Supporting our local community

Posted on May 12, 2020 by Dana Poleski

Community outreach Students pack food for Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The relationship between Sweet Briar and our surrounding Amherst and Central Virginia community has always been incredibly important. We are grateful for all the people, businesses and nonprofits that make this such a special place to call home.

In addition to bringing tens of thousands of young women and their families to Amherst since the first class arrived at Sweet Briar in 1906, the College campus has served the town and county in numerous ways. (Not to mention it’s previous life as a working farm.)

As one of the largest employers, the faculty and staff—from near and far—make Sweet Briar who it is while making Amherst and the surrounding communities their home. The campus itself is an enormous resource for everyone to enjoy. The Florence Elston Inn and Conference Center is a beautiful place to stay for out-of-town friends and family, and it brings businesses, organizations and private parties to Amherst County. The numerous athletic and recreational facilities are available for Amherst County residents as are the expansive network of trails, roads, fields and, of course, the Lower and Upper Lake.

As much as the Sweet Briar family delights in seeing our neighbors enjoy the campus, we take even greater pleasure in giving back. Sweet Briar’s community outreach efforts aim to support the surrounding area in both difficult times and everyday circumstances.

Community outreach Old overhead projector transparencies for face shields

Recently, the engineering program asked faculty and staff to raid storage spaces for overhead transparency sheets. They rescued over 1,000 old sheets to donate to local organizations making disposable face shields.

President Meredith Woo and the College’s dining services provider, Meriwether Godsey, delivered over 300 donuts to Amherst EMS and Fire Department, Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, Amherst Police Department and the Virginia State Police.

Community outreach Homemade donuts for Amherst emergency and law enforcement members

Lisa Powell, director of the Center for Human and Environmental Sustainability, has been delivering fresh romaine lettuce that was grown in the Guion greenhouse to Neighbors Helping Neighbors of Amherst. More fresh vegetables that Sweet Briar grows this summer in the new 27,000-square-foot greenhouse will also be donated to numerous local organizations.
The College also has a long list of both long-standing and new community partners. They include:

Community outreach Homegrown lettuce for Neighbors Helping Neighbors

  • Amherst Cares: First-year students organize a backpack drive of school supplies, then during fall orientation, they pack the supplies along with food for students in Amherst County.

  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors: During the school year, we are grateful to be able to provide pre-cooked meals to their food sites as well as donate canned and fresh food.

  • Meals on Wheels: During the school year, we supply hot meals for their clients three times a month.

  • Red Cross: The Student Government Association hosts annual blood drives on campus twice a year.

  • Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline: We are proud to be able to help them host events like the Cookie College.

  • Girls on the Run: We are pleased to host their events as they run the Dairy Loop.

  • Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation: Scholarships are awarded to two first-year students from the Lynchburg region to help them attend Sweet Briar.

  • Al Stroobants Foundation: Two Stroobants Scholarships cover the full tuition, for one year, for women from Lynchburg or Bedford, Campbell or Amherst counties.

  • Lynchburg Beacon of Hope: Stay Close, Go Far Scholarships enable students to attend a local college or university.

While our community outreach is an ongoing and ever-growing effort, these are unprecedented times of need due to COVID-19. With your help, Sweet Briar will continue to look for ways to support and be a diverse resource to our beloved community.

Community outreach Students pack food and school supplies for Amherst Cares to deliver to Amherst County students.