In a few short days we will welcome the Class of 2020 to Grounds and launch a new academic year. I hope your student is excited about the new year. We are looking forward to their return and to the energy they bring to this special place. Although the summer has been busy with several major projects in the works or nearing completion—including the historic two-year renovation of the Rotunda—the students truly bring the University back to life every August.
We are committed to students' education in all areas of their lives. In addition to what they study and learn in the classroom, we strive to create an environment that fosters citizenship and everything that goes along with simply being a good person who contributes to the surrounding community now and in the future. Our students rarely ever disappoint us in this regard. Time and again, they rise to the occasion, whether through academic achievements, community service, or in their daily interactions with others. To your credit, most of our students recognize the importance of civility and mutual respect, and they gain real-life experience in practicing those values here.
Some behavior, however, does concern us, and that behavior often involves excessive use of alcohol. Many students begin the new year in this manner by flocking to a block party on the Saturday evening of Move-In Weekend in the off-Grounds area of Wertland Street. This is not a UVA-sponsored or -sanctioned event. The gathering poses safety, fire, and health risks of real magnitude. Law enforcement will be increased this year, and other public safety officials, including the Fire Marshal, will be monitoring the area. From an economic standpoint alone, the event places a strain on local resources. While students are known for their good deeds within the Charlottesville community, this party does not match the positive sense in which they are otherwise regarded. It is not a good way for anyone to kick off a new school year.
The University is sponsoring a number of entertaining social activities on the evening of Saturday, August 20, and into the early hours of Sunday morning. The artist J. Cole will be performing at JPJ Arena on Saturday evening. For students who do not wish to attend the concert or who were unable to secure tickets, the Aquatic & Fitness Center will host a variety of activities—everything from nine-hole mini golf to a virtual graffiti wall—with free food available courtesy of UVA Dining. In the first-year residence halls, Resident Advisors will be hosting movie nights, board game competitions, and other activities. In the Lambeth Residential Area, food stations (all free) will be set up. Some student-run groups, including Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, have reported that they are planning alcohol-free social activities.
How a student begins the year can set the tone for months to come. Please encourage your student to start off on the right foot by participating in UVA-sponsored events during Move-In Weekend. Next week, students will be hearing more about Welcome Week activities and the many events planned for Saturday evening.
We are grateful for all you do as parents and for sharing your students with us. With your help, we are looking forward to a safe, healthy start to the new year.
If I or a member of my team in Student Affairs can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer