ASPIRE! Award in Practice Civility: Interview With Preeti Pandey

The Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics is pleased to announce that PPE major, Preeti Pandey, has won the 2023 Virginia Tech ASPIRE! Award in the category Practice Civility.

Preeti, can you tell us a little about the Aspire! Awards and how individuals are selected? 

The Aspire! Awards were established by Student Affairs in 2011 to recognize Virginia Tech students who embody the Aspirations for Student Learning. Aspire! Award nominations can be made by anyone who believes an individual merits recognition for living the Aspirations for Student Learning in their daily lives. Typically, professors and mentors nominate students. Student Affairs’ five Aspirations committees review each submission and choose the individuals they believe best represent the essence of the Aspirations. 

What “Aspiration” were you awarded, and can you provide information on why you were awarded this particular aspiration? 

I was awarded the Aspiration Practice Civility. My nominator believed that my civic engagement work as the director of Hokies Vote Caucus fosters a positive civic culture at Virginia Tech. Additionally, as the leader of the Hokies Voter Caucus and the president of Students for Racial Justice, I have had the opportunity to lead deliberative dialogues, advocacy trainings, educational & action meetings, and protests. My nominator believes that through such events I have been able to create a safe space for uncomfortable conversations with inclusivity in mind.  

In what ways has Virginia Tech inspired you to live a life of “curiosity, integrity, innovation, leadership, success, fulfillment, and embodying the university motto, Ut Prosim, as a way of life”? 

Virginia Tech has helped me find a community of very motivated people who inspire me to work hard. The people I have met at Virginia Tech have taught me how to be an effective community organizer. I have learned so much from my professors and peers even outside of the classroom. I have learned how to lead, advocate, and become an active listener at Virginia Tech.  

Given the nature of your major in PPE and its purpose to understand social phenomena from multiple disciples and perspectives, would you say that the PPE program has helped nurture your care for humanity, justice, and improving the world?

The PPE program has taught me a lot about the state of the world. I have been taught how to look at any issue from multiple perspectives. PPE has not only taught me theory but also active participation. The classes I have taken through PPE such as constitutional law have helped me understand the injustices that exist in our legal system. These classes ultimately helped me decide how I want to serve my community beyond my undergraduate career.

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