Do Eat Student Voices

UVA: Life On- and Off-Campus

The “college experience” is often the deciding factor in choosing which college to attend; here’s some insight into what it’s like at UVA.

The “college experience” is often the deciding factor in choosing which college to attend. Here’s some insight into what it’s like at UVA.

The University of Virginia at sunrise. Credit: Sanjay Suchak, University Communications  

To My Future Hoos – The University of Virginia (UVA) has everything for any type of student. Whether you’re into parties, tailgates, and sports or are more academically inclined, UVA has something for everyone and offers a diverse range of opportunities for its students. Capturing the university in just a few words is impossible, as it tries to accommodate everyone. With clubs, Greek life, sports, and more, UVA is a great place to live out your college experience.


The Blue Ridge Mountains’ natural beauty combined with the campus’ aesthetics make walking to and from classes a treat. The grounds are well preserved and cared for, and people are generally nice and approachable. UVA’s size makes people think seeing familiar faces will be few and far between, but that’s far from the truth. The campus size makes it perfect for running into people with whom you share your meals, class schedules, activities, and interests. 

The Blue Ridge Mountains around Charlottesville. Credit: Sanjay Suchak, University Communications  

Students do many things outside of classes, but here are some favorite places and activities on campus. 


If you have a test you need to study for, almost every building has study spaces, but many go to Thornton Hall, Clemons Library, or Clark Hall. 

Thornton stacks, a quiet study area with computers and spaces for both group and individual studying, is also a popular spot. If you need help with computer science homework, this is the place to go. Clark Hall is similar to Thornton Hall’s stacks.

Thornton Hall. Credit: University of Virginia

 Clemons Library is the better choice if you want rooms to use or need silence. Clemons has a floor plan that gets quieter the deeper into it one goes, and each level has a minimum amount of noise tolerated. You’ll often find students pulling all-nighters at the bottom of Clemons during exam week, since the library’s hours of service move from 24/5 to 24/7. 

Extracurriculars and Late Hours

Outside of academic studying, many students choose to apply for work-study programs, research assistantships, clubs, and/or participate in some other activity. There are intramural sports students can sign-up for, multiple recreational centers with swimming pools and various exercise equipment, basketball courts for student use, and over 400 clubs to join! Lambeth Field and the tennis courts right next to it are often in use as well, with pick-up games of soccer, tennis, lacrosse, and other sports often happening. 

The Aquatic & Fitness Center (AFC). Credit: University of Virginia   

Well into the late hours of the night, small groups of people can be seen walking around or just hanging out. The combination of UVA’s mobile and physical alert systems, police force, and honor system makes the campus an extremely safe space. 

Game Days

On a different note, sports at UVA are a BIG thing. Especially basketball. Game days are what most students consider the best days of the week, and during football season, tailgates and parties, big and small, occur before and after games outside Scott Stadium. Basketball games are even more popular. But since UVA’s team performed exceptionally well in recent years, seats at John Paul Jones Arena are often gone fast. 

A basketball game in Jones Paul Jones Arena. Credit: Matt Riley, Athletics

Students can enter a lottery system for basketball tickets, but aren’t always guaranteed seating. For football, you won’t have to worry about tickets as a student; Scott Stadium has yet to ever reach maximum capacity, but some games in 2020 almost hit the mark. 

Rugby Road

If you’re more interested in sorority and fraternity life, then you’ll probably be spending a lot of time around Rugby Road, where the bigger Greek life organizations are located. UVA offers numerous sororities and fraternities to choose from, and they’re a great way to make lifelong friendships and alumni connections. There are also some colonies at UVA if you prefer smaller, more close-knit groups.

“Lights on the Lawn” and Other Events 

Among the many events that UVA hosts each school year, the “Lighting on the Lawn” is a well-known and highly attended favorite. Established after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, this event seeks to bring the community together and promote inclusion and unity. Since its creation, it has become a tradition every year where the Rotunda and attached buildings are lit up, and entertainment is provided. 

Photo taken during the Lighting of the Lawn. Credit: Sanjay Suchak, University Communications

Additionally, UVA likes to provide its students with plenty of speaking engagements, concerts, and events to see and attend. The music department at UVA also has a fantastic marching band, among other groups, which performs during football games and in different settings. Also, the university has been able to get several big-name performers to come to its campus. A few people who have graced UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena include: Taylor Swift, KISS, Cardi B, Luke Bryan, among others.


Outside of University grounds, there are also plenty of things to do in the Charlottesville area. A bit of a walk from campus, there is a Harris Teeter, Barnes & Noble, Nike store, and some chain restaurants. Students are fortunate to have many stores and restaurants close to campus. 

The Corner

If you’re out of toilet paper in an apartment or left your toiletries back at home, the convenience stores around The Corner have got your back. They also cater to all your eating, drinking, school spirit, and service needs. With a wide selection of dietary choices, The Corner is a place you’ll find the UVA community spending their nights, be them teachers or students. 

There are also some great places to get quality grub around this area, which is less than five minutes away from campus. A few choice selections are Boylan Heights, Got Dumplings, Root Natural Kitchen, Lemon Grass, and Little John’s Deli, to name a few. Roots is known for its catering service, which is often overwhelmed with orders. And for all the coffee drinkers out there, you have a wide range of options to choose from, and yes: there is a Starbucks.


One thing that Charlottesville is not lacking in is quality food. Downtown Charlottesville pulls through with even more options to choose from, but at the cost of distance from campus. Thankfully, UVA has got you covered. With the university’s buses in service throughout the day, students can ride for free to quite a few locations, including the downtown area. 

If your still wanting more information on UVA’s campus life, here’s a link that may help: The University of Virginia Student Experience 

The Rotunda. Credit: University of Virginia    

The UVA community is expansive and it’s hard to cover everything, but hopefully this gives a better idea as to what life is like on- and off-campus at the University of Virginia! 

Go Hoos Go!!!

By Joseph Gorzka III

Third-year at the University of Virginia who is majoring in English and East Asian Studies.