Dr. Tim Davis, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, offers thoughts on how students can be supportive of one another as we conclude a truly difficult semester.
Applications are now available to live on the Lawn. Learn more here.
As October comes to a close and just over six weeks of classes remain in the semester, I’m reaching out to briefly discuss two important issues. I respectfully ask that you take a quick five minutes to read what follows.
The first issue is alcohol. I recognize that most students do not engage in hazardous drinking. Those who do place their own health and safety at risk, and also impact their friends around them. Each year at this time, we see an increase in alcohol consumption and the often serious consequences that follow.
You’ve heard me (and others) talk about the importance of being an engaged bystander—intervening when a friend’s alcohol consumption has placed him or her at risk. We know from the 2013 Health Survey that 90 percent of UVa students believe that it is their responsibility to intervene when they see a problem unfolding (unsafe alcohol consumption, potential sexual misconduct, etc.). I am grateful that so many of you understand the importance of being an active bystander and of calling 911 or seeking other assistance when you see someone at risk.
At the bottom of this email are resources and tips provided by your peers on the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) and my colleagues in the Gordie Center at Student Health. For information on the Halloween safety campaign, go to the ADAPT website. The first 500 people to sign the ADAPT/One Less pledge to be an active bystander this Halloween will receive a free light-up wand and cup of candy.
The second issue I want to discuss with you is the increased stress many students feel as the semester winds down. We are already seeing higher incidents of students feeling anxiety or even depression, and it is very important that you learn to recognize the signs of this in yourself and your friends.
Symptoms of excessive or unhealthy stress include irritability, self-medication (using over-the-counter medications, alcohol, or food to combat stress), a compromised immune system, feeling unable to relax, exhaustion, lack of energy or a sense of dread, memory problems or inability to concentrate, poor judgment, seeing only the negative in events, high anxiety or racing thoughts, and constant worrying. In the most extreme cases, there can be thoughts of harming oneself (or others). While such thoughts may not manifest in action, it is still important to recognize these thoughts (especially if recurring) and seek assistance at the Counseling Center in Student Health (CAPS) or the Emergency Room.
Please know that you should always call 911 in an emergency situation, as the police are trained to help get a person safely to the resources needed. You can also call:
- The Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) at 434-924-7133 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday)
- The dean-on-call after hours and on weekends (reachable by calling the University Police at 434-924-7166)
- The professionals at CAPS at 434-243-5150 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) or after hours at 434-972-7004
Important tips for reducing stress are listed at the bottom of this email. I hope that you will hold on to them in case you need to refer back in the future.
- Always carry a photo ID and a fully charged cellphone and make sure your friends do the same in case you become incapacitated for any reason.
- Consider your costume and avoid wearing one that does not allow you to see and move freely. Stop and make sure motorists see you before you cross the street. Be sure the material is nonflammable (and don’t burn candles at gatherings – use flameless ones).
- Some people with harmful intentions may take advantage of being unrecognizable in a Halloween costume. Stay in an environment where you can easily get help or move away from someone who is threatening your safety. Be aware of your surroundings.
Tips Around Alcohol
If you choose to drink, several simple precautions can minimize risks to yourselves and others.
- Pace and Space: Sip your drink instead of chugging, alternate with water or soda, and have no more than 1 drink per hour. On average, it takes nearly 3 hours for most people to eliminate the alcohol in 2 standard drinks.
- Eat before and while drinking: Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly when there is food (especially protein) in your stomach.
- Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs: Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs (antihistamines and sedatives, for example) can increase alcohol’s effects. Caffeine and other stimulants can trick you into feeling less impaired.
- Use caution when sick or tired: When you’re sleep-deprived or ill, alcohol leaves the body more slowly.
- Be alert when drinking in a new environment: The effects of alcohol within your body can vary when you are in unfamiliar settings.
- Avoid “punches” and other drinks you did not make yourself. They often include high-concentration alcohol masked by a sweet taste.
