Jacob Zipkin applied to be the house coordinator of Messa House his first year on campus, and as time went on, he became more and more involved. As the student rep for his house, he works with students, staff and faculty representatives from the other six Minerva houses to work on organizing meaningful social and academic activities.
“The Minerva program bring people from all parts of campus together in one place,” he says. “They represent the key aspects of Union – a strong sense of community, great student-faculty relationships and the desire for more knowledge.”
As a rep for Messa House, Jacob works with student, staff and faculty representatives from Union’s other six Minerva houses to plan activities.
“I’ve organized barbeques, holiday celebrations and trivia nights,” he says. “And I enjoy co-hosting events with other campus groups, including celebrations like the Holi festival.”
While his interdisciplinary and pre-med studies keep him busy with course work, research and internships, this future physician finds the Minervas perfect for connecting with professors in a casual environment. Students invite faculty to their houses for conversations on a range of topics.
“Some faculty members teach classes in their houses, such as Culinary Chemistry and First Year Preceptorials,” he explains. “And many students invite faculty for dinner and conversations on a range of topics. For example, I went to Poland on Union’s Holocaust History Mini-Term with Religious Studies Professor Peter Bedford. We were able to share our experiences at a Minerva House dinner and discussion.”
In addition, Jacob initiated “Learn Something, Teach Something,” a program that funds students to attend workshops or conferences to explore new skills – such as dance, language or meditation – and then share what they’ve learned with others.
“This program was devised to develop well-rounded individuals in all disciplines. It embodies key aspects of Union, such as a strong sense of community, great student-faculty relationships and the desire for more knowledge. It gives students even more opportunity to develop in a field outside of their major, while also strengthening the campus overall.
It’s easy to get involved in Minervas, he says.
“Anyone can attend weekly council meetings in their assigned house, propose event ideas and even get funding for projects. The Minerva Central Council is a place where your voice will not only be heard, but also listened to."
When not involved with his studies or the Minervas, Jacob kept busy as a campus tour guide and volunteer at Ronald McDonald House.