Building Community So Students Thrive
Students need two things to thrive on campus: support and community. When you meet those needs, students are more likely to succeed both in and outside the classroom.
This fall we hit a record 91 percent retention rate—the percentage of first-year students who return for their second year at UT.
You’ve probably heard about the academic resources and specialized programs launched by the Division of Student Success and the support our students receive from faculty. The other part of that work is the community building led by the Division of Student Life, which focuses on cultivating a sense of belonging for every Vol.
Student Life provides programming on leadership development, hosts events to help students feel welcome and find their community on campus, and offers resources for personal wellness, among other services.
Just like Student Success and our academic colleges, Student Life is using a strengths-based approach to their interactions with Vols—from well-being workshops to Greek life.
Good things happen when students are engaged, which is why we understand the importance of having more than 400 student groups and organizations so everyone can find their place on Rocky Top. More students are finding a home in sororities and fraternities, with participation up to 27 percent—thanks in part to increased staff support, resources, and education.
This fall more than 7,800 Vols attended our first Tennessee Saturday Night event, a time for students to spend with their peers enjoying free food, games, and prizes. Additionally, nearly 3,800 Vols have contributed more than 24,000 service hours in our community since August.
We are investing in infrastructure for a better student experience by updating and enhancing the TRECS complex, building three new residence halls, and preparing for the renovation and expansion of the Frieson Black Cultural Center.
The Division of Student Life is dedicated to meeting students where they are and assisting them through times of uncertainty.
We support the basic needs of all students and are expanding the pantry and clothing closet resources. We established the Center for Care and Resilience to expand services offered by 974-HELP. We have launched new programs to help students with mental health and substance use.
Our students are our focus. I am proud of the work the Division of Student Life and its partners across campus are doing to make sure our Vols are happy, healthy, and cared for.