Dean of Students

U Journey

"U Journey helps students understand their responsibilities within a community and how to better foster meaningful relationships with others."

– Ryan Keytack (Dean K), Interim Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students

A log that says "U Journey"

Focal Areas and Learning Goals:

U Journey is Union College's comprehensive plan for learning that occurs beyond the classroom. Whether in our residences, through clubs and teams, in our sororities and fraternities, or in our Minerva Houses, we encourage students to focus on:

● Well-being, by taking care of themselves physically and mentally
● Life skills, by navigating daily living in a nuanced and complex world
● Decision making, by managing their surroundings and thinking before acting
● Cross-cultural competency, by interacting with others and engaging difference
● Belonging, by finding role(s) in our community and developing a connection to Union and Schenectady
● Reflection, by noticing and acknowledging personal growth

Your U Journey has begun. The program started in fall 2022 and will continue to expand its reach to all students in the coming years.

Students embark on the newspaper challenge

First-Year Experience Goals
(In partnership with the FYE Office):

  1. Support transitions
  2. Facilitate connections
  3. Foster a sense of belonging
  4. Encourage social responsibility through education
Students enjoying various aspects of campus life

SOPHOMORE-Year Experience Goals:

  1. Encourage academic exploration
  2. Encourage career exploration
  3. Explore healthy relationships (sense of self and others)
  4. Provide leadership development activities


  1. Support independence
  2. Promote civic responsibility
  3. Develop global perspectives
  4. Inspire a personal vision


  1. Support next transitions
  2. Facilitate connections
  3. Foster a sense of belonging to Union
  4. Foster a sense of belonging in Schenectady

Program components

  • Intentional Sequencing by Weekly Themes for Student Affairs

    Each week, U Journey explores a core student development theme to provide consistent and intentional educational experiences beyond the classroom. Examples include living in community, teamwork, academic success and the campus social scene.

  • West Wednesdays

    For our first-year students, various campus offices “take over” lunch in the West College dining hall during Common Hour. Faculty, staff and student groups will engage students who are waiting in line, offer informal education through conversation and handouts, and socialize while dining. These events will serve as a kickoff to each week.

  • Floor and Hall Events

    Residential staff, including Resident Advisors (RAs) will facilitate weekly floor meetings, discussions and activities related to each week’s theme. Our professional staff will provide RAs training, support and guidance. Some weeks, there will be building-wide initiatives related to each week’s theme in lieu of floor events.

  • Sophomore-Year and Upperclass Series

    Complementing the intentional work with our first-years will be a series of activities, workshops and meet-ups for sophomores, juniors and seniors. These activities will focus on life skills such as financial literacy, networking and cultural immersion.

  • Campus-Wide Journey Activities

    Each week will have a large-scale event that directly relates to the weekly theme. Other thematic events and traditions, including programming from the First-Year Experience Office, will be offered.

  • Signature Events

    All students will have the opportunity to participate in and engage with various activities, including a speaker series, online living tutorials, training programs, winter term trips and "Something Schenectady" outings.

  • Finals Study Breaks

    Professional staff will host study breaks and pop-ups throughout the reading days and exam period. These grab-and-go style events may also feature stress management activities.

Union students with a cardboard train
Students inside the Nott Memorial