Generations September 2022
A Letter from the President
Dear UArts families,
The start of the fall term is one of the true highlights of each academic year. As our thoughts focus on renewing our creative engagements, every September at UArts infuses our campus with a renewed sense of optimism and enthusiasm. Just a few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of standing on the steps of our historic Hamilton Hall to greet many of our students—and many of you, too—returning to campus or setting foot here for the very first time. It was an incredibly joyful moment, swelling with positive energy, and I cannot wait to see what artistic endeavors this next generation of UArts embarks upon.
As we enter a new year of living and learning together, I am thrilled that we have continued to expand the number of opportunities to connect and grow on campus and beyond. Collaboration across disciplines is a cornerstone of a UArts education, and I hope that your students will forge new and lasting bonds with the incredible artists who comprise our community. While some uncertainty may still surround our evolving circumstances, I am certain, as this community has invariably proven, we will respond with empathy and an enduring commitment to one another’s well-being.
Dynamic engagements with artists and creativity are not exclusive to our students; they’re for you, too! Later this month, we will celebrate the return of UArts Weekend, our first since 2019, where all members of our extended university community will gather to celebrate our university, creativity and the cultural fabric of Philadelphia. Our staff has envisioned an exciting lineup of events from Friday, Sept. 30, to Sunday, Oct. 2, including performances in many of our spaces, milestone reunions for three classes, walking tours and much more. The support of parents like you has been and continues to be critical in the transformation of our campus, and I encourage you to find time to explore and learn more about our vision for UArts’ future.
President and CEO
UArts Alerts & Responding to Campus Crises
In any setting, a crisis requires quick thinking and a coordinated, efficient response. At University of the Arts, we may be presented with a number of such challenges, including the impact of major stressors such as the loss of friends or family members or the loss of a UArts community member; disruptive behavior in classrooms, residence halls and other parts of the university community; facilities- or weather-related emergencies; and other crises.The university’s Crisis Management Team leads the response to all campus crises and our team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support students.
We recognize that when a student in the university community is facing a crisis, the larger university community may be affected. Our response protocols are critical to enhancing coordinated efforts that protect the safety and well-being of students in crisis and each member of the campus community. The primary goals of our crisis response are to provide support to students, insure their safety, address system-wide issues and work to prevent similar crises in the future.
University staff members who respond to crises acknowledge that students have a right to privacy and that, in some instances, they may not wish to have information shared with others. At the same time, there are situations in which it is necessary and legally permissible for our crisis responders to release information. As confidentiality regulations permit, we respond to the student's parents, legal guardians and/or significant others. For example, information may be disclosed to appropriate individuals in connection with an emergency when the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
In addition to our Crisis Management Team, we have a team of individuals who are on-call 24/7 to respond to incidents. This team includes an administrator on call (a senior-level administrator), a professional on duty (professional staff who live on campus and respond physically to campus crises), a counselor on call (a staff therapist from our Counseling Center), and the Public Safety team.
As a parent and family member of a UArts student, we encourage you to talk with your student about the campus resources highlighted in the Generations newsletter each month and talk to them about city and campus safety, safe social and online behaviors and healthy relationships. Parents are also encouraged to sign up for UArts Alerts. The UArts Alerts system sends notifications via email, SMS text message and the UArts portal homepage about emergency situations at the university, including school closings. Students can add additional phone numbers and emails to receive our alerts. Details on how to sign up for UArts Alerts are listed below.
How to sign up for UArts Alerts
- Have your student log in to the UArts portal with their UArts username and password.
- Access the link for Emergency Alerts in the left-hand menu.
- Your student will automatically be signed into the UArts Alert system and directed to the site to register additional phone number(s) and email addresses. When adding a phone number, they will need to check the text option to receive text messaging.
- Your student should save their edits when they’re complete.
If your student has any issues accessing the UArts Alerts system, they should contact the HelpDesk at 215-717-6677 or email@example.com.
This year, UArts Day will be held Friday, Sept. 30. Classes are not scheduled on UArts Day, but various events and activities are hosted that give students a way to connect with one another, as well as unwind after a busy start to the semester. A calendar of activities will be shared with students via email as UArts Day approaches, but a few highlights will be the first induction ceremony for our new Student Union board and assembly members and an Open Mic Night. UArts Day events are only for students.
Join us Friday, Sept. 30–Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, for a weekend full of activities, programs and events open to family, friends and alumni. Experience all that UArts has to offer, and celebrate the larger UArts community. A comprehensive itinerary of events is available via the link below.
