August 23, 2018

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Academic Year

For the second consecutive year, the beautiful Borough of West Chester tops the 2018 list of Best College Towns according to (HSI).As befits the entity that compiled the list, internet connectivity is a prime factor they considered when they set their tool “The U.S. City You Should be Living In” to search for criteria that should be important to college students. They also evaluated low cost of living, walkability, low crime rate, and a predominantly single and educated population. The algorithm uses data from sites across the web, including,,, C2ER,, Kelly Norton, and Walk Score. “We adapted this tool to find cities with an ideal environment for college students,” notes HSI staffer Rachel Oaks.

marching band 2018

Welcome to West Chester University all new students, faculty, and staff! And welcome back all current students, faculty, and staff!

This year’s welcome address by WCU President Christopher Fiorentino will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 12:30 p.m. in Asplundh Concert Hall, Philips Memorial Building, with a reception on the Quad to follow. The event is open to the entire campus.

New on campus

The water tower with its two newly painted “WCU” graphics literally stands at the intersection of old and new as the University prepares to construct the largest academic and service building on campus, the 175,000-square-foot Sciences and Engineering Center and The Commons. The first phase of construction to commence will be for a new 460-car parking garage.

This major investment WCU is making in its future will present some challenges in the months ahead in navigating campus on foot as well as by vehicle. To help make getting around easier, a Transportation and Parking Services website has been created to keep you apprised of updates concerning parking lots, permits, and policies, alternative routes to use during construction, available transportation services, and more.

Also new this semester: Updated campus shuttle bus schedules and routes and a new WCU Shuttle App (available for free on the Google Play and iTunes Stores) to track shuttle locations in real time.

The University continues to explore additional options so watch the Transportation and Parking Services website and your emails. Please be patient as we work in the best interests of our students to meet their expanding needs.


New program for WCU’s first-generation college students

This fall, approximately one in four (24%) of WCU’s new first-year students self-reported during orientation registration that they are first-generation college students. So on Friday, Aug. 24, after they move their belongings into their rooms, they can learn more about belonging at WCU at a welcome reception that is part of a new University pilot program.

More than 100 first-generation college students and their 200+ family members are expected to drop in to the Center for Student Involvement on the second floor of Sykes Student Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They’ll be able to make immediate connections with WCU students, faculty, and staff — many of whom were also the first in their family to attend college — and learn from them about academic support offerings, financial aid, scholarships, clubs, and more. WCU President Christopher Fiorentino will drop in from 12 to 12:30 p.m.

Those who attend will receive a “West Chester’s First” T-shirt so, when you see a “first-gen” student wearing that tee, give them a warm Golden Ram welcome.


New Programs

WCU is offering the B.S. in business management degree in both full-time and part-time formats through in-person, online, and hybrid classes held at the State System’s Center City location. A 10% tuition discount and reduced fees are available to qualified students admitted to the program or any WCU degree program offered at the Philadelphia location.

This fall, the B.S. in nutrition will offer two new concentrations in addition to the dietetics track: Lifestyle Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems Management. The dietetics concentration is the only track that can lead to credentialing as a registered dietitian (RD or RDN) or a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR).

The Athletic Training program is transitioning to the entry-level master’s program. Students planning to become Athletic Trainers should enroll in the accelerated 3+2 B.S. and M.S. degree (prospective first-year students) for individuals who do not have a bachelors and want to become an athletic trainer (Professional Graduate program). This degree path for traditional undergraduate students awards the B.S. in Health Sciences-Sports Medicine Studies concentration and the M.S. in Athletic Training in five years of study.


Green News (Sustainability)

Outside Sykes Student Union, the completed pergola and the bench seating are constructed of cypress wood certified according the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council. This type of wood contributes credits under the LEED Green Building system. The steel was sourced in the United States and has 77% recycled content.

The University’s dining services provider, Aramark, is phasing out plastic straws and stirrers beginning this September, and will aim instead to offer more eco-friendly alternatives. Aramark already instituted such sustainable practices as local purchasing, waste oil reduction, reusable plastic plates and utensils, and composting. Aramark will also phase out the use of plastic bags in retail outlets on campus (small paper bags will be available on request). At Aramark’s P.O.D. locations, for larger purchases, customers will receive a 10-cent credit for bringing a reusable canvas bag; large paper bags will be available for purchase for 10 cents.

These are the types of sustainability initiatives that are rewarded by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) through its self-reporting program known as the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS). Through the WCU Office of Sustainability, the University submitted a report in March and has earned its first STARS rating: Bronze.


Campus Gardens

Volunteers and interns tend the three vegetable gardens on campus at Tanglewood (the president’s house), North Campus (behind Merion Science Center), and South Campus (behind Building 837). Check out the new campus gardens website and visit the link regularly to see what’s “growing on” at the gardens.

The garden volunteers and student steward/interns ask that you refrain from picking any crops unless a garden intern is present. The garden produce is in high demand by those who use the WCU Resource Pantry and the garden interns can judge if there is enough produce to spare. They also record the produce yield by type and weight. There are more crops coming since seedlings for fall crops were planted on 8/15/18. Consider volunteering at South Campus Demonstration Garden: Contact intern Helen McBlane at


Lastly, there’s a new place nearby for a caffeine fix and a nosh: Saxbys coffee shop opened Aug. 6, at the corner of Linden and High streets, next to Burrito Loco. Check out the artwork by three WCU Art + Design students that’s prominently featured there.