Savanna Lim

Houston, Texas

I wanted to be in a smaller, more specialized college while at the same time experiencing everything that a large research university has to offer.

Why did you choose Cornell and AAP?

One of the things that stood out about Cornell was the fact that the university provides myriad opportunities that other smaller universities cannot. For example, I can take classes about wine tasting, animal care, architectural history, objectively obscure languages, Southeast Asian independent cinema — even female icons like Beyoncé. While the idea of a large university can be daunting, I chose AAP because it provides a unique space that is smaller and exclusive. I wanted to be in a smaller, more specialized college while at the same time experiencing everything that a large research university has to offer. This has allowed me to step out when I want to, and step back when I need to. When I visited Cornell after being admitted, I really enjoyed the classes I saw, the professors who lectured, and the overall atmosphere here. I was excited to put myself in this environment and challenge myself.

What inspired you to join the field of city and regional planning?

The summer of my sophomore year of high school, I worked with a local NGO in Nicaragua to come up with an asset-based community development project in the community of 300 people I was living in. I lived and breathed Nicaraguan culture and community planning for two months and loved every second of it. This inspired me to apply to another internship the next summer at the U.N. that was more policy-based. I got to see both sides of the same coin and wanted to learn more about placemaking, community building, and public policy. I also have a strong art and design background, and wanted to enter into a program that would challenge me academically and artistically. The CRP department was the perfect fit.

What are your extracurricular interests and how have you incorporated them into your college life?

Here on campus, I serve as the elected VP of external affairs and the women's representative on the Cornell Student Assembly. Last year, I also served as a freshman representative and sponsored two resolutions regarding the freshman housing experience: creating a crosswalk between Risley and Balch halls and creating an Asian-American Living Learning Unit. This year, I run the assembly's communications committee, am working with the Women's Resource Center to bring free menstrual products to central campus locations, and work with other members of the assembly to pass resolutions outside of Student Government. I am also the photography director for Thread magazine, Cornell's largest art, fashion, and lifestyle magazine and am a freelance photographer on campus. In the realm of my identity, I serve as a mentor for the CAPSU (Cornell Asian Pacific Student Union) first-year initiative program and I am actively engaged in Asian-American issues.