Friday, June 8, 2012

Breaking the UVA Stereotype

Hi everybody! My name is Sandra Menendez and I am a rising second year in the College of Arts and Sciences. I hail from the beautiful Richmond, Virginia and am hoping to double major in Studio Art and English Literature. I had always imagined myself going out-of-state to take on the world after high school, but when I visited UVA (against my will), I fell madly in love. From its rich, historical history to its crazy traditions, UVA has proved to be everything and more. I can honestly tell you that I am happiest when I am sporting my orange and blue.
I want to talk to you guys a little bit about something that, when I was in your shoes, made me cringe a little about UVA: its stereotype. Sometimes you’ll hear that UVA is filled with a particular kind of student who acts or dresses a certain way. Let me tell you, we are all very far from it.
I like to think of UVA as a great mix of things. We are incredibly diverse. We have artists AND athletes; polo shirts AND combat boots; clean cut AND tattoos. There is nothing typical or stereotypical about a UVA student. What grounds us is our love for tradition, honor, and Mr. Jefferson’s University.
UVA is filled with students who have a “story” be it their heritage or an accomplishment or an interest that they’ve pursued. Trust me, UVA has a ton of resources for just about anything. A great place to start looking would be which lists just about every organization and support system for students available on grounds. Just to name a few, you can find: Black Student Association, LGBQT Resource Center, Asian Leaders Council, Muslim Student Association, and the Global Brigades. But yet, this isn’t just what makes us diverse. We are the proud owners of the Tater Tot Club and Student Council. The interests here simply abound.
In addition to our clubs and resources, we also have multi-cultural greek organizations that cater to students who want to blend the greek system with a more diverse approach.
There are also opportunities to make your first (or second, or third, or fourth) year living experience truly unique and memorable. The International Residential College houses students from all over the world (and all over UVA as well). You don’t have to be an international student to live there, but be prepared for a cultural experience! You can apply to live in the IRC while applying for housing your first year at Some of the benefits include: free breakfasts and sit down dinners with an invited professor to discuss the topic of his or her choosing!
Sandra J

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