As a business administration and computer science major and the first junior to be elected president of the Westhampton College Government Association at the University of Richmond, Penny Hu leverages her exceptional leadership abilities to advance equity on campus and in the greater Richmond community. She was instrumental in supporting the creation of the -Ism Initiative to promote awareness, encourage mindfulness, and advance inclusivity. She also co-founded Spiders Against Bias, a peer microaggression and anti-bias group on campus. In addition, she has been an active volunteer at Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity.
Having lived in various communities in China and the US, I have seen firsthand the ways individuals develop and harbor their unique views of the world and of “others.” In my first-year seminar, I explored ways we shape our sense of identity, and how that can lead to bias and discrimination. And I have felt bias, as a Chinese student during a time of the “China flu” and in disparaging comments on our campus. As a student leader, and now president of the Westhampton College Government Association, I am working to create a more inclusive UR, encouraging all students to see and reduce bias. I co-created the Spiders Against Bias group to facilitate reporting of bias incidents and provide resources for those experiencing bias. I have been heavily involved in the process of changing controversial building names, and I spent my summer with Habitat for Humanity supporting affordable housing for all. During the COVID pandemic, I have supported student health campaigns and in-person classes which is the best mode of learning for struggling students, and I am working with faculty and administrators toward including student members on the Board of Trustees, bringing a needed perspective to their thinking on inclusivity.