JWU Family e-Newsletter
May 2020

When students gathered on the Harborside Campus for this photo four years ago, no one would have predicted their senior year would be impacted by a global health crisis. As the world strives to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic, JWU's class of 2020 gets ready to embark on their future.

We salute our seniors for everything they've accomplished in the classroom and laboratories, in student organizations, on the athletic field, in internships, and so much more. They've made us proud every step of the way. While their departure from JWU comes quietly, their impact on our university community will be heard for years to come.

As President Bernardo-Sousa announced on Monday, we won't be holding Commencement on August 22 due to extended limitations on gatherings in Rhode Island. The university continues to explore options for a future celebration and will offer a virtual salute this Saturday, May 23 (the original date planned for Commencement; more details to come). For now, we congratulate our seniors and their families for all they have achieved. This is a class that always will be in our hearts.

Three short months ago we were all living a very different reality, unsure of the impact that COVID-19 would impose upon us. Fast forward to today where we find ourselves immersed in a worldwide pandemic, having either personally experienced the virus or knowing someone who has. Our lives have been transformed and the new normal may never again resemble what existed. The upside to of all this is seeing how people have reacted to the crisis; this is true of our JWU students and you as their loved ones as much as it is of first responders, medical personnel and essential workers.

Johnson & Wales is a resilient community that has always responded to the needs of its immediate family: students, faculty, staff, parents/families and the greater community. After witnessing a wide array of highs and lows in my time here, I can reaffirm that it is a very special learning environment with a mission of placing students at the centerpiece of all that we do, particularly in this year of unknowns. As a parent of a college student, I can empathize with your concerns surrounding the future. To families of graduates, you've supported your students in unprecedented times and they will need that support as they navigate next steps. To families of undergraduates, know that o ur campus leadership is pursuing all options for this fall. Please be assured that Johnson & Wales has always, and will continue to always strategically plan to ensure a safe, healthy and seamless return to full operations.

It is hard to believe that I will be ending my professional career in June, after almost sixteen years as JWU's Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students. As I enter the next phase of my life and reflect, it seems like yesterday that I first walked through the Gaebe Commons gates. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed my experiences with faculty, staff (particularly within Student Affairs), families and students whom I have come to fondly know and share a part of their lives. To say it has had a profound impact on my personal and professional life is an understatement.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest appreciation to the Parent & Family Advisory Board leadership and members with whom I have worked throughout the years. You are, and have always been, a very dedicated group of individuals. And finally to the staff, which has and will continue to lead our efforts to promote, inspire and support the student, parent and family JWU experience, I will be forever grateful. May our paths continue to cross!

Warm regards,

Ronald L. Martel 

Residential Life understands there are many questions about summer labs and housing, as well as our plan for the fall. We continue to work on many plans for summer and fall to follow state guidelines. As they are approved, we will share information with students. Thank you in advance for staying patient with us.

Our team has emailed residents who may have left belongings in their rooms earlier this spring. Please remind your students to check their emails and respond back as needed to schedule a time to pick up their belongings. If your student didn't receive an email but should have (because they have belongings on campus), please have them reach out to us. Even students who signed up for labs in the summer and received the email should respond (they shouldn't wait until they are on campus to communicate with us). Thank you for your assistance!  

It's hard to believe the end of another term and academic year is quickly approaching and summer is just a few weeks away. Accessibility Services wants families to know we are here throughout the summer, working with our current students and preparing for the start of the fall semester. 

If you have a student who works with an advisor and needs to update documentation, please fax this information to 401-598-4657 or email acc ess.downcity@jwu.edu . You or your student can also contact us directly at 401-598-4660; our summer hours are 8:30 am - 4 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 am - 12:30 pm on Friday.

Thanks to all of our students who maintained active contact with us during the spring term. Together we learned about Skype and Zoom and other communication platforms. It's been helpful for all of us to travel these uncertain times together. If your student would like to continue the conversation with their accessibility advisor this summer, encourage them to reach us by phone or email.

We hope you have a great summer. Stay safe and be well, and we will see you in August!

On Tuesday, May 12, Student Engagement recognized the wonderful accomplishments of our student leaders, advisors, and clubs/organizations with our annual Leadership Awards. While we were unable to celebrate in person, we want to share our gratitude for the incredible impact these individuals made on the JWU community this year. To view this year’s awards video, click here.

A short time later, Wildcat athletes were honored in their own virtual awards program. Read about the outstanding individuals that were recognized. They are proven winners in competition and beyond.

Congratulations to all of this year’s award recipients!
View our photobook!

2019-20 is a year that won't be forgotten and we've got a photobook that documents lots of it on the JWU Providence Campus. Students were invited to submit photos and Student Engagement compiled them into a fun photobook. Check it out today!

JWU's Experiential Education & Career Services (EE&CS) team is thrilled with the results of its most recent virtual hiring event. On May 6, 50 employers, seven graduate programs and 428 attendees participated in vibrant online conversation. It was a valuable opportunity for students to network and chat with potential employers.

Representatives of EE&CS remain available to students throughout the summer. They are happy to discuss internships, resume writing, navigating the job search and more, and also assist with video interview practice. Reach EE&CS at 401-598-1070 or by email.
EE&CS Team Message

With the end of the term and academic year upon us, EE&CS is thinking of the many students, and families, they interact with often. The team offers their best to everyone in this short video that appeared on their Facebook page.

As JWU students continue to adapt and forge ahead during this time of uncertainty, many in our community have asked how they can help. The JWU Emergency Fund provides direct and immediate support to students in need. Donations help provide technology resources such as laptops, software and Wi-Fi hotspots so students can continue their studies online; reimbursement for unexpected travel and housing expenses; and tuition relief for students whose families are facing unforeseen financial hardships in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re in a position to help, please consider a donation to the JWU Emergency Fund .

Thank you to the parents and families who have already contributed and helped raise more than $6,800 for students since the crisis began. Together, we will get through this—that's the Wildcat Way.
Parent & Family Perspectives

The Parent & Family Advisory Board (PFAB) held its final meeting of the year virtually and members from near and far logged on. The board welcomed guest speaker Dr. Christine Thompson, special assistant to the provost, and learned more about the university's transition to semesters.

The meeting also featured discussion related to next year's PFAB Executive Council and was followed by member voting. We are pleased to announce David Rubin's and Chika McIntosh's re-election to the chair and vice-chair positions. The EC is rounded out by Michelle Willey as secretary and Lori Pisacane as liaison.
Dr. Ron Martel, JWU's vice president of student affairs and dean of students, closed the meeting by recognizing outgoing members. We join him in thanking Marie Lautz, Debbie Marino-Giampietro and Ali Kusinitz (pictured above), and Kim Simonich (pictured left), for their years of service to PFAB.

PFAB will welcome new members in the fall. If you are interested in learning more and possibly joining this volunteer group, find out more and apply here.

Last month, many of you reflected on some bright spots in the midst of our COVID-19 reality. We asked, "What's the best part about having your student home more lately?" Results were pretty evenly split. And to the family member whose "other" response was "Watching her sleep til 2 pm - I hope this is not her behavior at school," we hope your Wildcat is feeling well rested.
We Want To Hear From You!
JWU Parent & Family Relations serves as a liaison to parents and family members of incoming and current students through communication and programs. This monthly e-Newsletter helps you stay connected to your student as you journey with them through their JWU experience.