Welcome Message from Lynanne Yndestad, Director of New Student & Family Programs

Welcome to another exciting year at VCU! We are thrilled to have you join us for the 2019-2020 academic year, which promises to be full of events and resources to help your students thrive. We had a wonderful summer meeting our parents, families and new students at New Student Orientation, and we hope you did as well. 

We have many opportunities to get involved this year, including our monthly family events through the VCU Family Association. Last year these events included paint nights, museum tours and happy hours, and we are hard at work to create new events that will take you around campus and the City of Richmond. The VCU Family Association includes all parents and family members of VCU students. It is an organization with open and free membership which includes:

  • Access to the New Student and Family Programs office for navigation and resource help
  • Ongoing communication through the website, monthly electronic newsletters, daily blog posts, VCU Families app and social networks
  • Invitations to events such as Family Weekend and monthly opportunities to interact with faculty, staff, students, and other family members
  • Assistance on the VCU Family Helpline Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Access to bi-monthly webinars designed to help you and your student succeed academically, physically and mentally

If you already receive the monthly Ram Family Update electronic newsletter, you are part of the VCU Family Association. If you would like to connect to our resources please email us at ramfamilies@vcu.edu to join in on the fun!

We are also happy to introduce the VCU Family Council, an advisory board that serves the VCU Family Association, VCU students, and the University. Any family member of a current VCU student is eligible to apply for membership. This Council is responsible for advising the University on family programs and services and serves as a vehicle for communication between the Family Association and VCU administrators to address concerns of VCU parents and families. The application for the VCU Family Council has been extended to August 20, 2019.

Want more frequent updates on what’s happening around campus throughout the year? Please join us on our VCU Families Facebook Page where we will continue to share important information and deadlines, as well as interesting photos and videos from campus and beyond. If you have any questions, concerns, stories or triumphs to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at ramfamilies@vcu.edu or at (804) 828-7322. We wish you and your student the best in the year ahead and welcome to VCU!

Webinar Series 2019-2020

VCU New Student & Family Programs will launch a bi-monthly webinar series covering a range of topics from New Student Orientation and Move-In to preparing for Commencement and life as an alumni. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback in real time. For those who are unable to watch live, the captioned videos will be shared on this blog and the VCU Families Facebook page a few days after the live webinar. Tune in in August for weekly webinars to kick-off the start of the school year. The August webinars will cover:

Tuesday, August 6 @ 11 am 

Making the Move – Preparing for Move-In

Dr. Megan Becker and Alli Patel, Residential Life and Housing

Lisa Mathews-Ailsworth, Dean of Students Office

This webinar provides families with important information for a successful arrival process. Our presenters will answer all of your questions while highlighting Move-In Day logistics for students living on campus, what to bring, what not to bring, and our Weeks of Welcome festivities. We will also provide advice for families of students choosing to live off campus or commuting about how to get connected with the campus community from a distance.

Tuesday, August 13 @ 11 am 

Paying for College – Understanding and Paying the Tuition Bill

Kelly Coldiron, Student Services

Danielle Mitchell, Student Accounting

KaToya Wagner, Financial Aid

Students finance their education through a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study, loans and personal funds. In this webinar, you’ll learn more about the comprehensive list of financial aid options available to you and your student, as well as important upcoming deadlines to be aware of. We will walk through what a tuition bill looks like and how to understand each charge. We will also walk you through the process for becoming an authorized user on your student’s financial account so that you are able to login to see the bill and make payments on your student’s behalf if necessary. Lastly, we will review information about submitting the annual FAFSA form, which you can begin submitting in October.

Tuesday, August 20 @ 11 am

Weeks of Welcome – How to Navigate the First 6 Weeks

Lauren Henry, University Student Commons and Activities

Dr. Derek Hottell, Recreational Sports

The first six weeks are full of challenge and excitement as students begin to learn about their new role as an adult while balancing that with a new social scene and academic expectations. In this webinar, you’ll learn about how your student can get involved on campus and in the city of Richmond. Some students will soon embark on the fraternity or sorority recruitment process while others may want to explore student clubs, organizations or recreational sports or fitness offerings. Information about nationwide positive and negative trends surrounding involvement, alcohol, drugs, and other hot topics will be shared to help you figure out how to proactively support your student during this time of transition. We will also walk you through how to navigate the Division of Student Affairs website so that you can direct your student to the appropriate resources during this important time of transition.

