Introducing the Cornerstone Summer Institute!

The President’s Commission on Slavery and the University is pleased to announce our Cornerstone Summer Institute. Members of commission, in consultation with our Local and National Advisory Boards over the past two years, has sought to create educational programs examining slavery and its legacies at UVA as a way to expand knowledge, to promote diversity and inclusiveness, and to encourage cultural change.

This week-long UVA immersion experience for high school students represents one such program. It will run from June 26 to July 1, 2016.

The Cornerstone Summer Institute will provide rising high school sophomores and juniors with the opportunity to engage in historical investigation, archaeological excavation, and community engagement in order to learn and develop thinking skills that will prepare them for success in college and beyond. This year, we are partnering with the archaeological team at the Montpelier historic site ( Montpelier Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration Matthew B. Reeves, an ex-officio member of our commission, will be working with the students!

The institute focuses on historical research, archaeological excavation, and community engagement in and around Charlottesville, Virginia. Sophomores and juniors will explore the early history of the University by getting hands-on experience with archival records, by rolling up their sleeves as they work on an archaeological dig, and by learning–through community service–how the U.Va. story had an impact on the surrounding community. Students, in addition to collegiate skill-building, will live the U.Va. experience–living in dorms, eating in dining halls, meeting new friends, and exploring the Jefferson-designed school. Guided by top faculty and a team of U.Va. students, participants will explore both the University’s past and the modern-day legacies of slavery. The institute will provide opportunities for hands-on experience with original Jefferson materials, an archaeological dig in an area where enslaved people lived and worked, and engagement with the larger Charlottesville community through participation in a service project.

Alison Jawetz, a 2016 American Studies major who is currently completing a Masters of Public Policy in the Batten School, has led the charge to create this new program.

We are also looking for dedicated undergraduates who will serve as Cornerstone Summer Institute counselors and leaders of this high school summer immersion program.

Applications for both are now available at our website and will be accepted on a rolling basis.