- Stay in a group in which at least one person remains sober.
- Consider using a smartphone app such as CircleOf6 (free) to enable you to quickly alert friends to your location and need for assistance.
- Look out for your friends who are drinking. Use “PUBS” as a guide to the symptoms of alcohol overdose:
- Puking while passed out
- Unresponsive to stimulation (pinch or shaking)
- Breathing (slow, shallow, or no breathing)
- Skin (blue, cold, or clammy)
- If you see even one sign of alcohol overdose, call 911. If you are unsure, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for confidential, expert advice. Students will not face reprisal for seeking medical help, and there is no charge for the rescue squad.
- Concerned about your drinking? Hoos in Recovery can help. This student group meets weekly to share a meal and provide support for students interested in living sober.
Tips Around Stress
- Eat healthy foods, strive for at least seven hours of sleep each night, and keep up a regular exercise routine.
- Minimize your use of alcohol. Hazardous alcohol consumption puts you at risk of illness, injury, arrests, or assault. Alcohol may appear to ease stress in the short term, but alcohol’s depressant effect increases both depression and stress symptoms by interrupting sleep patterns and taking the place of healthier stress-management strategies.
- Only use prescription drugs as prescribed by your doctor. Take only drugs prescribed for you, and take them according to your doctor’s directions. If academic stress leads you to consider asking a friend for his or her psychostimulant drugs, such as Adderall® and Ritalin®, know that it is illegal to use these drugs without a prescription. The drugs also have a potential for abuse, and many students report negative effects.
- Maintain your personal safety as daylight hours shorten and the weather turns colder. Walk with friends late at night or call Safe Ride at 434-242-1122 or Charge-a-Ride (Yellow Cab) at 434-295-4131. Add these numbers to your phone contacts for easy access.
- Look for perspective and balance in your life. If you find this difficult, or if you are unable to talk with family or friends, then call one of the resources listed above. Your value as a person lies in much more than a grade on a test or a paper.
Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students
BLUEPRINT is the premiere leadership development program for first and second-year students and transfer students at the University of Virginia. It is designed for those students who demonstrate leadership potential and interest in developing their personal organizational skills in an intentional, educational, and reflective team environment.
The Blueprint Emerging Leaders Program is a seven-week program running on Wednesday evenings from 6-8 p.m. during the spring semester. Attendance at all sessions is required.
Program Highlights Include:
- Weekly meetings/seminars featuring distinguished guest speakers
- Small group interaction, facilitated by Peer Leaders, allowing for reflection and meaningful discussion
- Opportunities to develop your own leadership style, priorities, and portfolio
- A chance to network and make new friends!
Seminar Topics Include:
- Self-Knowledge- discovery of personality
- Communication and Conflict Management
- Leadership Styles
- Student Self-Governance
- Citizen Leadership and Global Stewardship
The University of Virginia community has been deeply affected by the recent report that a fellow student, Hannah Graham, has been missing for several days. Our thoughts remain with her family at this difficult time. Please know that the University is supporting them. Yesterday morning, you received an email from University Police Chief Mike Gibson, and Vice President Patricia Lampkin wrote to your parents to also inform them of this concerning case.
I have heard from a number of students in the past two days, offering their hope that Hannah will return safely (I share this hope) and also expressing their own concern and anxiety over Hannah’s disappearance. The UVa community is a tight-knit family, and an event like this touches a great many of us quite deeply. At such a difficult time, I want you to know that there are resources available to assist you if needed.
The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) department in Student Health has trained clinicians who can help you manage stress, anxiety, or other emotions you may be feeling. You will find them very welcoming and helpful. You may call CAPS at 434-243-5150 to schedule an appointment during the daytime, or at 434-972-7004 after hours if you need help in a crisis situation. CAPS is located on the street level in the Elson Student Health Center, 400 Brandon Avenue, just off JPA.
