When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.
Every spring and fall, students at the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business take a day to partner with area contractors and builders to help people in the community. Each April, 250–300 volunteers take part in the project and rehabilitate a dozen or more houses in the Charlottesville area for low-income, disabled, and elderly homeowners. And in the fall, 50–80 volunteers help area organizations such as children’s camps and learning centers.
The preparations for “build days” take months. Students involved with the Building Goodness Foundation select the projects, coordinate the suppliers and volunteers, collect the necessary funds, and apply for permits. Since the program’s inception in 1991, Darden students have volunteered thousands of hours of their time, in addition to investing more than $1M in improvements in the area. Each year, the organization hosts a fundraiser auction for the event, where students offer such items up for grabs as a home-cooked meal and a private plane ride to Oktoberfest.
A first year commented in an April 2014 Charlottesville Newsplex article, “A day like today, we all come out in force and do as much as we can to help out [with] little projects around the house,” adding, “To meet some of the people in the community and do something for someone else, it’s a good feeling.”
For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at UVA Darden and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.