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Free Friday Movie Series returns this fall

Virginia Western Community College announces the return of its Free Friday Movie Series this fall semester with a slate of seven films and two Spanish language films. Students, community members, college employees, friends and family are all invited to attend and catch these movies in Whitman Theater before they are available in stores and on streaming services.

Virginia Western’s Student Activities Office hosts these movies that align with the College’s mission. In coordination with the City of Roanoke’s Welcoming Roanoke Initiative, two movies will feature Spanish language viewings on Thursdays.

For directions to campus and parking instructions, visit: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/about/visitvwcc.php. To find out more about student life events at Virginia Western, visit: https://www.virginiawestern.edu/studentlife/upcoming_events.php.

Please see the full schedule below. Showtimes are at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Whitman Theater on the ground floor of the Business Science Center.

9/13: Yesterday: A struggling musician wakes up in an alternate universe where The Beatles never existed. Rated PG-13.

9/20: Toy Story 4: A new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and Buzz Lightyear on new adventures. Rated G.

9/27: The Farewell: A family returns to China to visit their dying grandmother, where they encounter conflicts between Eastern and Western culture. Rated PG.

10/11: The Lion King: A remake of the animated Disney classic, featuring the voices of Beyoncé, Donald Glover, and Seth Rogen. Rated PG.

10/18: Dora and the Lost City of Gold: Dora, the teenage explorer, goes on an adventure with her cousin Diego and her new classmates. Starring Eva Longoria. Rated PG.

10/25: Spider-Man: Far From Home: Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. Rated PG-13.

11/1: Blinded by the Light: In 1987 England, a Pakistani teenager learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Rated PG-13.

Spanish language audio movies:

Thursday, 9/19: Toy Story 4.

Thursday, 10/17: Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

ABC University on Aug. 12 – Preparing for your first day

Are you getting ready for your first day of college? (Virginia Western starts fall semester August 26, by the way!) Find out all you need to know to be ready with this interactive livestream event.

When: August 12, 12:15 p.m.

Where: www.youtube.com/VirginiaWestern

What: An interactive livestream video with staff from Virginia Western, where you can participate! This stream will focus on preparing you for the first day of college.

Community Arboretum launches fundraising campaign to replace gazebo

Organizers at the Community Arboretum at Virginia Western hope to soon replace the gardens’ aging gazebo.

While the arboretum celebrated its 25th anniversary in May 2018, Virginia Western students constructed the gazebo a couple of years prior to the garden’s official dedication. In the years since then, numerous weddings and musical performances have been staged at the structure, which serves as a focal point of the arboretum.

Clark BeCraft, horticulture program coordinator, is unable utilize student volunteers this time around due to regulations regarding construction on state property. “So it’s costing us more than it did in the past to accomplish improvements,” BeCraft explained.

Members of the arboretum’s advisory board already have $25,000 in seed money to put toward the new gazebo, which will cost about $70,000. They hope to raise about 20 percent of the cost by the beginning of 2020 by selling engraved pavers which will go on the floor of the gazebo and the ground around it. “They can be engraved in memory or in honor of someone,” BeCraft said.

Sponsorships will be sold for:

  • $1,000 for an 8 X 8 paver (engraved paver will be placed under roof of gazebo. Includes certificate and small keepsake replica paver)
  • $500 for a 4 X 8 paver (engraved paver will be placed under roof of gazebo; includes certificate)
  • $250 for a 4 X 8 paver (engraved paver will be placed under roof of gazebo)
  • $150 for a 4 X 8 paver (engraved paver will be placed around the outside of the gazebo

Pavers can be purchased online at: https://connect.clickandpledge.com/w/form/79059e66-82cf-43b7-b8f8-5aec37c39f52.

Many arboretum visitors mistakenly assume that taxpayers cover the attraction’s upkeep, according to BeCraft. When the Commonwealth of Virginia originally donated the two acres of the Virginia Western campus for the arboretum, organizers agreed to raise the money to build the gardens and maintain them.

Until now, proceeds from popular plant sales and membership fees to the Friends of the Arboretum program mostly covered the attraction’s day-to-day expenses. Updating several aging areas of the arboretum will require additional funding sources.  “We need more money to take the arboretum into the next 25 years,” BeCraft said.

By the time the Community Arboretum reaches its 30th anniversary, BeCraft hopes the new gazebo will be in place and three of the 11 gardens will be renovated.

Virginia Western horticulture students under the direction of Lee Hipp, the well-known former director of the department, led the charge in the 1980s to create a public garden for the college and the public. Individuals, business owners and organizations in the Roanoke Valley raised $150,000 over a decade for the construction of the arboretum, which was dedicated in 1993. 

The public is welcome to visit the arboretum from sunrise to sunset. It includes 11 separate gardens and plant collections which are home to approximately 700 labeled plant taxa.