Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services: Autumn 2013 Welcome Message

October 3, 2013

Note: This welcome message was sent to all students on Oct. 3, 2013. Learn more about important updates and great opportunities in the links below.

Dear Students,

Welcome back! We hope you all had a great summer and that you are ready for an exciting academic year. Fall is a great time on campus, full of renewed energy and fresh ambitions. Each academic year also offers a chance to reflect on our values and our priorities for the year to come.

This summer, Campus and Student Life staff members —350 people across 20 different program and service areas — worked hard to enhance the programs and services that support you outside of the classroom. 

In particular, we planned next steps in RISE: Reflect. Intervene. Speak. Engage., an initiative that demonstrates our community’s shared commitment to the values of respect and free expression. As the programs, events, and materials around campus will help to remind us, it is our responsibility to examine our differences and to recognize the fundamental role that those differences play in creating the rich and free exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of this University.

We also welcomed several key leaders to our staff. Michele Rasmussen, one of the authors of this email, is the new Dean of Students in the University. As Dean of Students in the University, Rasmussen’s work will focus on three main areas: developing programs, services and opportunities to enhance the campus experience for all students; collaborating with and supporting the deans of students in the academic units; and, serving as a liaison to students, faculty and staff regarding issues of campus and student life. 

Erin McDermott, UChicago’s new Athletic Director, comes to us from Princeton University. McDermott will provide strategic leadership for athletics, fitness, and recreational sports programs for the University of Chicago community. She will oversee Physical Education and Athletics, which sponsors 19 intercollegiate sports, more than 40 club sports and an intramural sports program with thousands of student participants annually. You can learn more about Erin and about our Athletic facilities, fitness classes, sport clubs, and intramural teams on our Athletics website.

We revamped several websites, including College HousingOffice of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), and the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA), to better connect you to information you need. We established UChicago Leads, a central hub for student leadership development programs at the University, and launched StrengthsQuestTM at UChicago, a pilot program that will help assess students’ leadership skills in order to encourage self-awareness and personal development. 

We also announced the architect and design of a major new Residence Hall and Dining Commons, which is expected to open in 2016. We will soon announce details of an event that will be held in October to describe the project in greater detail.  

There will be many opportunities this quarter for us build community, continue to foster a welcoming culture that embraces our shared values, and improve your experience outside of the classroom. If you have ideas about how we can achieve those goals, we encourage you to join one of our many advisory groups, committees, councils, and meetings to share your feedback and participate in the conversation. You can always contact us directly.

Please take a few moments to look over all of the important updates and great opportunities that we have to offer.  We, and all of the staff within Campus and Student Life, are here to ensure that your student experience is nothing short of exemplary, so please let us know if we can help you in any way.


Karen Warren Coleman
Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services

Michele Rasmussen
Dean of Students in the University

Campus Updates

Transportation Updates

There have been a few changes to the University’s transportation system as part of an effort to tailor services to the changing needs and habits of the University community. The changes are outlined below, and more information is available on the News Office website.

• There are several changes to NightRide routes
• The South Loop shuttle will begin departing at 6 p.m. from University Avenue at 57th street, three hours earlier than last year
• Changes have been made to the schedule and the stops of CTA’s 192 bus
• The University has launched a new shuttle to take University community members from University offices to 53rd street

Physical Education and Athletics

Physical Education and Athletics at the University has a variety of sports, wellness, and fitness programs in which you can participate. Join an intramural or club sport team, or take advantage of one of two class programs: Fit Chicago and Phoenix Fitness, which offer free classes for students throughout the quarter.

UChicago Bookstore

The University of Chicago Bookstore, a Barnes & Noble facility, located at 58th and Ellis Ave., is a great place to get books, but offers much more. Get your UChicago gear, meet friends for coffee, pick up dorm room essentials, or find school supplies, tech and electronics, and cards and gifts.

Engagement Opportunities

Getting involved in your community is a critical part of the student life experience. UChicago has many ways that you can make your voice heard, participate in activities and connect with others. A few options are highlighted below. You can learn more about all of the options for getting involved on our website.

RISE: Reflect. Intervene. Speak. Engage

CSL launched the RISE diversity initiative last spring. It represents the University community’s shared commitment to the values of respect and free expression. RISE includes both keynote lectures and events organized by students, faculty, and staff across campus. Learn more about upcoming RISE events or how to CSL can help publicize your event on the RISE website.

Student Government

Student Government plays a key role at the University of Chicago. By getting involved, running for election or serving on a committee, you can provide feedback, student suggestions and concerns with members of the University administration. Learn more about Student Government.

Upcoming Events

We hope you will take advantage of the many exciting and educational opportunities that are planned for the fall quarter, particularly events that provide you a chance to engage in civil discourse about issues relating to current social, political and cultural events. A few events are highlighted below, and many more are available on the Campus and Student Life calendar.

  • Varsity sports team schedules — During virtually every week of the school year, one or more of our 19 varsity sports teams are competing on campus.  Check out our teams’ schedules at and come out to cheer on the Maroons!
  • October 10 — Jennifer Knapp, Grammy-nominated contemporary Christian music artist, who publicly came out in 2010, will perform Inside Out Faith at Rockefeller Chapel at 7:30 p.m. Learn more
  • October 16 — Explore Wellapalooza, the biannual wellness festival, to learn more about the wellness resources on and around campus. The festival takes place on the main quads from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and features certified therapy dogs, bike and laptop registration, free food and more.
  • October 17 — Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, the country’s fourth largest city, will give the RISE keynote address on diversity/LGBTQ issues and civil rights at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17. Check the RISE website for more information.
  • October 19 — As part of Family Weekend 2013, the University will celebrate Homecoming on Saturday, October 19, with a Homecoming Block Party leading up to the football game against Macalester. The Block Party will take place from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and will feature live music, food and beverage tents, face painting, tug-of-war, and giveaways. The Block Party event is free for all members of the University community, but registration is required. 

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