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Monday, April 30, 2012

We're Making Some Waiting List Offers

I'm so, so excited to share this news.  We usually wait until after May 1st to do deep analysis of the deposit numbers and figure out where there is room in the class for more students.  As you probably remember, there are ten different populations within the incoming class of students.  We have to fill the four undergraduate schools/colleges (Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Nursing) and the Kinesiology program.  We also have to keep the ratio of Virginia residents and out-of-state residents in mind.

Dean Roberts did a bit of analysis over the weekend and determined that we'll definitely be making waiting list offers.  Here's the great news: we're going to start today.

Our hope is that we can save some people from losing a deposit at another school if we get to them today or tomorrow. As you know, official offers are posted in SIS, but we're going to call students to give them a heads up that their status is going to change and explain what to do next.  

Obviously, some will turn us down on the spot and that's totally fine.  We realize that students on the waiting list may have deposited elsewhere and gotten excited about another school in the last few weeks.  I think most of those students have already removed themselves from the waiting list via SIS because most of the time when we make these calls, the student on the other end of the line screams or yells with joy.  Those reactions are why we LOVE making these calls.

We really hope this goes quickly so we can get to the people on our list before deposits are due tomorrow.  If you aren't interested in being the waiting list anymore, please go to SIS to remove yourself.

I'm bringing you a present, waiting listers!

The only bummer is that I am at home without a voice today, so I don't get to make any of the calls.

Monday, April 23, 2012

DOTL 2012 Recap

The 2012 Days on the Lawn season is over!  For the first time in recent memory, we didn't have to use our rain location for the opening welcome session (though we had a few raindrops one morning, it wasn't enough to send us inside).  We had wonderful, but manageable crowds and there seemed to be plenty of room for everyone to visit a class or two and get into every session or tour that interested them.




I'm sure the residents of the Lawn are happy that the 8:15 AM wake up calls from the Cavalier Marching Band or UVa Drum Line are over.  I hope you enjoyed cheering along and learning the Good Ol' Song with us!


CavDog, who is on his fourth round of Days of the Lawn events, had a fantastic time.  




Our amazing student volunteers loved meeting you all and sharing the Grounds with visitors for the day.  I hope you were able to meet some of them and get their perspectives on what it's like to be a student at UVa.


Did you attend Days on the Lawn?  What parts of the day did you find most interesting or helpful with the big decision you have to make by May 1st?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Peek Into a FIRST

I've been a tad quiet on the blog due to immersion in the transfer process and the number of visitors we've had in the office during the rolling spring break (this week, it's Massachusetts and Connecticut).  I thought I'd share a peek into an amazing robotics competition called FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).


I learned about FIRST about ten years ago, when I originally started working with engineering students.  I was hooked from the beginning.  FIRST teams from different high schools collaborate at competitions to accomplish a goal while "playing" against another group of teams.  The "game" is also pretty complex and it changes from year to year.  This year's game was called Rebound Rumble.



I got to go to the Washington, DC FIRST regional a few weeks ago and watch teams from this area (and a couple from pretty far away) compete with robots they built in a span of six weeks with help from sponsors and mentors in the engineering field.  

Teams aren't just judged on how well their robot scores points in the game, they are judged on how well they work with other teams, programming and animation skills, their attention to safety, and their school spirit.

Chantilly High School's mascot was awesome!

The event feels like a massive pep rally.  Teams bring mascots, costumes, and props to use between matches.  The FIRST folks have a DJ playing music during the matches and students sometimes start to dance to the music.  One of the other college folks in our group remarked that it was like a prom, science fair, and sporting event got combined.



Even when the dancing was [supposedly] over, a few couldn't stop...


All the while, the competition is going on.  The robots were supposed to work off of their programming for the first 30 seconds, so everyone held their breath in hopes that all would go according to plan.  After the 30 seconds was up, the teams could jump onto the controls and drive their robots to hopefully score baskets and maybe try to balance one or two robots on the bridges.

Once in a great while, the illusive three-robot-balance would happen and the crowd would cheer...

Check out this video from about the 2:30 mark on:


The rare three-robot-balance happens around the one minute mark in this video:


And then there's the only "stack-and-balance" I've ever seen:




I can't watch that last video without laughing because it's so amazing.

So, there's a little peek into FIRST Robotics. FIRST is for high school students, but we do find ways to mentor younger kids who are interested in robotics (we have a camp for middle school students and have hosted lower level FIRST competitions here, like the Tech Challenge).

Anyone involved in FIRST out there? How did your team do this year?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson!

Mr. Jefferson's birthday is called Founder's Day in Charlottesville.  Off Grounds, City Hall and the courts are closed.  On Grounds, there are all kinds of events.  I imagine the Purple Shadows have already delivered their wreath to Jefferson's statue on the Lawn and the rest of the University is just waking up to Founder's Day.


I'm secretly hoping the two students who dress like Jefferson at sporting events wear their costumes today.  It's always funny to see them sticking out in the student section at games.


The rest of today's on Grounds events are on the official Founder's Day website.  Monticello will hold their celebration at 10 AM.


Happy Founder's Day!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Open the Flood Gates!

Each year, one particular Days on the Lawn date always seems to be especially popular.  I imagine some date lines up perfectly with a very popular spring break week. This year, April 9th was the date.  We hit capacity pretty quickly for April 9th and started making a list of students who wanted to attend in case of cancellations.

After feeling like the crowds at the first two Days on the Law were manageable, we decided to open that April 9th date up to all the students who were on the overflow list.  We have the room to accommodate everyone as long as it doesn't rain.  If it rains, we'll be moving the welcome inside to an auditorium that has very strict rules about capacity due to the fire codes.  We can't fit everyone on that overflow list in that auditorium.

So, here's the plan.  We're going to hope for a sunny day and plan for everyone to come to the Rotunda for the welcome session at 9 AM.  However, if it's raining, we're going to ask that everyone on the overflow list (you'll be getting an email shortly) skip the welcome speeches and join us at 10 AM for the "meat" of the program.

Those who attended the first two DOTL days can attest to the fact that the weather has been absolutely gorgeous, so let's hope the streak continues!

No rain, please.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Traditions Big and Small

When the subject of UVa traditions comes up, we often find ourselves talking about our vernacular (Grounds vs. campus, First Year vs. freshman), our penchant for singing, or our passion for Jefferson.  There are plenty of other traditions, though, and I thought I'd share a video that gives you a peek into one that you probably wouldn't hear about until you got to Grounds.

You may know that having a room on the Lawn as a fourth year student here is considered an honor.  There's a committee that reviews applications for Lawn rooms, but a few rooms are tied to student organizations (the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society or the Trigon Engineering Society, for example).  One room, the Gus Blagden Room, is known as the "Good Guy" room.  Members of the UVa community nominate a third year student to live in the room the next year

I thought I'd let you take a peek into how next year's resident of the Gus Blagden room found out that she'd be living there:



Video by Dan Morrison '12, Student Council President