Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Study spots around grounds

If you’re anything like me, finding a productive study spot on grounds can sometimes be especially difficult. I know that I need to switch things up every now and then, otherwise my hideouts get stale and motivation and effectiveness go down the drain. Here I present some of my top picks for study spots on grounds: 

Music Library – There’s something about being surrounded by musical literature and arrangements that heightens my ability to study. Perhaps this is because my major is about as opposite from music you can get. This library has a multitude of cozy corners and nooks that makes it the perfect locale to really get focused.

The McGregor Room – This room is on the list purely for its aesthetic appeal. Known around grounds as the “Harry Potter Room” it is reminiscent of the antique-y study spaces utilized by everyone’s favorite boy wizard at Hogwarts. This room boasts comfy chairs and cushions that also double as effective napping spots. Just don’t get too comfortable or you will get nothing done. 

Newcomb Game Room – This is a fun spot especially if you have to meet up with a study group. The booths and table settings make this an easy yet casual meet up spot. More importantly there is easy access to food, mere steps away. And if you ever need a study break you can always play a few games of pool. 

The Lawn – This one is an obvious choice. If it is a nice sunny day nothing can beat spreading out a blanket on the lawn to do some reading. This might not be the best place to minimize distractions, but it is definitely the prettiest place to study on grounds. 

I am sure I have plenty more places to discover in my remaining time at UVA, but I have definitely branched out since my days of studying in Clem 1 first year. 

Harry Potter-esque?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Charlottesville in the Fall

Fall is, hands down, one of the best seasons there is. The suffocating heat finally starts to cool down, the leaves are changing into warm, comforting colors, and everything starts becoming cozy. It is also the time of the semester when assignments, tests, and papers start piling up and you view the changing of the seasons through the window of a library. So, to honor the ~10 minutes that UVA students have to do fun, fall-themed things, here are some awesome things to do in Charlottesville throughout October.

1. Hang out on the Lawn
With the cooler weather, despite all the rain, being outdoors for more than two minutes is actually enjoyable and incredibly relaxing. Plus, chances are someone will be walking/playing with their dog and nothing besides free food gets a college kid more excited than seeing a dog.

2. Eat some apple cider doughnuts
Nothing is more redolent of fall than apple picking but when pressed for time simply eating an apple cider doughnut from Carter's Mountain Orchard gives you all of the satisfaction of apple picking with the bonus of a sugar high.

3. Drink a fall-themed beverage
This does not have to be a pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks, and honestly probably shouldn't since they are very much overrated. A butterbear latte from a recipe on Pinterest would do very nicely.

4. Burn a scented candle
Ones that smell like cinnamon and nutmeg or vanilla frosting are the best since they smell like you've baked some cookies or a cake, without actually having to bake something. Your apartment feels homey and relaxed and you can pretend the pack of Oreos are homemade.

5. Stop in at the McGregor Room in Alderman Library
This is also known as the Harry Potter room so it's filled with leather chairs, beautiful books, and a cozy feel like it's been apparated straight from Hogwarts. It's also deathly silent and filled with stressed out students studying exams and will therefore give you a nice authentic fall in college feeling.

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Semester, New People

In full disclosure (#honorcode), that title is a little bit of a lie. Megan Beissner and I are back again as co-chairs of Hoos Online which runs this blog as well as recruits current students to answer questions, along with a few admissions deans, on online chats the dates of which we are currently working out. To refresh the memory of our loyal blog followers and for the information of the new future wahoos here is a little bit about us. We are both third years from Northern Virginia, Fairfax County specifically, and West Springfield High School if you want to get really specific. Megan is in the McIntire School of Commerce and is completely obsessed with the basketball team and I am a history major whose opinions on all of the food options on grounds and in Charlottesville are way too extensive and thought out. Anyway, we are incredibly excited to have some new faces writing blog posts this semester as well as some faithful old-timers and we hope you enjoy reading them though the written word does not fully convey how awesome UVA is. To get the full effect you will just have to come visit! Until we see you on grounds, please enjoy this picture from Lighting of the Lawn, my favorite UVA tradition.

Friday, August 21, 2015

How To Prepare For Your First Day of Class

You've stocked up on orange and navy clothing (it's ok, everyone does it), you've printed out three copies of your schedule and even set it as your cellphone background (no shame), you've met your roommate, now what? During the hustle and bustle of move-in day and all the chaos surrounding it, it's hard to remember that the reason you're on Grounds is to, well, take classes. We've all been there. In the next couple of days, take some time to prepare for your first week of college classes to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and you have fewer things to worry about.

Get a planner (and use it!): For the first few days of your first year, each dorm should be stocked with *FREE* UVa planners - take one! By keeping track of everything going on around Grounds - your classes, orientation events, and so much more - you'll find yourself a lot less stressed as you can plan ahead knowing what events are happening in the upcoming days (and trust us, there will be SO MUCH happening in your first few weeks at Uva!).

