Civic Engagement

VMI cadets embrace a life of public service. Academic, extracurricular, and institutional life at VMI prepares young men and women to contribute to their local and global communities.

Developing cadets who contribute to civic life and their communities through public service is part of the mission of VMI and in line with the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) policies.

VMI cadets volunteering in community civic engagement

Civic engagement fits into the broader mission of VMI, which is “to produce educated, honorable men and women, prepared for the varied work of civil life, imbued with love of learning, confident in the functions and attitudes of leadership, possessing a high sense of public service, advocates of the American democracy and free enterprise system, and ready as citizen-soldiers to defend their country in time of national peril.”

Luke Fegley 24 and Freddy Junko 24 participate in the holiday community outreach project by writing letters to seniors in local facilities. Photo courtesy of Jim Gibson, VMI head wrestling coach.

Cadets work with community members through service clubs, NCAA teams, ROTC branches, and academic programs on post to serve non-profit organizations in the Rockbridge County area and beyond.

Cadets participating in fieldwork at a local K-12 school.

Academic departments also maintain working relationships with various community partners to offer fieldwork, research and internship opportunities for cadets throughout the school calendar.



Offered by VMI's , ERH 411 Fieldwork projects give cadets an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom, and to gain experience in either a service learning project or an internship with a professional or non-profit organization. In consultation with a faculty sponsor and the outside agency, Fieldwork requires the cadets to create projects that are of both educational value to them and practical use to the organization, business, or agency. This requirement also allows cadets to practice good citizenship and professional responsibility, as well as to learn by doing. Fieldwork is required for English majors and may have available openings for cadets from other majors.

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The VMI Center for Undergraduate Research (VCUR) promotes and facilitates faculty-mentored, interdisciplinary undergraduate research that broadens the perspectives of cadets and mentors, and enables them to contribute to service-oriented projects that benefit society, consistent with the “citizen-soldier” aspect of VMI’s mission.

For more information, contact the Director of VMI Center for Undergraduate Research, Col. Scott Frein (

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Community service in VMI Athletics' programming

  • Habitat for Humanity: Two separate outings to help build a local home
  • Headlock/Hoops on Hunger: Canned food drive benefitting the Rockbridge Area Relief Association. The Headlock on Hunger and Hoops Against Hunger non-perishable food donation campaigns yielded more than 200lbs of food donated to our local food pantry
  • Hour of Power Relay for Sarcoma Research: VMI men's and women's swimming and diving teams support research into the causes and treatment of sarcoma and other rare pediatric cancers
  • Read Across America: Reading to local fourth grade and preschool students
  • Rockbridge SPCA Dog Walking and Cat Socializing: Giving necessary time and attention to our local SPCA animals available for adoption
  • Rockbridge Service Day: The VMI men's basketball squad participated in several Rockbridge County community outreach activities, including at the SPCA and Rockbridge Regional Library.
  • Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell Campaign Bell Ringing: the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee manned the Salvation Army Red Kettle for one day at the local Kroger in Lexington.  Groups of two and three worked one-hour shifts to help the longest-running and most successful campaign of its kind raise funds for our local community.
  • South Augusta Youth Baseball Cleanup Day: Painting, washing, organizing and preparing youth baseball fields and facilities for the upcoming season
  • Winter Storm Cleanup: The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams blanketed the community after a big winter storm hit Lexington, shoveling barracks courtyard at VMI and joining the local fire and rescue department shoveling driveways and sidewalks of the elderly and select local businesses.
  • Youth Lacrosse Clinic and Youth Soccer Clinic: More than 200 young athletes have been given the opportunity to learn skills and interact with their favorite athletes through VMI’s free preseason youth clinics.
  • VMI Athletics Participates in YMCA Sports Week:Several VMI cadet-athletes and coaches from VMI's basketball, baseball, track and field, wrestling and men's and women's soccer participated in the annual YMCA Sports Week in Lexington.
  • SAAC Participates in Local Community Service: VMI's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)  participated in the Spring Clean Day for Lime Kiln Theatre. 18 cadet-athletes donated their Saturday afternoon to help clean the Lime Kiln Theatre area, including picking up litter, trimming hedges and mulching flower beds in the vicinity.

Alumni Association

VMI graduates join a network of alumni around the world. VMI's Alumni Association works with over 80 alumni chapters across the United States and abroad. Chapters offer opportunities for further community service and philanthropic projects that benefit U.S. and global communities.

For more information, contact Tyler J. Lighton ’15 (

VMI cadets volunteering in community civic engagement



VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders