Bear Essentials for Families 2022

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INTRODUCTIONS Dear parents and family members, We are so grateful your student has chosen WashU for their college experience. My name is Anna “Dr. G” Gonzalez, and I serve as the vice chancellor for student affairs. My team coordinates the WashU student experience that happens outside of the classroom. This past year, the Division of Student Affairs engaged in a robust strategic planning process, engaging students, faculty, staff, families, and alumni to learn about their priorities and aspirations for the WashU experience. From this planning, we developed five core values for the Division: 1. Student Engagement & Belonging 2. Leadership 3. Career Development 4. Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) 5. Healthy Excellence These core values provide a foundation for our work and help us articulate the impact of a robust residential campus experience. One of the most important aspects of your student’s experience is making sure they feel connected to our community. Please know we have a team of student affairs professionals ready to support your student from move-in to commencement and every step in between! To stay informed, please make sure WashU has your contact information. Your student can check their WebSTAC contact information to confirm the mailing address and email we have on file for you. Via email, we distribute Family Ties, WashU’s parent e-newsletter. We also occasionally send university-wide communications. We encourage you to download the WUSTL mobile smartphone app and enable push notifications. All emergency communications from the university are disseminated through this tool. Enclosed, you will find a summary of resources and services we offer to support your student’s success. We have also provided a brief overview of important tasks for your student to complete over the summer. You may also want to visit and bookmark, a website designed with you in mind where you will find many university resources. It is an honor to support your student during their time here. Welcome to WashU! Warmly,

Anna “Dr.G.” Gonzalez, Ph.D. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs @akgonzal1327 @akgonzal1327



The Transition to WashU

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Your Student’s Life at WashU

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Campus Resources

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A Family’s Guide to the First Semester

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Beyond the Transition

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THE TRANSITION TO WASHU THE SUMMER BEFORE WASHU Your student’s last summer at home before college is a special one for your family. We hope you will have the opportunity to reflect and create memories. It can also be a busy time as your family prepares for your student’s arrival at WashU. Your student needs to accomplish many tasks before they move to campus in August. We’ve identified a series of tasks with suggested completion windows throughout the summer. Please remind your student to complete the new student summer checklist items before they arrive on campus in August. The summer months are also a good time to make sure your student is prepared to live more independently. If your student is not already doing so, please have them begin doing their own laundry, cleaning their own living space, and cooking some simple meals. It’s also a good time to talk about things like managing their money; learning to advocate for themselves; and setting expectations about how (e.g., phone, texts, video calls), how often, and when they will be in contact with you. Your student’s college record, including academic and health information, is their own and is not shared by the university with parents and family members. Plan to talk to your student about the information you expect them to share with you, such as grades and academic progress. Lastly, please speak to them about your family’s values and expectations around alcohol use, relationships, and healthy decision-making. The companion, Parent & Family Guide to Habif Health and Wellness, provides tips on how to start these conversations.


BEFORE YOUR ARRIVE CHECKLISTS The checklists can also be found at under the Before You Arrive tab.

TRANSFER STUDENTS Families of transfer students, please reference the transfer specific checklist in your students’ copy of New Bearings.

MOVE-IN DAY AND BEAR BEGINNINGS Move-in will be on Friday, August 19, and Saturday, August 20. Students will receive their assigned move-in date and time with their housing assignment in July. Bear Beginnings: Fall Welcome will take place Saturday, August 20 through Sunday, August 28. The weeklong event is the official welcome for new students and their families to the university. During Fall Welcome, your student will engage with faculty, staff, and fellow students and learn about the experiences they will have within their academic division. They will also participate in social activities, programs, and events to encourage new friendships and prepare them for the first week of classes. Parent & Family Orientation will include an opportunity to hear from Chancellor Andrew D. Martin and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Anna Gonzalez, as well as the dean of your student’s academic division. Sessions will be livestreamed and recorded for families who are unable to join us on campus. A detailed schedule is available at As you begin making plans for your student’s move to WashU, we encourage you to visit and for the most up-to-date information about what to expect and how to prepare. Your student will also receive the Residential Life Move-In Guide with detailed instructions and information about the logistics of Move-In Day.


