Previewing the Fall Semester
Every year, in the late weeks of summer, our university eagerly anticipates the start of a new academic year. As we prepare for this most unusual semester, we’re especially excited to welcome you this fall. Our students have shown incredible resilience and grit, and this year, “UB pride” takes on a new meaning.
This semester will be different, but key aspects of the UB experience remain the same. Your health and safety are our highest priorities. You will receive a world-class educational experience, no matter your location. You will pursue opportunities for personal and professional growth and receive our full support as you take on new challenges. You will find an unwavering sense of community and commitment, built around shared daily experiences only possible at UB. Our faculty, staff and administration have been working hard to develop creative solutions that enable us to deliver on these commitments to you.
There is a lot to know about how UB will operate this fall. Please read this email in its entirety so you can be as prepared as possible. Remember, we are here for you! The UB community is strong, smart and determined. We will get through this time together, because together, we are UB.
Health & Safety Measures
UB has released comprehensive Health and Safety Guidelines developed in accordance with guidance from health experts. These guidelines are designed to protect you in UB’s academic, residential, recreational and communal campus spaces. All students, faculty, staff and visitors should become familiar with the guidelines and understand their responsibilities for maintaining a safe campus environment. Keeping everyone safe and healthy is a community effort.
- Please review the steps to take before returning to campus. UB highly recommends a seven-day precautionary quarantine in your residence before the date you return to campus for the fall. If you have been in a high COVID-19 area for more than 24 hours, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory. This will help ensure anyone returning to UB is symptom-free.
- All UB faculty, staff and students, regardless if they plan to visit campus on a given day, are required to use a virtual screening tool every day to attest that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and have not been exposed to a confirmed or potential case of COVID-19.
- Face coverings are required at all times when on campus. This includes UB buildings, classrooms, labs and facilities, as well as outdoor spaces.
- Every student will receive a reusable face covering from the university. You are encouraged to bring additional face coverings from home. Handwashing stations will be available across our campuses, but be prepared with personal hand sanitizer or wipes for those times when you can’t wash your hands right away.
- Should you begin experiencing symptoms of illness, contact your primary health care provider or Health Services (available 24/7 for support and referrals).
- Together, we are acting responsibly and asking students to become familiar with health expectations and take the UB Pledge.
Starting Strong this Semester
Set the stage for a successful semester! Make sure you get off to a good start by knowing these basic tips about the class schedule, living and eating on campus, available resources and more.
- The first day of classes is Monday, Aug. 31. Classes will be held on Labor Day and will transition to fully remote after the Thanksgiving break. Some professional degree programs will maintain in-person instruction following Thanksgiving due to accreditation or licensure requirements. If you are unsure, check with your instructor.
- New and returning student move in will take place over a full week (Aug. 22-30) by appointment. Consult the Campus Living Welcome Home Guide for room assignment updates, recommended packing lists and more. Campus Living will operate under reduced density to accommodate physical distancing guidelines and health and safety best practices. The university has reserved quarantine space for resident students who may become ill.
- UB’s Campus Living staff will be physically present on campus to support your health, safety and residential experience. Residential assistants and academic advisors are here for you. A variety of small group and virtual programming will be available to students living on campus.
- UB’s 30 Campus Dining & Shops locations have been modified to meet current health and safety guidelines. The modifications include new grab-and-go sites, a residential dining center with zoned and timed seating reservations and touchless mobile ordering at some retail locations. Our popular food trucks, Big Blue and Little Blue, are returning to serve up your favorites.
- Shared spaces, including the UB Stampede shuttle, new study spaces, student lounges and common areas, computer labs, and UBIT services, are open and available with health and safety protocols in place.
- The Abbott Library (Health Sciences and Architecture & Planning), Lockwood Library and Silverman Library will be open during the fall 2020 semester. Detailed information on library hours is available on the UB Libraries website.
- With this semester’s various instruction modes, it is essential to make sure your technology is up-to-date and working properly. Before the semester begins, review UBIT’s Student Technology Guide.
- 1Capen is open for select in-person services beginning Aug. 10. Reservations will be required. Visit the 1Capen website for more information and to access remote services.
Your Academic Experience
Your learning may take place in different environments this semester, but you will still receive the same enriching, high-quality academic experience you’ve come to expect from UB. Our expert faculty and staff are here for you, and we have taken every measure to ensure your success is possible.
As we have learned over the last few months, it is critical to build and maintain connections with your UB support network. There are many ways to connect with your instructors and classmates this semester. Reach out to your instructors when you need help, start group discussions with your classmates, stay in touch with your friends. When we band together as a community, we are stronger.
- UB released the fall schedule on July 15. Students should consult their schedule and ensure they understand the modes of instruction for their classes. It is your responsibility to know when you need to come to campus.
- We have reconfigured classrooms to accommodate physical distancing guidelines and have upgraded classrooms with the latest technology to support remote synchronous instruction. The new class schedule allows 20 minutes between classes.
- Your instructors are ready and excited to share engaging academic content and have designed their classes to ensure all students can participate actively in their learning and connect with faculty, regardless of format. Make sure to contact your instructor with any questions about a specific course.
- UB has two new websites to support your success. The Academic Resources and Updates for Students page has information for undergraduate and graduate students about fall semester updates, classes and instruction, academic support, campus involvement and more. TheStudent Success Gateway is a starting point for undergraduate students to locate information about advisors, resources and success strategies.
