Sunday, January 4, 2009

it's good to be back where it's cold.

The cheerful sign greeting you at the baggage claim of Charlottesville airport.

But there's still no snow in C'ville *cue look of disappointment*. It's actually not terribly cold either, which is all to the better. It's always interesting staying in C'ville during breaks as the town takes on a completely different feeling due to the lack of students. It's a lot quieter, there's a lot less cars, and you're just more aware that "oh.. wait.. other people actually live in this town". 

UVA has such a huge presence in C'ville that it's easy to forget the town doesn't exist for the sole purpose of surpporting the school. The baggage claim at the airport even has the words "Home of the Virginia Cavaliers" painted in huge block form on the wall. I'm not sure about this, but maybe the college bubble is even more prevalent at UVA because of where we're situated. It's so easy to think that the world ends of the boundaries of the Grounds. =P

So what, if anything, does the school do to prevent students from thinking the world is flat and ends in Charlottesville? (I jest, it's not that dire. And maybe I'm being too cynical here..). One thing we have that's pretty cool is a Student Readership program. Everyday around 3,000 copies are freely available at Newcomb Hall, and subscriptions include USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and I believe the Washington Post. I usually grab a copy of whatever when I go in for lunch, and it's really nice to not have to buy the paper or get a subscription on the off chance that I'll feel like reading it today.

Every once in a while we'll have a small, local community market. Stands are placed in Newcomb Plaza with bounty from local farmers, cheese vendors, and bagel/other related food vendors. I personally really like it, it's fun to browse and see what the Charlottesville community is up to. We also have an artisan's bazaar in the fall, and quite a few local craftspeople attend that one as well. 

Along with the plethora of clubs at UVA, a lot of them do community service or other forms of outreach to Charlottesville. Especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas, many clubs will sponsor families and provide them with a holiday meal or presents. I was part of Musicians on Call my first year, and went to the UVA hospital regularly to play for patients. MoC also performs on the downtown Mall occasionally. 

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