“To inspire students” is a purposeful commitment. It goes beyond mere preparation for life beyond graduation. The world-class education provided by the University of Georgia not only equips students with the knowledge and skills to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges, but also inspires them through meaningful experiences that compel them to lead.
UGA Student Affairs fully embraces the University’s emphasis on rigorous learning experiences, hands-on research, and leadership opportunities. Some of the longest lasting impressions from UGA students’ college careers will be from their involvement with Student Affairs. Through our focus on the engagement, intellect and character of each student, we take great pride in the value that Student Affairs’ learning experiences add to a University of Georgia degree.
Meaningful engagement is critical to creating a sense of community for each student. For some of our students, engagement begins with Dawg Camp, a transition experience for incoming, first year students. This summer, 285 incoming freshmen participated in Dawg Camp sessions with themes such as service and culture in Athens-Clarke County, adventure and outdoor recreation, and campus involvement, leadership and school spirit.
An excellent foundation for a great college experience is built by University Housing, which welcomed more than 8,000 students last fall to 22 residence halls and 20 student apartments and townhomes. Living on campus has intrinsic worth realized through involvement in educational and social programs, self-governance, resident-staff collaboration, student employment and personal responsibility.
Greek Life is yet another example of creating campus community through meaningful engagement, with more than 7,300 students participating UGA’s 61 national Greek-letter groups. Four councils - Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic, Multicultural Greek, and Panhellenic – coordinate events and provide educational programs for the entire community, while the individual organizations themselves lead the student body in dozens of philanthropic endeavors, including Miracle, which raised $1.3 million for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta this year. For the third straight year, the National Panhellenic Conference recognized the University of Georgia with its selective and prestigious College Panhellenic Excellence Award.
UGA’s students engage in a massive range of interests, activities and causes, as evidenced by more than 830 officially registered student organizations in the Center for Student Activities and Involvement within the Tate Student Center. Whether in the realms of academics, leadership, advocacy, community, health and wellness, media, faith, sports, the arts, or one of another dozen categories of interest, there is certainly something to pique the interest of each student.
Meaningful engagement is also purposeful engagement, as is the case with Student Affairs’ late night programming. Recreational Sports hosts “Ramsey Palooza,” for which the Ramsey Student Center for Physical Activities is kept open and students can rock climb, stand-up paddle board, or crash into each other wearing human-sized inflatable bubbles. The Tate Student Center hosts multiple “Dawgs After Dark” and other late-night programs each semester. These themed events at central campus locations feature food, rides, and giveaways and draw up to 2,500 students each time. Scheduled near weekends and before home football games, these programs serve as excellent options for students’ evening entertainment.
With more than 875,000 student visits this year, the Ramsey Student Center served as one of the go-to locations for student engagement. 77% of UGA students use the facilities and programs in Recreational Sports regularly. Nearly 700 students participated in Outdoor Recreation trips or clinics, and almost 1,900 individuals tackled RecSports’ Challenge Course. 1,925 students represented the University in intercollegiate competition on one of UGA’s 41 Club Sports teams, winning a national championship in golf and conference championships in ice hockey and women’s rugby.
UGA Student Affairs has become a campus leader in digital engagement, as well, enjoying more than 7,500 followers across the Division’s main Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, and nearly 110,000 monthly unique visitors to our websites.
The Student Faculty Enrichment Fund is enjoying great success in its seventh year, encouraging faculty to host voluntary, out-of-class social gatherings with students whom they are teaching. This meaningful engagement creates an effective educational environment with genuine interaction between faculty and students. This year, 272 individual faculty members hosted a total of approximately 2,740 students for dinners as part of this Student Affairs-sponsored program.
Intellectual growth is at the core of the academic enterprise. The third tenet of the University of Georgia’s motto is “to inquire into the nature of things.” UGA Student Affairs is fully committed to enriching student learning through every interaction with our students.
As a full partner in UGA’s curricular learning, the Division of Student Affairs offers in-class learning opportunities, as well. 469 students enrolled in 18 credit-bearing courses hosted by Student Affairs departments this year.
UGA Student Affairs has also made a direct entry into the research mission of the University. 237 faculty partnered on Student Affairs programs, and Student Affairs departments hosted or conducted 34 faculty research projects. The Division named three inaugural recipients of its Faculty Research Grants, supporting projects that will assess the social and financial impact of the UGA Food Scholarship, examine family relationships when students transition to college and investigate plans to improve water quality.
Fostering intellectual growth for all students means ensuring equal educational opportunities. The Disability Resource Center houses three distinct services that have proven most helpful in accommodating a variety of student needs: testing accommodations, an assistive technology lab, and alternative media services. This year, the DRC served 1,867 students with disabilities, promoting a welcoming academic, physical and social environment. To support the students, the DRC administered 10,985 accommodated tests, produced more than 650 accessible textbooks and captioned approximately 600 videos.