Tuesday, August 27 @ 11 am

Adulting and Your Student – You and Your Student’s Rights and Responsibilities

Rocky Carmine, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity

Officer Jonathan Wade, VCU Police

As your student enters the world of adulthood, navigating the rights and responsibilities they now have and understanding new limitations on your rights over them can be tricky. This webinar will education you about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and discuss what it means for you. We will be joined by representatives from Student Conduct and Academic Integrity as well as VCU Police who will help you to learn more about their role on campus and the rights and responsibilities of your student as a new member of the VCU community. Students often aren’t familiar with these departments until they are in trouble, but they provide many resources and services your student should take advantage of in order to be part of a safe and healthy campus community.

For a full list of webinar dates and topics please visit the New Student & Family Programs website.

Rec Sports Night 2019

Welcome to the VCU Class of 2023! As part of the Weeks of Welcome, VCU Recreational Sports is hosting Rec Sports Night on Sunday, August 18, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Rec Sports Night is a perfect opportunity for first-year students, and anyone new to VCU, to explore all Rec Sports has to offer.

Students will receive a “Passport” upon entry that will have a facility map and guide as well as spots for stamp collecting. When students visit certain areas/programs of Rec Sports Night, they will receive a stamp that correlates with the area they visited.

  • Two stamps: Free Food in the Wet Classroom.

  • Four stamps: Free T-shirt while supplies last.

  • Five stamps: Entry into a raffle for prizes.

    • Each additional stamp past five stamps is another entry into the raffle.

Along with information tables from each Rec Sports program, the night will include: Group Ex classes from Vinyasa Yoga to S.U.P. HIIT, Log Rolling, Wheelchair Basketball with our partner, SportableRVA, five-minute massages, Sport Club demonstrations, S’mores at the Outing Rental Center and more! Chat with our event sponsors, such as BetterMed, Graduate Hotels and more throughout the facility who will have their own giveaways.

Students can use the RamGuide to check in to Rec Sports Night using the QR code and be entered into a raffle for a semester’s worth of tuition.

This event is not limited to the Class of 2023. VCU Rec Sports members and upper-level students are welcome to attend and use the gym as usual. Please note that there will be a large number of students in attendance. Linden Street, between Cary and Cumberland Streets, will be closed to traffic 12:00 noon to 11:30 p.m.

VCU Family Webinar: Equal Access for Every Student – How to Register Students for Accommodations

All VCU students deserve a learning environment where they have equal access to every aspect of the University’s programs, services, and activities. In this webinar, Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity will share how we do this through partnerships with students, faculty, and staff to promote students’ independence and to ensure the recognition of students’ abilities, not disabilities. We will discuss the process of registering with the SAEO office so that they may determine appropriate academic adjustments such as program and exam modifications, classroom accommodations, and auxiliary aids once students have self-identified themselves and completed the eligibility process.

Move-In Day 2019

It’s almost time for students to move into the residence halls!  Move-in is Saturday, August 17, 2019. You can find out all of details you need to know by checking the VCU Residential Life and Housing move-in website here. On this website, you will find a move-in guide for your student’s residence hall and will find many helpful tips for moving in including a list of what to bring and what not to bring.

Please download the VCU Ram Guide app (the same app you used for Orientation) and open the Move-In Guide to find out information. Instructions for downloading the app may be found on the move-in website.

There will be many VCU representatives directing traffic, but it is helpful to know where you are going.  You can find an interactive map of both campuses here.  If you have questions regarding move-in, please contact VCU Residential Life and Housing at (804) 828-7666 or vcuhousing@vcu.edu.

We’re going live on Facebook!

"VCU New Student & Family Programs, we're going live!" text over a picture of students at new student convocation

VCU New Student and Family Programs will go live on Facebook Monday, June 10 at 11 a.m. to discuss the details of New Student Orientation sessions.

Lynanne Yndestad, Director of New Student and Family Programs, and Assistant Director Lauren Braun will cover why orientation is important, what to expect, what to bring and student and family schedules. Participants will have the opportunity to get some of their questions answered in real time by commenting during the live video.

For those who cannot watch the video live, a recording will be uploaded to this page for parents and families to access at any time.

If you have any questions about the video, or would like to submit questions ahead of time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Parent & Family Helpline at 804-828-7322 or through email at ramfamilies@vcu.edu.

