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JACOB ZIPKIN

Connect in Minerva Houses

Hometown: Dix Hills, N.Y.
Major: Physics and Music, Interdisciplinary; Leadership in Medicine Program

How did you get involved with Minervas?

I applied to be the house coordinator of Messa House my first year on campus. I enjoyed attending council meetings and learning about the framework of the Minerva program. As time went on, I became more and more involved.

What do you do, specifically?

In addition to maintaining the common areas of the house that are open to all students, I help put on “house-bonding events,” which are events specifically for residents of my house. Some I’ve done include barbeques, holiday celebrations and trivia nights. As the student rep for my house, I also work with students, staff and faculty representatives from the other six houses, and administrators, to discuss how we can organize meaningful social and academic events.

What is your favorite Minerva activity?

I enjoy co-hosting events with other houses and campus groups, including parties such as the Holi festival and highlighter party. There are also dinner and discussions, which are a perfect example of connecting students, faculty and staff. We’ve had great discussions about current topics in the news, such as the presidential election and healthcare reform bill. Other events have included a discussion about healthy habits and drug use with a counselor from the Wellness Center and a dinner-discussion with Religious Studies Professor Peter Bedford and the students who went on the Holocaust History Mini-Term last summer.

What else do the Minervas offer?

There is a Minerva Mentor in each house who helps first-year students transition to college life. Each mentor meets with students to talk about things like study strategies, how to be successful throughout college and time management skills. The Minerva Programs Office organizes events for the entire campus, which often consist of speakers such as Union alumni and others who have succeeded in their careers. The office also helped initiate a new course, called Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE), which features guest speakers and workshops that educate students on how to shape their futures.

How can students get involved in their Minerva?

Students can be as involved as they want to be. Anyone can attend weekly council meetings in their assigned house and propose event ideas, and even receive funding for their events.

How do the professors participate?

Professors are also assigned a Minerva, and they have the option to request to have events and receive funding. Some faculty members teach classes in their houses, such as Culinary Chemistry, and First Year Preceptorials. They can use any of the common spaces – den, kitchen, dining room, seminar room and study rooms. This brings people from all parts of campus together in one place. For example, many students will invite faculty (in a related field) to their dinner and discussions to help initiate conversations on the topic at hand.

Why are Minervas so important to campus life?

The Minerva program represents the key aspects of Union: a strong sense of community, great student-faculty relationships and the desire for more knowledge.


Take a seat at Dinner with a Professor:

Click play (above) or view on VIMEO