It can be hard to measure impact that a grant project has on its intended audience, the broader University, or even the projects directors. However, two projects funded by the Jefferson Trust in the past year are already starting to make waves across the University.
Hoos First Look, a 2019 grant recipient, provides 20 low-income, first generation prospective high school juniors with an immersive weekend orientation visit to Grounds, where they learn about the college application and financial aid processes, while getting a glimpse into the University Community and fostering relationships. The program is run by current UVA students, most of whom are first-gen themselves, automatically creating a unique bond among the visiting high-schoolers and UVA students. One participant from the program’s fall 2019 cohort shared, “Hoos First Look allowed me to feel one step closer to reaching my goal of attending the University… this campus visit made me more excited to apply to the University of Virginia. The University remains my No. 1 choice and now, more than ever, I’m going to continue to meet every goal I have for myself and continue to prepare for the application process come senior year.” The impact that it has had on the current UVA students helping to run the program is also great, as current co-chair Joanne Lee shares: “It was so amazing to see how we touched these high schoolers’ lives. I know that I can serve as a mentor for them and help them find these resources.”
Another program enhancing the UVA student experience is Flux, the University’s only slam poetry group. In fall 2019 they held multiple poetry slams as qualifiers to determine which poets will represent UVA at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in April 2020. Two important dynamics of Flux are audience engagement and creating a safe space; attendees are encouraged to snap, clap, and cheer throughout the poet’s readings, while cultivating an environment where everyone in the room feels respected and heard. A first-year student and participant in the slam commented, “The atmosphere is just incredible…it’s one thing to write a poem … but it’s another thing to perform it for people that are like an incredible community … snapping and cheering.” Another poet shared, “I thought it was really cool that a lot of people brought really personal poems, and I thought it was really cool how open everyone was about their stories.”
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