SHIPPING ITEMS TO CAMPUS UTrucking (founded at WashU in 1977) is a student-run business serving one in two WashU students. First-year students can use any of UTrucking’s flagship move-in services: 1. Appliance Rental: Use UTrucking’s most popular move-in service and open your studentʼs door to a chilled fridge on move-in day. UTrucking rents mini-fridges and microwaves, and everything is ready in your studentʼs room upon arrival. The service includes delivery in the fall, pickup in the spring, and all appliances are backed by a fullyear service guarantee. 2. East Coast Home Pickups: If you live on the East Coast (between Washington D.C. and Boston), UTrucking picks up your belongings right from your home and delivers them straight to your studentʼs room, so all items are waiting in their room upon arrival. 3. Ship to School: UTrucking helps ship belongings to WashU from anywhere in the country. UTrucking sends you boxes, packing materials, and prepaid UPS labels. Drop off your boxes at any UPS store or have UPS come pick them up from your home, and UTrucking will handle the rest. When your student arrives on campus, all of their items will be waiting for them in their room.


ACADEMICS ACADEMIC DIVISIONS Your new student’s academic experience is greatly shaped by their academic division. We encourage your student to connect with their academic division for specific questions and concerns regarding their academic experience.






SAM FOX SCHOOL OF DESIGN & VISUAL ARTS 314-935-6315 314-935-6532



SUPPORTING YOUR STUDENT FROM AFAR We encourage you to check in periodically with your student about their experiences in and outside the classroom. Academically, it is common for a student to undergo an adjustment period as the rigor and classroom environment of college are different from high school. Students are more likely to succeed if they use available support resources, even if they didn’t use such resources in high school. Additionally, we encourage you to speak with your student about time management and creating a personal task management system, whether that is a calendar app, an online tool, or a printed planner. ACADEMIC ADVISER Your student will be assigned an academic adviser who will work to ensure they complete the academic milestones and requirements for graduation. Additionally, once your student declares an area of study, they will be matched to a major adviser, typically a faculty member in their field of study. The major adviser has specific knowledge about research and career opportunities in the field and works to ensure that your student fulfills degree requirements. Pre-professional advising is available for students interested in PreHealth and PreLaw programs. AVAILABILITY OF FACULTY AND TEACHING ASSISTANTS Faculty are required and happy to meet with students outside class. They will list their availability to meet with students on the course syllabus. Many students take advantage of office visits, not only when they may be having difficulty in a course but also as a proactive way to connect with their professors, clarify understanding, and discuss research opportunities or potential career paths. ACADEMIC SUPPORT The Learning Center, housed within the Center for Teaching and Learning, offers a variety of scholastic support in partnership with the academic departments. These include structured, coursespecific weekly study groups facilitated by trained peer mentors, as well as course-specific drop-in sessions and individual coaching for academic skills such as time management, note-taking, or handling test anxiety. The Learning Center peer coaches and staff also offer workshops on the academic skills mentioned above.


PREPARING FOR CLASSES In June, your student will be contacted by their academic adviser to discuss areas of study that interest them and course options for the fall semester. Students register for classes using WebSTAC, WashU’s online service portal, during an assigned registration time in mid-July. Your student will receive instructions on how to navigate WebSTAC via email prior to registration. Students can access syllabus information through Canvas, the university’s online learning management system. Many instructors provide syllabus and textbook information prior to the start of classes. Encourage your student to check both WebSTAC and Canvas to gather a complete textbook list before classes begin.

CAMPUS BOOKSTORE The Washington University Campus Store stocks textbooks, WashU merchandise, and a wide range of items, providing an easy one-stop-shop for required course materials. Many textbooks are available to rent through the bookstore or in an e-book format. The Danforth Campus Bookstore is located on the ground floor of Mallinckrodt Center or online at Additionally, some course materials can be acquired through the University Libraries at no additional cost.

Developing good time management and organizational skills is key for students who find themselves struggling academically. Keeping a calendar and a to-do list may seem simple, but


they are effective tools to help students structure study time and stay focused.


YOUR STUDENT’S LIFE AT WASHU LIVING AT WASHU Washington University’s first-year residential areas include 10 residential colleges in a section of campus known as the South 40, located at the southwest end of the Danforth Campus. As you become more familiar with your student’s residential college, you will find a dedicated group of people willing and able to help with their transition. Each residence hall has a Residential College Director (RCD), a full-time staff member who lives in residence and facilitates community engagement within the college, assists in day-today operations, and manages the team of resident advisors (RAs). RAs are trained upper-division students who live in residence and serve as leaders and peer mentors. In addition, WashU faculty members also work closely with first-year student communities, providing significant faculty–student interaction outside the classroom. Each residential college also has its own dedicated custodial and maintenance personnel. ALL ROOMS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING FOR EACH RESIDENT: •

Bed and mattress (extra long twin, 36” x 80”)

Desk and chair

Dresser and closet space

Central air conditioning

Small recycling bin



Adjustable height beds (alllowing for more storage)



TRANSFER HOUSING Families of transfer students, please reference your students’ copy of New Bearings for off-campus housing resources if they are not living in Residential Life housing.

FLOOR PLANS Floor plans for each building can be found online at (search for “floor plans”).

PACKING A suggested packing list can be found at under the Before You Arrive tab.

DINING ON CAMPUS All undergraduate students will purchase a meal plan each semester. Undergraduate meal plans operate on an “all points” or “declining balance” basis. This system offers students greater flexibility and spending options in our a la carte cafés. Meal points can be used to purchase meals and food items at any WashU Dining Services location and are accessed through your student’s WashU ID card. When students use all of their meal points, they can use Bear Bucks at any Dining Services locations. For detailed meal plan information, please contact Dining Services.


First-year students most commonly choose the SILVER meal plan. The larger GOLD or PLATINUM plans may be appropriate if your student is very active or a varsity athlete.

Dining Services has experience meeting the nutritional needs of students observing a wide range of diets, including allergen-free, vegetarian, vegan, Halal, and Kosher, among others. If your student needs dietary assistance, please have them complete the Dietary Needs Assessment at


BEYOND THE CLASSROOM Your student’s priority at WashU will be academics, but how they choose to complement their learning outside the classroom is also very important. Many students look to their cocurricular involvement to form new peer connections and friendships, discover new interests, and develop healthy social engagement. We encourage your student to get involved in at least one cocurricular opportunity on campus, such as a student organization, undergraduate research, or a student work position. CAMPUS LIFE Campus Life empowers students to discover and define themselves and their communities through advising, programs, and resources. Campus Life supports Leadership Development, Student Involvement, and Sorority and Fraternity Life. STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS WashU hosts more than 450 student groups. At the Activities Fair held at the beginning of each semester, students can learn more about campus organizations that align with their interests and values. CIVIC & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Active civic and community engagement are central to WashU’s student culture. Many opportunities are available, including community service groups, philanthropic events, communityengaged courses, voter engagement, and more. Students will have many opportunities to engage with the St. Louis community as they prepare to be active citizens throughout their lives. The Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement Campus Y


DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION The Center for Diversity and Inclusion provides opportunities for students who wish to engage with topics of equity and inclusion, social change, social justice education, and affinity groups and programs. Their work includes advocating for students and connecting them to resources and existing support systems on campus and in the St. Louis community. RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL, AND ETHICAL LIFE The Office for Religious, Spiritual and Ethical Life encourages interfaith understanding; supports the diverse religious, spiritual, and ethical communities on campus; and facilitates interfaith student leadership development. They serve the entire community, including students of any or no religious, spiritual, or philosophical background. All are welcome! ATHLETICS & RECREATION The WashU Department of Athletics competes in Division III of the NCAA with a historic reputation both at the conference and national level. The Bears have won 24 NCAA Team National Championships and 259 conference titles and made 254 NCAA conference appearances. Going to athletic events and cheering on the WashU Bears can be a great way to connect to the campus community. Department of Athletics Intramural (IM) and club sports are a fun way for students to remain active while interacting with others in the WashU community.


