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Building a Kind and Caring Community This Year

Dear students,

With some programs already underway and many more preparing to start next week, I want to wish you a successful year filled with personal and academic discovery.

As Assistant Vice President for Wellness and Dean of Students, I am responsible for a range of prevention and support services designed promote student success. Whether you are new on campus or continuing, I want to remind you that asking for help is a sign of strength — everyone needs help sometimes.

Northwestern offers many resources to support undergraduate and graduate students across our campuses. NUhelp provides a comprehensive list of resources for students. Additionally, Wellness at Northwestern is designed to help you consider your approach to building holistic well-being practices in your daily life.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) remains our primary mental health resource for students, and we have added TimelyCare, a free, virtual mental health app that provides access to scheduled counseling, on-demand service and group sessions. If you need mental health support, please reach out.

In response to student requests for a peer-to-peer safe walk program, we are excited to announce NUGuardian, a free app that allows you to turn your phone into a personal safety device.

Finally, I want to remind you of our Student Handbook. The Handbook was developed collaboratively with students, staff and faculty and is reviewed and updated each year. It provides a framework for our institutional values of collaboration, discovery, diversity, empathy, excellence and stewardship. If you have not yet familiarized yourself with the Handbook, I encourage you to take the time to do so.

The past several years have been particularly challenging as we have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice issues and myriad changes, big and small. Still, I could not be more excited for new opportunities to engage and support one another.

Let’s commit to building a kind and caring community this year. Strong communities are founded on shared goals, in which people are accountable to one another and offer opportunities for strength and connection. Our classrooms, residential halls, student organizations and activities offer spaces to establish and grow relationships, to create dialogue across differences, and to extend grace and kindness.

Only together can we collectively strengthen our community.