Project Rise

Project Rise

Project RISE Services 

Project RISE is a peer counseling service that was established in 2006 by a small group of Black students. It is a university-sponsored program that provides free, one-on-one, confidential services to enrolled University of Virginia students.

Counselors deliver a supportive service in an atmosphere where students can openly talk about their thoughts and feelings. Students decide which problems or uncertainties they want to work on and, with the help of the peer counselor, they begin problem solving at their own pace.

The peer counselors are not professionals; this allows them to relate to other students as concerned and available peers. Project RISE is unique, however, in that it is directly connected to both the Office of African American Affairs and to the department of Counseling and Psychological Services in Elson Student Health.  For the peer counselors, professional support is just a call away!

Our philosophy is that each of us can be helped by others to develop supportive and practical solutions to our problems.

Common problems students face include:

·        Academic problems,

·        anxiety & panic,

·        depression,

·        discrimination & harassment,

·        identity problems (gender, religious, and sexual),

·        relationship concerns,

·        roommate problems, and  

·        substance use concerns.


We are here to offer nonjudgmental, empathic peer support for whatever you’re going through.


Project RISE

I.              Philosophy:

Triumph over adversity creates a great story: wonderfully shared and experienced. We, as a people, excel in thriving in one another’s successes. Grief, anxiety, disappointment, frustration and worry are equally universal. However, we are not as equipped to carry one another’s sadness. Suffering is a lonely enterprise.

The satisfaction of coming out ahead in life is made sweeter when you have paid careful attention to the needs of those beside us, slightly behind us, as well as, those who are out of sight. This careful attention is not a professional skill; it can be learned and employed by anybody at any time. 

Peer Counseling is an excellent way to mobilize our innate ability to observe, assess, and react. Most often we employ these skills as survival strategies for ourselves. However, students who learn to employ these skills at the service of others are destined to become greater teachers, parents, workers, co-workers, leaders, and bosses. Effective observation (listening, watching, and speaking) is an essential skill for all people; even more so for those who are positioned for greater success, as is the case for ALL students of the University of Virginia.

II.            Vision Statement:

Project RISE is more than just a CIO or student organization. It is a way of life: a civic, social, and cultural commitment to service to one another. As an organization, we will prepare students to transform their own emotional, academic, and social experiences at UVA while creating a culture of action. We will nurture a strong bias towards helping in each and every one of us. In time, this cultural bias towards service will permeate all aspects of the University experience leading to greater academic success, emotional fulfillment, and better access to career development for all.

III.         Mission Statement:

Through knowledge and character, we will fortify each student; equipping them with the emotional, social, and psychological resources to RISE up and become the next generation of leaders of our global community.