What started as a class project has turned into an opportunity to live out the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), for Trey Edmunds of Danville, Virginia, a senior majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a running back on the Virginia Tech football team.

On Friday, Nov. 13, Edmunds and dozens of other Virginia Tech athletes will host a field day for the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia. The event will take place from 2:45 to 5 p.m. at Christiansburg Middle School.

Wanda Smith, associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business, teaches an advanced leadership class in which Edmunds is enrolled.

“Because I believe students should learn to live a life of purpose, I challenge each student to make a difference in someone’s life through a team-based class project,” said Smith. “Specifically, each student leader enrolled in the course is required to persuade eight people to do some notable activity that would potentially change someone’s life. Trey’s vision for this assignment was to create an event in which he would talk with kids about making it out of hard situations.”

Tasked with creating an activity to enhance the world around him, Edmunds started brainstorming ideas. He knew a few things for certain: he (of course) loves football, he wants to give back to the community, and he wants to provide encouragement to underprivileged kids.

Edmunds tossed around the idea of picking an easy project that he could complete in a few days, but he decided to pursue some passions he doesn’t always have time for in the midst of football season.

“I wanted it to be bigger than a classroom project,” said Edmunds.

Reyna Gilbert-Lowry, associate athletics director of student-athlete development, said embracing Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) as a way of life is a critical part of character development for Virginia Tech student athletes. 

“Virginia Tech student-athletes are encouraged to participate in community outreach initiatives throughout their college experience,” said Gilbert-Lowry. Doing so not only enhances their own self-esteem and character, but also helps maintain and improve the positive relationship between student-athletes and the surrounding community.

“It is extremely gratifying to see student-athletes taking their own initiative to create outreach opportunities, especially for local youth. We are extremely proud of the work Trey is doing to live out the spirit of Ut Prosim in the community.”

After deciding on the field day concept, Edmunds approached Robyn Jones, a learning specialist and mentor with Student Athlete Academic Support Services, about the idea of a field day for local youth. Jones then directed Edmunds to Natalie Forbes, coordinator of student-athlete development, who has assisted Edmunds in the logistical plans for the event on Nov. 13.

“Ever since then, it’s been taking off,” said Edmunds.

The field day will include games and activities, but Edmunds said it’s not just an athletic event. The event will end with a time for the athletes to share their stories with the children, encouraging them to dream big and work hard.

The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia is, “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens." Around 40 elementary and middle school students participate in the Boys and Girls Club’s services at the Christiansburg Middle School location.

“I’m doing this to just try to help younger kids see the better things in life,” said Edmunds. “I just want these kids to see that they can have a good future, no matter where they’re at or what they’re going through. I want them to see that their circumstances don’t define their future.”

Written by Holly Paulette.