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UC Answers: What will student life be like this fall?

Debra Merchant, vice president of student affairs, shares tips for students to stay engaged at UC

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Q: Why should I get involved in student life?

Merchant:  You should get involved in student life to expand your Bearcat experience. The things that happen outside of the classroom are the things that develop your leadership capacity, give you the opportunities to explore community engagement and help you meet new friends. So all of that will bring a Bearcat-worthy experience to what happens when you get on campus.

Q:  What will student life look like this fall?

Merchant:  Our dedicated UC staff have been working hard to develop a meaningful and memorable student experience for the fall. COVID-19 has pushed us to innovate more than ever. Students this fall will get to enjoy the rewards of creative new engagement opportunities and activities in both face-to-face and online spaces, as well as streamlined processes, and enhanced service delivery. Whether you are on campus or you're starting from home, you will have the opportunity to do what works for you. We will have face-to-face engagement, but we are also planning a lot of virtual reconceptualization of some of our very popular events.

Q: What sort of events can students look forward to?

Merchant: We have over 400 student organizations, and when I think about what things will look like in the fall, I think about the student organizations. We have created a virtual organization fair that students will be able to engage in. We will have face-to-face options, but we will also have virtual options. So what we are saying now is, it can be a student org fair every day if you like. An example is our concert that we have during Welcome Week at the beginning of the fall. This year we will have a virtual concert that students will be able to stream over and over again in their room or with a small group of friends for enjoyment.

Q: How is UC handling convocation this year?

Merchant: We are doing a virtual convocation. Convocation is a big part of Welcome Week. At convocation, students are officially inducted into our academic community. This year convocation is going to have some very different elements. We will have involvement from our colleges to ensure that students are not only prepared for their classes, but they're also excited about the fall semester.

Q: How can students stay informed about events?

Merchant: Events and activities will definitely be happening on campus. If students want to keep up with everything that's going on, they should make sure they log into CampusLINK and also download the Corq app. That will tell you where events are happening and what kind of events are happening.

Q: So how can I get involved?

Merchant: You can get involved two ways. Make sure that you go to CampusLINK, and you'll see over 400 student organizations that are there, but you also want to make sure that you participate in the student org fair. It's going to be virtual, and we will have some face-to-face aspects of programs going on during Welcome Week. Engage in everything that you can find to do during Welcome Week through CampusLINK or the Corq app.

Q: Any additional thoughts?

Merchant: Because of COVID-19 we know our fall semester is going to look different. For that reason we have been doing a lot of work this summer planning to keep you safe but also being creative and innovative to ensure that you have an engaging experience either on campus or online. We're so excited that you will be joining our UC community. We are planning cultural programs. We are planning programs to ensure that you are academically successful. We have opportunities for you to engage in the community and to develop your leadership skills.  If you want to learn more about what we have in store for you, please visit our website. If you see something that you want to learn more about, don't hesitate to reach out to us. 

In Student Affairs, we have over 20 unique programs and professional and student staff who are dedicated to your success and well-being. I encourage you to visit our website at to learn more about us and to get to know our staff. We are here to support you — both on-campus and from home. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Featured image at top: Debra Merchant is vice president of student affairs at the University of Cincinnati. photo/Lisa Ventre/UC Creative + Brand

Get involved at UC

Begin your search for the student group that is an ideal fit for your interests or drop into CampusLINK to find UC events, then find more UC Answers to your important questions.