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 , Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

A log that says "U Journey"

Focal Areas and Learning Goals:

U Journey is Union College's comprehensive plan for life and learning that occurs beyond the classroom, with particular emphasis on life skills and reflection. The goal is to align a seamless set of experiences for students from the moment they move-in until they graduate. 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
Decision making, by managing their surroundings and thinking before acting
Collaboration, by interacting with others and engaging difference
Belonging, by finding role(s) in our community and developing a connection to Union and Schenectady

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

Meeting students where they're at on their U Journey:

  • Campus Activties

    U Journey explores our core student development themes to provide consistent and intentional educational experiences beyond the classroom for first-year students and sophomores.

  • Residential Education

    Residential staff, including Community Advisors (CAs) will facilitate on-going floor meetings, discussions and activities related to our learning goals. Our professional Community Directors (CDs) will provide CAs training, support and guidance. CDs will also host monthly passion programs to connect with their residents.

    CDs and CAs will also hold special end-of-term activities that provide an opportunity to celebrate and reflect. The staff will host study breaks and pop-ups throughout the reading days and exam period. These grab-and-go style events will also feature stress management activities.

  • Department & Student Group Activities

    New for Fall '23, there will be a mass invitation for the entire campus community to support U Journey efforts. Any events or activities that directly reinforce our focus on well-being, decision-making, collaboration, and belonging can be branded as a "U Journey Experience."

    U Journey Ambassadors will help market these events and provide on-site support.

  • Upperclass Workshops

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

  • Incentives for Participation

    Students are encouraged to participate as much as possible. The U Journey Ambassadors are working on a series of incentives to build interest in the program. Check back for more details outlining the plan for Fall '23.

Union students with a cardboard train
Students inside the Nott Memorial

Meet the U Journey Ambassadors

New for '23 - The Dean of Students Office is now accepting internship applications for U Journey Ambassadors. Click here for the application and position description.