Buy a couple of notebooks: If given the choice, most students will choose take notes on their laptops; however, some UVa professors prefer that their students take notes by hand. Before you know which professors allow laptops, come to class prepared to take notes in a notebook. After you've attend your first lectures, you'll know what to bring to each class to ensure you get the most out of your professors' lectures.

Read your syllabi: Overwhelming at first glance, your syllabi can actually end up being one of your best friends all semester long. Familiarize yourself with the course materials, assignments, exam schedule, and even your professors' contact information.

Plan to attend (at least a few of) your professors' office hours this week: Even though you won't have too many questions on course material after the first lecture or two, take advantage of having a little more free time this first week and introduce yourself to a few - or better, all! - of your professors in their office hours. As mentioned above, professors often print their contact information and availability on their syllabi, so mark down those office hours in your planner and make it a goal to attend as many as possible.

Make a list of all the books you need (but don't buy them all at once): It's always a good idea to look up what reading materials are required for each class (search for your courses and the corresponding textbooks on the UVa Bookstore website), but often your professors will tell you exactly what you need and don't need to buy in their first lecture. Take a look at your course syllabi and purchase only the books used in the first few weeks of the semester. After that first lecture, purchase the rest unless your professor reveals that the material can be found online or that certain books aren't required.

Walk through your classes: Explore Grounds and get to know your roommate a little better as you walk through your schedules before classes begin. Knowing where your classroom buildings are and how long it takes to walk from one building to another will make you much more comfortable come the first day of class!

BREATHE! Don't let the unfamiliarity of college life stress you out. The first semester of college is all about figuring out how things work and meeting incredible new people who will make this big transition much easier. Don't worry if you get lost or are late to a class or two this week - you're learning the ropes and your fellow Wahoos are here to help you along the way!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Facebook Groups to Join!

A lot of things come to mind when people think Facebook: photos from your friend's vacation, random cat videos, distractions, etc. However, in college, Facebook can really come in handy. From buying cheap furniture, textbooks, or even finding a ride back home, Facebook can be a great resource. Here are some great Facebook groups to join as soon as you come to UVa:

1. Class of 20__ homepage: Most likely, the class of 2019 has already joined the Class of 2019 FB page, but it’s also very helpful to join other class pages as well. You can get important information from upperclassmen and get your own questions answered pretty fast on any Class Facebook group. From where a particular building is, to the best study spaces on grounds!

2. Free & For Sale: Trust me. This is a necessity to join. They sell everything here from textbooks to UVA gear to dressers. All usually for a fraction of the cost if you were to look elsewhere. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, a gracious student will be giving out items for free! Definitely make sure you join this group.

3. UVA Student to Student Textbooks: This page is solely dedicated to students trying to buy and sell textbooks. Textbooks are really expensive so this is a great group to join as well if you want to get those books a little cheaper.

4. Hoo’s Driving? Hoo’s Riding: This Facebook group comes in handy when you’re looking for a ride anywhere and everywhere from Charlottesville. Just post in the group saying that you need a ride to NoVA or somewhere out of state. Usually, a student is driving to that area. Just bring gas money and snacks for them and it really turns out to be a cheaper alternative than buying that bus ticket. And you might make a best friend on that 5 hour trip you need to take.

5. Jobs & Internships: A lot of students as well as employers post statuses with available job openings. Definitely a great Facebook group to check out.

6. GPA BOOSTER CLASSES: Just as the name implies, if you’re looking for some great classes to take that won’t be too challenging, take a look at this Facebook group.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Things to look forward to!

Move-in day is right around the corner! While most incoming first years spend the last few days of their summer stressing about where to store their mini fridge, what kind of shower caddy to buy, or whether or not their roommate snores, there are so many great things to look forward to in the first few weeks of the semester that these concerns will soon be forgotten. Moving in is certainly a rush, but once you've settled into your first year dorm take some time to plan for all of the exciting events coming your way!

Convocation is a huge ceremony on the Lawn during which first year students are officially welcomed into the University Community. You'll hear from a few notable students and professors, T-Sully herself, and even be serenaded by an a cappella group or two. As per tradition, one lucky student will find a note from the 7 Society under his or her seat on the Lawn and read it aloud to the rest of the class. Convocation is one of UVa's oldest traditions and a semi-formal event. You should dress nicely, take plenty of pictures, and save room for T-Sully's ice cream social to follow the ceremony!

