Welcome (Back), Badgers!

Dean of Students Christina Olstad
Dean of Students Christina Olstad

Welcome (Back), Badgers! It’s been a while, and we’re so glad you’re back on campus. As a campus community, I’m proud of the way our students stepped up last semester and showed resilience as we worked through a pandemic, together. We know you’ve made sacrifices — thank you for continuing to do your part.

The start of spring semester brings hope, a fresh start, and new beginnings. As your dean of students, my role is to help coach you through college life outside the classroom. Let’s get started.


One of the best ways to start your spring semester and make lifelong connections with others is through Winter Wisconsin Welcome events (#wiwelcome), going on now through February. Join the MLK Symposium, Multicultural Student Center Comeback Carnival, Student Organization Fair, and the Wisconsin Union’s Winter Wonderland, to name a few.


Mental health support is available for your well-being through University Health Services (UHS) and the Dean of Students Office. Learn how to help yourself and others address mental health, sexual assault, high-risk drinking, and more with assistance. You will hear more from UHS in an email later this week.

Food and financial assistance is available through The Open Seat, UW Student Food Pantry, Community resources, and the Badger FARE Program. The Office of Student Financial Aid can support students who face financial challenges and emergencies.

— If you’re worried about a friend, fill out the Student of Concern Report Form. Also, new Medical Amnesty Through Responsible Action campus guidelines allow you to seek medical assistance for others who might be incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs without fear of repercussion.


Your Well-Being Matters — Check out the Healthy Minds Program inspired by decades of mental health research at UW–Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, that includes meditations and well-being practices you can do on the go and at your own pace to support your mental and emotional health. The app has been used in research studies with promising results including a reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress and an increase in feelings of social connection. The program focuses on four pillars of well-being that can be learned — awareness, connection, insight, and purpose – and have been studied in the lab and are shown to improve with practice.

Sign up and download the free app here: https://hmi-l.ink/uw-healthy-minds

Get moving — Play hard, get fit, and live well with Recreation & Wellbeing.

Bottom line: If you have question or don’t know where to go, start with the Dean of Students Office. We’re here to support your success. And if you or a friend are in crisis, know there is an entire team of people to support you.

Our campus is working toward creating a community where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect, where the right to peaceful protest is protected, and where every student feels welcome, supported, and safe. We can only succeed if we work together.

I hope to connect with many of you on campus, through Twitter, or virtually. I invite you to make an appointment and say hello, or share concerns or feedback, during my office hours. I’d love to hear your story and learn about your goals and passions. Until then …

Take care and On, Wisconsin!

Christina Olstad, EdD (she/her/hers)
Dean of Students, UW-Madison