VCU will celebrate the 14th annual Marquita Aguilar Walk-A-Thon on Tuesday. (File photo)

Walk-a-thon founder: Scholarship fundraiser is about ‘building bridges’ to help students

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The potential of Virginia Commonwealth University’s students uplifts Marquita Aguilar, who wants to see them be successful.

That is why she and her colleagues in the VCU Staff Senate in 2005 created a walk-a-thon to raise money for student scholarships. They were inspired by the Healthy Virginians initiative from the governor’s office that encouraged state employees to improve their health through daily exercise, including walking.

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Apply for Virginia’s Caring University scholarships at (Deadline: May 7)

The Marquita Aguilar Walk-A-Thon, now in its 14th year, has raised more than $110,000 to date, helping more than 100 undergraduate students at VCU. It is open to juniors and seniors with financial need and a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

“Scholarships are very necessary. The more we can create, the better for our students. We want them to have less debt, and less stress,” Aguilar said. “The [Virginia’s Caring University] scholarship is one that opens up that opportunity for them to succeed.”

On Tuesday, April 10, VCU faculty, staff, alumni and other supporters can take steps to help. The walk-a-thon begins at 11:30 a.m. with check-in and late registration at the University Student Commons Plaza. VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., will offer welcoming remarks at noon. Warm-up exercises will get the crowd moving before the walk begins at 12:30 p.m. on Cary Street Field. A lunch and raffle will follow inside the University Student Commons ballrooms.

“We’re building bridges, to connect our students to their goals and their destiny,” Aguilar said. “We want to see them succeed no matter where their education takes them, and wherever they become leaders.”