The Activities Fair
The Activities Fair occurs the day before classes begin and it's a wonderfully-chaotic event. All of UVa's clubs (CIOs) fill the amphitheater and south Lawn with tables and posters, advertising their organizations. Whether you're interested in something whimsical like the tater tot appreciation club or something a little more serious like the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, you're sure to find a club that fits your interests. Most students will sign up for nearly 30 different organizations, but end up committing to just a handful. Be warned, though: the more listservs you sign up for, the fuller your inbox will be this semester!

Rotunda Sing
Next to Lighting of the Lawn, Rotunda Sing is one of the best events to take place on central Grounds. Here students will lay out on blankets and towels on the Lawn to listen to all of UVa's a cappella groups perform in front of Old Cabell (due to the Rotunda construction). Get to know your hall mates as you listen to your favorite songs in the middle of the Academical Village.

The hypnotist 
This guy is always a hit. Every year a hypnotist performs in the amphitheater on one of the first weekends of the year. Students often dress up in crazy costumes to get his attention in order to be called onstage as a volunteer to be put to sleep, told to act like a chicken, or sing opera to their classmates.

The first football game
This year our first game is against Notre Dame on September 12. Tailgate on the quad with your dorm or on the Lawn with friends before making your way to Scott Stadium for the first game of the season. Many students will abide by the "Girls in Pearls, Guys in Ties" tradition, but wear whatever best shows your UVa spirit! Get there a few minutes early to catch the video featuring Cav Man's defeat of our opponent.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Places to Shop in Cville!

A lot of people just limit their shopping to the mall here at Charlottesville. The Fashion Square Mall is great and has a bunch of stores, but we have many other places scattered around Charlottesville that you cancheck out! Here’s a list of some popular locations to get a great outfit for a good price!

1.       Duo New & Used Clothing: Located right off the Corner on Elliewood Ave, they have a great selection of new and lightly used clothing. From cute party dresses to monogrammed phone cases, there’s definitely something for a girl who wants to shop! You can even order from them online at
2.       Mincer’s: Also located on the Corner, this is the place to go if you want to show off your UVa school spirit. This is THE place to go for Official UVa gear! With the new class of freshmen coming in this Fall, it’s going to be packed for the first week or so. They have UVa-themed clothing, accessories and gifts for anyone and everyone. Definitely check it out. Here’s a link to their website:
3.       Ragged Mountain Running Shop: Not just your typical shoe store. It has a lot of history as it’s been with the University on Elliewood Ave since the 1980s. This is a family owned business, with a mother, father and their 4 children running the shop. It’s a great place to get fitted for new shoes and you can get a lot of advice on running. The workers are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Check out their website:
4.       Natty Beau: Located right on the Corner (next to White Spot) is a shopping experience for both the ladies and the guys. Natty Beau is known for selling clothes for the "Southern Gentleman and Lady". You can find blazers, shorts, hats and dresses. There’s even a kids clothing section! Check them out here:

5.       Spring Street: Located in Downtown Charlottesville (just hop on the Free Trolley) and founded in 2002, this boutique has an array of clothes from all over the country. The store is very intimate and the workers there are very helpful. This isn’t just a place for the ladies, there’s an array of options available for men as well. They have cute accessories as well as gift cards if you need a last minute present for someone! They unfortunately do not have a website, but check out their facebook page here.

The Best Running Routes on Grounds

We've already told you about UVa's gyms, but if you prefer to workout in the fresh air there are lots of different routes to run on and off Grounds that allow you to explore the city of Charlottesville at your own pace (literally). Here are a few of the summer interns' favorite jogging paths for beginner or expert runners. 


As an Old Dormer, my most common route was Alderman Road. I'd walk to the front of Old Dorms, take a right onto McCormick and start jogging just before I turned the corner onto Alderman at the light by O-Hill. Where Alderman intersects with Ivy, I'd cross the street and run straight up past the baseball stadium and then turn right onto Massie and pass John Paul Jones arena before arriving at Emmett. Once on Emmett I'd jog back towards grounds, past Mem Gym, and cross the street by the Central Grounds Parking Garage to get back to dorms. 

Living in Lambeth last year, I loved running down Rugby and exploring the neighborhoods that branched off from the main road. Where Rugby intersects with Preston Ave (the light at the bottom of the big hill), I'd take a left and bear right to stay on Rugby until proceeding onto Dairy Road. I'd jog down the hill, across the bridge over 250, and do a slow lap around St. Anne's Road before arriving at Meadowbrook Heights Road and getting back on Dairy. This is one of the longer routes so I recommend running with a partner so you have someone to talk to and keep you motivated while you jog! 


My route starts with the Flats at West Village, my apartment complex off-grounds. I run down Main St./ University Ave. and take a left onto McCormack Rd. From there I run to Wilsdorf Hall and cut through to the football stadium and back to Alderman Rd. That leads back to Jefferson Park Ave. which connects back to Main St. making about a 3 mile loop.


There is an entryway onto the Rivanna Trail at the end of Massie Road across from the North Grounds Gym and club sport fields. This segment of the trail goes behind Darden and ends up onto Leonard Sandridge Road and you can either cross the road and continue with the trail or end your run there. If you continue on this segment of the trail it ends up on Old Ivy Road. The trail is a good challenge if you want a little more nature in your running routine.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Your Personal Guide to SIS

Anyone who's ever tried to navigate the labyrinth that is SIS (UVa's Student Information System) knows how overwhelming it can be at first. In places with spotty wifi, certain pages might not load, links to desired pages often seem hard to find, and there's so much information on the site it's hard to understand what's important and what isn't as useful. To help you out, here are a few tips on how to use SIS to your advantage.

What requirements must you fulfill?

This link is located under the "Academics" banner on the homepage of SIS. Clicking "My Academics" will take you to to a page that gives you access to your course information, number of credits (either transfer credits from high school or those you'll need to earn a degree from UVa), and unofficial transcript. For first year students, your Academic Requirements are probably most important. To view what courses you've taken (or credits transferred from high school) and those you need to take, click "View My Advisement Report" next to Academic Requirements (in bold at the top of the first box).

Where can you find courses to fulfill those requirements? 

Class selection is often a very stressful process for incoming students, but it doesn't have to be. Although SIS does have a database of offered courses, most if not all students will use an alternative site, Lou's List, to find and select courses they wish to take in the upcoming semester. Lou's List make the course selection process very simple, categorizing courses based on major as well as area requirements in the respective schools.

How do you enroll once you've chosen your courses?

For the first several weeks of the enrollment periods, SIS will only allow you to register for a maximum of 15 credits. If you'd like to take more credits in a semester, you can register for those extra courses once the waiting period ends and additional enrollment opens up. In the mean time,
you can add courses to your "Enrollment Requests Shopping Cart" by clicking the tab that says "Enroll" on the homepage of SIS and selecting the appropriate semester in which you'd like to take those courses. Once you select a term, you'll be able to add as many courses as you'd like (no 15 credit limit here) to your "Shopping Cart." To add a course, simply type the 5 digit number (underlined and in blue) to the left of the course description on Lou's List. Adding courses to your shopping cart does not mean you are committing to a course nor does it mean you will be guaranteed access into that course. In order to enroll, you must click the white box next to the course in your shopping cart and then select "enroll" in the green box to the bottom right of the screen.

If you're wait-listed for a course, but want to enroll in 15 credits while you wait to get into the wait listed course, you can select "swap" under the "Enroll" tab on the "My Academics" page. With the "swap" option, you can choose a course to drop should you get into that wait listed course. The course you've just been granted access to will then take the place of the course you chose to swap out.

SIS can certainly be confusing, but don't stress! Spend a little time browsing the site and becoming familiar with the different tabs and links. Until then, this short guide should help you select and enroll in the classes you want to take!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mexican Food in CVille!

Charlottesville has a bunch of restaurants serving different types of amazing food. It’s hard to ever be hungry here. Although we many places to eat, we’re going to focus on a popular favorite especially in this college town, Mexican food! We’ve gotten a lot of reviews of different Mexican food places here on Grounds and in the Charlottesville area from the student interns. Enjoy!

1.       La Taza:  La Taza is a Latin-inspired restaurant located in downtown Belmont (a few minutes past downtown) that serves breakfast and lunch daily and dinner Thursday- Saturday. During the day, it has a coffee shop atmosphere that's perfect for studying or light reading. In addition, they have a variety of seasonal specials that make it more than your average Mexican restaurant. Finally, La Taza is located directly across from Fitzgerald's Tires, home of the famous "I Love Charlottesville" sign, giving visitors the perfect opportunity to snap a photo with this Charlottesville classic. Check out their menu here.

2.       El Jaripeo: Located at the end of the Corner across the street from Mellow Mushroom, El Jaripeo is the best authentic (American) Mexican food restaurant within walking distance of UVa Grounds. El Jaripeo is great for an indoor or outdoor sit-down dining experience (not to mention free chips and salsa!) whether you're looking for a study break or a way to celebrate the end of midterms. The service is great and you shouldn't have to wait long even when it gets a bit more crowded on the weekends. 
What to order: Definitely the queso to go with your chips! As for an entree, the chicken quesadilla fajita is where it's at. Check out their menu! 

3.       Qdoba: A lot of people say that this is some sort of knock-off Chipotle, but honestly it has some pretty decent food. It’s not the fanciest place to go, but it’s right on the Corner. A lot of students can get that late-night Mexican food fix especially if they’re studying all night at Clemons Library. The food’s pretty good and the portions are large especially for the price. If you don’t want to drive or take a bus all the way down to Barracks Shopping Center (for the Chipotle), Qdoba is a great and close place to eat a pretty good burrito.

4.       Mono Loco: If you're looking for Mexican food with a contemporary twist, Mono Loco is the place to be.  Complete with a laid back, casual vibe and the option of indoor and outdoor seating, Mono Loco is located right off of the Charlottesville Downtown Mall.  The food is not your typical Mexican cuisine, but it is oh so flavorful with creative combinations and high-quality ingredients.  I HIGHLY recommend the Pollo Loco Burrito Bowl.  The only complaints I have about Mono Loco are they are only open after 5pm and they charge for chips and salsa, but other than that I believe 10 out of 10 would recommend.  
Check out the menu here!
5.       Plaza Azteca: Plaza Azteca might not be the closest Mexican restaurant to Grounds, but it is one of the student favorites. The space is big enough to hold multiple large groups of students, making it an easy space for students to come in larger groups of friends from class, discussions, student organizations, or halls. Perhaps the biggest highlight that draws most students is Plaza Azteca’s homemade guacamole, which is made right in front of you at the table and can be customized to each table’s preference in spiciness. Also quite popular are the fajitas and the quesadillas. Plaza Azteca may be a trip to get to for some students, but it is certainly worth the 10 minute drive from Grounds. Check out their menu here.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Staying Active: Workout Facilities on Grounds

When the school year starts picking up and classes get tougher, working out is a great way to clear your mind and destress. At UVa we have a number of wonderful gyms with everything from the largest hot tub on the east coast to state of the art workout equipment to olympic-sized pools to organized exercise classes. Here's everything you should know about UVa's gyms before lacing up your tennis shoes and breaking a sweat:

Aquatic & Fitness Center (AFC)

Where is it?: Just a short walk from any first-year residential area, the AFC is situated on Alderman Road, right next to Scott Stadium.

As the closest to central Grounds, the AFC is by far the most popular gym at UVa. Not only does the AFC boast three full-sized basketball courts, an indoor track, two floors of cardio machines and free weights, and a cafe, but also the largest hot tub on the east coast and a 50 meter x 25 yard Olympic-sized pool (told ya so). Some of the most popular features at the AFC are the cycling studio as well as the zumba, yoga, and pilates classes offered in the downstairs studio. This gym gets pretty packed - especially around exam time - but with so much equipment it's not hard to find a machine to use. For a workout with a view, use the stair-climber during diving practice and watch the divers perform as you workout!

Memorial Gymnasium (Mem Gym)

Where is it?: Emmett Street, across from Alumni Hall and next to the Central Grounds Parking Garage.

Memorial Gym (or Mem Gym) was originally opened in 1924 as a memorial to the University's World War I casualties. In addition to your typical gym amenities, it's home to basketball courts, an indoor soccer arena, a combative room and, of course, a quote from Thomas Jefferson himself (as can be seen in the photo). Mem gym isn't the most glamorous of the University's facilities, but I have heard it called "the manliest of gyms," so going there might boost your credibility as well as your health. If you're serious about exercise and want a down to business, frills free work out (read: no snap chatting from the stairclimber) , Mem's for you! 

Slaughter Recreation Center

Where is it?: Past O-Hill on McCormick Road, across from Balz-Dobie dormitory.

Most students tend to use the AFC to workout, grab a smoothie, etc. but people who really want to get involved in Intramural Sports tend to use the Slaughter Rec Center. Located very close to the first year dorms, Slaughter provides facilities for students who want to get together to play a friendly sports game, including a 3-court gymnasium (where students play basketball, badminton and make use of the indoor soccer arena), 7 handball/racquetball courts, 3 squash courts and a Wallyball court. Slaughter also provides group exercise rooms as well as training equipment, free weights and strength training machines. If you're looking to workout without an audience, check out Slaughter for a less-crowded exercise environment than at the larger gyms. 

North Grounds Recreation Center 

Where is it?: Massie Road, close to the Law and Business Schools.

For a chance to see T-Sully gettin her workout on, head over to North Grounds for a run on the treadmill or a game of handball or racquetball. With 10 lanes, the North Grounds pool is rarely crowded and is a great place to swim if your strokes aren't too far removed from the doggie paddle. Due to its close proximity to the Law and Business schools, this gym is usually frequented by graduate students and the occasional professor (or UVa president!).

Want more info on UVa gym schedules and resources? Check out the UVa Intramural-Recreational Sports website!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Don't Know Much About (UVa) History?

Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of being a student at UVa is going to school in a living and breathing museum. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, our school has seen everything from rowdy students racing on the Lawn on horseback, to wounded Confederate soldiers (during the Civil War, the Lawn and surrounding buildings served as a Confederate hospital!), to a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to rallies against the Vietnam war. Although our school has transformed tenfold since its original construction at the beginning of the 19th century, it's fascinating to take a step back and rediscover Jefferson's vision nearly 200 years ago.

So, yes, Thomas Jefferson founded UVa, but he attended the College of William & Mary and really enjoyed his time there. However, he had a few pet peeves with his college and these concerns paved the way for the creation of UVa's Academical Village. At W&M, all of the activities for students took place in a single building: the Wren building, which still stands today. Students would eat, sleep, take classes, exercise, and socialize in this space, an environment Jefferson didn't think was very conducive to health or education. Thus, he envisioned an academic community - well, technically, an "Academical Village" (and, no, "academical" is not a real word, but Jefferson believed in it so we do too).

If you look around the Lawn, you'll notice green, green grass, tall trees and plenty of open space. Here instead of narrow hallways, there's an abundance of fresh air. Surrounding the Lawn are large brick buildings - 5 pavilions on each side of the Lawn and student rooms interspersed in-between. At W&M the professors would ride in on their horses in the morning, teach their lectures, then ride home in the afternoons, becoming virtually unavailable to their students. Jefferson, however, wanted his students and professors to be in perpetual contact; thus, he created a campus where professors and their students would live side-by-side. The professors would live upstairs in the pavilions and teach their classes on the downstairs floor; the students would live in the smaller Lawn rooms. This way, if a student was studying late into the night and had a burning question about science or philosophy at 2:00am, they could walk outside, knock on their professor's pavilion door, and get that question answered. Of course I'm not sure how happy a professor would be to be woken up at 2:00am by a student...

Today faculty members still live in the pavilions, but now they inhabit both floors. The only pavilion still used for classroom space is Pavilion VIII where a professor lives upstairs and a student lounge and classrooms are located downstairs. The Lawn rooms are also available for students, but today they're reserved for fourth-year students who have given a lot back to the University. These are students who have gotten really involved at UVa, holding leadership positions in organizations on Grounds or in the Charlottesville community. It's a pretty competitive application process - only about 54 rooms and nearly 3,500 students in each class - and a big honor to live on the Lawn... although the toilets and showers are located back behind the pavilions.

Although UVa has a very rich history (in fact, the Lawn is a UNESCO World Heritage site), this school is constantly changing and adapting to meet modern standards and needs. Today the Lawn is the site of numerous newer student traditions such as Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn on Halloween and Lighting of the Lawn before winter break.

Want to know more about UVa history? Visit for a Short History of the University of Virginia or sign up for a historic tour!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dining Hall Recipes and Tips

At any of UVa's three dining halls - Newcomb, O-Hill, or Runk - you're sure to find any or all of the following: pizza, stir fry, a salad bar, sandwiches, grilled chicken, or pasta. However, despite the dining hall's efforts to mix up their selection of foods, students often resort to more creative culinary experiments, creating innovative and quite tasty new dishes. Here are a few of the interns' favorite dining hall creations and tips:


1. Grilled cheese: Get two slices of bread from the sandwich station. Cover one side of each with butter or margarine. Fill the sandwich with shredded cheddar from the salad bar, leaving the buttered sides of the bread facing out. Place your sandwich in the waffle iron for about two minutes - just long enough to brown the bread and let the cheese melt. Remove and enjoy!

2. Rootbeer float: Pretty simple. Fill a plastic drinking cup about halfway with vanilla ice-cream from the dessert station. Next, head to the soda fountain and fill the rest of the cup with root beer. Voila!

3. Brownie Sundae: Put a brownie (or two!) in a clear drinking cup. Add your choice of ice-cream, then top it off with hot fudge, crumbled cookies, and cherries if available.

4. Ice cream sandwich: Another simple one. Get two cookies from the dessert station. Top one with the ice-cream of your choice and place the second cookie on top. Of course, this tastes even better with a little whipped cream.

5. PB+J granola: Sometimes the dining halls have already prepared PB+J wraps that students open up and scrape into cups to which they add granola. However, if the wraps aren't available that day, simply scoop a spoonful or two of peanut butter and jelly from the breakfast bar and add a handful of granola. Stir and enjoy as is or add a dollop of vanilla yogurt.


Mixing salad: It can be a little tricky to mix the dressing into one's salad with such shallow bowls, but place another bowl on top of the first so that the rims are touching and hold the two together as you shake your salad. This is a great way to cover the entire salad with dressing while making sure none of your cherry tomatoes end up on the ground!

Claiming an omelet: Omelets are perhaps the most popular item in the dining halls at breakfast time and often students will order seconds or thirds before they realize they have only a few minutes to get to that 9:00am class. If you have a few extra minutes and notice an omelet hasn't been claimed by the student whose name has been called, ask the chef if it's up for grabs and more times than not he or she will let you have it.

Cereal to go: Don't have time to sit down for long or do you just want something to snack on during your next class? Fill a to-go coffee cup with your choice of dry cereal (Lucky Charms is often the cereal of choice), put the top on, and carry it with you throughout the day.

Bon app├ętit! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What's there to do here?: Intern Involvement on Grounds

Go on any admissions tour and you'll be sure to hear about any number of our 800+ CIOs on Grounds. Tater tot club? Check. Harry Potter club? Check. Salsa dancing, blindfold rubix cube, baking, photography, sailing, singing, debate? Check, check, and check. With almost a thousand clubs to choose from, you're sure to find something you enjoy. Here are a few activities that the summer interns do throughout the year:


Cavalier Daily: When I came into UVa I knew I wanted to get involved with the student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily. My first semester I wrote for the Arts & Entertainment section, covering concerts, speakers, and cultural events on and off grounds. I ended up writing so much that I became editor that January, a position that lasted for two semesters. I learned so much being on the CD staff and it was a wonderful way for me to meet people from all classes, schools, and majors just a couple of weeks into the school year. Whether you're interested in writing, editing, graphics, or advertising, there's certainly a place on staff for you!

Madison House (Cavs in the Classroom): Last semester I joined Madison House in a program called "Cavs in the Classroom." I went once a week to an elementary school in town and tutored a first grade student in reading and math problems. This was always the highlight of my week as my student was always enthusiastic about our lessons and it was nice to work on homework that was a lot easier than what I was doing in my own classes!

University Guide Service: After taking a course called The History of Mr. Jefferson's University, I wanted to learn even more about UVa and share that history with others. I tried out for the Guide Service in the spring and spent a semester in training - learning everything from the number of libraries on Grounds to Thomas Jefferson's mother's maiden name. By the end of the semester I was giving both Admissions and Historic tours to prospective students and other visitors. Because of Guides, I learned of this internship and I've been able to continue my tours throughout the summer before studying abroad.


After signing up for at least 20 student organizations at the Student Activities Fair my first year, I tried out many different activities and going into my third year at UVa, I have finally narrowed it down to a handful of activities.  I am a Support Officer for UVa's Honor Committee and spend my time advising, investigating, and representing both students who have been referred to the Honor Committee for an alleged Honor offense and those who have reported possible Honor offenses.  Because UVa's Honor Committee is entirely run and governed by students, Support Officers do the case processing and have a hands-on role in the Honor process.

In addition to Honor, I am in Aletheia Christian Fellowship Group here at the University.  Aletheia Christian Fellowship meets for worship once a week and then there are smaller Bible study groups that meet weekly as well. This fall I will begin leading on of the Bible study groups and am looking forward to meeting and leading incoming first years!

As a way to get involved with the Charlottesville community and see people outside of the age confines of 18-22 year olds, I volunteer through Madison House (UVa's umbrella volunteer organization) for Cavs in the Classroom where I go to a local elementary school once a week and volunteer as a teacher's aid for an hour.

Theses are just a few of the organizations I am involved in at UVa, but they give you a glimpse into the breadth of different organizations offered to students here at UVa!


Black Voices: This is the only gospel choir on Grounds. BV has been around for almost 40 years and has remained stronger than ever. I joined this group my 1st year here at UVa and they're like a second family to me. We sing at various churches in the Charlottesville community as well as hold concerts on Grounds. This group was created to sing about Christian love both within the choir and to everyone we encounter. Practice is every Thursday from 7-9pm during the school year.

Early Visions: This is a mentoring program that occurs every Spring. 1st through 4th year students can apply to be a Big Sister or Brother to children (around the ages of 5-11) from the local Charlottesville Boys' and Girls' Club. The UVa students take their Little Brothers and Sisters to the Fralin Museum of Art (a museum located on UVa grounds). We tour the museum together and meet in Fayerweather Hall (the Art History building) and create art imitating what we just saw in the gallery. It is a great program and so much fun!


Cavalier Marching Band: The Cavalier Marching Band (CMB) is one of the major musical ensembles you can choose to join here at UVA. We have over 300 students in the band, representing almost every major within the school (our biggest single major is actually engineering). Each week, we learn a new show that we perform at the football games—you can highlights from last season here. We play two shows at every home football game (the halftime show and a pregame show), and we also travel to one or two away games each year (but we normally don’t perform a field show there). This year, we will be traveling to New York City to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! The camaraderie that is built between the students during band camp (which takes place the week before classes start) is unparalleled—what other organization will allow you to enter college with over 300 new friends? The CMB has defined my college experience so far, and I look forward to continuing playing with them!

