August 25, 2014
Thousands of University of Virginia undergraduates are starting classes Tuesday morning, and one of many changes they will find on grounds is an additional three majors offered by the university.
One of the new majors is called Youth and Social Innovation. It would encourage some graduates "to work with youth directly in established out-of-school programs like the Boys & Girls Club or Big Brothers/Big Sisters," according to the U.Va. web site. Other graduates may use the degree to start a youth program of their own.
Workers at the Boys and Girls Club in Southwood say they are excited that the university is taking the initiative to get more students involved in the field.
"It's great for them to see what's going on in their college town as opposed to just what's going on within the U.Va. community," said Joseph Young, the Assistant Director of the Southwood Boys and Girls Club. "It's great because they're bringing some knowledge that they can give to the kids and give them again another positive role model, and someone that's closer to their age."
Young says the club already benefits from occasional volunteers from the university.
U.Va. undergraduates now have 93 different majors to choose from. It's a far cry from the days when founder Thomas Jefferson wanted all students to focus on "useful sciences." The decision can be difficult.
"I started on the pre-med track," said U.Va. third year Nick Lindsay, "and took a couple of those classes and they were too hard."
Lindsay is now pursuing a degree in commerce. But he's confident that some of his fellow students will be interested in Youth and Social Innovation.
"It'd be a cool major," Lindsay said. "It's definitely something that kids are interested in."
The other new majors are Global Studies and Literary Prose Writing.