Spring Blast

Along with Spring Fling, the Office of Undergraduate Admission / Outreach Office also hosted Spring Blast — our DOTL event for newly accepted Latinx students. During this year’s Spring Blast, current students along with the Outreach Office hosted an event called Primera Vista at UVA’s 1515 Building on the Corner. There was great food, performances by the University Salsa Club, information sessions regarding resources offered to Latinx students on Grounds, and so much more.

We’d also like to give a shoutout to Diana Villanueva, a fellow intern in our office, who handled the events pertaining to Spring Blast, this year. Diana is only a first year at UVA, but is certainly no stranger to the University. Diana is proud to say that she has “found her home at UVA,” and hopes that the Latinx students who attended Spring Blast will consider choosing UVA to be their home as well. “Spring Blast is only a taste of what UVA has to offer for the Latinx Community,” and we hope to see more of you guys on Grounds next Fall to make this University an even better place!

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Thanks again to everyone who helped and attended Spring Blast. Until next year!

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Spring Fling

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This past week the Office of Undergraduate Admission / Outreach Office at UVA hosted Spring Fling, our annual event for newly admitted minority students. It was a great weekend, with nice weather and good laughs throughout. On Thursday, we welcomed the prospective students and their families to our Cookout and it was a blast! The food was amazing and we even had a DJ — our very own Lindsey Shavers ‘20.Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 12.34.36 PM

Overall it was a great event. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and we hope all of our prospective students had a great time. We hope to see you all next year!

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– The Outreach Team

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Exciting News from the Commerce School

rousshall450_180.pngThis month, the McIntire School of Commerce released their admission letters for the class of 2020. We reached out to three newly admitted minority students to hear about their experiences throughout the process. Check out what they had to say below:

First we talked to Thierno Diallo. Thierno came to UVa with the intention of applying to the Comm School and is planning to concentrate in IT and Finance during his time there. When he looked back over his past two years in the College of Arts and Sciences, Thierno shared that the hardest part, about the pre-comm track was maintaining a “golden” and “competitive” GPA. His advice to any students interested in applying to McIntire is to “understand that GPA is a big factor, but it isn’t everything – get involved and do the things you like!”

We also interviewed Sydney Peoples, a fellow intern in our office and a legacy student at UVA. Like Thierno, she knew from day one that she wanted to apply to McIntire. She also advises any students on the pre-comm track “to remember that grades aren’t everything. I got a C in calculus and still got into the Comm School. Join organizations and get leadership positions within them – that often speaks louder than just a letter grade.” When the application letters were released, Sydney said she was “obviously a little nervous, but I was really confident in my application and I’m really thankful that it all worked out how I’d hoped.”

Lastly, we reached out to Jannette Nguyen, a future Comm student from Houston, Texas. Jannette also knew that she “wanted to pursue the Comm school from day one,” and, though she found financial and managerial accounting to be difficult, she still wants to pursue the finance track in McIntire. She also suggested that students “be open to taking a diverse set of classes,” even if they don’t align with Comm School prerequisites. Her favorite class thus far actually isn’t commerce-related at all – it is her forum class called “Visions of the Good” which focuses on how prestigious colleges can better support students from disadvantaged communities.

In addition to the outstanding achievement of these students, and the rest of the incoming MSC class of 2020, we wanted to recognize the work of Christian West, who actively worked to increase diversity at the Comm School this year. Christian graduated from UVA undergrad, and then began working in our office of Outreach, before making the switch to McIntire this year. Christian decided to focus his mission within the Comm School because he saw “an opportunity to recruit and welcome underrepresented students” in that specific community. His favorite part about his new position is getting to work with the students and create a broader network within the McIntire community. Next year, McIntire will be onboarding an exciting, new program called the “McIntire Commerce Cohort” which will further foster community among a diverse set of pre-commerce first-year students. His advice to any prospective McIntire applicants is to engage with McIntire whenever you can to make connections and ease the transition.

Again, congratulations to the incoming McIntire School of Commerce class of 2020. We know you’ll do great things!

Michelle Alexander

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Last week, UVA students had the privilege of hearing Michelle Alexander speak about our current political climate and how to inspire change within polarized communities. The popular author, who wrote the highly acclaimed The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, addressed issues specific to the Charlottesville community, especially in response to the events of August 11th and 12th. Additionally, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax offered insight into the political actions currently in place to combat injustice and inequality both in the Charlottesville community and, more broadly, throughout the state.

Alexander’s words inspired her audience to work tirelessly to enact real, lasting change when faced with injustice. Additionally, she spoke on the root causes of social inequality and essentiality of activism, asserting that a society’s “failure to acknowledge one human rights violation in its infancy gives rise to others.”

Michelle Alexander’s insight into current issues plaguing our nation and specific intricacies of issues facing the Charlottesville community provided her audience with a united sense of hope for the future, inciting attitudes of activism that will, hopefully, lead to lasting change in the future.

Want to watch Alexander’s whole conversation? Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjeii6Gq_lM

A Semester in Review

Here’s a look at some of the exciting events that took place this past semester in and around the University of Virginia community. Thanks for coming with us on this journey!

A Concert for Charlottesville: Sunday, September 24

In response to the events that took place on August 11th and 12th, various artists came together to put on a concert for the Charlottesville community. With artists including Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, and more, the event was a great success. Not only were there great performances, but also important messages about our country’s political climate, which reminded all of us why we were there in the first place. This was certainly a concert that won’t be forgotten any time soon!

Fall Blast and Fall Fling: Friday, October 13 – Saturday, October  14

To kick off the college search process for prospective students, OSAC held its annual Fall Blast event, catered specifically towards Latinx students. With student panels, information sessions, lunch, and a walking tour of grounds, the event was a huge success. We look forward to seeing some of the same faces next semester at our Spring Blast event!