- All undergraduate students should download the new Navigate app. Use Navigate to make advising appointments, request a tutor, find Study Buddies, and connect with resources and support. This app offers many benefits for undergraduate students, and graduate students can also download Navigate to utilize applicable functionality.
- Your holistic academic experience includes support to help you reach your academic goals. The Center for Excellence in Writing offers writing consultation appointments for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as dissertation support. Free tutoring is available to all undergraduate students through numerous campus offices.
- The Experiential Learning Network has opportunities to complement your academics with undergraduate research and creative activities. You can search for opportunities via the Project Portal.
The UB community is vibrant, global and diverse. Here, we celebrate our commonalities and our differences and honor the experiences and perspectives each student brings to campus. We will always strive to provide students with transformative, innovative experiences within a university-wide culture of equity and inclusion.
- As a university community, it is imperative that we explore, understand, and respond to racism and systemic inequality. UB has always been committed to these principles, but recent global protests against racial injustice have underscored the urgent need to continue work that enacts change. This summer, President Tripathi announced several new initiatives to help realize these goals.
- UB recently announced that it will remove the names Millard Fillmore, James O. Putnam and Peter B. Porter from four locations at UB, a decision that aligns with the university's commitment to fight systemic racism and create a welcoming environment for all.
- The University at Buffalo has a longstanding history of enrolling a large population of international students. From our founding, our international students have enriched our university in immeasurable ways. We continue to provide our students, who come from more than 100 countries, with a safe and supportive environment for their scholarly pursuits.
- UB’s Intercultural and Diversity Center (IDC) is a supportive resource for all students at UB. The IDC creates a sense of belonging among students and offers events to help students broaden their perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of our society. This fall, the IDC will launch Tough Topics group discussions and host diversity workshops to celebrate, preserve and educate students on the cultures of minority populations in America.
- UB is committed to ensuring our campuses are safe, welcoming environments for our LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff. Support, information and assistance are available to everyone in our LGBTQ community. The Lesbian/Gay and Bisexual Transgender Alliance student organization establishes a safe space on campus to facilitate understanding among all students.
- Students facing university-related questions or concerns should contact UB’s Student Advocacy program. If you are having an academic or non-academic issue, this office can assist you in understanding university policy, direct you to the right resource or connect you with the right people on campus.
Being a Bull
We know how important it is to connect with your friends and classmates and to take part in the shared experiences and traditions available only at UB. Here is some information on what to expect for life outside the classroom.
- Opening Weekend (Aug. 29-30) festivities will look a little different this year. You can expect unique, physically distanced activities to kick off the school year, reuniting with old friends from a distance, and special programming to help you make new ones before classes begin. New to UB programming for new undergraduate students will also be modified this year, while still providing all the essential resources before you start your UB journey.
- For everyone’s safety and convenience, Student Life programming and activities will be a mix of virtual and physically distanced activities, with an emphasis on outdoor activities and meetings.
- Our student organizations are always looking for new members, so find your community this semester by connecting with a club. There are more than600+ clubs and organizations at UB, so there’s something for everyone.
Maintaining Your Well-Being
Staying healthy, physically and mentally, is more important than ever. We know you have been through a lot in 2020. UB Health and Wellness has the support in place to help you stay well, and we encourage you to take time for self-care when needed.
- This fall, make it a point to explore UB’s beautiful outdoor spaces for some exercise. Take your workout to one of UB’s many outdoor recreation spaces, find a new favorite walking path or running trail, or enjoy a small, physically distanced hangout on UB’s expansive lawns. Our North and South Campuses are a respite from dense spaces, so take advantage as often as you can.
- Focus on keeping your mind and body healthy. Through UB Health and Wellness, you have access to a variety of services, including medical care, telehealth appointments, telecounseling, wellness programs and wellness coaches, skill-building workshops, stress management favorites like yoga and meditation, self-help resources and more.
- Health concerns, physical distancing and news updates can affect your well-being. Counseling Services is continuing a number of workshops into the fall semester to address these unique circumstances and to provide ongoing support to students in need.
While fall 2020 will be a different UB experience, UB remains an excellent value as a leading public flagship institution. As you continue to invest in your UB education, refer to the following information about finances and support.
The City of Good Neighbors
Buffalo is known as the “City of Good Neighbors” for good reason. Our hometown has banded together during the pandemic to stop the spread and keep infection rates low. It’s important to do your part by following UB’s Health and Safety Guidelines and Erie County’s guidelines if you are in the surrounding community. Buffalo has many restaurants, cultural spaces, parks and other outdoor destinations to enjoy. Take time this semester to get to know Buffalo—safely, of course.
We are excitedly awaiting the start of fall 2020, and we hope you share our enthusiasm for the upcoming semester. Please reference the resources we have mentioned as you prepare for the semester to start. Remember to be a good university citizen by following the safety measures in place, both on and off campus, so that everyone can have a positive UB experience. Check your email, reach out with questions and get ready to start your semester strong. In recent months, we have felt the real importance of community, and could not be happier to have you in ours.
We welcome your comments and questions. If you have an academic affairs question, email email@example.com. If you have a student life concern, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
With warm wishes for a strong start,
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Interim Vice President
of Student Life
Links to important Fall 2020 resources