fellow, worked 40 hours per week at the Richmond clinic for 12 weeks, serving as a Spanish language interpreter for the obstetrics program, assisting with teledentistry appointments that provide online dental checkups, supporting patients seeking to enroll in Medicaid, and calling patients to share test results and remind them of upcoming appointments.   

The University’s proximity to Richmond offers students exciting opportunities to gain real world experience by engaging with local community members and working with local leaders who are advancing innovation and change.  “I gained tremendous knowledge of medical terminology in two languages,” Lara said, “and I loved being able to help patients freely communicate with the provider in Spanish.”  Read more.

Picture of Annie Wang

As a volunteer with the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad, Annie Wang ’22 saw that the pandemic particularly isolated seniors and exacerbated feelings of loneliness. “I think such feelings for many seniors were already present pre-COVID, and the adverse health consequences of social isolation among seniors are often overlooked,” Wang said. In Spring 2021, the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) connected Wang with the manager of The Rosa and Highland Park Senior Apartments. Wang then mobilized volunteers to schedule COVID vaccine appointments for residents and follow up with reminders. “I knew the importance of the vaccine, especially for senior residents at that time who were most vulnerable,” Wang said.

 After the vaccine clinics, Wang conducted a phone survey to learn what activities residents would be interested in as pandemic restrictions lifted. “Conversations would range from five minutes to 30 or 40 minutes,” Wang said. “Some people would tell me about their day or recent hobbies they had picked up, and I'm glad that I was able to be that person to just listen. I think really hearing someone is so important, and we shouldn’t underestimate the value of that.” After her graduation from UR, Wang will begin medical school. When asked if she had any advice for other students interested in getting involved, she shared “There are incredible people and resources at UR. Go for it and reach out, whether that be to peers, faculty, or the CCE – they’re all here to support you and can help get you to the right place.”  Wang is now attending medical school at Duke University.   Read more.