UVA president opens up home to give students a place to come together

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 10:52 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Many students are far from their homes and families while they grieve the loss of their three classmates. That’s why University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and his family decided to open up their home on Carr’s Hill.

Every day this week from 2 to 5 p.m., Ryan says students are welcome to “come together and hang out with each other and a dog or cat or two”.

“There’s very little we can do to console the community right now, but every little bit helps,” Matt Weber, Senior Advisor to President Ryan, said. “They’ve opened up all their doors. There’s couches, food, hot cocoa, their dogs, their cats being available, and all the fireplaces are running. And it must be nice for students who are away from home.”

UVA Presidential Fellow Sarita Mehta took President Ryan up on his open house offer.

“There’s not a playbook with how you process these feelings and emotions,” Mehta said.

She says every day, more and more students are coming to Carr’s Hill and find solidarity in being together.

“The sense of community and and togetherness is really apparent in many different ways. It’s manifested in all sorts of ways, from the visual to the signs on different houses, to local businesses, to Carr’s Hill. There’s just a very strong sense that we’re in this together and we will get through this together,” Mehta said.

Students say the atmosphere inside the home is somber, but united.

“There’s a lot of emotions - people feeling sad, confused, frightened. There’s a great power in just being together. President Ryan always says Carr’s Hill isn’t his home, it’s the university’s home. And I think this past week has been a real reflection of that,” Mehta said.

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