Volunteer-Fueled Free Ride Welcomes International Students to University of Virginia

Aug. 18, 2008 — On Tuesday and Wednesday, 100 students from 23 countries on five continents will begin their University of Virginia careers by way of the UVaExpress, a uniquely full-service, volunteer-funded transportation program.

The program, administered by the University's Office of Engagement, conveys international students and family members from Dulles Airport to U.Va.'s Grounds free of charge.

UVaExpress is underwritten by UVaClub of Singapore President Gordon Kirtland, who in 2006 brought to the University's attention the difficulty and expense of transportation for arriving international students.

In last year's inaugural effort, the UVaExpress program brought 95 international students to the University along with 30 of their family members.

Now in its second year, UVaExpress is a vastly coordinated program, with faculty and staff from 14 University departments and offices volunteering along with students and alumni. Volunteer efforts stretch Washington to Charlottesville, with participants stationed to greet students at Dulles and others based in Charlottesville to assist with the moving-in process.

This year, the international participants and 41 of their family members will arrive at U.Va. on eight buses, up from six in 2007.

UVaExpress is one of two known shuttle programs of its type among the University's top peer institutions, and is unique in its holistic approach to providing both safe, inexpensive transit and a welcoming introduction to the University.

"The Office of Engagement is proud to be part of an institution that so highly values its community of international students," said Kate Malay, assistant director of regional engagement, who coordinates UVaExpress for the University. "That our volunteers represent groups from Radiology at the U.Va. Hospital to the Bolivar Network in Washington, D.C. reflects a global awareness among University of Virginia faculty, staff and alumni for the difficulty of acclimation to life in the U.S. today."

For information on UVaExpress, contact Kate Malay at 434-243-2284 or visit www.uvaclubs.virginia.edu/uvaexpre2008.

The Office of Engagement facilitates and supports alumni and parent relations on behalf of the University of Virginia through several programs: Alumni Education, Cavalier Travels, UVaClubs and UVaFamilies.