STUDENT ENTREPRENEURIAL PROGRAM (STEP) The Student Entrepreneurial Program (StEP) provides a unique opportunity for students to own a business on campus that serves the WashU community. Student owners can supplement the valuable business and entrepreneurial skills they learn in the classroom while gaining real-world experience managing and leading their own businesses. Students can buy into an existing business or start a new one.


CAMPUS RESOURCES DISABILITY RESOURCES Disability Resources provides leadership to the WashU community in creating an inclusive and accessible campus experience. Its primary objective is to ensure students can equitably access and engage within the university environment. When this cannot be done because of a student’s disability, Disability Resources is the designated office that determines reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Disability Resources is committed to supporting disabled students with the resources necessary to enable them to accomplish their educational goals and derive the benefits of campus life. Students with concerns related to a condition or diagnosis for which support may be necessary to provide access are invited to visit the Disability Resources website for information and staff contacts or to initiate a request for accommodations. A student’s accommodations and other adjustments are coordinated on an individual, case-by-case basis, relative to the student’s functional limitations and barriers. Students may visit the Access WashU Portal at to initiate their request for accommodations and provide any necessary documentation. Because Disability Resources is generally unable to determine accommodations until a student’s request and appropriate supporting documentation have been submitted, the office recommends students begin this process prior to the start of the academic term to avoid delays in appropriate resources being available.


HEALTH AND WELLNESS The Habif Health and Wellness Center provides medical services, mental health care, and health promotion services to students. Same-day medical appointments are available for urgent needs. Your student is required to provide Habif Health and Wellness with important documents, such as immunization records and health history. Specific requirements can be found on the Habif Health and Wellness website. In addition, your student is required by university policy to have adequate health insurance coverage. Students wishing to waive the student health insurance plan must complete a waiver prior to September 5. All students are welcome at Habif, regardless of insurance plan. MEDICAL SERVICES Medical Services provides routine, preventive health care; evaluation or treatment of illnesses and injuries; and immunizations. An on-site lab, radiology department, and pharmacy also serve students. The Habif Health and Wellness Center is committed to providing the highest quality care at a reasonable cost to students. Information about co-pays and insurance is available on the Habif website. MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES Mental Health Services provides individual, couples, and group counseling, as well as quick consultations called “Let’s Talk,” tools including Therapy Assistance Online, and psychiatric services to prescribe and monitor medication. Crisis services are also available. All full-time students who pay the University Health and Wellness Fee as part of their tuition are eligible for services. For more information on what we are able to provide, visit HEALTH PROMOTION SERVICES Health Promotion Services provides free resources and programs as well as risk reduction information related to alcohol and other drug use, mental health, and sexual health. Resources on community health and self-care are also available. HABIF HEALTH & WELLNESS 15 | BEAR ESSENTIALS

CAREER SERVICES At WashU, we believe that career education occurs over the course of the four-year undergraduate experience, beginning during the first year. We encourage each student to reflect on and understand their unique skills, interests, and goals. The Career Center provides a number of opportunities for new and continuing students to engage with their vocational and professional interests. Students can expect to learn strategies for meaningful exploration of the world of work and engagement with employers and organizations. Services include: •

Facilitating participation in summer internship, research, and volunteer experiences

Providing individualized career advising and skill-building workshops

Presenting signature events including career fairs, industry speaker events, employer visits to different regions in the United States, and an alumni job shadowing program

Connecting students with professionals and peers in different industries through Career Interest Groups

You can support your student’s career exploration and preparation by •

Encouraging early and regular engagement with a career adviser and the Career Center’s programs, resources, and events

Observing and listening to your student’s interests, values, and strengths and helping them see themes, patterns, and opportunities for continued growth and development

Discussing the importance of multiple, meaningful professional experiences such as internships, research, volunteer work, and study abroad



SAFETY Washington University Police Department The Washington University Police Department, also known as WUPD, is a diverse law enforcement team that provides foot, bicycle, and vehicle patrol 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. WUPD officers possess the same authority on campus as that of a St. Louis County police officer. WUPD prides itself on maintaining a safe campus while recognizing no place is immune from crime. WashU has also developed initiatives to enhance students’ personal safety and protect their property. WUPD can help students register their electronics and bikes on campus to increase the chances of recovery if they are misplaced or stolen. Students may also purchase a bike lock from WUPD if they do not have one of their own.



