The VCU Staff Senate hosted their 10th annual Walk-a-thon on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Commons Plaza.
Staff and faculty walked laps around Monroe Park several times to raise awareness about their scholarship that targets rising juniors and seniors. Marquita Aguilar, who currently is the executive administrative assistant to the dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences, formerly worked in student accounting and financial aid where she said she saw firsthand student’s financial need.
“I know the stories of why the kids left school … some of these kids were very intelligent but they had financial setbacks, they just could not stay and a lot of them did not want to stop going but they had no other choice,” Aguilar said.“It really put a burden on my heart and I said something has to be done.”
As he addressed the audience before the walk, VCU president Michael Rao said the Staff Senate had helped raise almost $80,000 since the program began and helped provide scholarship funding to 88 students. The current scholarship deadline is May 17.
“We base it on how much we raise, if we raise $5,000, $5,000 dollars go to those students. If we have 10 students we break it down,” Aguilar said.
Last year $7,000 was dispersed between eight students and the most money given to one student at a time was $4,000.
Alice Chambliss, an employee of VCU Libraries, serves as a network analyst for VCU Libraries and has served as lead person for late registration at the walk-a-thon.
“It’s not just Marquita’s group, but it’s everybody here at the university, and believe it or not, the amount they give it adds up,” Chambliss said. “Because we won’t be here without the students, we have to keep them going to.”
She said the opportunity allows for her to assist the students and said if she can “keep them up and keep them going, that’s the important thing.”
The event included a warm up exercise and dancing accompanied by music from WVCW, VCU’s student-run radio.
“This is such a cool event and I just wanted to become a part of it, so I just wanted to DJ for it,” said WVCW outreach and advocacy coordinator Heather Hudgins. “I think it’s really important to have these people in the faculty who want to help and support the students and who want to help us get through college financially.”
Three theater majors put on a short performance to symbolize helping VCU students overcome obstacles and graduate with the help of the scholarships from the Staff Senate.
“I would say something like this is important when you’re in school because it provides opportunities for students and the scholarships are always great,” said senior theater performance major Madeline Bryan.
Other organizations and sponsors involved with the event included the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, VCU Police Department, VCU Business Services, VCU Military Sciences, VCU Foundation, Office of the Provost, the senior vice president for academic affairs, VCU Athletics, VCU Recreational Sports and VCU Libraries.
After the group walked around Monroe Park they returned to the Commons for food andprizes.
“Just hanging out with co-workers, having a good time and exercising,” said coordinator of fiscal operations for enrollment services Tierra Easter. “It’s important to support your fellow students and to get some fitness in.”
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Alice Chambliss serves as a network analyst for the walk-a-thon. She is a network analyst for VCU Libraries and served as the lead person for late registration for the walk-a-thon. The CT regrets this error.