Dear Class of 2021:
My name is Sarah Kenny, and I am reaching out to you as your Student Council President. I moved back to Grounds earlier this week and am eager to welcome you all to Charlottesville beginning this Friday. Thinking back to the week before I started college, I recall feelings of excitement, nervousness, hopefulness, and a bit of fear about this next stage in my life. Would I be safe? Would I perform well in my classes, or would I find that I was not cut out for the workload of UVA? Would I make friends and find my place within an undergraduate population of 16,000 students? Between trying out new clubs and exploring UVA's myriad of study spots, I eventually found my home at UVA in a Student Council meeting about public service.
I am confident that each of you will also find your home here. However, Class of 2021, you are grappling with feelings about the University that I did not have to consider before stepping onto Grounds. You have witnessed an assault on the City of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia unlike any other in recent history, a horrific display of hate and violence perpetuated by white supremacists who do not share our values. On behalf of the student body, I want to communicate to each and every one of you that the upperclassmen, faculty, staff, and administrators are here for you. We empathize with your anger, pain, confusion, and fear.
Student organizations, departments, teams, and units across the University have been working together diligently to assemble support, discussions, programs, and events that will ease your transition into the community to which you now belong. You will soon see that the members of this community strive to uphold and advance the values of equity, inclusion, and respect in all that we do. Upon settling into your dorms, you will receive more detailed information about these aforementioned events designed to support your transitions to UVA and your well-being as valued community members.
You may feel overwhelmed during this next week and this next semester, and that's OK. I encourage you to look to your Resident Advisors (RAs) as guides and resources as you step into your new Wahoo family. These individuals are committed to enhancing your University experience and excitedly awaiting your arrival. Whether it's connecting with a professor in office hours, getting a late-night snack at O'Hill with new friends, or finding a public service project that connects you to an organization like I did, you will find your home at UVA. I'm excited to share Convocation with you this Sunday evening, and for our next year together.
Student Council President
Class of 2018