How We're Making UVA

Jalen Ross (Engr '15)

President, Student Council

Student Council has held discussions on where and when students feel least safe and how best to fix that. We’ve communicated with University leadership where money and resources are most effectively spent, and advocated for student-centric solutions. We’ve lobbied against legislation in Richmond that would compromise the privacy of student survivors of sexual assault. We’ve answered when the national press came calling. If we can be an effective crossroads for all the parties interested in keeping students safe, we’ll be making a positive mark on this place—and I know that we can, have and will.

Sara Surface (Col ’16)

External Chair, Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition & Board Member, SARA, Charlottesville

Along with many others, I am working to create a campus culture that erases the silence and stigma around violence. After the tragedies of last semester, I want survivors of sexual assault to know that there are allies ready to support them in every level of leadership at the University. Change will only come once we acknowledge the gaps in our prevention and response efforts and work to patch these gaps with intervention efforts from across the community. I challenge any notion that this work is easy or quick— it has and will be a long road, but desperately needs our time and energy.

Brian Head (Com '15)

President, One in Four & Chairman for Diversity and Outreach, IFC

I remain steadfast in my support for survivors and see a need for systematic and cultural change with how UVA deals with sexual assault. Through One in Four, I lead a fantastic group of guys who aim to educate others about how to prevent sexual assault through our own individual behaviors. Through the Inter-Fraternity Council, I help to establish the best practices to keep the guests in our houses safe and to address any cultural problems that hinder our community. I am proud of those organizations and of all of the students and administrators working to make UVA a better place.

Hawa Ahmed (Col '15)

Chair, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team

I hope upperclassmen will ask themselves what message they are presenting to first-year students at parties. Whether we’d like to believe it or not, pairs of 18-year-old eyes are always looking up to us.

I hope we can better support our more than one-third of students who would rather not drink on a Saturday night, and look to other schools—Clemson, Penn State, West Virginia University—that present robust late-night programming options for their students.

When I walk the Lawn in May, I hope I can look back on a University that has emerged a national leader in addressing high-risk drinking issues. I hope I’ve made a difference.