Hoos Serving

Will VanOrden

Will VanOrden

Will is a second-year economics and physics double-major in the College and a released firefighter/EMT with Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department (Station 8 Albemarle County Fire Rescue).

What lead to you getting involved as an emergency responder?

My RA noticed that I was volunteering to help unload cars during Summer Orientation at the beginning of last year. He recommended a person to contact in case I wanted to get involved with community service in "a special way." As it turned out, this person was a firefighter at my station, who I did not know at the time. I attended an open house at the station and fell in love. I signed up that day and did my first ride-along that night. I began fire academy two weeks later.

What has been the most rewarding aspect that comes with your community involvement?

The most rewarding aspect has definitely been the increase in confidence and problem-solving. When you train to act in stressful situations, such as fires or car crashes, the skills you develop tend to apply to more than just responding to emergencies. As such, I have found myself more trusting in my ability to think quickly when a new situation arises, and I know that I am able to put forth my best effort to turn any situation into one with a positive outcome.

How do you expect to be involved in the community in the future? What's your #CommunityCommitment?

I will continue to pursue excellence as a firefighter at Station 8. I also am looking into joining the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad. Our two stations work together on a daily basis, and I think that joining CARS will allow me to get important hospital time and experience. My #CommunityCommitment is to participate in community outreach programs designed to increase fire safety awareness. This is always critical, as fire prevention is the best strategy to ensure a safe community.

How would you encourage others to get involved?

Our station is very welcoming and always accepts ride-alongs. I encourage anyone who is interested to reach out to our station and request a ride-along (including UVA students). I also recommend asking other students or mentors for opportunities in any fields of interest, as well as staying open-minded. Before being told about the opportunity, I had never even considered doing anything remotely similar to volunteer firefighting. Now, I can proudly say it is my biggest accomplishment upon arrival at Mr. Jefferson's University.

What is your favorite UVA tradition and why?

My favorite UVA tradition is Lighting on the Lawn. I enjoy meeting up with my roommates and watching many different groups perform in front of the University. I appreciate the effort facilities and maintenance put in to make the Rotunda look fantastic for the ceremony. The Lawn always represents this school, and I welcome the opportunity for us, as a school, to get together and enjoy UVA as a whole.