Virginia Institute on Cooperative Education (VICE)
Each spring, VCC sponsors the Virginia Institute on Cooperative Education, a leadership conference to educate 16-19 year olds about the cooperative form of business through interactive instruction that includes a live business simulation, “Who’s Minding the Store?” Students enhance their teamwork, leadership, and communication skills, with top performers having the opportunity to receive up to $2,000 in educational scholarships.
Graves Mountain Lodge hosts the annual VICE conference. Students participate in team competition to run cooperative businesses. In doing so, they learn how to making marketing and financial decisions and interpret the results of their decisions through operating statements and financial reports. Participants also enjoy organized games and activities and delicous meals.
This year’s conference will be held virtually. 2021 VICE Application is due March 5, 2021.
Students are required to choose a cooperative business in Virginia and contact a staff member to learn more about the size and operation of this cooperative in their community. Participants will be emailed information to aid in completing a project about their chosen cooperative, which is due April 15, 2021. To be considered for college scholarships of $500 and up, students will also need to complete an online test based on the “Welcome to Cooperatives” manual.
VICE evaluations consistently indicate that students find the conference to be both educational and fun. They often write that they came to the conference knowing nothing about co-ops and leave with an understanding and appreciation of this unique business form. They also provide positive feedback on the opportunity to make new friends and enjoy great food in a scenic rural setting. For the past few years, 100% of participants have indicated they would recommend VICE to a friend.