"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
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.
SOPHOMORE-Year Experience Goals:
- Encourage academic exploration
- Encourage career exploration
- Explore healthy relationships (sense of self and others)
- Provide leadership development activities
JUNIOR-YEAR EXPERIENCE GOALS:
- Support independence
- Promote civic responsibility
- Develop global perspectives
- Inspire a personal vision
SENIOR-YEAR EXPERIENCE GOALS:
- Support next transitions
- Facilitate connections
- Foster a sense of belonging to Union
- Foster a sense of belonging in Schenectady
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.
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.
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.