Welcome back Alvernia students! And a special welcome to our transfer students and the Class of 2016.
It’s that time again...time for classes and clubs, athletics games and good friends, teaching and learning. As you arrived on campus, I’m sure you noticed the two new Founders Village residences. Student feedback and suggestions directly influenced the design of these buildings, so it has been great to see our students enjoying the results.
It’s a scene that will be repeated in January when we celebrate the opening of the Campus Commons, the new home of a two-story fitness center, a dance and aerobics studio, spaces for student clubs and offices, and a large campus living room.
As many of you have noted, these are just a few of the summertime investments in students’ living and learning environment. Our facilities team made dramatic improvements to classrooms in Bernardine Hall. The expanded learning commons in Franco Library has transformed an already popular spot for individual and group study.
Also completed was the second stage of renovations to the Assisi and Siena Townhouses and some long-overdue repainting and refurnishing of Veronica Hall. And alumni are getting in on the action too. Our first Alvernia Alumni House, on the corner of St. Bernardine Street and Greenway Terrace, will open later this month.
Several new academic programs are being launched. A healthcare science major will welcome its first students this spring. In addition, The Philadelphia Center has added several new programs, including Bachelor’s degrees in management and social work, a Master’s in education, and certificates for principals and superintendents.
Summertime is a hot bed of activity for hundreds of youth from the area. In addition to basketball, soccer, field hockey camps and Creativity Camps for South Reading children, the Holleran Center and Carpenter Technology co-sponsored a free science camp for 100 area junior high students. One 8th grader said it was literally a “blast,” referring to a “reactive mixtures” science experiment in which campers created toned-down version of gunpowder. Fortunately, I was at the beach that week!
And just one day after saying goodbye to parents, all first-year Alvernia students worked together with faculty, staff and alumni to clean up parks and playgrounds in the City of Reading — a service project related to a book they read over the summer: Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. Throughout the coming year, freshman students will work on projects together responding to Kozol's challenge to make a difference for children in poverty. Don’t miss your chance to hear the award-winning author and learn more about his work when he speaks on campus on Oct. 10.
In addition to Kozol’s visit, there will be many other arts, cultural, and athletic events to fill schedules this semester. But whether you’re cheering on the Crusaders or just sipping coffee with friends in the Courtside or Kestrel Cafes, spend some time reflecting on and discussing the upcoming presidential election. Most importantly, make sure your voice is heard by planning to vote in the November election. There are big issues at stake, as our country faces war overseas, joblessness and poverty at home, and a range of additional moral and social issues.
Voting is a cherished right and an important responsibility of all of us as citizens in a democratic society. To vote, you’ll need to make sure you are registered. The deadline to do that is fast approaching.
Six Alvernia students are being sponsored by the University to attend the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Junior Bernard, Ryan Cupo, Brandon Harry, Slate Kleinsmith, Melissa Mitchell, and Brendon McGirr have been invited to attend, and some of them will be blogging about their experiences.
You can access these and other student and faculty blogs from the Alvernia website: http://www.alvernia.edu/news/blogs.html. I hope you will read your colleagues’ blogs and maybe even participate in one yourself. Remember that contemplation is one of our core values at Alvernia. And blogging is a great way to consider your thoughts and then share them with others.
Look forward to seeing you all around campus. Have a fine year.
Peace and All Good, President Flynn