Union Where You Are: Plans for 2020-21

Life Outside the Classroom

What will campus life look like in the fall?

While we are doing everything we can to provide the enriching intellectual and residential experiences that Union is known for, campus life will certainly look different this fall. In navigating the new normal, there will be an inevitable shift in routines and protocols we have embraced in the past.

This is a time to put “we” before “me” as we prioritize health and safety and take collective responsibility for everyone’s well-being. Whether you live on campus or off, all community members will be responsible for complying with the College's on-campus rules and regulations governing health and safety. As we work to keep the health and safety of our community a top priority, we want to make you aware of some changes you’ll notice. Please keep in mind that with continued uncertainties and evolving health and safety guidance, things could change for the remainder of the academic year.

  • Social distancing will be required.
  • There will be a 50% reduction in seating in dining facilities.
  • Students will need to wear masks at all times except while eating.
  • There will be more grab-and-go options.
  • Pre-ordering through the GET Food app will be encouraged.
  • Self-serve options will no longer be available, and there will be limited ability to customize food orders.
  • Serviceware will be disposable.
Events and activities (clubs and organizations, Minerva House programs, fraternities and sororities, Kenney Community Center volunteer programs):
  • Most events will be held virtually, socially distanced or as a combination of both.
  • Everyone will wear masks and be socially distanced at events; and programs with food will be limited and must obtain approval.
  • Minerva House Council meetings will take place virtually.
  • Fall recruitment for fraternities and sororities will occur virtually; chapter meetings and events will be held remotely.
Residential life (residence halls, apartment-style housing, theme houses, Minerva Houses, fraternities and sororities)
  • Use of common areas and lounges will be limited, and kitchens will be closed.
  • Most students will be assigned to single occupancy rooms, but they will have the opportunity to opt into a double occupancy room, if interested.
  • Students will be permitted to gather in small groups only and must wear masks, even when studying.
  • RA programs will be virtual, socially distanced or a combination of both, and without common sources of food.
  • No guests from outside the Union community will be permitted in residential spaces.
Wellness (health services, counseling)
  • Students must call upon arrival at the wellness center; they will be met and screened at the front door and escorted to an exam room.
  • Telehealth appointments will be encouraged when feasible.
  • There will be no walk-in appointments.
  • Same-day counseling will be conducted via telehealth, between 1-5 p.m.

Offices and Departments

  • Athletics, Club Sports and Intramurals

    Beginning this Wednesday, September 9th, Union will begin offering a number of fitness and recreational opportunities to our community in the Breazzano Fitness Center, the Viniar Athletic Center, Frank Bailey Field at Bertagna Stadium and the outdoor basketball and tennis courts. Please visit the Union Athletics website for the most current hours and options, as these may change over the course of the term..

    On July 13, we announced the very difficult decision to cancel intercollegiate athletics competition for our fall season sports teams.

    On July 22, The Liberty League Presidents Council voted to cancel all conference competition and championships through Dec. 31, 2020.

    This decision will affect the fall segment of men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming & diving, and men's and women's indoor track & field.

    Union will continue to work with ECAC Hockey partners regarding plans for the 2020-21 ice hockey season.

    While this decision also applies to club sports, we are exploring creative ways to allow for club members to still be engaged and involved in their sport while following all necessary health and safety guidelines. The Office of Student Activities will be working closely with club leadership to come up with creative ways to engage with their club members.

    More information is available on the FAQ’s here

  • Becker Career Center

    Becker Career Center helps students align personal passions with academic and professional pursuits. Check out programs and services here or make an appointment anytime using Handshake or by emailing the center. As fall term begins, the center will offer both virtual and in-person advising sessions. Recommended health and safety precautions will be followed during in-person sessions.

    To learn more, email Bob Soules (soulesr@union.edu), director of Becker Career Center.

  • Campus Safety

    Campus Safety will continue its mission of maintaining a safe environment in which to live and learn, including addressing concerns regarding compliance with health and safety protocols.

  • Clubs and Organizations

    Club and organization activities will continue throughout the fall – either virtually, in a socially-distanced setting or with a combination of both as guidelines permit. The Office of Student Activities, the Office of Minerva Programs and Residential Life are working together to ensure that there are plenty of engaging activities to participate in throughout the term.

  • Dining

    Union College Hospitality (UCH) is developing a dining program to support and ensure safety, with much of the plan informed by the State of New York and the Schenectady County Department of Health. Working within these guidelines, UCH will continue to provide students an exceptional dining experience replete with high quality, nutritious and creative cuisine that features local ingredients whenever possible. The focus will be on an enhanced take-out program with pre-order options that will meet the needs of diners and ease crowding of dining facilities.

    The safety and well-being of students, employees and customers is UCH’s most important priority. UCH will conduct mandatory and continuous trainings on COVID-19 and will adopt all of the CDC’s recommended protocols. New recommendations or guidelines will be implemented as they are given to ensure best practices are maintained.

    UCH is following the State of New York’s directives on physical distancing, and is limiting indoor capacity to no more than 50 percent of maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees. All indoor and outdoor tables with seating for customers will be separated by a minimum of six feet in all directions.

  • Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center

    The Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center is committed to every student’s health and well-being. Counseling Center services this fall will include individual teleconsultations and teletherapy, and assistance with referrals. A variety of virtual therapy groups and workshops will also be offered to enhance coping strategies and foster connection among students. All events will take place on a secure Zoom platform or by phone if the student prefers not to use Zoom.

    The Counseling Center also provides 24/7 crisis intervention in case of a mental health emergency. To access this service, please contact Campus Safety at (518) 388-6911 and ask to speak to the counselor on call.

