And welcome, new students!
As you begin a fresh semester at UW–Madison, we invite each of you to be an active part our campus community. We come from across the state, the nation and all over the world. Each of you brings a unique background and experience that is just as important to share and engage with as what you are offered in the classroom. We are a campus that works hard to be welcoming of all people — to be inclusive, to promote diversity, and to nudge students a bit beyond their comfort zones to build community. That said, our campus community still has its challenges, and we hope you join us in our commitment to do better.
Our top priority in Student Affairs is to support you and to help you be successful in and out of the classroom. So as you prepare for a new semester at UW–Madison, we invite each of you to help us build a campus community that belongs to everyone.
One of the best ways to dive into the spring semester and plug in to campus life is with the Winter Wisconsin Welcome events (#wiwelcome), going on now through Feb. 14. Here are five more ways I recommend staying connected:
- Prioritize your education and know where to find support. Put the time and effort into making the most of your investment! Seek help early if you have questions or are struggling. Make use of office hours and take advantage of the many resources available to support you.
- Learn outside the classroom. In order to make our community a welcoming place for everyone, it’s important to learn as much as we can about other cultures, build relationships with individuals different from ourselves, and be advocates in spaces where others are not as aware. Look for those opportunities during cultural heritage months this spring. February is Black History Month, with several campus activities focused on Afrofuturism — reimagining the arts, science, and technology through a Black cultural and historical perspective. Also stay tuned for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month events in April.
- Start healthy — stay healthy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to being healthy, and being active can mean something different to each of us. Find what works for you! Explore free group fitness classes at Rec Well through Feb. 2, sign up for an intramural sport, or stop in for Saturday skate nights at Camp Randall throughout the semester. Learn how to help yourself and others address mental health, sexual assault, high-risk drinking and more with assistance from University Health Services. And if you or a friend are in crisis, know there is an entire team of people to support you at the Dean of Students Office.
- Lead the way. There is no shortage of opportunities to lead at UW–Madison. Explore options at the Student Organization Fair in the Kohl Center on Feb. 11 or look ahead to the fall and consider applying for a student leadership position with the Center for First Year Experience or the Wisconsin Union Directorate.
- Have some fun! The Wisconsin Union’s Winter Carnival, Feb. 3–9, is an annual tradition at UW–Madison. Discover a new winter activity, warm up with a bonfire at Picnic Point, or catch a photo with Lady Liberty on Lake Mendota. There are plenty of opportunities to take a pause, embrace the cold and go play outside!
This is your community, and we want you to thrive here. If you have questions or concerns, please stop by to visit one of us in Bascom Hall: Dean of Students Christina Olstad; Gabe Javier, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Identity and Inclusion; or me. We have rotating office hours every week. You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram.
All the best for a successful semester. On, Wisconsin!
Lori Reesor, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs