Several Virginia Tech student leaders are spending their summer in Blacksburg to work on plans for the university’s 2011 Day of Remembrance.

Though a complete schedule of events is months away, several elements of this special day are taking shape: a renewed commitment to service and the desire to hold — for a third consecutive year — the 3.2 Mile Run in Remembrance.

“Service to others is what Virginia Tech is all about,” said Bo Hart of Columbia, S.C., a junior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and president of the university's Student Government Association. “There isn’t a better way to remember those who lost their lives in 2007 than to serve others in their memory.”

In 2009, the April 16 Steering Committee recommended the 2011 Day of Remembrance should focus on the commitment to service. Because those who lost their lives were involved in many forms of helping others and society, often through a wide variety of community service initiatives, the current student planning committee came up with “32 for 32” for the upcoming academic year.

Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends will be encouraged to pledge 32 hours of service to be completed by April 16, 2011. Interested participants will be asked to pledge and record their hours through VT-ENGAGE and the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships. The kick-off for this initiative will coincide with the start of the school year.

Given its tremendous popularity and turnout in its first two years, the 3.2 Mile Run in Remembrance will again be held the morning of the Day of Remembrance to be followed by a community picnic on the Drillfield. 

In the previous two years, runners released orange and maroon balloons at the start of the run as a gesture of remembrance, however concerns were expressed regarding the environmental impact of the release. As a result, the planning committee decided to maintain the release of 32 white balloons to mark the start of the run, but to end the release of balloons by participants. In the coming months, the committee will work with students in Virginia Tech environmental and sustainable groups to create another meaningful gesture of remembrance to start the run.

To accommodate the thousands of walkers and runners who are expected to participate, the committee is planning to hold run registration the night before to allow more time for participants to sign up and prepare for the event.

The student planning committee consists of student leaders from 11 campus organizations, including Student Government Association, Graduate Student Association, student representatives to the Board of Visitors, Panhellenic Council, Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, Residence Hall Federation, Virginia Tech Union, Council of International Student Organizations, Student Alumni Associates, Interfraternity Council, and Students for Non-Violence.

Members of families affected by the 2007 tragedy have been consulted throughout the planning process.

Information on the 2011 Day of Remembrance will be posted to the We Remember website as they are finalized. Thoughts and ideas about the 2011 Day of Remembrance may be directed via e-mail.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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