    To make an appointment with the Counseling Center, please call (518) 388-6161. For more information about the Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center, click here.

  • Fraternity & Sorority Life

    Fraternities and sororities will remain active through fall term and will hold fall recruitment virtually. Sophomores, juniors and seniors, who have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and less than six disciplinary points are eligible for membership. Greek residences will house students from the chapters. Like all residence halls, they will be cleaned and monitored to reduce risk. All Greek houses, with the exception of Fero House, will have single rooms for fall term. Access to the houses will be limited to students who live there. The chapters will continue to operate virtually, hosting meetings, programs and events. Community service/philanthropy events will occur remotely.

  • Health Services

    Health Services will be open by appointment only in the fall, offering both in-person and telehealth visits, and in-house COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students. Students are encouraged to get a flu shot this fall. Flu shot clinics will be held twice weekly in October. The Wellness Center does not bill tuition but does charge a nominal fee for any in-house testing, medication, etc. A local pharmacy, Lange’s, delivers medications to Wicker Monday through Friday. All services provided are confidential. First-year students with additional questions about the Wellness Center or health requirement forms can learn more here.

  • Kenney Community Center

    The Kenney Community Center, Union’s Office of Community Outreach, plans programs and events to encourage students to get involved through volunteering. While the format of many of these programs this year is still to be determined, the center plans to kick off fall term with the pre-orientation experience. The center's portion of the program introduces first-year students to Schenectady through community service and social activities.

    The Kenney Community Center is committed to providing community service opportunities to students and to working with community partners to plan for the 2020-21 academic year. More information will be available closer to the start of fall term.

  • Minerva Programs

    The Minerva Programs Office looks forward to supporting students in creating meaningful programming through their Minerva Houses. All seven Minerva Houses will continue to offer a variety of programs throughout the fall term, in both virtual and socially distant in-person formats. First-year students will have many opportunities to get involved with their Minerva and to attend engaging programs. New students will learn more about the Minerva Program and Minerva Houses during orientation.

  • Orientation

    New Student Orientation is a four-day program scheduled to begin Saturday, Sept. 5. New students will be welcomed to the Union community and have the chance to settle in before classes begin Sept. 9. Orientation activities will adhere to appropriate health and safety guidelines. A finalized program is available here. In the meantime, new students (including transfer students) should check their Union email for messages from their Orientation Advisor. Orientation groups have started meeting remotely so that students can learn more about the community they have joined.

    Pre-orientation programs will begin Sept. 2 for students who have registered. Additionally, there will be special programs for first-generation college students (Aug. 31- Sept. 1) and students who are registered with Accommodative Services (Sept. 1). Students who participate in these programs will continue on to the pre-orientation programs. Following pre-orientation, they will attend New Student Orientation.

    Students will be able to move into residence hall rooms when they arrive on campus for their orientation experience. For more on Residential Life, see the corresponding section of this web page.

  • Residential Life (Housing)

    Residential Life is committed to providing a robust residential experience while maintaining a safe and socially responsible environment. Following guidelines issued by the State of New York and the Schenectady County Department of Health, the College will be using residential areas in new ways. Many double-occupancy rooms will be assigned as singles and some traditionally upperclass areas will be housing first-year students. No external guests from outside the Union community will be permitted in residential areas.

    All first-year students are guaranteed housing and are expected to participate in their academic experience on campus for the 2020-21 year. First-year students will be assigned single occupancy rooms, but they will have the opportunity to opt into a double occupancy room if interested. First-year housing assignments will be completed through an auto-allocation process. Students will be assigned to Fox House, West College, Richmond House, Davidson House and Webster House and, if necessary, one Minerva House (TBD). All members of the incoming class received email information July 1, 2020 about completing a new preference form in the housing portal. Students could indicate their building preference, room type preference (single vs. double) and indicate the name of a specific roommate if desired. This preference form was due July 8, 2020. Assignments were communicated to students July 15, 2020.

    Returning students who elect to participate in their academic experience in person and live off campus are allowed in the residential spaces. Students who are taking classes remotely should not be visiting campus residences during the term.

    Returning students who elect to participate in their academic experience in person will be eligible to participate in one of several housing selection processes. There will be increased offerings of single rooms in Minerva Houses and all rooms in Greek houses and College Park Hall will be single occupancy. All Seward/Roger Hull apartments (including Theme Houses) will be normal occupancy with each house treated as a “family unit” for social distancing purposes. Students who wish to live with a roommate will have the opportunity to opt into doubles in some Minerva Houses and in the Seward/Roger Hull apartments.

    All students who had previously applied for off-campus release and were waitlisted will be released. Residential Life may run an additional off-campus release application process, should the number of students seeking to be on campus for the fall term exceed the new capacity in residences. Greek and Theme Houses will coordinate their own housing processes. Any students not selected to live off-campus or in a Greek or Theme House will have the opportunity to participate in lottery processes for Minerva Houses, College Park Hall, Seward/Roger Hull apartments and Garnet Commons. These processes will take place beginning the week of July 20, 2020.

    Face coverings are not required when students are in their bedroom and the only other person present is their assigned roommate(s). Face coverings are required any time students leave their bedroom and are potentially within six feet of others (including going to common spaces or bathrooms).

    Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to designated isolation rooms until they can safely return to normal activities. Students who have been exposed to an infected individual will be asked to self-quarantine for an observation period or until they have been tested and cleared to return to normal activities.

  • Student Events

    Events and activities will continue throughout the fall – either virtually, in a socially-distanced setting, or with a combination of both as guidelines permit. The Office of Student Activities, the Office of Minerva Programs and Residential Life are working together to ensure that there are plenty of engaging activities to participate in throughout the term.