Kids, I’ve learned lots of important things in b-school, but one of the most useful is that communication is key.  As such, I’ve given up all hope of ever being good at accounting and finance, and dedicated myself to a life of making marketing materials.*

Actually, one of the best things about Darden is that it is in large part governed by the faculty and students.  Student initiatives are regularly encouraged, supported, and implemented.  One great example is that of “Refreshing First Coffee.”

Every morning, Darden students, faculty, staff, visitors, and students from the law school who don’t get free coffee next door gather together for coffee and discussion in a ritual *ahem, tradition* known as First Coffee.  Beloved by all for its inclusive, caffeinated chaos, it nevertheless creates an ungodly amount of waste each day.  Last year, some second year students decided that they wanted to improve the situation, so they helped to organize a case competition.  The case?  Making First Coffee more sustainable.  The winners?  Section B, duh.

The next year, a new crop of students stepped in after the others graduated, and the ball really got a-rollin’.  Led by my indefatigable friends and colleagues Sarah Tilbor and Eliav Bitan, we are now just a week away from the debut of our new, reusable, insulated, brushed nickel silvery cup bullets of sustainability and change.**  

Which brings us back to the thing about communications and the image above:  There will be big changes to the First Coffee ritual with the new cups, and a solid communications plan was needed.  Task 1:  Get people excited about the upcoming change.  Stay up really late debating the merits of one comic book typeface over another.  Drive curiosity.  Reference Batman whenever possible. 

Stay tuned!

* Incidentally, I’m not going to be doing marketing next year.  Instead I’ll be working with engineers at a tech startup…  because engineers looooove communications and cartoons…  Actually, in some respects they do, which is why I’m already signed up for this summer’s Comic-Con ticket list.  Why wasn’t Princess Leia Asian?  Perhaps I could make a good Ewok.

** I skipped over the cool operational things that the team has done, and the gory details of how something like this gets implemented, but you can read about it at the >Refreshing First Coffee Blog. There’s even a podcast!

The thing I miss most about first year is the comfort and ease of having every class in the same room.  CR-150, I miss you.

The thing I don’t miss about first year, because it’s the same in second year (maybe worse), is looking for an empty Learning Team (study) room.

While it may look like my friend Sarah and I were braving the great outdoors, I may or may not have cropped the big cabin with a full kitchen out of the photo.  

I should note that the SY camping trip was a lot better than the First Year camping trip, since 1) there was an axe throwing competition, and 2) there was an axe throwing competition.

Answer Key:

1.TRUE – nothing makes you nostalgic for 90’s movie soundtracks like exams
2.TRUE – except I screwed up the ingredients once and had to go back to the store, so I basically made TWO pies…
3.TRUE – you don’t even want to know how I navigated there
4.TRUE – because I haven’t taken boxes out to the recycling for weeks, so there were lots of materials
5.FALSE – those will stay there until the sun becomes a red giant and consumes the earth (and therefore the balcony and its contents)
6.TRUE – no explanation required
7.FALSE – I’ll have to get a lot more desperate before I actually organize anything
8.FALSE – I did think about it though
9.TRUE – yes, I braved the “User Submitted” area.  I deserve a merit badge.
10.TRUE – now it smells like bleach instead of the bottle of perfume I broke last week
11.TRUE – if you put enough Bailey’s in it, it’s not so bad
12.TRUE – Radiolab is the best!    
13.TRUE – next I’ll begin the contract they have to sign in order to watch it with me (no talking allowed, lots of tears required)
14.TRUE – I swear, my Mom likes them early.

A few tips for the class of 2015

As I prepare for Second Year at Darden, I’m thinking more and more about getting the chance to fulfill my ultimate UVA dream:  taking the “Thomas Jefferson Reading Seminar” and ruining it for everyone involved.  Okay fine, I don’t really want to ruin it, but I do want to wear custom t-shirts to every class that will quietly express how I really feel about TJ.  This is my first design idea.

I know, I know, I have a habit of attending schools either named after Thomas Jefferson or founded by him, but it doesn’t mean that I feel any sort of allegiance to the man or his legacy.  In fact, I look at being at UVA as a great opportunity to spread my message.  As an avowed Alexander Hamilton disciple, it’s my duty to sit on The Laaaaaawn* and remind everyone that there are other founding fathers much more deserving of our time and attention.

* At Mr. Jefferson’s University, people are too good for things like campuses and quads, and instead pretend that they have “Grounds” and a “Lawn.”  If only Mr. Jefferson knew the horrible, debaucherous things that happened when the undergrads get drunk on his hallowed grounds.


Kids, whoever you end up being, I’m guessing that I’ll like you at least a little bit.  You’ll have to be pretty freakin’ awesome if you want to compete with this pretty kitty, though.

I swear, she’s missing me while I’m in Chicago for the summer. 

Instead of having our college summer intern Kelsey juggling lentil and rice kits under the caption of “what really happens,” I should have had a photo of myself Photoshopping a Facebook post for a few hours.  That’s your mom, putting her (insanely expensive) business school skills to work.

At this point in your career, you shouldn’t chase big names or paychecks. Choose good mentors and good experiences, and the rest will follow.
Anna Payne’s Father, I think

On the job @Jaali Bean - best summer internship ever.  At this point, they still took me seriously.

photo credit:  Ali Prendergast

Darden 5K - supporting the UVA Children’s Hospital and the final event to determine the Darden Cup.  That’s your Mom as PacMan.

Last day of section, we (David Graham) pied our section representative, Bill Besash.  I was the collateral damage.

The beautiful thing about this situation is that Bill and I love Section B so much that we haven’t showered since the pieing.