Community Fellows Program

Fulfilling Our Promise

The University of Virginia School of Law is well known for its collegial student environment. Our students are drawn to the UVA Law community by the cooperative spirit that exists both in and out of the classroom, strengthened by the diverse backgrounds of our students and faculty. Developing a sense of belonging for all students starts on day one.

The UVA Law Community Fellows Program fosters these values each year by selecting first-year students to serve as ambassadors to their peers throughout their time at the Law School, and later in the professional world. Participating students gain insight and develop skills that benefit them personally, from leadership to negotiation. The program facilitates and fosters the experience of the entering class by:

  • Actively promoting and ensuring an environment of mutual respect, collegiality and belongingness;
  • Leveraging the fellows to promote bonds and foster the free exchange of ideas, and to bring together the entire 1L class; and
  • Serving as a link for peers to the administration and greater Law School community.

Learning Together

After fellows are accepted into the program in the summer before their first year, they will meet together for three days, Monday, Aug. 14-Wednesday, Aug. 16 (half day). Participants must be in Charlottesville for the duration of the program, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 14. All meals are provided and the schedule will include evening activities.

Students at a table

Fellows spend this time in community-building activities at the Law School and around the University Grounds. In addition, incoming Community Fellows have the option to be matched with a 2L or 3L student mentor who is also a part of the Community Fellows program.

Fellows will continue to work together throughout the year on a project of their choosing that enables them to share the lessons they have learned during the program with their peers. Opportunities for the fellows to come together during the academic year will also be scheduled.

How To Apply

Students participate in an ice breakerApplications will be emailed to the first-year class in early June and are due by 5 p.m. EST on Friday, June 23. Decisions will be communicated by July 7.

Questions can be directed to Megan Durkee, Director of Student Affairs, @email, (434) 924-1363.

Community Fellow Projects

Students at a Community Fellow event

Each year, the Community Fellows host a project with a focus on community. In 2023, the 1L class put on a “Connectivity Picnic” to help students meet and get to know other students outside of their classes, sections and organizations. Groups of students were provided lunch and a card game designed to help people form deeper connections with others. 


“The Community Fellows program gave me a chance to be a leader in the UVA Law community right out of the gate, as well as provided us with the means to become community builders among the 1L class once school started. The program really made me feel like a welcomed part of the UVA Law community.”
—Sean Onwualu ’24

“What I loved most about being a Community Fellow was seeing so many people committed to making our class welcoming and collegial. Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, we pulled together as a team and found ways to make our class’ 1L experience just a little bit better. I also made some of my closest friends through the program, and it’s a great way to build relationships, especially considering I knew no one coming into UVA Law!”
—Spencer Haydary ’23