The academic calendar is a resource for staying on top of important dates and deadlines of the academic year. Review the calendar for information about holidays, midterm and final exam periods, as well as final performances and certain special events.
Leaving Home, Big Adjustments and Homesickness
College years and moving into a new phase of life can be so exciting! It’s a time to define who you are and what you want. There’s so much to look forward to: new friends, a new city, interesting classes and lots of firsts. As exciting as all of this is, your student might also feel a little overwhelmed by it all, and who can blame them? The first year of college is a pivotal moment, when adolescents are confronted with the rest of their lives and, for many of them, a whole host of new and challenging responsibilities. Living on your own for the first time is scary, and leaving the comforts of home doesn’t make it any easier.
Your student might have arrived at UArts with nothing but excitement, but a conflicting feeling of homesickness is also a response to the adjustment. Additionally, shame, guilt and imposter syndrome are all common emotional experiences during a student’s first year of college. So, what can you do if your student is feeling homesick, fearing inadequacy or questioning their deservingness of a spot at UArts?
First, take solace in the fact that these feelings are normal! Your student is experiencing a loss and leaving the home they’ve known and moving to a new place with new responsibilities. Many of our students are in a new city, with new people and a new schedule—none of it feels like home. Different life rhythms, different relationships, having to create a new independent identity away from their childhood selves … there is some grieving to do!
On top of this whirlwind of change and grief, they are also in a sticky spot developmentally. Emerging adulthood is positioned at the crossroads of identity development and feeling “in between,” like they don't belong. This end of adolescence and transition into adulthood is a time of identity exploration, instability and infinite possibilities. This might be the first time your student has had the opportunity to explore who they are and who they want to be. With their childhood self behind them and their whole life ahead, this instability may be even more challenging. It’s only natural for them to have feelings about it!
Luckily, UArts has a support system in place to help your student through the challenging emotions surrounding the process of adjusting to college. There are many ways we can help, and many ways you can help, too!
Supporting Your UArts Student
Attending UArts might be your student’s first time (or first extended time!) away from home. You can support your student’s successful social-educational transition by implementing new communication strategies, co-developing fun check-in activities and supporting on-campus independence.
Regular check-ins offer structure and support. If your student articulates feelings of sadness, discomfort or loneliness, be sure to listen to them and validate their experience. Loneliness and homesickness are normal, anticipated responses to leaving home. In addition, when connecting with them via phone, email or text, consider asking targeted questions that elicit engaged answers. For example, try, “What was your favorite part of class this week?” instead of, “Did you like class?”
You can further support your UArts student by co-creating fun check-in activities that strengthen your bond, while simultaneously encouraging campus-wide and city-wide exploration. Instead of scheduling a call before bed, consider prompting your student to discover a student center, event space or local park. The discovery can be shared via video call, texts or photos. Or, ask your student to snap and share photos of their favorite public art, or their favorite new foods from local coffee shops, food trucks— even the UArts dining hall!
Additionally, your student may be excited to try new ways of being, hobbies and passions. Consider encouraging them to (safely) experiment by taking classes in new disciplines; this process can jump-start a wealth of new experiences, artmaking processes and friendship groups. UArts also offers over 20 student clubs through Campus Life, and students are encouraged to start new groups that reflect their interests, ideas and goals.
Most fundamentally, student success is grounded by the basics: Healthy, regularly scheduled meals; good sleep hygiene; and regular grooming habits support the optimal psychosocial development of UArt’s newest cohort of student-learners, Philadelphia residents, and budding artists.
About the Counseling Center
The Counseling Center is a resource for your students, with daily walk-in hours Monday–Friday from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m. Both virtual and in-person appointments are available. Counseling can help your student manage the stress of homesickness and academics, while addressing things like self-doubt, mental health concerns and interpersonal relationship health. Your student can reach Counseling by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or coming in (Gershman Hall, Room 207) during walk-in hours.
Start a conversation with your UArts student
- What was your favorite part of class this week?
- What are the most memorable sights or sounds you encounter on your walks to class?
- What was unexpected this week?
- When did the city of Philadelphia surprise you this week?
- If your week was a color, sound or movement, what would it be and why?
Free student resources
- Counseling Services
- Academic Advising
- Campus Life
- Office of Educational Accessibility
- Career Services
Getting Involved on Campus
The Office of Campus Life has a full calendar of events for students to get involved in this semester! Not only does our office host weekly events like Late Night Bites and Open Mic Night, but we also sponsor 25+ student-run clubs and organizations that host events regularly. In addition, our office works closely with student leaders to provide more ways for students to get involved. Resident assistants host events on their floors that any residential student can attend; our First-Year Guides host events for first-year students in their First-Year Groups throughout the semester on campus; and our Community Channel Facilitators put together monthly events for students who join their affinity groups. You can learn more about each of these Campus Life programs on the Campus Life webpage.
Students are notified of these events through Campus Life’s weekly Monday e-newsletter, Keepin’ Up with Campus Life, or they can check out the events calendar on the UArts app. Events are also often advertised and highlighted through Campus Life’s Instagram, @UArts_CampusLife!
If your student is unsure of how to get connected, have them reach out to the Office of Campus Life, and we’ll help them find something they’ll enjoy! They can email us at email@example.com. You can also encourage them to try a few different activities to see what might interest them. It can take a little trial and error sometimes to find just the right way for them to be involved. The key is being open to make connections in a number of different ways.
Summer 2022: UArts Students Thrived in Europe and the UK
After a long period of COVID-related travel restrictions, the UArts community wholeheartedly embraced living creative lives as global citizens this summer through UArts’ International Programs. More than 100 UArts students and faculty learned and created all over Europe and the U.K. Students participated in transformative courses and residencies in Italy, France, Greece and the U.K.
Mara Flamm, director of international programs, along with a partner school in Florence, Italy, Santa Reparata International School of Art, designed a month-long summer program in Italy which had students across UArts participating in a multidisciplinary program, with a focus on performance art. Students lived in apartments in Florence and participated in an immersive arts residency program at La Filanda, an Arezzo-based, former silk-spinning-mill-turned-residency-space, with trips to the Venice Biennale, Cinqueterra, vineyards, and medieval castles, as well as the beautiful medieval beach town Castiglione della Pescaia, on Tuscany’s Maremma coast. In this program, students were immersed in the art, culture and food practices of Italy and encouraged to reflect and create multidisciplinary work in response to their experiences. Students also created a thriving and caring community of creatives in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, as they cooked Tuscan dishes together over open fires with a resident artist/chef and encouraged each other in their visual and performative artistic endeavors. Students described the experience as “absolutely life-changing” and as “the most incredible experience of my life” and also discussed how much they loved getting to know and create with students across disciplines. In addition, many participating students are now making plans to study abroad for semester-long experiences in Italy and elsewhere. The Italy summer program will happen annually.
In the School of Art, Michael Grothusen, associate professor of Sculpture, took students to Greece to research and respond artistically to ancient and contemporary Greek life and art. There, students spent time discovering major sites in Athens and Delphi, as well as exploring and living the vibrant cultural life of Athens. Students also spent an absolutely beautiful week creating art together at Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, located on a gorgeous Greek island. They visited artists in the village, went scuba diving, were hosted by people in the village with delicious Greek meals and utilized the Skopelos studios. The students found their time in Greece and at Skopelos absolutely transformative and one of the most enriching experiences of their lives both artistically and personally. Similar trips like this, where students will participate in an international arts residency, will happen each year.
Associate Professor Jamison Foreman and Aanika Allen, assistant dean of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, facilitated the theater experience of a lifetime for UArts students in London. Students participated in workshops and attended theater productions at the famed Globe Theater. West End shows, visiting the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and an awe-inspiring trip to Bath created a transformative experience for Acting students. This amazing trip will also be annual.
Finally, the School of Dance brought students to France this Summer, both to Paris and Montpelier. In Paris, students participated in the International Dance Festival, CAMPING, and had the time of their lives both personally and artistically as they learned from choreographers and dance artists from around the world. In Montpelier, Dance MFA students participated in a residency program, during which they had workshops with dance artists from around the world and honed their artistic visions and dance practices by building a vibrant international community of dance artists.
Director of International Programs Mara Flamm shared, “Some of the best learning we do is out of the classroom and in the world. There is no better way to do so than by becoming truly global creative citizens. Our thriving international community of student and faculty artists lived as true global citizens this summer–not only were they incredibly moved and inspired by their experiences, but also, all the international teachers that worked with our students had absolutely glowing things to say about UArts’ students outstanding energy, creativity and willingness to participate fully and wholeheartedly in workshops, classes and experiences. Our students also acted as wonderful ambassadors for our school, city and country!”
Coming up: International Programs Fair: Wednesday, Sept. 28, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Hamilton Hall, Solmssen Court
If your student would like to find out more about studying abroad and short travel, they can contact Mara Flamm at firstname.lastname@example.org.