Vern Vibe Newsletter

During this holiday season…

…and always, students, you and your families will be in my thoughts and prayers.  This time of year offers an opportunity to reflect on the blessings in our lives and, as well, on elements to improve in the new year.  Sadly, it also often presents us with challenges posed by either our own or others’ choices regarding the use or misuse of alcohol and other drugs.  Most likely, all of us have been touched by or know of a tragedy associated with poor choices.  My prayers for you are accompanied by just two requests.

The first is that you exercise your best judgment regarding your own legal and responsible use of alcohol and other drugs, or that you seek assistance from qualified resources to help you do so.  

The second is that you take time to review Alvernia University’s policies and resources concerning alcohol and other drugs, as outlined on pages 37-45 of our Student Handbook, available in the “Student Life” section of our web site,  When you do, you’ll learn anew the standards we’ve set for ourselves, the sanctions we believe are warranted when those standards aren’t met, and a bit about our resources to help those who have alcohol and drug related difficulties.  Most notable are the services of the Caron Treatment Centers (, which you may access through contact with either our Residence Life and Community Standards office or our Health and Wellness Center.

Ever-evolving approaches to alcohol and other drugs education during Orientation and throughout the year are hallmarks of our “A Healthier U” initiative, including our participation in Student Health 101 (  Freshmen who completed AlcoholEdu this year also will soon receive a series of refresher messages on related topics.  If you’d like to learn even more about the health risks associated with the uses and misuses of alcohol and other drugs, I recommend the web sites of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism ( and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (

All best wishes for your success with final papers, projects, and exams, and to you and yours for a happy and healthy holiday season.

Dr. C.

Joseph J. Cicala, Ph.D.
Vice President for University Life and Dean of Students // 610.796.8211

Do You Know That…

…during 2013-14, 86% of all fulltime Alvernia students were affiliated with a registered student organization or athletic team or another form of ongoing engagement at the University…or that 70% were affiliated with more than one?  Maybe that’s one reason why 90% were satisfied or very satisfied with their relationships with staff/administration, 93% with faculty relationships, and 95% with peer relationships.

Learn more about our registered student organizations at

…more than 60% of our resident students live in theme housing, from freshman Living-Learning Communities to upper division Affinity Communities? Returning students will be able to submit applications for 2015-16 Affinity Communities early in the Spring Semester.  Be on the lookout for information from Residence Life.

…the display of nativity scenes around the world is attributed to our patron, St. Francis’, reenactment of the events in Bethlehem to rouse the hearts of those weak in faith?  The manger displayed and venerated in Alvernia’s Francis Hall is more than a century old.  Hand-made in Poland in 1872, it was brought by Polish immigrants to Shenandoah, PA’s St. Stanislaus Church.  In 1926, the parishioners gave it as a gift to our Bernardine Franciscan Sisters and the children who lived in St. Francis Home, the orphanage the Sisters founded and that now is Francis Hall.

Health & Wellness Update

The Health and Wellness Center is transitioning to electronic health records.  Effective January 1st, we will bill all student health fees to the student’s account.  Fees can then be paid in the Office of Student Accounts.

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