Photo of Jerry Ukwela celebrating during the Discover Week Tradition
Jerry Ukwela during Discover Week

What legacy will you leave at CWRU? Student leaders share their thoughts

Case Western Reserve University students shape their peers’ college experiences—and create change for those who will come after them—through active participation in leadership roles in a variety of organizations.

Legacy Week at CWRU recognizes that impact by celebrating the university’s rich history. Anchored by traditions such as the Hudson Relays and Springfest—which are set to take place Saturday, April 27, this year—Legacy Week is designed to engage all members of the university community.

We spoke to a few student leaders to find out how they show their CWRU pride and what legacies they hope to leave at their alma mater.

See what they had to say below—and check out the Legacy Week schedule to see what events you can take part in April 22–27.

Answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Anjali Raju

Photo of Anjali Raju

Fourth-year majoring in biology and biochemistry
Senior Director, Thwing Study Over; Student Advisor, PERIOD@CWRU; Founder and President, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) CWRU

1. What is your favorite CWRU tradition? Why?

My favorite CWRU tradition has to be the actual Tradition or the boogie! This year I was helping assist with the choreography of the dances during my role on the Orientation Executive Board so it holds a very special place in my heart for that reason. It’s so amazing to watch all the students rush down to the field after the dance and connect with their orientation leader or meet new people and welcome them to CWRU! My favorite part this year was definitely all the pride I felt in all the OLs as we finished the dance because it was truly a labor of love so I loved watching them feel so proud of themselves for all their hard work! 

2. What legacy do you hope to leave at CWRU?

I hope that my legacy is exemplified by all the wonderful underclassmen I’ve been able to watch blossom into their leadership roles as I’m getting ready to graduate. My senior year has been all about handing off the reins and making sure that they become the best leaders they can be. It’s been so meaningful to develop these relationships over the last couple of years and I’m so happy that my legacy will be carried on by all of them. I’ve loved getting to be a part of Thwing Study Over during my undergrad career and I hope that all of the changes we’ve been able to make as a committee to make the event better are a part of my legacy as well.

Kennidi Kreiser

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Fourth-year biomedical engineering major
Director of Campus Engagement, University Program Board (UPB)

1. What is your favorite CWRU tradition? Why?

My favorite CWRU tradition is Blue Bash. I really enjoyed being a part of planning it this year and attending it in my other three years at CWRU. I like getting to meet and hang out with alumni and other students and staff. I also enjoy the fireworks at the end!

2. What legacy do you hope to leave at CWRU?

As director of campus engagement for UPB I helped plan lots of fun and interactive events for students, such as a pop-up Jeopardy game, pumpkin carving, and a cake decorating event. I hope that the directors after me will continue to do fun and engaging events for the student body. I also started UPBeep Beep where UPB members drive around in a golf cart and pass out free food and I hope that this continues after I leave. 

Jerry Ukwela (CWR ’23)

Photo of Jerry Ukwela

Graduate student, Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Graduate advisor, University Program Board

1. What is your favorite CWRU tradition? Why?

My favorite CWRU tradition would probably be Tradition during Discover Week. It’s the first event where the incoming class all comes together and the energy is always super high! Every year there’s also a special surprise from the [orientation leaders] that they spend the summer preparing for, as well as the first time singing the alma mater (even if most people don’t remember afterwards), every year it’s all around a good time. If you look up at all during Tradition you can also see the top of the parking garage packed with people who come back to watch Tradition.

2. What legacy do you hope to leave at CWRU?

I hope I’m remembered as a person who was able to create fun environments for those around me. I was super involved during my time here on campus and I’ve learned a lot during that time, so I hope I’ve also been able to give back and pass on some of my knowledge to those after me.

Vaishnavi Kumar

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Third-year majoring in biology and economics
Executive President, Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative

1. What is your favorite CWRU tradition? Why?

Springfest! Celebrating the warm weather and the end of the semester with friends is always so fun. Ziplining across East Bell Commons with my friends last year is one of my core CWRU memories.

2. What legacy do you hope to leave at CWRU?

I hope to have made the campus a more welcoming space for marginalized groups. The rest of the UDC executive board and I have tried our best to make that happen this year.

Elijah Brown

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Fourth-year majoring in nutritional biochemistry and metabolism, evolutionary biology
President, Class Officer Collective, Co-President of Minority Association of Premedical Students

1. What is your favorite CWRU tradition? Why?

My favorite CWRU tradition has to be Homecoming. It isn’t just a celebration, but a vibrant reunion where current students like me reconnect with alumni, bridging multiple generations together. Plus, after the initial rounds of exams, this event livens the campus with positive energy and gives students a much-needed break. The wide variety of events and activities help satisfy diverse interests, making it easy to experience different things. And let’s not forget the delicious food that helps add to the festivities!

2. What legacy do you hope to leave at CWRU?

I hope I leave a legacy of empowerment through effort and resilience. I want current and future students to believe that CWRU is a campus where dedication and positivity lead to successful outcomes. Through my four years, my actions convey that success isn’t only circumstantial, our willingness to put forth our best effort plays a major role as well. While setbacks are inevitable, our response to them shapes our personal growth and influences the world around us.

Alex Flores

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Third-year majoring in neuroscience and sociology
Resident Assistant; Assistant Chief of Personnel, CWRU EMS 

1. What is your favorite CWRU tradition? Why?

My favorite CWRU tradition has to be the Student Activities Fair during the last weekend of Discover Week. Discover Week can be exhausting (to say the least), while also incredibly informative and fundamental in a proper introduction to the CWRU community and campus. After learning where the main buildings are around campus, how to use your meal plan, and the plethora of resources that are available to you as a CWRU student, the Student Activities Fair caps it all off with what makes CWRU students special. From the Archery Club to CWRU EMS, first-years are exposed to the incredible variety of extracurriculars they can partake in during their time at CWRU. I think what makes us all special as CWRU students is how multifaceted we all are, and the Student Activities Fair is a perfect example of this. 

2. What legacy do you hope to leave at CWRU?

“Legacy… What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see” – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton. I hope that my legacy at CWRU is an idea that I always try to pass down to my residents and the new EMTs I train: Don’t stop questioning the system! The world around us is a result of the actions of those who came before us, we have the privilege to shape the world for those who come after us. I hope I inspire people to never be afraid to ask difficult questions, never stop imagining a better world, and, in the true CWRU spirit, always think[box].