Fall Fling was another great event to remember this semester. Like Fall Blast, Fall Fling seeks to reach out, specifically, to African American minority students. It was awesome to see so many students interested in calling the University their home. We also had a great student panel that helped share their own experiences at UVa, as well as their experiences with the event itself. See below for more information on their insight!

Spike Lee: Saturday, Nov. 11

November had a great start with the Virginia Film Festival. There were so many great films out during the entirety of the festival, but one that really stood out to the community was Spike Lee’s films, 4 Little Girls and I Can’t Breathe. Both films were especially relevant after the events that took place just steps away from the Paramount Theater earlier this year, but nonetheless, the event was amazing and well received by all!

Lighting of the Lawn: Thursday, November 30

To end the semester, we ventured to the very heart of the University – the Rotunda – for Lighting of the Lawn. This annual event is always highly anticipated, and this year the turnout was incredible! With organizations like the University Programs Council giving out free mugs and other goodies before the event, people’s high hopes for the event were definitely surpassed. We couldn’t think of a better way to end the semester!

We hope you enjoyed this Semester in Review, and can’t wait to see everyone back on Grounds in the Spring. Happy holidays, and until next time, Wahoowa!

Student Spotlight: Mariam Gbadamosi

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Name: Mariam Gbadamosi

Hometown: New Castle, Delaware

High School: The Charter School of Wilmington

Year at UVA: 2nd year

Major/Department: Undeclared; Prospective Human Biology

Involvement at UVA (ie., organizations, research, study aboard, service)

  1. Office of African American Affairs Peer Adviser
  2. Peer Health Educator
  3. OSAC Advisory Board
  4. I am a research assistant working with a sociology professor on a project investigating how student relationships impact sexual assault on college campuses.
  5. UVA in Costa Rica summer study abroad to complete my spanish language requirement

If there was one thing you wish someone had told you during the college admission process, what would that have been?

I wish that someone would have told me that everything is going to work out, so I should enjoy my senior year and not stress too much. There are so many moving parts in the admissions process that you can’t control, and you should not focus on those parts. You can only control yourself and what you do, so you should focus on doing the best that you can and let the chips fall where they may.

Why did you decide to come to the University of Virginia?

I decided to come to UVA after I visited for the first time during Days on the Lawn. After that day, I could imagine myself succeeding here academically and socially. Most of all, I just had the feeling that this was the place that I wanted to be for the next 4 years. I am an out of state student, so I had some anxiety about moving far away from home, but I knew that the opportunities here were worth it.

Share with us your thoughts/feelings about diversity at the University of Virginia.

I think may minority groups are underrepresented at the University, and this is a big problem for representation. It’s hard to succeed in a place where you don’t always see people that look like you. That being said, the minority communities here are strong and tightly knit. There are many organizations that provide resources and a strong support network for students and make you feel like they really care about your experience academically, socially, and mentally.

Mariam Gbadamosi, College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2020, mg2xn@virginia.edu

BSA at UVA

In 1969, black students at UVA came together to form an organization that they would be able to call their own. From this, the Black Student Alliance (BSA) was formed. The main purpose of the organization was to articulate the voices and concerns of the black student population. Since it’s founding, the number of black CIOs on grounds has tremendously increased. The Black Student Alliance was even the trailblazer that pushed to establish the Office of African American Affairs in 1976. A large chunk of the black history at the University of Virginia lies with the Black Student Alliance.

This past year I held the position of Vice President of the Black Student Alliance. Being a Second Year, it was extremely intimidating to take on a position of so much power in an organization that has so much history and influence. As I look at the experience, I honestly couldn’t say that I would have chosen any differently than to run for Vice President at the end of my first year. BSA has really put in the extra effort and work that the university needed. Our first major accomplishment was our participation in the National Die-In for police brutality. Dozens of students assembled in front of Old Cabell Hall facing the Rotunda in solidarity with the numerous lives lost to police brutality. Some students even felt led to share their personal feelings and concerns. The next huge trial for this past school year was the writing of the n-word on certain doors in a first year residence hall. This was something that really took the entire black community by shock and left numerous individuals speechless. From this incident, BSA took a stand and created a “Dorm Talk” initiative where we visit different dorms and present a short presentation on implicit bias and the black experience at UVA. These dorm talks even extended to other groups across grounds besides just dorms. We’ve organized a Teach In to educate professors of not only the black experience at UVA, but the minority experience as whole. We also planned numerous events around the 2016 Presidential Election and aided with the Minority Right Coalition in it’s Eliminate the Hate campaign.

Although last year seemed to be very politically charged, we still seemed to make sure that we were still taking care of the needs of our constituents. The first ever Activity Hour was co-sponsored with the NAACP as UVa as well as the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Over winter break we held our annual Emerging Leaders retreat for first & second year black students that want to hone in on and cultivate their leadership skills. 2017 has also been the third year since our revival of the Black Ball, a tradition African American students of the past at the University started as a way for them to celebrate being in the company of one another. I have seen the black community truly come together this year whether it be activism or just plain fun.

Being apart of BSA has truly made my experience at the University worthwhile. Prior to attending the University, I never would’ve imagine the immense level of greatness I have joined by being a part of the black community at UVA. There is not one specific “type of black person,” just like there is not one specific “type of UVA student.” I believe that the Black Student Alliance has done and will continue to do it’s fair share to bring together black students and assist them on their journey to tackle both the University of Virginia and beyond.

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Cameron Stokes, College of Arts and Science, Class of 2019, Youth & Social Innovation and Psychology, cs4ng@virginia.edu