From the VP's Desk

Rev. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Caring for Ourselves and One Another

Author: Rev. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C.

Dear Students,

I hope you had a wonderful Fall Break, and found at least some opportunity to catch your breath after a busy first half of the semester! With cooler weather upon us and the end of the semester now in sight, I write to both commend you for your perseverance over the last year and remind you about the importance of caring for yourselves and one other in these last weeks of fall.…

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Welcome from Fr. Gerry

Author: Rev. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C.

Dear Students,

I hope this message finds you enjoying your first day of classes! I am thrilled to write today to welcome you to another academic year at the University of Notre Dame.

As some of you may know, this is my first year as the University’s Vice President for Student Affairs. If you are not familiar with the work of Student Affairs, it comprises more than 250 professional staff who work in a variety of departments

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Fall Outlook and Policy Updates

Author: Kate Morgan

Dear Students,

We hope this finds you enjoying the summer and preparing for the start of the next academic year. As a follow up to the email you received last week regarding policies for the fall semester, we write to share several updates of what you can expect this year, followed by more information regarding important health and safety protocols. Please share this information with your parents, guardians, and loved ones as necessary.

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Indoor Mask Update

Author: Rev. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C., Laura Carlson

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

With the summer upon us and the summer sessions just ahead, we would once again like to thank you for all you have done throughout this challenging year.

Because of our high rates of vaccination, low campus case rates, and St. Joseph County’s improved case rates, we are excited to announce that effective today, Thursday, June 3, those who are fully vaccinated

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Expansion of Student Activites

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

With Notre Dame’s 7-day moving average of positive case counts declining, we are happy to follow up on last week’s email and announce further expansion of in-person student activities.

The rationale for these changes is two-fold. First, thanks to the success of limited outdoor events over the past week, the University can now introduce additional outdoor activities where the risk of transmission is lower. Second, we will begin offering indoor activity in spaces and programs where staff, faculty, or student managers are present to assist with health and safety protocols, which must be maintained at all times. Please remember eating indoors is permitted only in designated eating areas, including North and South Dining Halls, heated dining tents, residence hall rooms, or specific areas of Hesburgh Library, McCourtney Hall, and the Rasmus Club (8th floor) of the Duncan Student Center.…

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Campus Activity Update

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

We know these days of slowed campus activity have been very challenging for you. The pandemic forces us to make difficult choices to balance the physical health of our community with our desire to offer you opportunities to connect socially. University leaders do not make these decisions lightly, especially because we know they have an impact on your Notre Dame experience.…

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Spring Student Life Updates

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding, Laura Carlson

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

We are delighted to welcome many students back to campus in the coming days as we prepare for the start of classes on Feb. 3. You bring our campus to life with your energy and talent, and we are eager to begin another semester with you.

We realize this semester will not be easy as we continue to work to keep one another healthy, respond to broader challenges of an ongoing global pandemic, combat systemic racism, and seek ways to heal the deep division in our country. We admire your resilience and encourage our community to model civility, foster equity and inclusion, and support one another.…

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COVID Update: Testing and Campus Compact

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear Undergraduate and Professional Students,

On behalf of everyone here at the University, we look forward with great anticipation to your return to campus. 

Over the Winter Break, the University spent time collecting student feedback about last semester through focus groups, surveys, and conversations. One of the themes that emerged from your feedback was a desire for clarity and transparency, especially in such a rapidly changing environment. We are grateful for the input you provided, which has informed our planning for this semester.…

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Winter Break Update: Graduate and Professional Students

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding, Laura Carlson

Dear graduate and professional students,

We write first with gratitude for your contributions as teaching and research assistants, as undergraduate mentors, and as members of our campus community throughout this most unusual of semesters. We also acknowledge the many ways you have facilitated necessary adaptations to this pandemic. To those of you who have been remote and unable to be on campus, you have been missed, and we look forward to you joining us in South Bend.…

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Winter Break Update: Undergraduate Students

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear undergraduate students,

I hope your final exams and exit testing have gone as smoothly and successfully as possible. Congratulations on completing this most unusual of semesters, and thank you for the many ways you adjusted due to the pandemic.

I write today with a variety of updates relevant to Winter Break in December and January. Please read this email carefully, as it contains important information about student resources and policy updates between the fall and spring semesters.…

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Travel Requirements Following Exit Testing

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

Thank you for your cooperation with exit testing. We write today to share information with you about travel expectations based on the results of your exit test.

STUDENTS WHO TEST POSITIVE

The St. Joseph County Department of Health, in accordance with isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), requires a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 to remain in isolation for a minimum of 10 days from the date of a positive test or symptom onset in the University’s daily health check application.…

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COVID-19 Exit Testing

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

Since we wrote last week and Father Jenkins recently indicated, Notre Dame's COVID-19 cases and local transmission continue at concerning rates. We are grateful for students' excellent participation in surveillance testing, which is imperative to prevent further spread. Today, we want to share additional details with you about dining precautions and exit testing.…

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COVID-19 Cases

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

We write with some important updates related to the recent increase in campus COVID-19 cases referenced in Fr. Jenkins’ video message this afternoon. 

