More students of color living in UVA Lawn rooms
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- This year, there are more students of color living on the Lawn at the University of Virginia.
It's nearly double the number from last year.
According to the Cavalier Daily, only 24.9 percent of the students who applied to live on the Lawn were accepted, and of those acceptances, 60 percent of them were students of color. Comparatively, only 32 percent of the offers went to students of color last year.
The Lawn has been a distinguished residential area on UVA Grounds since the university’s inception in 1819.
Residents on the Lawn are students who are recognized for unselfish service to the university and Charlottesville/Albemarle County communities.
These students are also highly accomplished in their respective fields of academics.
They help to inspire other students just by being where they are.
Julia Paraiso, Domenick Bailey, and Mario Jones are all fourth-year students who currently live on the Lawn.
"Well I can just think of the countless minorities who have come up to me after seeing me here on the Lawn, and showing their shock and excitement that I am here and how much that they aspire to be here," said Jones, a native of Newport News. "And me being here gives them hope and will probably push them to apply because they feel like, since I am here, they can do it as well."
He currently lives in the Gus Blagdon "Good Guy" Memorial Room, which is one of the rooms on the Lawn that requires peer nomination in order to live there.
Jones, a double major in Leadership and Public Policy on the pre-Law track and African and African-American Studies, was nominated because he "exemplifies the qualities of a good guy."
On the other hand, Paraiso says she applied to live on the Lawn because of how different she is from others who have been there.
"I think a huge part of me applying to live on the Lawn was based on the fact that when the university was founded, it was for rich white men in the South, and I am the complete opposite of that," she said. "So I think a huge part of it was reclaiming this space and kind of showing other people in the UVA community, but also people who just visit, that that is not what Mr. Jefferson's university looks like now. It is completely different, comprised of completely different people and those are the people who are pushing the university to become better. So that was a huge part of why I wanted to apply to live on the Lawn. I think I was also blessed with a bunch of friends who were able to stay in these rooms and occupied these spaces, so being able to kind of follow in those footsteps and be kind of like those older role models that they were to me to other students at the university was really important to me and it felt like being in this room was a very physical representation of that."
The Richmond resident is majoring in Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law.
Bailey, who is studying Psychology and Sociology on the pre-Law track and who was just admitted to Harvard Law, says he wanted his legacy to be for other students of color after he graduates.
"When I graduate, I want to leave a legacy for students, specifically Black students, to know that not only that this is their university but this is their university to come here and to thrive at the highest levels knowing that if you look out for one another, you all can definitely make things happen," he said. "You all can be the best versions of yourself and really, that this university, despite the challenges and tribulations you may face, is really yours for the taking."
For more information on the demographics of this year's Lawn residents, click here.