Spotlight on Jhanvi Virani

Meet Jhanvi Virani: Powerful Community Builder and Incoming Student Body President at Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Tell us about your work with Rutgers student entrepreneurs!

My work at Rutgers University so far mostly comprised of fostering and growing a thriving community for young entrepreneurs at my school. I've been president of the Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society for the past year and a half, and in that time I've worked with an incredible team of students to host speaker events, organize workshops, and even create a startup accelerator to bring passionate innovators together. This month, I'm taking on a new project -- bringing the spirit of innovation to student government and advocacy. As the incoming student body president at Rutgers University- New Brunswick, I'm hoping to facilitate bringing interesting solutions to pressing issues faced by students at the university, like tackling food waste, college affordability, and sexual assault culture on campus. As a computer science student, I really feel like integrating technology in emerging projects could help us address these issues in a sustainable way. What a lot of people don't see is that entrepreneurship really does fit into student government really well. Some of the biggest obstacles in starting a project are raising capital and building infrastructure, and student government often has both (Rutgers' student government has an operating budget of over $100k a year). So I'm exciting to start building!

What is the best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received? How about advice you’ve given?

The best advice I've ever gotten is the one I always give: be unapologetic about your accomplishments. I feel like this is a really common issue with women especially, but we tend to hide or dismiss our accomplishments out of fear of being labelled as egotistical or off-putting. And while it's really important to be humble and learn from your mistakes, nobody's going to hype you up if you don't do it yourself. Wear your accomplishments with pride, and always be your own number one fan.

What do you want to be remembered for?

I think above all I want to be remembered as the person who tried to empathize with others even when their concerns or backgrounds didn't necessarily resonate with my own. Sometimes we spend so much time building we forget to stop and ask others to see if we've really covered all the bases. What are the consequences of our actions? Is there a better way to be doing this? And are we addressing the concerns of all relevant stakeholders? Always remembering to do this is still a work in progress for me, but it's something I've always valued and expected from strong leaders and role models.

Sunday afternoon nirvana: In my room with a cup of tea and a cool podcast
Your Personal Bible: My all-time favorite book is Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger
Confidence Boost Power Song: Phone Calls by Jessie Reyez

Alex Gordon