In addition, our professional staff in the Office of the Dean of Students is available to assist you. Our main office is located on the second floor in Peabody Hall, upstairs from the Office of Admission. You can stop in or call 434-924-7133 to schedule an appointment. In addition, if you live in a University residence hall, you should feel free to approach your RA and seek his or her support and a referral to other services. The main office of the Housing and Residence Life unit of the Office of the Dean of Students is located on the lower level of the Kent/Dabney residential community in the McCormick Road first-year living area. Professional staff located there are available to support and assist you as well.
I also want to make certain that you are aware of safe transportation options that exist in the area surrounding the University, particularly late at night on weekends.
Safe Ride operates up to three vans that provide door-to-door transportation for current students with a valid student ID who would otherwise have to walk alone at night. Hours of operation are Sunday through Wednesday from 12 midnight until 7 a.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 2:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. The service area includes most student housing areas in the vicinity surrounding the University Grounds (Safe Ride Map). A ride can be arranged by calling 434-242-1122. One Safe Ride van picks up passengers near the Alderman/Clemons Library every half hour during operating hours, when the library is in operation, Sunday through Thursday mornings.
University Transit Service (UTS) offers extended late night service on the Outer U-Loop and theNorthline routes on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 12:30 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. The charts below show the locations and schedules for extended late night service:
In addition, if you are unable to wait for a Safe Ride van pickup, are not near a UTS bus route late at night, or otherwise feel unsafe, please remember that you may call Yellow Cab Charge-a-Ride at 434-295-4131 to travel by taxi. If you do not have the money to pay for the taxi at that point in time, you need only show a valid student ID to the Yellow Cab driver and sign the document they will provide to you. You will then be billed through your student account.
Lastly, I want to stress the importance of being an active bystander at all times. Walk in groups, step in if you see a peer in a potentially unsafe situation, call 911 if you observe a situation that appears to require immediate police action, and always ask for help or assistance if you need it yourself. Charlottesville Police and University Police officers maintain an active presence in the area surrounding the University Grounds, and they will be promptly dispatched when 911 is dialed.
The police welcome any and all information that may be helpful in finding Hannah. If you have any information, however insignificant it may seem, please call a newly dedicated tip line at 434-295-3851 at the Charlottesville Police Department.
Please be safe, look out for each other, and help keep UVa the caring community we know it to be. #hoosgotyourback
University Dean of Students
University Of Virginia Policy on Protests, Demonstrations and Other Expressive Activities During Finals WeekendMay 15th, 2014
The University of Virginia respects and encourages free expressive activity by its students, faculty, and staff. At the same time, consistent with its educational mission, the University has established reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on such activities on University Grounds to assure that such activities are undertaken in ways that avoid disruption of University operations, and are consistent with its educational, employment, and safety responsibilities to its students, faculty, and staff.
Finals Weekend always creates special challenges for the University because of the great number of activities occurring during that period across University Grounds, and the large number of people attending them. Because of this the University has created the following policy that is specific to Finals Weekend. During Finals Weekend, this policy supersedes all other policies regarding use of University Grounds and facilities to the extent such policies may be inconsistent with this one.
- Attendance at Finals Weekend events and activities is by invitation only unless otherwise noted. Those in attendance without having been invited or otherwise having been authorized to attend may be asked to leave if, in the judgment of the University, their presence creates disruption, impedes movement of invited guests from place to place, or otherwise creates unacceptable conditions for participants or invited visitors.
- Because of the large crowds and multiple venues that are typical of Finals Weekend, activities that otherwise may be consistent with University policy may be impermissible during that period.
- Items currently approved and authorized to be carried in the Academic Procession are placards that are not attached to sticks, and balloons (including inflated surgical gloves), as long as those placards and balloons are not so large or unwieldy as to obstruct or impede the procession and do not otherwise pose a safety risk.
- Items held or carried must not obscure the view of participants or invited visitors or interfere with the ceremonies.
- Activities of participants or invited visitors must not interfere with Finals Weekend events and activities.
