Dean of Students

U Journey

***Fall 2024 -- Apply to be a U Journey Ambassador!

Calling all Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors:
The Dean of Students Office is now accepting marketing internship applications for U Journey Ambassadors. ( Application and position description ) Applications are due September 9, 2024 by 11:59PM. Interviews will take place the following week.

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

– Dean Ryan Keytack, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

A log that says "U Journey"

Developing students to lead with wisdom, empathy, and courage:

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. It’s a framework for Union life and learning outside the classroom, with particular emphasis on life skills and belonging.

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:

  • Milestone Events

    U Journey explores our core student development themes to provide consistent and intentional educational experiences beyond the classroom for all of our students.

    FYE has stacked the first-year with special events and activities. It all starts with Move-in and Orientation. It continues with the Minerva Reveal (when you find out your Minerva House), Minerva Olympics (when you compete on behalf of your Minerva House), and Minerva Mixers (when you meet the faculty and student leaders who run your Minerva). You’ll continue to have lots of opportunities to learn and celebrate with your classmates at Club Expo, your Class Photo, the Leadership Fair, and Dean Shurick’s Handoff Ceremony when you become a sophomore.

    Sophomores track their engagement by playing a year-long life-skills bingo activity with their Class Dean and celebrate at the "Half Way There" Ceremony.

    • Residential Education

      Residential Education & Housing (ResEd) added new programming from your Community Directors (CDs) and Community Advisors (CAs) in your residence halls. CA Chats are designed to plug you into resources and support during your first and second years. There will be social events on your floors and in your building. CAs will also provide an array of events focused on well-being, decision-making, collaboration, and reflection.

    • Student Leadership

      You can become a U Journey Ambassador after your first term. The Ambassadors run special events that focus on life skills (like Finance Kahoot!). They partner with offices and student organizations to offer special activities on campus (like our annual West Beach Welcome and Wellness Fair). And they do weekly drops and takeovers on social media.

    • Incentives for Participation


      Students are encouraged to participate as much as possible. Watch for updates from Student Activities on how to earn Bolt Points that turn your participation into Union swag and prizes.

      An image that says UJOURNEY Bolt Badge
    Union students with a cardboard train
    Students inside the Nott Memorial

    Meet the U Journey Ambassadors

    It takes a village to pull off the U Journey. We have student U Journey Ambassadors that serve as the voice of the program and market our initiatives. They plan pop-up events, manage our social media, and serve as hosts at various campus activities. Here's our U Journey line-up for 2023-2024:

    Yaseen B., Yaseen is a first-year Biology and Psychology double major. He is from from Richmond, VA. His hobbies include soccer, volleyball, pickleball, and anything Cheetos. Ask him to roll his Rs -- you will not be disappointed.

    Kaydence B., Kaydence is a first-year English major from Baton Rouge, LA. She is also on the pre-health professions track. Her hobbies include volleyball, anime, and reading. She loves to have fun while also getting the job done. She has a really good memory scary good.

    Dani B.

    Dani B., Dani is a sophomore Economics major from Chicago, IL. Some of her passions include cooking, bowling, and spoken word poetry. At Union, she is involved heavily in admissions work, the secretary of the Black Student Union, and does her work study in the Dean of Studies office.

    Talha K.

    Talha K., Talha is a sophomore Economics and Computer Science double major from Islamabad, Pakistan. Some of his hobbies include playing soccer, chess, and is known to be really good at mental math. He volunteered to be an orientation leader this year and he enjoys a super chill but super precise team.

    Dionis P., Dionis is a senior Economics major from Bronx, NY. Some of his hobbies include cooking, playing football, and community service. He is involved in lots of areas of campus, including Student Forum and Athletics. His advice to anyone is communicate, communicate, and communicate.

    Aaradhya S., Aaradhya is a first-year Economics major from Mumbai, India. He is also studying data analytics, psychology, and firm. Some of his hobbies include sports and digital video editing. He prides himself on knowing random facts about way too many things.

    Blake T.

    Blake T., Blake is a senior Economics and Political Science double major from Toronto, Canada. Some of his hobbies include hockey and speed reading. He loves to laugh with his team and is involved with Greek Life on campus.