Engineering Students Without Borders: Engineering Students Without Borders (ESWB) is an organization dedicated to combining engineering skills with service-based projects. In prior years, ESWB projects have dealt with problems in all fields of engineering, from implementing a biogas digester in Charlottesville to working with the UVA Hospital to design medical equipment. There are also several projects that take place abroad, including an annual trip to Nicaragua. In keeping with student self-governance, ESWB encourages students to start their own project if they perceive an unsolved problem, be it in the community of Charlottesville or on a broader scale. Students can then form a team of fellow ESWB students and work towards solving this goal. ESWB also has several workshops and conferences throughout the year for students to observe other projects as well as learn about the importance of servitude in engineering.

Project DAEDALUS (formerly known as Xplore Engineering): Project DAEDALUS (Discovering All Engineering Disciplines And Learning Under Students) seeks to assist first year students in determining which engineering major is right for them. It is meant to supplement the ENGR 1620 courses already in place by allowing students to utilize the engineering design skills learned in the classroom on hands-on activities in the different majors. By experiencing broad-based, upperclassmen led seminars in the majors, students will have an easier time finding their passions for a major while invoking their inner creativity and curiosity. This club for me is especially close to home, since I am one of the founding members! It just goes to show that if you have an idea for a club or organization that doesn’t already exist yet, we encourage you to start it! It’s part of this concept of student self-governance that we value so highly here at UVA—the idea that you should take charge of your education and make it the most that it could possibly be!


During my time at the University, extracurricular activities have played a large role in my development, providing me with countless social opportunities, valuable experience, and numerous skills. 

My primary involvement at UVa is with Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity (APO).  Predicated on the principles of leadership, friendship, and service, together we perform over 2000 hours of service every semester in the Charlottesville community, and have opportunities for service every day of the week. Our largest, typically construction-based projects take place on Saturday mornings and can be anything from building a chicken coop, a boardwalk, or a greenhouse. Additionally, we put on a large, semester-long projects twice a year that require extensive planning and fundraising. APO has provided me with the sense of community I was searching for at UVa; in addition to service work, we also have a variety of social events a strong sense of community. 

Additionally, I serve on the executive board of UVa’s College Council, the governing body of the College of Arts and Sciences. With a budget of over $80,000 the council allocates funding for various student groups and events around Grounds, as well as planning and executing our own events with the intention of representing the needs and interests of College students.

Finally, I have served as a site leader with the Alternative Spring Break organization (ASB). Run entirely by students, ASB plans and executes 30-40 service trips throughout the United States and beyond for University students each March. As I participant my first year, I spent a week volunteering at Mammoth Cave National Park (in Kentucky), ultimately deciding to plan and lead my own trip to Pt. Reyes, CA the following year. Not only has ASB taught me valuable leadership and planning skills, but it’s also a blast and has afforded me long lasting friendships (camping without showering for a week will do that.) 


Over the course of my time at UVA, I’ve become involved in three main organizations. Firstly, I am a Program Director for Madison House, a student-volunteering organization with sites and programs all throughout Charlottesville and the surrounding area, working with the program at the Boys and Girls Club. I work on organizing volunteers and assisting the Boys and Girls Club with their after-school programs. 

I am also involved in One in Four, which is an all-male peer advocacy group dealing with sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention, and how to help survivors. We present to students in halls, groups, and teams at UVA and we have also presented to high schools around the country in combination with working with various organizations with similar causes.

Finally, I am also a member of a fraternity in the UVA Greek System. About 30% of the UVA student body is affiliated with a Greek organization. UVA also operates on a system of Deferred Recruitment, which means that students cannot rush until their second semester at UVA. This method of “rush” helps students become involved in the UVA and Charlottesville community outside of the Greek system, while also providing time to figure out if “rush” is something in which they would like to participate. 


Here at UVA, I have two passions that I have been able to easily express in the Contracted Independent Organizations (CIOs) that I am involved in. 

The first passion that I have is working with first-generation/low-income/minority high school students and encouraging them to apply and attend premier universities, like UVA. I am a first-generation college student and a QuestBridge College Match Scholarship recipient and I work closely with various low-income high schools giving presentations showing my encouragement and support. I am also expressing this passion through my internship with the Department of Admissions by working in the Outreach Office. In this office, I work closely with Dean Gregory and Miss Cathy Ames on special projects, mailings, internet chats, and various other programs to make UVA a more inclusive and diverse institution of higher education.

My second passion that I am able to express here at UVA is bridging the gap between the LGBTQ+ and the  Christian communities. I am a gay Christian and I am advocate for inclusion, equality, and anti-discrimination in both communities. I am a member of Chi Alpha Christian Ministry and express my religious beliefs through study, worship, and service and I am also a member of the Queer Student Union here at UVA. Through QSU, I helped organize the spring Drag Bingo event which was very exciting and it was amazing to see the large LGBTQ+ community here at UVA and its allies. 

Whatever your passions are, YOU can express them through the activities that you participate in. We have over 850 different ones, so there is definitely a place for you here at UVA!