Dear Arizona Wildcats,
Welcome home to the University of Arizona! I hope that all of you, new and returning students alike, had a wonderful summer. I know that many of you were here taking courses, some were working or completing internships and others had amazing travel experiences, including studies abroad. Wherever you are coming from, I hope that you are excited for a dynamic year here at the UA.
There are many changes in and around the UA this year: The rehabilitation of our beloved Old Main is complete, and McKale Center is undergoing a major renovation that will help us cheer the UA basketball teams to even greater heights than last year. I hope all of you have the opportunity to see and experience these reinvigorated and iconic buildings. Tours leave from the first floor of Old Main every day. If you have friends or relatives visit you here, the tours are a great way to show off our beautiful home.
Another major change is Tucson’s Sun Link Modern Streetcar. UA students, faculty and staff are eligible for a free pass through Sept. 14 and a 50 percent discount on semester or yearly passes is available as well. The streetcar runs through the UA campus and downtown Tucson on its way to the Mercado District west of Interstate 10. It is a wonderful way to see more of the city, and I encourage you to take advantage of this great new transportation resource.
There are changes going on behind the scenes here at the UA as well, and many new opportunities are available to you as students. As some of you will remember from last year, we have launched a new strategic plan, Never Settle, which is guiding our work as one of the world’s best research universities.
One of the most important parts of the Never Settle plan is our 100 percent student engagement initiative, which is creating opportunities for every student to participate, engage and apply learning experiences outside the classroom and laboratory. For example, students working in the Ralph Steckler Phase II Lunar Greenhouse program are helping to develop technology that could be the foundation for future space exploration and a resource to address agricultural challenges here on Earth.
Here are a few more ways the university is helping ensure your success:
• Career Services houses a set of resources that will provide a central point of access for over 15,000 available internships and other experiential learning programs.
• Other important portals include the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium and leadership opportunities like the Blue Chip program.
• Starting this year, UA transcripts will feature a Signature Graduation with Engagement designation to signify completion of engagement activities — internships, research projects, studies abroad and the like — as a hallmark of a UA degree.
• The Bear Down Downtown event in just two days (Aug. 27), will give you the chance to meet with organizations offering professional experience opportunities throughout Southern Arizona. See #BearDownDowntown for more information and to register for this event.
In May, I told the class of 2014 that there are far more opportunities available as UA graduates than they could imagine. The same is true for you as students.
As we begin the academic year, I urge you to seek out the resources and learning experiences that make the UA a unique and wonderful place. You will have the full support of our entire university community, and I can’t wait to see what all of you will accomplish.
Ann Weaver Hart
Follow Ann Weaver Hart @UAPrezAWH