‘Inside UVA’: He Came for Lacrosse and Stayed for Batten, Fraternal Leadership
Audio: “Inside UVA” With Student Kayvon Samadani(17:22)
Samadani was hoping to play college lacrosse, but found his true calling in UVA’s Greek system.
University of Virginia President Jim Ryan hosts third-year student Kayvon Samadani, the president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, on this week’s edition of “Inside UVA,” a podcast dedicated to showing the workings of the University.
“Originally, I planned on playing college lacrosse,” Samadani said. “I was looking at going other places. I got into UVA, and my coach knows [UVA] Coach [Lars] Tiffany personally. And he calls Coach Tiffany right in front of me and goes ‘You know, I got this kid Kayvon Samadani. He can play ball. Will you give him a shot, coach?’ he says, ‘Yeah, I’ll give him a shot.’”
Samadani ended up playing on the team for about a month and a half before he was cut. But he was undeterred. “It was still an incredible opportunity. And that’s how I landed at UVA,” he said.
Samadani is enrolled in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and says he likes it so much that it’s hard to choose his favorite course so far.
“‘Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century’ is really cool. I mean, it’s hard to pick just one,” he said enthusiastically. “I’ll also say the ‘Intro to Public Policy’ was really cool, because it really helped me develop a solid foundation of what the public policy process is.”
At first, Samadani said he dismissed the idea of joining a fraternity as “silly.” That changed after he was invited to a football game-watch party at a fraternity house.
“I just got this overwhelming sense that they cared about each other. And they cared about me. They wanted to get to know who I was, and I got the overwhelming sense that there was something more keeping these guys together than just, ‘Oh, yeah, we hang out on the weekends,’” he said.
Now, Samadani is president of the Inter-Fraternity Council and relishes his role governing 30 social fraternities at UVA.
“I really wanted to reconcile with the history of the Inter-Fraternity Council, with the exclusionary history of the Inter-Fraternity Council,” he said.
So Samadani organized a couple of first-of-their-kind, joint philanthropy ventures with fraternities affiliated with the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, two of the other fraternal governing bodies on Grounds.
“Multicultural Greek Council serves various cultural identities, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council serves specifically Black collegiate men and women,” he said. “And we were able to do an all-Greek volleyball tournament, which was a blast. We had close to 100 people show up to the volleyball courts, and we just played games together and hung out and got to know each other. And it was really cool.”
You can learn more about Samadani’s role as president and his other pursuits by tuning into “Inside UVA,” which is streamed on most podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.