U.Va. Students Welcome Millions to U.S. Pavilion at World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea

May 24, 2012 — The World Expo is under way in Yeosu, South Korea, and five University of Virginia students and recent graduates are serving as official hosts in the USA Pavilion 2012.

Known as student ambassadors, the five students are among a group of 40 undergraduate students and graduates from U.S. colleges and universities selected by U.Va., which is the university partner of the pavilion. In addition to greeting visitors, government officials and dignitaries, the ambassadors provide administrative, protocol and programming support.

Suzie Oh, who majored in sociology and East Asian studies in U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences, opted to forgo walking the Lawn during Sunday's Final Exercises so she could join her fellow student ambassadors in South Korea.

"Our journey started on May 1, when we flew into Korea," Oh wrote in a recent email. "I have so much to tell about the Expo. Not a single day has been the same and it is difficult to choose what to share first," she noted. (To learn more about her experiences, you can read Oh's weekly installments on the UVA Today News Blog.)

Besides Oh, the U.Va. students working at the pavilion are:

• Yo Han Hong of Fairfax
• Sean Kim of Annandale
• Madison Lee of Charlottesville
• Joshua Stone of Fredericksburg

The World Expo, which is themed "The Living Ocean and Coast," opened its three-month run on May 12.

U.Va.'s connection to the World Expo can be traced to Andrew Snowhite, CEO of USA Pavilion 2012, LLC and a 1997 alumnus of the College. The U.S. State Department selected Snowhite and his business partner, Philippe Cousteau, grandson of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau, to design, build and operate the pavilion. They are anticipating millions of visitors before it closes Aug. 12. Snowhite and Cousteau have been working with U.Va. for a number of years on the U.Va. Bay Game and are both OpenGrounds Fellows.

"We have been thrilled by our visitors' response to both the pavilion's multimedia shows as well as to our student ambassadors, who present a human element to the experience and a direct connection to the American people," Snowhite said in an email.

In addition to tapping U.Va. as the university partner of the pavilion, Snowhite is helping arrange two "U.Va. Days" at the expo in collaboration with the UVaClub of Korea. On June 1 and 2, U.Va. students, family and alumni will be treated to lunch and a VIP tour of the 13,000-square-foot pavilion, which is themed "Diversity, Wonder, and Solutions." Attendees will also enjoy a "meet and greet" with the student ambassadors from U.Va. and visit other pavilions at the World Expo.

To learn more about what is happening in the U.S. pavilion on a day-to-day basis, you can visit the pavilion's Facebook page or follow the Twitter feed, @usapavilion2012

– by Jane Kelly