Dear Wolverine Families,
It’s here! Fall 2022 is upon us, and I am beyond excited to welcome you and your student to campus for Move-In. In fact, I’ll be among the hundreds of Student Life and university staff working welcome shifts through this weekend and next week to facilitate a smooth and easy transition to campus for your Wolverine.
You’ll see us during Move-In as your Curbside Welcomers, Elevator Guides, Sustainability Champions, and much more. Then, after you leave, your student will see us at the block parties, movie nights, Festifall (student organization signup event), Escapade, Artscapade, and all the other amazing Welcome to Michigan events that we love to host and that your student will love to attend.
And even after the first month of class winds down and students settle into their new rhythms with classes, clubs, and socializing, we’ll be here to help them find community and belonging. From the essentials of where they live and eat to the numerous learning and growth opportunities we facilitate outside the classroom, you can be sure that they will be well-supported by Student Life for a successful academic year.
A question I often get from parents and families is “What can I do to support my student when they’re away from home?” As a parent myself, I understand the worry that can come with sending your student to college. When my daughters went off to college, I knew I couldn't be involved in every aspect of their student experience. Still, I didn’t hold myself back from encouraging them to get involved.
That’s what I encourage you to do now. When you talk with your student, either during move-in or in the weeks and months of the Fall semester, encourage them to join clubs, get connected with their residence hall communities, find an on-campus job, and sign up for a Recreational Sports fitness class—anything that expands their horizons, who they know, and what they think they can do. We also want them to feel confident and comfortable in asking for help.This goes for both our seasoned returning students and our newest first-years and transfer students who are learning how to make Michigan their home away from home.
A second and no less important thing that you can do as the family and loved ones of a Michigan Wolverine is to talk to them about the importance of their role in a large, shared community. As of this week, we have over 50,000 students in Ann Arbor. And we teach each and every one of them to expect respect. Our community is full of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, orientations, and aspirations. This is a beautiful opportunity for your student to learn and connect with their peers, and it is everyone’s individual responsibility to respect and foster this community.
When I refer to the importance of their role in a large, shared community, I’m also referring to safe behaviors and practices while on campus. We know that MPV (monkeypox virus) has become a recent concern for many people. Our campus response is robust, confident, and careful, and we are relying on everyone to keep the same attitude of protecting themselves and others as we championed throughout the COVID-19 response.
To learn more about our MPV response and what your student should know during this fall, check out this Family Matters article.
I’ve got a great feeling about this academic year. Things are shaping up to be a wonderful experience for our Wolverines, and I’m even more excited at the impending inauguration of our new president, Dr. Santa Ono. Student Life and the University of Michigan are looking forward to the start of his presidency on October 13, 2022, and we’ll be sure to introduce you to him in Family Matters once he arrives.
It sure is great to be a Michigan Wolverine. Go Blue—and welcome (back) to Michigan!
Martino Harmon, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life
University of Michigan