Students and their families can get emergency alerts by downloading the WUSTL mobile app and allowing notifications.

Emergency Notifications If a crisis occurs on campus, you have multiple ways to obtain information. •

Visit the university’s website New information will be posted to the site as it is available. If there is no current emergency, the site will say so.

You can listen to frequently updated voice messages by calling the university hotline: 314-935-8000 or 888-234-2863 (toll-free).

Follow @WashUReady on Facebook and Twitter.

Check your email for updated information.

You can also sign up for emergency alerts and receive all campus-wide bulletins issued by emergency operations. Additional information about the WashU Alert System is available at


Update Your Information Work with your student to ensure that your contact information (e.g., home and cell phone numbers, email address, and emergency contact information) is correct in their WebSTAC account. This will ensure that you, as a family member, receive all relevant information. Your student can confirm and make changes to your information via WebSTAC,

FAMILY MEMBER CONTACT UPDATES: Your student can request mailing address and phone number updates in WebSTAC. To change the listed family email and ensure you receive university updates, please visit and select Update Family Email Address under the Communications tab.

FERPA Learn more about FERPA at

Your Student’s Privacy The privacy of your student’s records is protected by federal law under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Certain pieces of directory information (i.e., name, mailing address, and phone number) on your student’s record may be publicly available unless your student has placed an optional information restriction on their record. Your student can remove themselves from the public directory by visiting the WebSTAC portal.


Navigating Campus and St. Louis A university-run shuttle service is provided for travel around the Danforth Campus. Additionally, there are four MetroBus lines that reach the Danforth Campus—three running through the core of campus—that can take passengers to major shopping areas and local attractions. MetroLink train stations on campus provide quick, direct service around St. Louis, including to the Medical Campus. Students are able to ride the MetroBus and MetroLink at no cost with a WashU U-Pass. Bikes are also an efficient way to get around campus. For convenience, bike racks and several bike repair stations are located throughout campus. Please note first-year students are not permitted to have cars on campus.


FINANCES STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES Student Financial Services (SFS) takes a personal approach with your student. An assigned financial aid counselor will be with your family from the moment you exchange hellos to graduation. Before your student arrives on campus, we encourage you to check out the SFS website for information on how to view and pay the student bill, payment options, and how your student can prepare if they plan to work on campus. Your SFS counselor is available to provide information and resource assistance.


PAYING THE STUDENT BILL We encourage you and your student to have an open conversation about expectations regarding billing and finances. Once your student receives login access to WebSTAC, WashU’s online student portal, they will be able to grant access to a named parent and family members to review bills and make payments. WebSTAC generates an email with a link to a parent billing portal and sends it to those given access.

BEAR BUCKS Bear Bucks is a personal, cashless, swipe payment account held by all WashU students on their WashU ID Card. Students can enroll and add money to their Bear Bucks account through WebSTAC. Your student will use Bear Bucks across WashU’s four campuses for dining, printing, vending, laundry, and general on-campus purchases, where they will save 9% on each transaction. They may also use Bear Bucks at 37 off-campus private retailers and restaurants. 314-935-8800



Please use this chart as a guide throughout the year to gain a general understanding of what your student

may be experiencing during their first few months at WashU. You will also find some suggestions about how you can support your student throughout the first semester. Content adapted from: Mullendore, R. H. & Hatch, C. (2000). Helping your first-year college student succeed: A guide for parents. University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

First weeks on campus

What’s Happening

What Your Student May Be Experiencing

Classes begin


College schedule requires some adjustments

Nervousness Mild homesickness

New friendships form Early September

New routines develop

Testing new-found freedom

Students explore co-curricular involvement and begin to find their place on campus

Anxiety about roomates, professors, and classes

Students make initial adjustments to college courses Mid-September

First set of exams scheduled Students may struggle to balance academic, social, and cocurricular commitments Tensions between high school and college relationships may emerge


Learning to manage time between classes

Need to develop different study habits Need to develop time management strategies Excitement about new relationships and sadness/ anxiety about old relationships

Late September

What’s Happening

What Your Student May Be Experiencing

Initial excitement begins to fade


Students may question whether they belong

Early October

Feeling overwhelmed by academic work

Pace of academic work picks up

Students will benefit from a listening ear and encouragement.

