student life

July 2014 E-newsletter

Dear Sweet Briar students and families:

This second summer e-newsletter will continue to keep you informed about the College during the summer. If you missed the June issue, you can find it here.

Students — as always, your engagement and success at Sweet Briar are central to our work. This newsletter features information and resources in that spirit.

Please feel free to contact us at any point this summer. If you are not sure which campus office to call, please contact Co-curricular Life at (434) 381-6134 and we will be happy to assist you.

You will receive a final summer newsletter in August.

Until then, warm wishes —

Cheryl Steele signature
Cheryl Steele
Dean of Co-curricular Life



Parker Letter
Buzz the Briar
Orientation information
Academic resources and support for new students
y:1 information
The ARC — more services for students!
Library construction update
Important financial aid information
SBC health and wellness services
CCL staff transitions
Career Services and campus student employment
Leadership Certificate Program
Shuttle service FAQ
College calendar information
Save these dates for fall
From the Parent Steering Committee

Jo Ellen Parker
A Letter from President Parker


Greetings from campus, where a full agenda of summer programs is in full swing.

As you may know, I will shortly be leaving Sweet Briar to assume the presidency of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

My five years of service here have been a privilege and a delight. The relationships I’ve formed with Sweet Briar students and the chance to be part of their college experience have created cherished memories. And I have deeply admired the commitment of families who provide support of all kinds — financial, but also personal — so that their daughters can get all the benefits of an undergraduate education in this very special place.

Yesterday, we announced the appointment of Jimmy Jones as the interim president of Sweet Briar. I have known Dr. Jones for many years, and I leave the College knowing it is in capable, steady hands.

Thank you all for allowing me to serve our students and this college. I will always consider myself a bit of a Sweet Briar woman!





Jo Ellen Parker


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Buzz the Briar logo

Buzz the Briar for answers to your questions

Buzz the Briar can help you navigate Sweet Briar College.

Ever have a question you just can’t seem to get answered? We can help! From understanding financial aid packages to submitting a work order and everything in between, Buzz the Briar can help students and parents navigate life at Sweet Briar. Simply email your question to [email protected] and someone will be back in touch with you soon.

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Orientation information

New students and their families are encouraged to save the date for orientation, which begins with move-in day on Saturday,
Aug. 23. Orientation kicks off with check-in from 8:30-11:30 a.m. in the Florence Elston Inn and Conference Center (map PDF). For more information, check out the Orientation at a Glance schedule (PDF). The Family Orientation schedule can be found here (PDF).

Please contact Co-curricular Life at (434) 381-6134 if you have any questions.

Learning on the Land: Pick Your Top 5!
All new students participate in the Learning on the Land program during orientation. Students have an opportunity to choose from a variety of programs that examine Sweet Briar’s landscape, environment and culture from different perspectives, such as anthropology, art, ecology, horticulture, technology and music. The experiences are as vastly different as the faculty, staff and students leading them.

Please sign up before July 31 for your top-5 Learning on the Land program choices. If students do not register in advance, they will be placed in a program. 


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Academic resources and support for new students

ARCHESFletcher Hall entrance
First-year students and new students with 20 hours or fewer of transfer credit will be part of an exciting new initiative: ARCHES. Designed to assist you in making a successful transition to college life at Sweet Briar, ARCHES is a two-semester, pass/fail program that will earn you a half-credit each semester. It’s also a graduation requirement. You will register for a 50-minute session that meets once a week. More information will be forthcoming and is available at

Learning differences
If you have learning challenges and feel you would benefit from special accommodations, please forward to the Dean’s Office a copy of your testing (not your IEP), which should have been done within the last three years. Upon your return to Sweet Briar, you will be contacted for a review meeting of that documentation and steps for accommodations will be put into place. You can also bring documentation with you, if that is more convenient. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Dean’s Office at (434) 381-6205.

Academic advisors
You will receive information regarding your academic advisor upon your August arrival and check-in. You will then meet your advisor on Monday, Aug. 25. Advisors assist with course selection, registration and serve as a general resource for any academic questions you might have. Each advisor is a member of the faculty and is looking forward to working with you.

Academic Advising Questionnaire
The Academic Advising Questionnaire can be found at Please be certain to complete it fully and candidly. This document will be shared with your advisor prior to your arrival and needs to be completed by Aug. 1.

Language Placement Assessments
These tests in Spanish, French or Latin are tools used for pre-determining your language proficiency and subsequent course choices. If you have had any language background and wish to pursue that language at SBC, you need to complete this test, which should only take you 5-10 minutes. If you have not had any languages or wish to learn a new language, you do not need to take this assessment. All placement tests can be found under the Orientation/New Students/Academic Forms tab and need to be completed by July 15.

