A&S Class of ’24: For Cassie Lipton, College Is About Making a Difference

Cassie Lipton

Cassie Lipton knew she wanted to be a music major, but that’s not all she wanted out of an undergraduate education.  This spring, she’ll graduate as a distinguished major in music with a performance concentration and a degree in global studies with a concentration in environment and sustainability.

A Miller Arts Scholar and a former member of UVA’s marching band and flute ensemble, Lipton has been playing flute since middle school, and her interest in music led her to take courses in a variety of aspects of the subject from the business of music to writing Rap and composing mix tapes, but an AP course in high school in environmental science also had a profound impact on her.

“It really spoke to me, especially with the environmental crisis that we’re facing,” Lipton said.  “Music is what I’m passionate about, but global sustainability is how I wanted to make a difference.”

But in four years at UVA, she has managed to make a difference in more ways than one.

From her first year, Lipton has been a member of The Washington Society, or “The Wash,” a prestigious club founded in 1831 to promote the art of oratory to the UVA community.  She began as a provisional member chair, helping people join the club and teaching oratory and debate workshops, and she’ll graduate from UVA as its president.

As a leader in the organization, she has been working to grow the club’s membership and make it more inclusive, and that’s given her the opportunity to give something back to the University community.

“The people you meet and get to interact with are a really important part of the college experience, and to be able to share ideas and debate relevant topics has been really important to me,” Lipton said.

Lipton has also had the opportunity to do a thesis on women’s safety in the built environment; she has had a chance to explore opportunities in environmental education, museum work, and she’s had the chance to work for the Department of Music as a music orientation coordinator.  She’s even won a poetry contest.  And as a classically trained flute player, her final recital for the UVA community showcased the work of living composers, most of whom are women, who come from underrepresented cultures and musical traditions.

Lipton is still considering what her next steps will be, but she’s considering the possibility of working in the music industry, which could mean relocating to New York, Los Angeles or Nashville, but she’s not limiting herself to any one possibility yet.

“You have to allow yourself to discover new things and not be boxed into one thing,” Lipton said.


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