Though it may be difficult to believe, fall is rapidly approaching and a new academic year at UW–Platteville will begin on Sept. 4.
The university continues to experience record growth, with 1,650 freshmen and more than 400 transfer students registered for the fall.
While the majority of our students are from Wisconsin, we also have students from 15 other states as well as degree-seeking international students from 19 different countries and visiting/exchange students from 12 countries. Interest in
UW–Platteville continues to grow, with more than 3,600 students visiting over the past year to find out more about our academic programs and the campus.
Having a diverse university is essential to preparing our students for the global workforce they will enter when they graduate. Today, many companies are international entities and are looking for employees who are broadly prepared for the workforce and who possess a global awareness and perspective. In order to compete in this type of environment, our students must possess interpersonal skills as well as intercultural competencies to complement their technical skills and broad intellectual training. Having diverse students, faculty and staff from the U.S. and the world who have a variety of backgrounds and life experiences allows our students to develop these very important life skills.
One of the challenges we face is ensuring that students are actively engaged in university campus life. One way that we can keep students fully engaged is to encourage them to experience residence hall life, which provides students with many benefits compared to living off campus.
Research from the National Survey of Student Engagement shows that students who live on campus earn higher grade point averages, have more interaction with faculty, and are more likely to graduate than their commuting peers. This is largely due to the fact that residence halls create an environment that allows students to feel a sense of belonging as well as a sense of pride in their university. This sense of belonging and pride, in turn, fosters academic achievement and community involvement as well as involvement in academic, cultural and co-curricular activities that allow students to learn, develop and grow. In addition, students who live in residence halls have the opportunity to develop lasting bonds with peers in their living environment and learn how to get along, communicate and live with others who may be different from themselves. This experience can be instrumental in helping students mature into responsible, thoughtful adults.
To provide this type of experience as well as accommodate our growing number of students and increase retention and graduation rates, we are opening a new residence hall, Rountree Commons, which is possible thanks to the combined efforts of the UW–Platteville Foundation and the UW–Platteville Real Estate Foundation. This residence hall will provide housing for 620 students this fall, mostly freshmen and sophomores, and will offer many amenities that aren’t available in our traditional residence halls, including an air-conditioned, suite-style, double room floor plan; convenience store and fitness center. Student artwork has been incorporated into the design of the interior and exterior of the building and grounds, including statues in the courtyard, metal artwork on the retaining wall and other art pieces created using a variety of mediums.
We will host a Rountree Commons open house for the general public Thursday, Aug. 30 from 5 to 6 p.m. We hope that you will join us.
UW–Platteville has been the fastest growing campus in the UW System over the past dozen years. While this has been beneficial to the university and community in many ways, it has also created challenges in some aspects, such as parking. To accommodate parking needs, the university has added parking including some remote parking options such as McGregor Plaza, which will be primarily for residents of Rountree Commons. Additional remote parking will be available at Memorial Park.
In an additional effort to help meet transportation needs on campus, starting this fall, the university will provide a city–campus shuttle service seven days a week. The shuttle will provide a way for students, employees and community members to travel to campus and to various locations throughout Platteville. Students will only need to present a valid student ID to ride. Staff and community members may ride the shuttle for a fee of $1 per ride or $30 for a yearly pass.
Shuttle routes are currently being finalized and details will be posted on our transportation website, www.uwplatt.edu/transportation.
The university will hold its annual Welcome Weekend/New Student Orientation on Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. New student orientation is important because it helps all incoming students connect with the university, meet other students and learn more about the community. In fact, research indicates that students who attend new student orientation transition more positively in college, both academically and socially. During this weekend, the university has scheduled a number of activities both on-campus and in the community, including music during student move-in, a welcome picnic in Memorial Park, a scavenger hunt downtown and an outdoor movie.
There will also be an evening block party on Saturday, Sept. 1, and an all-campus welcome fest the evening of Monday, Sept. 3, featuring two popular, national recording artists. The block party will conclude by 8 p.m. and the all-campus welcome fest and concert will conclude by about 10:30 p.m. All of the planned activities have been designed with community members and students in mind, and we are confident that this welcoming weekend will be a positive experience for all.
As the new academic year begins, we hope that you will take advantage of all the university has to offer: sporting events, music and theatre performances, fitness classes, academic courses, indoor/outdoor track, basketball and racquetball courts, swimming pool, exercise/weight room and more. We are committed to continuing to provide these opportunities and more to the people of Platteville. This university campus is not only for our students, but for you as well. Remember, every day is a great day to be a Pioneer!
The Community Corner is a weekly column of opinion written by guest columnists UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields; Platteville School District Superintendent Connie Valenza; Chamber Director Kathy Kopp; Main Street Program Director Jack Luedtke; Common Council President Mike Dalecki, Platteville Recreation Coordinator Jordan Burress, State Rep. Travis Tranel, Platteville City Manager Larry Bierke and Police Chief Doug McKinley.