About ASPiRE

VCU ASPiRE is a living-learning program promoting community engagement through academic coursework and cocurricular experiences. The mission of VCU ASPiRE is to enrich and deepen students’ understanding of their capacity to create positive change in communities and address critical societal needs through long-term sustainable partnerships.

VCU ASPiRE is dedicated to making an impact in the following areas:

  • Accessible and affordable housing
  • Community building
  • Education and workforce development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Health and wellness

Community engagement

VCU ASPiRE students work with community partners to address critical community needs. These community partnerships allow students to:

  • Connect with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and schools.
  • Address local, regional, national and international community issues.
  • Gain real-world experience to prepare for life after college.

Academic curriculum

During their two years in the program, VCU ASPiRE students take two, 3-credit classes and complete three, 1-credit community-based seminars. The academic component of VCU ASPiRE develops students’ knowledge, skills and dispositions for community engagement. The required courses emphasize community engagement across academic disciplines and compliment all majors and minors at VCU.

Students must complete 100 cocurricular hours over the course of the program. These consist of a combination of hours that include direct service, leadership opportunities, workshops and participation in residential activities.

Live (10 hours)

Students can get Live hours by going to any program within West Grace South that is planned by a resident assistant. ASPiRE students may also work with program staff to plan social activities to support positive interactions and communication among students living in West Grace South.

Lead (10 hours)

Students can get Lead hours by participating in a variety of committees and activities sponsored by ASPiRE. These include, but are not limited to, assisting with planning the annual Halloween event, planning activities for local community organizations, hosting a program or serving on the West Grace South Hall Council.

Learn (10 hours)

Students can earn Learn hours through participating in various activities on or off campus that involve learning more about a specific topic or issue. These can be workshops, lectures or discussion groups. Students also have the opportunity to attend and/or present at conferences during the year.

Engage (50 hours)

Students can earn Engage or direct service hours by working with various partners in the community. These can include mentoring/tutoring children, distributing food, assisting with the community garden and other activities that directly benefit individuals in the community.

An additional 20 hours must be completed in any of the categories of a student’s choosing.

Contact us

Virginia Commonwealth University
ASPiRE Living-Learning Program 
835 West Grace Street
Box 842538
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3062
Phone: (804) 827-1759

ASPiRE staff listing