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Meet UVA’s newest student leaders

Honor Committee Chair
Hamza Aziz (Col ’23)

Hamza Aziz

In March, 89 percent of student voters approved a multi-sanction Honor System, which includes everything from education to expulsion for offenders. In the spring, Aziz, a global public health and applied statistics major from Ashburn, Virginia, said the committee was at “full sprint” to craft bylaws and fine-tune other details before the new system’s July 1 effective date. “There has been a loss of trust and a loss of buy-in into the system,” Aziz said. “But I think there’s a turning point. ... We really do have a full recommitment and buy-in among faculty and students. It is very exciting to not only figure out the policies and procedures of the new system but also the road ahead to rebuild that community of trust.”

University Judiciary Committee Chair
Lisa Kopelnik (Col ’25)

Lisa Kopelnik

The politics and economics double major from Oakland, California, is passionate about restorative justice. When she joined as a first-year, she was drawn to the committee’s model, which holds students and organizations accountable but also gives them an opportunity to grow from their actions. As chair, Kopelnik will work to ensure the committee’s membership reflects UVA’s demographics. She’ll also be focusing on mental health support for students and groups facing charges, including bringing in educators to guide them. “We recognize that students and organizations that come to the UJC often are at their most vulnerable points in their university experience,” she said. “It’s important that they feel supported.”  

Student Council President
Tichara Robertson Lewis (Col ’24)

Tichara Robertson Lewis

The Alexandria, Virginia, native said she’s admired the efforts of recent Student Council leaders who have worked to make the body a “bigger force of advocacy for students.” Robertson herself has led council efforts to ensure low-income students have access to the resources they need to be successful—from textbooks to mental health support. As president, Robertson, who is double majoring in African American and African studies, along with political and social thought, plans to continue that work. “I see myself stepping into this role to make the University a place where all students can thrive,” said Lewis, a first-generation and low-income student. 

Chair of Resident Staff Program
Morgan Hughes (Col ’24)

Morgan Hughes

Hughes, a double major in history and women, gender and sexuality studies from Shreveport, Louisiana, entered UVA amid COVID lockdowns. Meeting new people beyond her dorm hall was difficult, but her resident adviser made UVA feel like a place she wanted to stay, Hughes said, which prompted her to become an RA to continue that work herself. Now, the Jefferson Scholar is eager to lead the program with a focus on improving the upper-class housing experience as UVA works to require all second-years to live on Grounds, as well as maintaining student self-governance as UVA boosts its professional housing staffer ranks. “It’s a very pivotal, exciting year for housing,” Hughes said.

Cavalier Daily Editor-In-Chief
Ava MacBlane (Col ’24)

Ava MacBlane

Addressing readers’ shift to digital sources, including revamping the paper’s advertising and analytics teams and boosting newsletter subscribers, is one goal for MacBlane, an English and Spanish major from Richmond, Virginia. Rebuilding community on staff—after a series of stressful events including the pandemic and both living through and covering the November shooting that left three students dead—is another. “People are just really desperate for community and for a place that they can find people that they like, as well as being a student and learning and growing,” she said. “That has definitely influenced how important that is to me.” 

Board of Visitors Student Member
Lillian Rojas (Batten ’24)

Lillian Rojas

A leader in Student Council and other groups, Rojas is excited to support her peers in a new way. “Rather than looking at really short-term, smaller issues, these are big issues that will affect not only students now but students to come,” said the public policy and religious studies double major from Manassas, Virginia. Her main goals include expanding financial aid for lower-income students and promoting bipartisanship on Grounds and on the board. “I really want to be that person that acts as a bridge to bring groups together that don’t normally ever speak to each other,” she said.