Name: Sebastian Perez
Year: Third Year
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia
Cultural Background: Puerto Rican
Why did you choose UVA? I like slightly larger schools, so UVA was ideal for me because there are a wide variety of different groups you can be a part of and the University still provides a challenging academic environment. The school is also two hours away from home, which is just far enough to really feel like I’m living independently without it being hard to get home if I need to.
What are your involvements at UVA, and what do these involvements mean to you? Apart from my classes, I’m currently serving as the Director of Events for the Latino Student Network at McIntire, the Outreach Chair for Culture of Respect Educators (CORE), a “Familia” head for the Hispanic/Latinx Peer Mentor Program (PMP), and the Diversity and Outreach Chair of the Inter-Fraternity Council Governing Board.
While these involvements pertain to distinct organizations, the common denominator is that they each require a measurable amount of community engagement in order to be successful, and I tend to measure my success based on the amount of people benefiting from my efforts. So despite these involvements taking a lot of my time, the projects I’ve accomplished are actually what continue to energize me because I get to see the impact my work has on different segments of the student population.
How do you view diversity at UVA? We are not where we should be. The conversations are finally beginning, but we are far from finished. That being said, I have a lot of pride in our student community and the faculty who have taken the initiative to work towards a more integrated and inclusive University. I’m a bit more than halfway through my undergraduate experience, and we have already made significant progress through student-led efforts.
When we take ownership of what we want to accomplish, then we can do so much more than we thought was possible. The people I’ve met consistently demonstrate that fact every day, and I’m excited to be a part of what comes next!
How would you describe your experience at UVA? It’s really had its ups and downs. I think we have a tendency to reinforce expectations for students to have to do something as a component of your time here, which is not always healthy. But nevertheless, my involvements have afforded me a lot of opportunities for growth and I definitely feel like a different person than who I was when I first arrived.
While I’ve had some great personal successes, I’ve probably had just as many failures which are equally important for my growth. So basically everything has been a learning experience.
Why should students apply to UVA? Although everyone’s “reason” for applying may differ, the University has a lot to offer its students in terms of educational resources and more. These resources have been useful in helping me realize my academic and career goals.
Because we have so much student involvement, I feel that UVA prompts its community to actively pursue their personal and leadership goals. So if you want to find a place to continue to elevate yourself and those around you, then the people at UVA can support you in doing that.
Sebastian Perez, McIntire School of Commerce, Class of 2021, firstname.lastname@example.org