Call-backs and invitations to join student groups begin to go out

Excitement about being selected to participate in a group or activity

Grades for first major exams and assignments received

Sadness at being rejected for a group or activity Disappointment or discouragement about academic performance Many students experience a decline in their academic performance early in the first semester. Help your student see this as an opportunity to make adjustments, and encourage them to seek out campus resources for assistance.



What’s Happening

What Your Student May Be Experiencing

Feelings of relaxation from fall break fade


Exams and major projects loom Students begin to prepare for spring course registration

Late October

Students learn more about and adjust to the campus culture New friendships continue to develop Mid-term papers, major assignments, and exams are due

Early November

Students meet with academic adviser for spring course registration Students may begin to explore changes to their major field Grades for another round of exams or assignments received


Anxiety Encourage your student to get off campus; Forest Park is a great suggestion. Remind your student to connect with their academic adviser about their educational plan. Feelings of being overwhelmed may increase Your student may need reminders to take time for self-care (e.g., healthy meals, exercise, adequate rest).

Doubts about whether they are in the right major Relief/pride in the progress they have made Ongoing frustration with their academic performance

Mid-November Thanksgiving Break

What’s Happening

What Your Student May Be Experiencing

Due dates for term projects and final exams are on the horizon

Excitement about seeing friends and family Exhaustion Anxiety about upcoming deadlines Help your students rest and recharge over the break.

Late November/Early December

Students register for spring classes

Excitement about being home for winter break

Classes wrap up for the semester

Feeling overwhelmed by multiple deadlines

Plans for changing academic division or major may solidify

Feeling anxious about upcoming exams This is a good time to remind your student about positive self-care strategies.


Students engaged in intense period of reading, writing, and studying

Sadness about leaving campus and being away from friends

Reading Week schedule allows greater flexibility

Excitement about the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends The open schedule of Reading Week makes it easy to lose track of time. Encourage your student to make a plan for how they will use the time to their advantage.


BEYOND THE TRANSITION STAYING CONNECTED TO THE UNIVERSITY Student Transitions & Family Programs is the primary support resource for parents and family members of all undergraduate students. We provide ongoing communications detailing campus resources, engagement with faculty and administrators, and university news and information throughout your student’s enrollment. At times, the university sends separate communication to family members about on- and off-campus events, including the Family Ties e-newsletter. To verify the family email associated with your student’s record, your student should log into WebSTAC and select Contact Information. To change the listed family email, please visit and select Update Family Email Address under the Communications tab. The Family Webinar Series connects you with staff and administrators to answer live questions about various student resources and campus events. Recordings of past webinars can be found on the Parent & Families website.




STAYING CONNECTED TO YOUR STUDENT USPS, UPS, FedEx, and other parcel services deliver to WashU. You may begin sending packages to your student’s mailing address 14 days before their move-in date. Your student can find their mailing address on their WebSTAC account after their housing assignment is released. Please make sure to send packages using the MSC number, not the room assignment, as the mailing address.

First and Last Name MSC Number XXXXXX Street Address City State Zip Code


CONTACTING YOUR STUDENT Use this page to keep track of your student’s WashU contact information. Tear out this back cover to keep this information in an easy-to-find location at your home or office.





Habif Health and Wellness Center


Residential Life (ResLife)


Student Financial Services


Student Transitions & Family Programs


University Registrar


For a list of other university contacts, visit this QR code.

This book was created by STUDENT TRANSITIONS & FAMILY PROGRAMS MSC 1136-332-21 One Brookings Drive St. Louis, MO 63130-4899 314-935-5040