Plagiarism Assessment
This ‘test’ needs to be completed prior to your arrival. It, too, can be found under the Orientation/New Students/Academic Forms tab. Upon completion, you will immediately know your score. If you pass, there is nothing further for you to do. If you don’t pass, you will be expected to attend a review session at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 (location TBA). You will receive follow-up details from the Academic Resource Center (ARC). There is no cost for using the ARC.

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y:1 informationStrength in What Remains book cover

The 2014 y:1 program is underway! Placement in y:1 classes should be finished by mid-June and all students are welcome to join the Facebook discussion of the Common Reading.

Common Reading

Tracy Kidder's latest work, “Strength in What Remains,” has been selected as this year’s Common Reading. New students should have received a copy in the mail, so they can read it before arriving on campus. All students are encouraged to read this book.

Plan to join us this October for the related special lecture by Deogratias Niyizonkiza, the protagonist of Kidder’s book whose story of surviving the civil wars in Burundi and immigrating to America will be inspirational and educational.

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The ARC — more services for students!

The Academic Resource Center, more commonly referred to as the ARC, will soon relocate to the newly renovated Mary Helen Cochran Library. It is open six days a week with expanded hours for the 2014-15 academic year. In addition, we hired more student tutors to better serve you. This staff applied, was interviewed, selected and will go through a tutor training course. They are skilled in writing and in leading workshops in time management, note taking, test-taking strategies, etc. All students are welcome! In addition, each academic discipline appoints departmental tutors who are co-coordinated with the ARC.

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Library construction update

Phase II of new library construction, scheduled to be completed the first week of July, extends the Rowe Reading Room, adds a new Special Collections area and reading room and the technology commons. Phase III, the renovation of the historic Ralph Adams Cram building, has begun and completion is expected in August, just prior to the start of the new academic year.

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Important financial aid information

Bright pink envelopes with financial aid packages should have arrived in everyone’s mailbox. To finalize the financial aid award, complete and return the required paperwork for any funds you wish to accept. Items that may need to be returned include the loan request form for federal loans, campus employment application, enrollment verification for a sibling or verification worksheet. Most forms can be downloaded from the Financial Aid website if you are unable to locate your envelope with the paperwork.

If you have not applied for financial aid for 2014-2015, it is late but not too late. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible at Take advantage of the feature that enables tax filers to import their 2013 tax information from the IRS to the FAFSA.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also call us at (800)-381-6156 or email [email protected]. We are here to help you navigate this process.

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SBC Health and Wellness Services

Summer is a good time to think about health insurance        
Each year, Sweet Briar, in collaboration with a consortium of colleges, selects a student health insurance plan (SHI) and makes it available to students. This plan, which covers a full year, is available for purchase at the beginning of each semester and covers many services, including prescriptions and diagnostic studies that may be ordered at SBC Health and Wellness Services or at another local provider, urgent care or emergency department. The policy is cost-effective, comparable to the plans available in the ACA (Affordable Care Act) marketplace and meets all ACA requirements. Policy details and enrollment deadlines are available on the Gallagher Student Health Insurance website and through the Business Office at (434) 381-6200. If you are interested, you must enroll. It is not automatic.

Additional information, including an FAQ regarding our health and counseling services, can be found here.

All insured students need to provide SBC Health and Wellness Services with documentation of insurance. An email will be sent to each enrolled student to submit an online verification of insurance. Please look for it in your inbox.

Please note: If you have out-of-state Medicaid insurance, coverage does not convey in other states, unless it is an emergency (criteria vary). If you are currently enrolled in Medicaid or another state-subsidized plan from a state other than Virginia, we recommend you obtain the SBC student health insurance.

SBC Health and Wellness Services will work with each student to provide comprehensive and cost-effective quality care regardless of insurance status.

Visit our website for more information and read the welcome letter from our health and counseling services directors.

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CCL staff transitions
Tasha Gillum
Robyn Sanderson is leaving Sweet Briar in July after seven years of strong service to begin work as dean of student development at Anderson University. Robyn loved her time at SBC, but is excited about this excellent professional and personal opportunity as she returns home to South Carolina.