INFORMATION ON CASES

Since Monday, we have had a total of 41 positive cases reported. Contact tracing indicates many of these cases originated from larger parties and gatherings last weekend. The number of close contacts for each positive case has also increased substantially, with as many as 10-15 close contacts needing to quarantine. As was true earlier in the semester, our experience demonstrates that transmission occurs in social settings where individuals are unmasked and often sharing food or drink together.…

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End of Semester Testing Update

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

We write today to provide you with information about COVID-19 testing of students at the conclusion of the fall semester. Please feel free to forward this information to your parents, guardians, and loved ones.

The University will offer COVID-19 testing to assist students traveling to other states or countries. Students will have an opportunity to sign up for testing appointments at the beginning of November.…

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Campus Life Updates and the Winter Session

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

As fall weather arrives, I am so encouraged by the modest number of positive COVID-19 cases in our campus community. Thank you for all you are doing to keep us healthy by following the University’s health and safety protocols. I am proud of our community and grateful to be on campus together.…

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Student Life Phased Reopening

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

I am heartened our community has successfully flattened the curve of new COVID-19 cases, yet sobered by our earlier swift transmission of the virus. Thank you for everything you have done to make this time of pause successful and safe for our community. 

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Update Following the President's Address to Students

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

The spread of the coronavirus on our campus has been swift and concerning. As Father Jenkins indicated, we have implored our campus community to observe the best prevention practices advised by medical experts and made extensive modifications to campus operations. While most community members have complied admirably, the consequences of lapses in our health and safety practices are clear. Failing to adhere to mask wearing and physical distancing at all times has resulted in significant transmission.

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Update on Initial COVID-19 Cases

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Mike Seamon

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

Congratulations on a successful start of classes! While we may not write to you every week, please know we are committed to keeping you well informed. Today, we have important updates to share.

Thank you for embracing our health and safety practices. Mask wearing and physical distancing have been outstanding in class and at University sponsored events.…

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Updates on Health and Safety Practices

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

It has been wonderful to watch campus come alive with more students this week. As we approach our first weekend together, I write with a brief update on our health and safety practices.

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Observe physical distance.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Complete your daily health check.

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Updates for Student Life This Fall

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Students,

We are truly excited for your return to Notre Dame next week, though I realize this will be a challenging semester as we all adjust to necessary changes on campus. I write today to ensure you are aware of our updated plans related to student life during the fall semester. All of the information contained in this letter is also available on the University’s central website

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Returning to Campus Safely

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Students,

With significant health and social challenges facing our country and the world, we are more dedicated than ever to your safe return to campus. From our founding, Notre Dame has sought to be a force for good in the world and cultivate an education of both mind and heart. We support those aspirations in the Division of Student Affairs through fostering community for all students, nurturing your health and well-being, and supporting your individual formation.…

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Sharing Our Students' Voices and Moving Forward Together

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Students,

In the midst of the challenges all of our students have faced since March, many in our community but especially our Black students are now in anguish because of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery - the latest tragedies in a long list of precious lives needlessly and brutally taken. These deaths occurred at a time when many students of color faced significant disparity in resources during remote learning and have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of our students, recent alumni, and their allies have written this past week with pleas, anger, hope, and ideas. Our students have told us they are angry and in pain. They have reminded us Notre Dame is neither immune to nor distant from the sin of racism. They are right. As Father John said, we must be honest about our failings and commit ourselves to do better.…

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2019 Letter to Students: Fostering a More Inclusive Campus

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

August 26, 2019

Dear Notre Dame Undergraduate Students:

We are delighted to begin a new academic year; one that we hope is filled with thought-provoking coursework and meaningful involvement in campus life – in other words, a time of growth in both mind and heart consistent with our Catholic, Holy Cross tradition. This year, as we approach the 2020 presidential election, our country is engaged in vigorous debate about our future. We write today to share our hopes for how this discussion will unfold at Notre Dame, and how we intend to continue to build a community that is inclusive of all students.…

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A Letter to Notre Dame Students: Sexual Assault Prevention and Support in the Year Ahead

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding and Erin Oliver

Dear Notre Dame Students,

Each summer, the University of Notre Dame evaluates the programs, policies, and procedures we use to prevent and respond to sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and other instances of sexual harassment. As we welcome new students and launch a new academic year, we write today with a reminder of the resources available to members of our community and highlight recent changes to our efforts. …

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Writing the Next Chapter

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear New Students,

Like generations who came before, you are embarking on a journey at the University of Notre Dame where you will have an opportunity to advance your knowledge, deepen your faith, develop your character, and form lifelong friendships. Whether you are a first-year undergraduate, transfer, professional, or graduate student, we are delighted that you have chosen to join our community; and I extend a warm welcome to you as you begin this formative time in your life.…

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Residence Halls Announcement

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Notre Dame Undergraduates,

I write today with an announcement about how we will be forming two new undergraduate residential communities in 2016-2017. Next fall, two new residence halls will open, supporting the University’s long-term priority to relieve overcrowding conditions in our current halls. These new facilities will also make it possible for us to significantly advance renovations of existing halls.

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A Letter to Notre Dame Students: Let's Keep Our Community Safe

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Dear Notre Dame students,

My heart sank when I learned of several reports of sexual assault last weekend. While I am encouraged that students are comfortable reporting, and I have great confidence in the support and response systems the University and our partners have in place, we will never be content until these incidents cease.

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