Averett Helps the Community Get Vaccinated


Nakia-Lee Goodall, Staff Writer

Over the course of the semester, Averett University has worked in conjunction with SOVAH hospital to take a stand and help the Danville/Pittsylvania County by setting up vaccination clinics across the region.

Averett’s coalition of 14 partners and 456 volunteers allowed for the opportunity to help set up and staff five large-scale vaccination clinics before being involved in the setting up of a permanent vaccination site at the Danville Mall in the vacant JC Penny building.

Averett was asked for help setting up the regional clinic because of its success with previous clinics held at the Grant Center and at Danville’s Community Market.  Hard work was put in to complete a template design of the building and to carry out the set up which was accomplished by Bren Taylor, director of operations and senior women’s administrator for athletics. Billy Wooten, executive director of The Center For Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness described Taylor as “a powerhouse, and we could not have done it without her and the athletes.”

Along with Taylor, Wooten has had a lot of input in the involvement of the clinics with Averett University. Wooten was approached by SOVAH hospital and Dr. Tiffany Franks, Averett president, at the beginning of the semester to find a handful of volunteers to help out at one of the first and smaller vaccination clinics at the hospital. Over time this grew into what can be seen today and through doing this Wooten was able to connect Averett University further with the community.

“My desire was twofold: first and foremost, my mission is to help get our neighbors vaccinated against this terrible pandemic and start the path to some sense of normalcy, and secondly to establish a partnership network that would benefit the University’s drive to serve the community and establish potential internship and other career-development opportunities,” Wooten said.

The journey that Averett University has been on in the upkeep of the community’s health and well being has provided Averett with bounds of acknowledgment and success.

Averett has achieved many new partnerships with community organizations that have partnered on internships, service-learning projects and other projects. “These would not have been possible without our coalition-building around the COVID clinics. If COVID has a silver lining, it would be the partnerships and team-building that have occurred to eradicate it,” Wooten said.

“I think Averett is seen as a leader among the Region,” Wooten added, “We always were, but the credibility we have gained as a community partner willing to step up and do whatever it takes to serve has certainly enhanced the name we already had. I look forward to building on our credibility by tackling other social issues that exist in our Region. Together, we can make a difference.”