I am pleased to share that Tasha Gillum, director of outdoor programs, has accepted the appointment as interim assistant dean of first-year student engagement and programs for 2014-15. Tasha brings a strong set of professional experiences and perspectives that will serve the College very well in this position — and especially as she will work with Kelly Kraft-Meyer to direct the new ARCHES program. Tasha has demonstrated strong leadership and growth with the Outdoor Program during the past three years, and has increasingly taken on other projects as well, including co-leadership of the student Step Up program related to bystander intervention, a strong commitment to inclusion on campus, and involvement in strategic-thinking initiatives. Tasha is well known to students and also brings the perspective of a Sweet Briar alumna (Class of 2004).

As Tasha moves into this position for the year, Kate Macklin ’13 will step in as interim director of outdoor programs for 2014-15. Kate is well known to faculty and staff and was very active in the Outdoor Program as a student. She served as an OP leader throughout her four years at Sweet Briar and became what Tasha has described as a “stellar” instructor. Kate was mentored by Tasha and — literally — followed in her footsteps by hiking the Appalachian Trail following graduation. Kate will work closely with Tasha on her transition. We look forward to having Kate as part of the Co-curricular Life staff during this time. 

 — Cheryl Steele


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Career Services and campus student employment

Michelle Brown '14 completed a summer internship with HDR Engineering in Norfolk, Va.Never too early to think career
The Career Services staff is very excited to work with students on your career exploration during the upcoming year. Whether you are a new or returning student, we can offer you valuable resources as you work toward your goals and dreams.

We encourage you to get a head start by reviewing the following websites and using the services and resources we offer. Links are organized by career interest areas.

Get excited about your future and have fun checking out the following sites:

  • The Four-year Plan — Each and every year of college is important when it comes to your future career.
  • Campus Student Employment — Gather all the necessary information to secure a great on-campus job.
  • Major Exploration — Know what you can do with your major.
  • Internships — Garner the resources you need to help you pursue that all-important internship. Gain experience that will help you rise above the competition.
  • Graduate School/Financial Aid/Scholarships — Learn about the resources available to help you reach your graduate- or professional school goals.
  • Diversity Resources — Find information tailored to students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Alumnae Networking — Call us if you would like a list of alumnae by geographical location, occupation or major.
  • Job Searching — Explore an array of online resources developed to help you find a great job after graduation.

You can always contact us directly at [email protected] or at (434) 381-6151.


Student employment on campus
Barb Donelson, coordinator of Campus Student Employment, can help you connect with a meaningful campus job. If you plan to work on campus, please remember the following:

Keep an eye out for new job postings starting Aug. 1 on our website. New students who are interested in working on campus will have the benefit of attending a special information session during orientation.

Questions about working on campus? Contact Barb Donelson at [email protected] or (434) 381-6580.

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Stan Pearson II shows participants in Sweet Briar's 16th annual Leadership Conference how to salsa.
Leadership Certificate Program

The Leadership Certificate Program is a three-year program open to all Sweet Briar students interested in exploring and developing their leadership skills. Students learn to lead with integrity through a program that combines academic and experiential learning and prepares them to become engaged and influential members of the world community. This year’s program will kick off from 9 a.m.-
2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30.

Space in the program is limited, so please register online early!

To learn more about the LCP, go to


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Shuttle service during College breaks

Before and following each College break, Co-curricular Life (CCL) offers a shuttle that will take SBC students to and from public transportation in Lynchburg: Amtrak (train), Greyhound (bus) and the Lynchburg airport (US Airways).

There is no cost for this service, but students must sign up in advance in order to participate. Information will be shared by CCL staff.

We provide this FAQ for your information and advance planning, particularly as reservations are made/tickets purchased.

Q: When will the shuttles run?
A: Fall return to campus: Sunday, Aug. 24 and Tuesday, Aug. 26.
Thanksgiving: Thursday, Nov. 20-Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 30.
Winter break: Thursday, Dec. 18-Saturday, Dec. 20 and Tuesday, Jan. 20.
Spring vacation: Thursday, March 5-Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 15.
End of the academic year: Tuesday, May 12-Thursday, May 14.

Q:  Where do the shuttles run?            
A: Trips are limited to the airport and the Amtrak and Greyhound stations in Lynchburg.

Q: How do students sign up for the shuttles?
A: An email will be sent to all students allowing them at least two weeks to sign up electronically at their own convenience. Reminders will be sent through other emails, such as weekly announcements by the Student Government Association.

Q:  Can students sign up late?
A: We try to accommodate those whose plans change. Requests for late registration will be received during regular office hours by the Office of Spiritual Life (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday).

Q: Can students cancel their shuttle reservation?
A: Students can cancel their reservations as travel needs change. Cancellations can be made directly to the driver’s phone during established hours. The Office of Spiritual Life will also accept changes during regular business hours.
Students who do not sign up on time and/or do not cancel in a timely manner may lose the privilege of taking upcoming shuttles offered by CCL.

