Friday, March 8, 2013

We run this town

We’ve made history this year by having classes cancelled three times due to “inclement weather,” as the University cited. Two days last semester, then most recently this Wednesday, for Winter Storm Saturn. This winter storm hit Charlottesville a little harder than Hurricane Sandy’s drizzle, so most of us lost power here, meaning the school couldn’t actually send out an email saying classes were cancelled, since all the servers were down. Instead, we all relied on the ever-informative Cavalier Daily Twitter account, tweeting that classes were cancelled yet again this academic year around 7 am. After waking up to a blizzard like conditions in the middle of midterms, it was almost too good to be true. But hey, who were we to argue with them when exams were cancelled?

Yep, that guy is skiing off the Rotunda

The Cav Daily isn’t actually a CIO, or a Contracted Independent Organization, as we refer to them, but it is entirely student run, like all of the other CIOs here. That means that the Editor-in-Chief and the rest of their Managing Board is responsible for everything the paper prints or puts on their website. You heard me right: no faculty adviser! No adults, no rules! Just kidding. But as a club here, you don’t have to answer to any faculty member or get your events approved by anyone, other than if you’re planning on using facilities. You, as the students, get to decide what you want to do with your club, whether that’s put on a fashion show for charity or just skate around at Main Street Arena once a week (shameless shout out to my ClubSkating girls…yeah, we are a club sport!) For those of you hoping to escape the ever present parental control, UVA provides a perfect atmosphere for that.

We’re allowed to change whatever we want: it’s the concept of “student self-governance” that we’re so famous for. At the beginning of every semester, Student Council, affectionately known as StudCo, holds an activities fair where all of the CIOs, all 200 plus of them, hold booths to recruit new members. It’s kind of a crazy scene…especially the one before fall semester, which is held in August on a 100 degree day.

The Activities Fair in the Amphitheater...and this is only half of it

Just to give you an idea of how seriously we take this student self-governance thing: One of the clubs that is always at the Activities Fair is Honor, which is responsible for overseeing our famous Honor system that keeps the UVA grounds so trustworthy (and lets me take my next midterm exam from the comfort of my own bed whenever I want…I kid you not!). Honor lets students know when charges have been filed against them and sets and holds the trial itself: they’re responsible for basically running the honor system. Recently they came up with the “Restore the Ideal Act,” which would have changed the 170 year old honor system in two different ways. I won’t bore you with the details, but basically the student body only liked one of these ideas, so we put up our own proposal, and passed that with a 64% vote. I know it may not seem like a big deal, but we take our honor system seriously, and its constitution hasn’t been changed in 170 years…and our “community of trust” is still intact!

UVA VASST at Nationals in Idaho

The huge number of clubs means you have the opportunity to get involved with anything you want, whether it’s VASST (Virginia Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team) which is currently skiing at Nationals in Idaho right now, or the Whethermen, UVA’s oldest improve group (pictured above). I know people who are busy from 7 am – 11 pm because they’re involved in so many clubs, so definitely take the time to get involved in anything you’re interested in, no matter where you end up.

The Whethermen have no idea how to stand up?
(If you have any questions about any of the clubs I mentioned, feel free to email me…those were shameless shoutouts, and I can definitely put you in touch with their exec boards!)

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