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A Message from the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

"There are two lasting bequests that we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings." --Hodding Carter


Welcome (and for some of you welcome back) to the Western New England University family! We are honored that your family and your young scholar will be beginning their lifelong relationship and connection to this special place situated between the Berkshires and Boston. In the midst of all of the change, excitement, and anxiety, I want to share with you a few thoughts during your young adult's transition period.

For many of you, it is the first time that your son or daughter has been away from home for an extended period of time. For others, it will mean adjusting to the new demands of college while your student continues to live at home. Through this time of change, your support and encouragement are critical ingredients for your young adult to succeed as a college student.

It is my hope that we may work together with your son or daughter to make positive choices and explore new avenues as a member of this campus community. I ask that when they come to you for advice regarding their educational and social experience that you assist them in problem solving and that you begin to empower them to advocate for themselves by referring them to the Office of Student Affairs.

Please let me share with you some of the many resources and supports that will be available to your son and daughter through this office. Should they have academic questions or concerns please have them connect with their academic advisor, peer mentor, or the resources available in the Office of First Year Students & Students in Transition. If they are having difficulty with adjustment to their new environment please invite them to speak with their resident advisor or resident director and become involved as an active community member on the floor, or invite them to join a club or student organization of interest (or to learn something new, as we have more than 60 organizations to choose from!). Share with them the Athletics web page, and encourage them to work out at the Alumni Healthful Living Center or be a part of an intramural team or sports team.

For other questions and resources on diversity programs, personal counseling, health services, learning opportunities beyond the classroom, and volunteer opportunities please visit the Division of Student Affairs website or please feel free to personally contact me at 413-782-1282 or email me at jsteffes@wne.edu. Research suggests that the more students get connected to the University, the higher their satisfaction rate and grades, and the higher self-confidence they have for learning and trying new things.

Thank you for the roots that you have given to your young scholar. It is our hope that their diverse experiences in and out of the classroom at Western New England University will connect them to opportunities to build on the roots that have been a part of your loving work as family members. It is our hope that your young adults will spread their wings as they engage in their next adventure.

It is important to me that you and your students feel comfortable and confident to seek out places and spaces on campus to help maximize their Western New England University experience. It is our hope that in this process we will work together to be a part of this supportive, sustainable, and exciting journey. To this end, I wish you peace and safe travels and welcome to the Western New England University Golden Bear family!

Jeanne S. Hart-Steffes
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students