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Message from VP for Student Affairs / Dining Update

Updated January 12, 2021

Dear Western New England Students:

Happy New Year!

I hope you have enjoyed some rest and relaxation over the winter break. I am excited to see you back on campus in the coming weeks.  I appreciate the feedback you have shared in your responses to several surveys conducted at the conclusion of the fall semester.  We have read your feedback carefully and want you to know that we have heard you. 

To that end, I am writing today to share some important, new things that are happening on campus this spring.

Improvements to our COVID Testing

In December, we contracted with the Broad Institute. This partnership will allow us to increase our weekly surveillance testing to 500 community members and provide you the opportunity to create an account where you can log in and view your results.  

The COVID-19  website remains an important place for all of your most up to date information relative to the opening procedures and testing protocols.  Please note, all members of the University community must participate in COVID-19 surveillance testing.  Testing begins on January 15th for staff, followed by early arrivals and commuters on the January 18th & 19th, and residential students January 20-22nd.  All testing the week of January 18th will take place in Rivers Arena.  Residents can see their assigned move in and testing time in THD. (https://www1.wne.edu/coronavirus/update-january-7-2021.cfm).

Please be sure to submit proof of flu vaccination to health services prior to arrival as this vaccination is required in the state of Massachusetts.  Anyone not having proof of flu vaccination can be vaccinated during COVID surveillance testing.  Surveillance testing is required for residential students to move into their room assignment for the spring semester. Commuter students will not be able to attend classes without participating.  Any questions relative to opening procedures can be directed to Student.Affairs@wne.edu or (413) 782-1282.

Exciting News in Dining

Many of you shared in your survey desire to see an increase in variety with regard to dining services.  I am excited to announce that Firehouse subs has been replaced in the University Commons with a new “restaurant rotations” concept.  Over the course of the semester, in collaboration with our University Food Service Committee, you will see rotating restaurants in the retail area.  With 11 different restaurant concepts, each featuring a signature menu and create-your-own-options, this will allow you to try new items every few weeks. The first restaurant will be Zoca, featuring tacos, burritos, bowls, and nachos.  The Starbucks area, in addition to the traditional menu items, will now also feature handcrafted sandwiches, salads, and paninis.  

Be sure to follow us on social media, @WNE_Dining and @wne_studentaffairs, for the latest information. Please note that the University Commons will be grab and go until January 27 at dinner to allow for all opening surveillance testing.  After which the third floor and Bear’s Den will be open for dining at 25% capacity per Massachusetts guidelines.  Please note, you can now reserve a table in advance.  Available through Open Table students will be able to reserve seating in the university Commons for up to 4 people. Look for details to follow shortly.  We will be closely monitoring the guidelines and will seek to increase indoor dining capacity as we are able. 

Campus Engagement

Most importantly, the divisional support services remain here for you in person and virtually.  Do not hesitate to seek out counseling services, health services,  academic support, and recreational opportunities.  Follow@wne_involvement for all student involvement and leadership opportunities and to hear about all of the exciting upcoming activities and events.

I look forward to seeing you all on campus this semester and wish you a very happy and healthy new year.

Mask up!