- No non-University commercial solicitation will be allowed on University Grounds during Finals Weekend.
- Protests, demonstrations, and other expressive activities may take place during Finals Weekend within the following area of University Grounds : in the area bounded by Alderman Library, Monroe Hall, Peabody Hall, Special Collections Library, and McCormick Road (subject to space needed for emergency medical services). If Valedictory Exercises or Final Exercises are moved to the John Paul Jones Arena, the designated area is the grassy area outside the north entrance of University Hall.
- Even within this designated area, protests, demonstrations and other expressive activities, including distribution of leaflets or other written materials, may not: o Block or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic along streets and sidewalks;
- Involve placement of tents or other temporary structures;
- Interfere with or impede Finals Weekend events and activities;
- Use sound amplification devices; or
- Violate applicable law or University rules, regulations, or procedures.
- Persons in violation of this policy either will be instructed to bring their activities into compliance with the requirements set forth above, or asked to leave. If such persons do not comply with the University’s request, they may be arrested and/or charged with violating the University’s Standards of Conduct, if applicable.
Dear University Community:
I recently invited all of our undergraduate, graduate, and professional students — except those who are graduating this spring — to respond to a survey to help us determine how we will configure the University’s Final Exercises for 2015 and beyond. The next phase of the Rotunda restoration and issues related to safety with the increasing number of people attending Final Exercises compelled us to consider alternative arrangements for Finals Weekend beginning next year. A Graduation Advisory Committee produced three options: 1) continue to hold graduation on the Lawn but sharply limit the number of guests who can attend; 2) hold two Final Exercises ceremonies on the Lawn, with the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences on one day of the weekend and all other schools on the other day; or, 3) arrange for students to walk the Lawn en route to Scott Stadium but hold the actual ceremony in Scott Stadium. In the survey, students were asked to rank these three options in order of preference.
Results showed that the overwhelming preference is to hold two ceremonies on the Lawn: 51% of students ranked this option as their first choice, while 29.9% and 19.2% gave top ranking to the single ceremony with limited-ticket option and the Scott Stadium option, respectively. Both undergraduate and graduate/professional students preferred the two-ceremony option, and this result was consistent across class years, schools, and even gender. Full survey results are available here.
The two-ceremony arrangement will require greater commitments from many U.Va. staff members who provide leadership and support for Final Exercises, including those who work in facilities management, police, dining services, parking and transportation, and other areas. We believe the improvements to safety and the greater number of guest tickets that will be available for our students under this arrangement make the commitment worthwhile. I will work closely with the provost and deans to develop the schedule for Finals Weekend 2015 and beyond, including the determination of whether the College will hold its Finals ceremony on Saturday or Sunday.
This new arrangement will allow students to preserve one of the most cherished and iconic experiences in higher education — Final Exercises on Thomas Jefferson’s historic Lawn. I am grateful for your commitment to this important event in the life of the University.
Very truly yours,
Teresa A. Sullivan
Due to weather conditions, the Student Ice Cream Social has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 1st at 1:30 pm.
Featuring our very own, Tabitha Enoch, Assistant Dean & Director of Orientation & New Student Programs. Faculty and staff talk about going the extra mile.
The Reider-Otis Scholarship will provide a one-time scholarship of $5,000 to a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or straight student who has demonstrated a willingness to advance the rights and acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Available for undergraduate or graduate students who attend the University of Virginia on a full-time basis, this scholarship will also consider activity in the musical arts. In the case of a tie, two scholarships will be awarded at $2,500 each.
This application is an online form and will not be accepted in hard copy. In addition to this form, all applicants must have a non-relative submit a letter of recommendation online*. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure the application is complete, including the letter of recommendation, by March 31, 2014. If you have questions, please contact Ori Dekel, chair of the Reider-Otis Scholarship, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner of the scholarship will be required to write a 500-word thank you letter to the donors.
* Please note that the director of the LGBTQ Center is unable to furnish recommendation letters for this scholarship.