Summer Blog Post Schedule

Happy summer everyone! As the semester closes out and students venture out to work, relax or take intersession classes, we will be adjusting our blog schedule. Blog posts will now be posted once a week and will center around important updates, campus events such as New Student Orientation and Weeks of Welcome and important dates and deadlines.

We will still be sharing stories from around campus and the Richmond community over on our VCU Families Facebook page and will continue to welcome your questions and feedback through our ramfamilies@vcu.edu email. We look forward to hearing about your student’s summer adventures and hope you have a wonderful summer!

Summer Events for VCU Students

VCU is excited to invite current VCU students to two upcoming events in the DMV area.

Extend your Memorial Day weekend with a night at the ballpark Tuesday, May 28. Watch the Bowie Baysox bat against the Akron Rubber Ducks, and enjoy an all-American buffet at the picnic pavilion. The buffet features hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled chicken barbecue, baked beans, pasta salad, chips, watermelon and ice cream novelties. To quench your thirst, you’ll enjoy unlimited iced tea, lemonade and soft drinks. The buffet begins at 6 p.m. and is available through the eighth inning. The game starts at 6:35 p.m.  Cost is $10 for adults (discounted exclusively for you from $13) and $5 for 18 and younger (discounted from $10).

On Saturday, June 1, join alumni and other incoming VCU students to cheer on D.C. United as the team takes on the San Jose Earthquakes. Before the game, join us at Buffalo Wild Wings for your game-day favorites. Registration includes the pregame social appetizers and game ticket. The social begins at 6 p.m., and the soccer game starts at 8 p.m. Cost is $20 for adults and $15 for fans 12 and younger (discounted exclusively for you from $35).

Learn more and register for the events at https://www.support.vcu.edu/event/dmvelevate2.

Graduation Message from VCU President Dr. Michael Rao

This message originally appeared on Dr. Rao’s President’s Posts Blog on Saturday, May 11 2019:

VCU awarded more than 5,200 professional, graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates today to nearly 5,000 graduates who were recognized at the universitywide and unit-level ceremonies. It was an honor to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates along with their families, loved ones and friends.

Good morning, Class of 2019! It’s my honor and privilege to celebrate your accomplishment with your family, friends and loved ones.

You met your goals. You have put in countless hours studying and working to develop yourself as a person. You collaborated with colleagues in the classroom, lab, studio, and clinic, and you conducted research and volunteered in our communities.

Because of your dedication to excellence, you are graduating from a place in awe of your abilities and potential. The stories of your successes are still buzzing around campus.

While earning your degree in and outside of the classroom you redefined the American Dream to truly represent who we are today.

U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove said, “The American Dream is a phrase we’ll have to wrestle with all of our lives. It means a lot of things to different people. I think we’re redefining it now.”

Your scholarship, advocacy and volunteerism are all redefining the American Dream to be more inclusive and cognizant that we live in a world that has thankfully, changed dramatically since writer James Truslow Adams first penned the phrase in 1931.

Proof of change taking place is in front of us and VCU is where the redefined American Dream happens.

The other week, I took part in an awards ceremony honoring members of the university community who went above and beyond what was expected of them as they work toward a learning and healing community that is more equitable and inclusive.

The winner of the capstone award recognized for their scholarship, emotional intelligence and solid common sense is a third-year student who according to her nominator, “advocates for marginalized and vulnerable groups across the university community.” They were stunned to receive the award. The rest of us were not.

As an advocate for all human beings, the honoree challenges us to think about our existential purpose as a place of higher learning and healing. And you do too.

You taught me that you firmly believe in setting aside the traditional college formula of going to class, taking tests and graduating.

You are entrepreneurial and have taken your personal interests and passions and used them as a tool to solve age-old problems that matter to all of us, not just some of us.

You recognize the importance of the arts in recovering from trauma. You have collaborated across disciplines to develop better ways to address the effects of trauma.

You are a full participant in the Richmond community through collaboration with your neighbors and through volunteerism—8.7 million hours in all!

You did all of this while earning your degree. You did all of this because you belong to a group destined to be the most-educated generation in American history.

Class of 2019, along with your professors, mentors and loved ones, I dream of the amazing things you will do. As healthcare providers, social workers, engineers, artists, creative entrepreneurs, communicators, educators, community leaders and scientists I know you will continue to achieve great things that will have great impact on our world. We are all incredibly proud of you.

Congratulations on behalf of the entire community at VCU.