To the Alumni of the University of Virginia
We write to you as alumni with a message and a request that we hope you will support.
The last several years have seen thousands of students launch and fulfill dreams at the University, much as we did. Yet there has also been a significant amount of turmoil. Many of us scattered around the country and the world have watched and read about the cultural and historical issues that are challenging students and the larger community of Charlottesville, Virginia. One of these issues is sexual violence -- which no one condones.
Tell us about the professional path that’s brought you where you are – completely planned, surprisingly organic or somewhere in between?
When I was in high school applying to college, I was dead-set on being a politics major. Government was my favorite AP class, and I couldn’t wait to be 18 to cast my vote. When I got to UVA, I thought I wanted to be a journalist. By the end of my college experience, I found the middle ground that somewhat bridges the two - public policy.
In a former life, I taught middle school for eight years. Four in a public school in a small industrial town south of Trenton, and four in a private school in Princeton. (I joke that eight years is three times as long as we make students stay in middle school.)
But the reality was that I loved working with this age group. They ask hard questions and expect honest answers. And they taught me so much about structural inequalities in our country.
At the start of every fall semester, our Big and Little Brothers head to the Poplar Ridge Challenge Course to kick off their year together. In the Men's Leadership Project, UVA undergraduate men serve as big brothers to local middle school boys, building strong, respectful relationships that help them both grow as leaders in their schools, communities, and families.
The Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center takes a trauma-informed approach to our work to support survivors of sexual assault and everyone in the community impacted by it. As our colleagues in EOCR/Title IX review the interim guidance issued today, we encourage students with questions or concerns to reach out for assistance. We also stand with all of our students working to create a respect culture on Grounds and across the world.
Having just arrived a mere month ago on Grounds, you start to hear it everywhere: "you need to start signing leases for the next year, or you will be left out." In the rush to find that perfect spot, or perhaps out of fear of being left without choices, many students –especially first and second years—sign leases with people they do not know well, for apartments that may not be nearly as great as they sounded when their friends first told them about them.