Lily Bowles is all about making connections. During her four years at the University, this Jefferson Scholar from Washington, DC, has been on the forefront of developing initiatives designed to link members of the University with academic and civic engagement activities that they are passionate about.
She has been a leader, for example, in organizing Flash Seminars, an informal series of mini-lectures across Grounds. She helped initiate Engage U.Va., a weekly e-newsletter that informs people about opportunities for active engagement. And she worked together with faculty, administrators and other students to initiate OpenGrounds, a network for cross-disciplinary collaboration and creativity.
Among the most important activities to stir her own passions has been taking part in discussions with the Public Service Fellows.
We would meet every week in a Lawn room and talk about questions both philosophical and current that we were grappling with,” Bowles said. “Having those conversations was part of my favorite times at the University. We were engaging with each other not because we had to, but just because we were curious and wanted to exchange ideas.”
Bowles realizes that the University is growing and changing and needs resources to accomplish that. In her first gift as a soon-to-be alumna, Bowles wanted to give to the kinds of programs that support her passion for civic engagement—programs that help keep people connected.
“Community and collaboration, especially interdisciplinary collaboration, are two things that have defined my University experience,” Bowles said. “And I hope they will continue to define U.Va.”