Two women stand holding an award in front of a wall with a glass map of the state of Virginia.

Outreach and Engagement

The faculty and students in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies are active in a broad range of outreach and engagement activities that embody the university motto Ut Prosim (That I may Serve). They work with community groups, industry, professional societies and governmental agencies to create safer and more sustainable communities, economic development opportunities, public education and places that support people, both physically and spiritually, as well as domestically and internationally, fulfilling Virginia Tech’s mission as a (now global) land grand university.

The Community Design Assistance Center

The Community Design Assistance Center, an outreach center of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies was established in 1988 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education program. CDAC believes every community deserves quality design that promotes a healthy, sustainable way of life. They assist communities, civic groups, and nonprofit organizations in improving their natural and built environments through research, community engagement, and interdisciplinary design. Visit their site for a list of their current and recently completed projects.

CAUSe for Engagement

CAUSe for Engagement highlights examples of outreach and engagement work by faculty and students in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies over a 15-year period.

Service Learning

A group of Virginia Tech students stand on an overlook with mountains and clouds in the background.

Many Virginia Tech students engage in service learning, whether it is through class assignments in areas close to campus or further afield as part of a service learning trip. One recent example is a service learning project team including students and faculty from Building Construction, Construction Engineering and Management, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biological Systems Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Architecture, and Agriculture. The team worked together to assist the homeless population in Kaua’i by empowering local communities to grow their own food.

Research and Classwork that Benefits Communities

Students in a class led by Associate Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning Diane Zahm assisted the town of Buchanan, Virginia, with an economic development plan.

Associate Professor Thomas Tucker from the School of Visual Arts put his talents with 3-D scanning and modeling to work to preserve the history of an important local landmark and to create a video game to teach area children about the local history.

Stories of Service

Virginia Tech Community Design Assistance Center receives EPA Brownfields Assessment grants
The Community Design Assistance Center has been awarded a total of $400,000 in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency to assess sites in southwest Virginia and create concepts for redevelopment of the sites.

Episode 8 of Save Our Towns showcases student work in St. Paul, high-speed internet in Lebanon
St. Paul counts the Clinch River as one of its prime features. In 2011, Virginia Tech students helped the town make the most of the asset.

Community Design Assistance Center receives award for outstanding landscape beautification
The center received the award for assisting under-served communities throughout the state by improving the natural environment through design and planning.

Broadband analysis and planning projects garner two Governor’s Technology Awards
The project, led by Senior Program Director Mary Beth Dunkenberger, is finding ways that broadband infrastructure investments within Virginia can be leveraged to provide better broadband-enabled health services; such as telemedicine, electronic health records, and health information exchanges to our veterans.