Graphic reads "One U thriving" and features a backpack that says "U Belong here" on it.

The power of community

This fall, it is with a renewed sense of joy that we welcome all of you back onto our physical campus, into classrooms and gathering spaces, and invite you to join in our community both in-person and at a distance. For those of you who are new to the University of Utah, welcome home. And to those who are returning or who are engaging with the university in a new way this year, welcome back.

Now that we are back together in person and remotely, know that university staff and faculty are eager to be in community with you and acting in thoughtful ways about each other’s health and safety. Many of us might have the same timid hesitation for what is next, but it does not eclipse our shared excitement to start in the new academic year. We know, as do you, that the year is full of possibilities! These possibilities exist because we learned that even in hard times, our community and our care for each other will make it possible for us to stay together through the year.

Because community and staying together are key, we highly encourage you to connect with our student resource centers including the Women’s Resource Center, Black Cultural Center, LGBT Resource Center, American Indian Resource Center who do magnificent work in building community. These centers also offer guidance such as the Veterans Support Center which guides students on how to apply for their benefits and the Dream Center which guides undocumented students and mixed-status families from college access to graduation. This year is also the inaugural year of the Center for Equity and Student Belonging, or CESB, which was formally known as CESA.

We ask you to think of yourselves as co-creators of our U campus community—a community that permeates our physical and digital spaces. It is reflected in how we treat one another, interrogate ideas, engage in thoughtful discussion and reflection, and how we show up when we are called upon for support.

So, as you start the new academic year, we encourage to find your people, connect with old friends and meet new ones, establish a rapport or connection with our incredible faculty and get to know our staff. But, more importantly, being back is to rediscover the joy in learning, as learning is a group activity and we are looking forward to doing this again, together and safely.

Today, as we begin this academic year, we will enjoy the experience of doing that with a renewed appreciation for who we are as a community. The University of Utah is a home like no other because of you.

It is with joy that we welcome you back into a new year as we continue to move forward together.