Each year, the Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (VACRAO) sponsors a “give back” project in the local community where their annual conference is held. The local recipient is chosen by the president-elect, who is also the chair of the local arrangements committee. The meeting moves throughout the state to reduce the traveling hardship over the years.
“We try to choose an organization that has something to do with higher education or education,” said VACRAO President Sarah Boswell. For the last four years, recognized organizations included Feeding America Southwest Virginia, Abrakadoodle, Soundscapes, and, in 2017, the Fund for 32, which funds the various scholarships established in memory of the victims of the 2007 shootings on the Virginia Tech campus.
Building excitement through friendly competition
To kick off the fundraising each year, VACRAO puts $500 into the pot, and then through newsletter announcements, requests from corporate sponsors, and plugs throughout the conference, members are alerted to the opportunity to give.
“We often do a friendly ‘admissions versus registrars’ competition, such as a coin drive or art supply drive, depending on the cause,” Boswell said. “That helps make the event fun and gets people motivated to give.”
The designated recipient then attends the VACRAO business meeting so that members can honor the recipient and give them a check in person.
“We’ve received thank-you letters from scholarship recipients, pictures of school kids in art camp, and other recognition for our contributions,” Boswell said. “It’s important for our organization to give back to the communities that host us. It helps to reaffirm our mission and raise awareness of our profession and understanding of what we do across our state.”