Q: Is there a cost for the shuttles?
A: CCL pays for the expense of the shuttle and the driver. Because those who take a “real-world” shuttle are expected to tip a dollar or two per bag, we encourage our shuttle takers to tip our driver accordingly.

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College calendar information

The 2014-15 academic calendar can be found here (PDF).

For your convenience and advance planning, here are the dates for the opening and closing of student residences for 2014-15:

New students and parents — please note that students self-schedule exams, so they may complete academic work prior to the end of the exam period. You are encouraged to compare the academic calendar to the calendar below in planning transportation.


Fall opening
New student check-in:
Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Conference Center

Returning students check-in:
Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Co-curricular Life Office, Prothro, 2nd floor


Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Co-curricular Life Office, Prothro, 2nd floor

Thanksgiving break
Residences close: Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, 8 a.m.
Residences open: Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, 8 a.m.
First meal served: dinner

Winter break
Residences close: Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, 8 a.m.
Residences open: Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, 8 a.m.
First meal served: lunch

Spring vacation
Residences close: Saturday, March 7, 2015, 8 a.m.
Residences open: Sunday, March 15, 2015, 8 a.m.
First meal served: dinner

End-of-the-year closing
Non-graduating students:
Residences close Thursday, May 14, 2015, 5 p.m.

Graduating seniors and approved students:
Residences close Saturday, May 16, 2015, 5:30 p.m.

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  • Aug. 27: “In Sweet Remembrance”/Endstation Theatre Company
    The campus community is encouraged to mark your calendars for the first viewing of “In Sweet Remembrance” on Wednesday, Aug. 27, in Murchison Lane Auditorium, Babcock Fine Arts Center. Commissioned by Endstation Theatre Company, Sweet Briar College and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, “In Sweet Remembrance” is a tribute to the significant role of the African-American community throughout Sweet Briar College’s history. Click here for more information.
  • Students, upperclasswomen in their robes and underclasswomen in white, process from the Quad to Monument Hill as part of Founders' Day activities. Aug. 29-31: Welcome Weekend
    Plan to stay on campus your first weekend back. Tailgates, bonfires and foxes — Oh My!

  • Sept. 26-28: Founders’ Day Weekend
    Founders’ Day: Friday, Sept. 26
    On this day, we celebrate the family who ensured that Sweet Briar College became a reality. The traditional march from the quad to Monument Hill begins in the afternoon. At Monument Hill, there will be brief reflections on the founders of Sweet Briar College, Indiana Fletcher Williams and James H. Williams. At the conclusion, everyone will place a daisy on the grave of Daisy Williams, their daughter, before returning to campus. You won’t want to miss this lovely display of gratitude for the Williams family!                       

  • Oct. 24-26: Fall Into Family Fun Weekend
    Every weekend is families’ weekend at Sweet Briar, but the College is extending a special invitation to you to join us on for our Fall into Family Fun Weekend. Events will include a library open house with tours and open houses in the Dean’s Office and Co-Curricular Life, as well as athletics events, performing arts and a casino night. All events are free of charge and open to everyone; meals are pay-as-you-go in Prothro, Daisy’s Café or the Houston Bistro. No need to register for the weekend, just come and go as you please.

    If you opt to stay on campus at the Florence Elston Inn, your first stay is available at a 50-percent discounted rate (subject to availability):

    King Room: $78.00
    Double Queen: $71.00
    Single Queen: $64.00
    Double Full: $66.50

    We hope you will consider staying with us on campus, whenever you decide to visit your daughter! Please contact the Elston Inn at (434) 381-6207 for more information and reservations. This offer is available Sept. 1-Nov. 20 and Feb. 1-April 30, depending on vacancy at the time of your request.

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From the Parent Steering Committee

Summer greetings, Sweet Briar families!

July marks the beginning of the new fiscal and academic year at Sweet Briar. Planning for the return of students in August has long been underway and the Sweet Briar Community cannot wait to welcome back the Class of 2015, entering its senior year; the returning Classes of 2016 and 2017; and the entering Class of 2018 – Holla, holla from all of us on the Parent Steering Committee.

Join us today in support of these amazing students by making your best gift to the Annual Fund at Designate your gift to an area important to you and your student for an even greater impact.

Your gift demonstrates the power of philanthropy to her and turns opportunities into reality for her and all Sweet Briar students. Thank you!

To learn more about the PSC and how your gifts impact the Sweet Briar experience, please contact Terry Nash, director of reunion and parent giving, at (434)-381-6372 or [email protected].

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