Student veterans face unique challenges in pursuing their academic goals. The Student Veterans Resource Center provides a convenient point of contact for more than 220 student veterans at UGA, with more than 70 faculty and staff members serving as transition coaches during undergraduate students’ first semester. In successive semesters, specially trained readiness coaches work with students to build development plans, resumes, and networks in preparation for their careers or graduate school. This year, the University of Georgia was named the #1 research institution in the nation for service to student veterans (source: Victory Media’s Military Friendly Schools 2017 rankings).
Students enhanced their knowledge of the cultures and countries represented on campus at the annual International Street Festival. In its 18th year, the Festival has grown to encompass two entire blocks around College Square in Downtown Athens, with almost 5,000 visitors from the Athens and University communities enjoying food, art, dancing, and cultural displays and performances.
University Testing Services plays a critical role in student learning with its services across a wide offering of testing options and professional certifications. This year, University Testing served 15,769 customers with 21,193 tests, a 6% increase over the previous year.
Building character is what makes UGA students exceptional. Our students are community-oriented and exhibit a passion for service.
IMPACT Service Breaks, directed out of the Center for Leadership and Service, celebrated their 23rd year with 434 students spending their Fall, Winter, and Spring Breaks serving in 26 communities across the nation. ServeUGA, a new CLS initiative, comprises 40 student organizations that embrace advocacy, philanthropy, or hands-on service, including ServeAthens, which empowers students to engage directly in the local community of Athens-Clarke County. Throughout all Student Affairs programs, 12,502 students completed 363,078 hours serving the community this year.
In January, 145 students, faculty and staff from UGA and peer institutions attended the Connect Conference, hosted by the LGBT Resource Center. The one-day event centered on the LGBTQA community, creating solidarity, community and a day of education.
Building character requires critical-thinking, ethical decision-making, and leadership through social responsibility. Since 1968, University Judiciary has provided students with opportunities to hone those very skills while promoting a climate of integrity by conducting formal hearings for the student conduct process. These students also seek to proactively educate the University community to help students understand the expectations that the University has for appropriate and responsible behavior. Additionally, 40 faculty and staff served as mentors for students going through the conduct process this year in a program jointly administered by Student Conduct and the University Health Center. Since the inception of the mentor program, 83 faculty and staff have been trained to support students going through the conduct process.
Building character is also about building community. Led by University Housing, in partnership with Multicultural Services and Programs, Student Affairs launched #OneUGA chats, where students can participate in monthly in-person and online discussions on the challenges and opportunities related to diversity and inclusion on campus. More than 20 campus departments, schools and colleges consistently participated in the eight chats online. As many as 40 students attended individual chats in person, and the #OneUGA hashtag reached a median of 204,000 impressions during each event via Twitter.
A unique character-building initiative of UGA Student Affairs, and one of the first of its kind nationally, is The Intersection, a dynamic space in the heart of the Tate Student Center that is completely dedicated to offering a platform for students, staff and faculty to explore issues of social justice. More than 60 unique organizations and departments hosted 150 events in The Intersection this year.
In a joint effort among several student organizations in Multicultural Services and Programs, 52 students travelled to Washington, D.C., to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The D.C. Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association hosted the students for lunch on what many students described as one of the most memorable days of their lives.
Supporting student development and growth is the cornerstone of Student Affairs. The health and well-being of our students is essential for their academic and personal success.
An excellent example of the University’s focus on removing barriers and opening doors through need-based scholarships, the Let All the Big Dawgs Eat Food Scholarship, administered through the Tate Student Center, paid for 79 students’ meal plans this year, ensuring their food security and enabling them to put their full focus into their studies.
Student Care and Outreach continued to expand its mission by connecting with over 700 faculty, staff, and students through more than 30 information sessions across campus. Student Care and Outreach also fully integrated the Embark@UGA program, providing direct support to students who have experienced homelessness and/or foster care.
The University Health Center celebrates 100 years of service to UGA in 2017. The health center is a 111,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility that hosts 13 clinics with a robust health and wellness mission, and has received two consecutive flawless reaccreditation reports from the Joint Commission.
The Fontaine Center, a unit of the University Health Center, is a national leader in evidence-based prevention, early intervention and recovery support services to students regarding alcohol, other drugs and interpersonal violence. UGA was named this year’s #1 college for sexual health resources (source: Trojan Sexual Health Report Card) because of the University Health Center’s innovative and coordinated approach to sexual health education.
Last Fall, UGA Student Affairs hosted more than 200 Student Affairs professionals from across the Southeast for the Annual Professional Enrichment Conference (now known as the Engage! Conference). Through presentations and networking sessions, UGA served as a hub for collaboration toward student success.
This past fiscal year saw the greatest fundraising year in the history of the Division, with approximately $5.6 million from 1,452 total gifts from 728 total donors. Of that total, 457 were new donors, 168 were students, and 31 were faculty or staff. UGA Student Affairs has already surpassed its ambitious $10.5 million goal as part of the University’s “Commit to Georgia” Campaign, and we are certain that with continued support of our gracious alumni and donors, that we will continue to see record-breaking financial support for our programs and students.