Welcome to spring semester, Badgers! We’re so glad you’re back.

Dear students,

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


— One of the best ways to start your semester and make lifelong connections with others is through the more than 55 Winter Welcome events (#WiWelcome) happening Jan. 21 through Feb. 15. Join the MLK SymposiumStudent Organization Fair, Public Service Fair, Free Student Night with Women’s Basketball, the Wisconsin Union’s Winter Carnival, and Broke-n Heart Bingo for Transfer Students, to name a few.

— 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.


— As always, mental health support is available for your well-being through University Health Services (UHS) and the Dean of Students Office. Learn how to get support for yourself and others to address sexual and relationship violence, substance abuse, suicide, and wellness through a health equity and social justice lens. And remember, you’re never alone.

— Food and financial assistance is available through The Open Seat, UW Student Food PantryCommunity resources, and the Badger FARE Program. The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) can support students who face financial challenges and emergencies. (OFSA will continue to take requests for emergency support through MyUW Student Center  until funds run out.). Don’t forget the Student Jobs portal for open jobs both on and near campus.

— If you’re worried about a friend, fill out the Student of Concern Report Form. Also keep in mind that UW–Madison’s Medical Amnesty Through Responsible Action 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. The program and app include meditations and well-being practices you can do on the go.

— Keep moving — Play hard, get fit, and live well with Recreation & Wellbeing. Embrace Wisconsin winters and get outside! Walk, skate, hike, snowshoe, and explore with help from Wisconsin Hoofers.

— Get boosted and masked — Everyone who is eligible for a booster dose is recommended to get one as soon as possible. To assist, UHS will be expanding capacity for vaccine appointments at the no-cost campus vaccination clinic will start Monday, Jan. 24. If you received a booster shot off-campus, let UHS know by sharing your records through the MyUHS website or app. High-efficiency masks and take-home antigen test kits are being distributed at Memorial Union and Union South, Jan. 18-24 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Starting Jan. 25, pickup will continue on weekdays through Feb. 4 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For pickup after Feb. 4, check covidresponse.wisc.edu/testing for updates.

Finally, if you don’t know where to go or you or a friend are in crisis, know there is an entire team of people here for you at the Dean of Students Office. We’re here to support your success.

I hope to connect with many of you on campus either in person, through Twitter or Instagram, or virtually. Feel free to stop by during my drop-in office hours on Fridays from 2–4 p.m. in Room 70, Bascom Hall, or contact Kathy Kuno to schedule a virtual meeting.

We’re back at it, and while some uncertainty remains, what I do know is that Badgers can dig deep and pivot. We’ve got this.

Take care and On, Wisconsin!

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