At the age of 3, Senior Pia Richardson envisioned herself as a farmer in a purple tractor. Growing up in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota, she began to value her individuality and develop a strong sense of passion in academics. Searching for colleges, the vision of the girl in the purple tractor was soon replaced when she discovered her future at Gustavus.
“The first time I met Pia, it was immediately apparent how passionate she is about the things she cares about,” Sophomore Jace Riggin said.
Utilizing that passion, Pia shaped a distinct niche for herself among the Gustavus community. In her time at Gustavus, she has participated in many organizations. She is currently involved in Women’s Rugby, Peer Career Advising, Diversity Leadership; and also serves as Co-President of Queers and Allies and Student Senate Diversity Chair.
“Pia fulfills a very important role at Gustavus, whether she occupies leadership positions in all of her activities or not. Knowing Pia, I have no doubt that she fulfills the role of a leader in all things that she does,” Senior Callie Wicklund said. “I would describe her role at Gustavus as a very thoughtful, involved person, who really has a lot to contribute to the Gustavus community, both intellectually and through her hard work and commitment to her passions.”
Although Pia’s hobbies and interests range from relaxing with friends to exploring, her true passion lies in remaining active in her organizations.
“Keeping active helps me stay focused. Rugby has had a huge impact on me. I’ve built some incredible relationships and learned a lot about commitment working as a team and staying focused,” Pia said. “Queers and Allies has also taught me about community, leadership and respect. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a lot of unique individuals and how to organize towards common goals.”
Her activity and focus emphasize for others, the type of character that make her an obvious choice for Gustie of the Week.
“Pia deserves Gustie of the Week because of her advocacy, work, and dedication to the LGBT community. She is outgoing and introverted all at the same time. She will get out there and tell anyone why they should join rugby, and then find great joy in small group conversations,” Area Coordinator in Residential Life Alisa Dean said. “Her passion and care for the LGBT community shows through in every interaction I have with her. She is fun and spunky, with some curiosity and adventure mixed in.”
Friends of Pia say that her spunky personality and kind heart are some of the qualities that make her not only a commendable member of the community, but a great friend.
“Pia is a very passionate and excitable person. I find that she frequently pantomimes what she’s saying, if it’s something she’s excited or passionate about, which is really fun to be around,” Wicklund said. “But Pia is also an extremely loyal and kind-hearted person, which makes her a great person to be friends with.”
As a Psychology major and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies minor, Pia is strongly considering pursuing a graduate degree in educational leadership and policy.
“I want to work in that field before continuing my education. Hopefully, in five years, I will be finishing up a graduate degree. Ideally I will be living somewhere less cold than Minnesota,” Pia said.
Those who know Pia are confident that with the motivation and hard work she exemplifies within the Gustavus community, she will have no trouble achieving success.
“I believe that Pia will be wherever she wants to be in 5 years,” Riggin said. “With her drive in addition to her experiences, and the education she has received she will be equipped to tackle whatever comes her way.”