Two years ago, Alivia Colón eagerly stepped into a new role staffing weekly pickups for The Market of Virginia Tech. Established in the summer of 2020, The Market of Virginia Tech provides groceries to students experiencing food insecurity.
Alivia managed grocery pickup for about 65 students. She met participants with a smile and engaged them in conversation, creating a welcoming and supportive environment. Because the program was so new, the work was at times chaotic, the bags heavy, and the communication not always streamlined. Through all of this, Alivia could be counted on to meet the needs of our campus community week after week.
Her nominator wrote, “Unfortunately, in our society, there is often stigma associated with food insecurity. This can be especially true among college students. Through her genuine concern for participants’ well-being, Alivia worked to mitigate any feeling of shame they may have felt.”
Perhaps even more reflective of Alivia’s commitment to Ut Prosim were the times she advocated on behalf of participants. Alivia knew just how essential The Market was to them, especially for those providing for dependents. She compiled local resources, informed participants of additional food pantries in the community, and even developed and facilitated a workshop on SNAP for students. When she wasn’t staffing weekly pickups, she was searching for grants and researching additional ways VT Engage could support students.
Her nominator said, “If not for her dedication to The Market, I’m not sure it would have been as successful as it was. I’ve told her many times that without her it wouldn’t have happened and I honestly mean it. Her commitment to service and to the health and well-being of others was key to providing more than 14,000 meals to our students.”
Alivia said, “Ut Prosim, to me, means finding a way to give back to the community that has played such a huge role in allowing Virginia Tech to flourish. Service to one’s community begins and ends with learning and educating. We learn of issues in our community and then spread that knowledge to encourage more people to lend a hand. I don’t just strive to be a part of my community by volunteering, but also by using my knowledge and education to push and work for a change.”
She said she has learned that, “Being good unto others and spreading love starts with being good unto and loving yourself -- so give yourself grace as you would other people.”
A senior majoring in meteorology with a minor in Spanish, Alivia is a member of the Virginia Tech Meteorology Club, the Caribbean Student Organization, the NAACP at VT, and the Black Student Association.
She plans to work in broadcast meteorology, preferably in TV morning news, and will support her community with quick and reliable information during hazardous weather conditions.
I am so proud to present the Aspire! Award for EMBRACE UT PROSIM AS A WAY OF LIFE to Alivia Colón.