Meet Your 'Bus Driver'
I am a rising fourth-year student at the UVA Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. I study Public Policy/Leadership and Economics with a focus on global development. In addition to Hillel, I am involved with the organization One for the World which motivates students to donate 1% of their post-graduate incomes to the world's most effective charities in ending global poverty.
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Reach Out To Me
Why University of Virginia?
What do you love about your school?
I love how easy it is to find your niche within UVA, both academically and socially. It is natural here to surround yourself with people that challenge and support you to achieve greatness.
Why did you choose your school when you were a senior in high school? Walk us through that process.
I toured UVA during the Fall of my senior year, which is relatively late in the game. I thought I wanted to attend a small college in the Northeast with a large Jewish population (essentially, recreating my small Jewish day school in Philly). I was resistant to exploring other schools, but my mom convinced me to look at UVA, her alma mater, because of its school of public policy, of which I am now a student. When I toured, I could feel a palpable sense of happiness and positive energy among the students. Students actually smiled and looked up while walking between classes, which is not always the case at every university. The warmth of the community was contagious. Also, since I visited during Passover, I ate lunch with Hillel and was able to converse with the Hillel director and Jewish students. Though I am thrilled to have spent my college experience at UVA, I definitely did not immediately know how great it would be. I was nervous about going "down South," and the size of the student body intimidated me. Little did I know how well I'd be able to create my home here.
What has been your favorite class so far? Tell us about it!
Introduction to Civic Leadership taught me the social psychology behind effective leadership. The class gave us the skills to be effective leaders, as both aspiring policymakers, but also in our day to day involvements. Each class was a three hour long session that mixed lecture with hands-on activities that each highlighted a different dimension of leadership. I still employ much of what I learned in this class to my leadership positions around Grounds.
What fun traditions do you like to partake in at your school?
UVA is known for its traditions! Most obviously, I love going to basketball games (2019 National Champions!) and cheering on the Hoos with my friends. We also have trick or treating on the Lawn (TOTOTL). The Lawn is our main "quad," with over 50 students and some professors who live in rooms that line it. During TOTOTL, UVA invites the Charlottesville community to trick or treat at the lawn rooms, and many student organizations will also set up tables and give out candy. We also have another tradition called Lighting of the Lawn (LOTL) which is a big winter-holiday-themed party and light show of the Rotunda. Last winter, our Hillel hosted a Hanukkah party at LOTL for the first time. My favorite Jewish tradition is Bagels on the Lawn (BOTL), where every Wednesday Jewish students congregate and eat free bagels between classes.
Tell us about Jewish life on campus. How have you been able to engage with this aspect of your identity while at school?
UVA has an estimated 1,000 undergraduate and 400 graduate Jewish students. The Brody Jewish Center just went under a major renovation that more than doubled the size of the building. It now has a library, sun room, fully stocked kitchen, white board room, conference room, and many study spaces. Jewish students can gain swipe access to enter the building 24/7. Our active Jewish community is highly engaged in myriad leadership roles and high impact opportunities. Personally, I went on Birthright with the UVA Hillel. I have had a total of four leadership roles, and I probably attend a Hillel event at least twice a week. Overall, Hillel provides a real community and space to feel comfortable being authentically yourself.
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Charlottesville by Nathan Colberg
Jewish Life On Campus
Hillel connects with students at more than 550 colleges and universities across North America and around the world, creating lasting connections with students, inspiring and training them to become leaders and build their own communities.
Check out Hillel’s Guide to Jewish Life at Colleges and Universities.
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