Student Life at Wilkes: An Inclusive Community Student Life
Creating and nurturing diversity of thought, culture, and belief are among the key values upon which Wilkes University was founded. These values are acknowledged in our motto, “Unity Amidst Diversity.” Thus, Wilkes welcomes and supports a diverse campus community and invites students of all races, ethnicities, religions, and other diverse backgrounds to join our University family. The members of the Wilkes faculty and staff are committed to providing mentorship and support to all Wilkes students in order to empower them to meet their full potential and to ensure student academic and personal success.
In an effort to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds, we offer a range of programs, services, and activities as diverse as our campus community:
- an established and interconnected system of peer, faculty, and staff mentorship programs;
- a rich and varied schedule of extra-curricular activities and opportunities, including social events, multicultural activities for students, faculty, and staff, concerts, recitals, theatre productions, readings, and lectures;
- specialized and individualized support for international and minority students;
- an extensive list of opportunities for community service, internships, service-learning, and leadership;
- individualized academic advising;
- career advising and counseling;
- personal counseling and advising;
- academic support services;
- health and counseling services;
- a variety of housing options, including Honors housing and First-Year Student Communities;
- accommodation for special dietary needs that includes attentiveness to religious and personal diet requirements;
- a comprehensive resources library; and
- a variety of merit- and need-based financial aid options.
Wilkes University is a community of learning in which co-curricular and extra-curricular activities complement academic life. Students, faculty, and staff work together to promote individual student development by means of a variety of activities, programs, organizations, and cultural opportunities. All campus organizations are open to all students, and all function in collaboration with faculty advisors and the Student Life and Success staff.
Resources, services, and activities pertaining to Student Life are outlined in the following section of this bulletin. Academic resources and support services are described in the “Academic Information” section of this bulletin.
Bonner Leader Program
The Bonner Leader Program is a multifaceted civic engagement and leadership program for undergraduate students. Introduced by the Bonner Foundation in 1990 with the motto “Access to Education, Opportunity to Serve,” Bonner has grown into a nationally acclaimed, four-year, service-based program at a network of more than 70 colleges and universities. Each year, a new cohort of incoming first-year students are selected into the program by way of a competitive application process. Wilkes Bonner leaders follow a four-year student development model that blends direct service in the community along with enrichment and training activities designed to promote students’ leadership, self-awareness, and professional skill set.
A variety of programs, including lectures, exhibits, workshops, and performances, is provided to enhance life in the Wilkes community and to help individuals attain educational and career goals. The Sordoni Art Gallery brings programming in the fine arts to both the campus and the Wilkes-Barre communities. The Office of Diversity Initiatives sponsors programming and activities that foster cross-cultural and multicultural understanding and provides space for people of different cultures to interact and learn from one another. Throughout the year, the Division of Performing Arts offers a regular schedule of dance performances, concerts and recitals, and dramatic and musical productions in the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts.
Intramural and Intercollegiate Athletics
Wilkes sponsors an active intramural sports program as well as intercollegiate competition in twenty-three varsity sports. Varsity sports for women include basketball, cross-country, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. Men compete at the varsity level in baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling. Varsity teams compete at the Division III level. Wilkes University is a member of the Landmark Conference, the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The goal of the intramural program is to provide a comprehensive set of recreational and fitness activities throughout the academic year for the University community. Students participate in individual, dual, and team competitions in traditional sports as well as in innovative activities like cornhole and kan jam andfree-throw competition. . Events are organized in structured tournament competition and in one-day special events, using the indoor facilities of the Marts Center and the McHale Athletic Center. Outdoor events are conducted at Schmidt Stadium and Bruggeworth Field located at the Ralston Athletic Complex. Wilkes places the highest priority on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of the student’s academic program. The University, therefore, seeks to establish and maintain an environment in which a student’s athletic activities are conducted as an integral part of the entire educational experience. The varsity and intramural programs function, then, in an environment that provides for the health and welfare of the student-athletes and values cultural diversity, gender equity, principles of fair play, and amateur athletic competition throughout the University community.
The Residence Life Program at Wilkes is committed to providing a living environment that is supportive of academic pursuits while contributing significantly to personal growth.
The residence hall staff serves to help students enjoy and benefit from their on-campus living experience. Each residence hall is staffed by one or more Resident Assistants, each of whom has been selected on the basis of character, demonstrated qualities of leadership, and the ability to interact effectively with students. Throughout the year, the residence hall staff sponsors various educational and social programs for their residents. The Resident Assistants are also responsible for crisis management, maintenance requests, and ensuring that the University policies are upheld.
The Residence Life Program offers students a wide variety of residential options. Each residence hall has its own unique style, whether it is a traditional residence hall such as Evans, one of the older Victorian mansions such as Weiss, or an apartment-style residence hall like University Towers. Each residence hall has a full kitchen and laundry facilities. Rooms are equipped with cable television access, internet (wireless or data ports), single beds, dressers, desks, desk chairs, and closet space.
All resident students are required to participate in the University Meal Plan, and Wilkes offers a variety of meal-plan and dining options. These options are described on the Dining Services Web site: https://www.wilkes.edu/campus-life/dining-on-campus/.
Contact: Business Operations (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Dining Services (570-408-4991)
Wilkes University’s dining services provider is committed to providing well-balanced meal plans, offering a variety of food options to students at each meal. Our students are encouraged to make the best choices for their own health and well-rounded diet. The University’s on-campus dining locations include: Henry’s Cafeteria, B&F, Greens to Go/P.O.D., and Starbucks at Gambini’s. These locations will accept dining dollars, flex dollars, and meal swipes (with the exception of Starbucks), as well as cash and credit/debit. Dining Dollars and Flex Dollars may be redeemed at any dining service outlet on campus. Flex Dollars maybe redeemed at participating off-campus vending outlets, including the campus store, Colonel Corner, and on-campus dining facilities. Participating vendors may be found online. Additional Dining and Flex Dollars may be purchased through GET Funds at any time. Wilkes University requires all resident students participate in the dining program. Resident meal plans offer unlimited dining in the cafeteria. Students on all meal plans have the option of eating at B&F, P.O.D., Greens to Go, or Starbucks at Gambini’s using dining or flex dollars. Meal plans are also available to commuter students and Wilkes faculty/staff. Henry’s Cafeteria, located in the Student Center, is also open to members of the Wilkes community.
- All participants in the meal plan program are required to present their student ID card at entry or point of purchase. ID cards are not transferable and WINs will not be accepted in place of ID card.
- It is expected that eating in the University dining hall should be a pleasant experience for all. Therefore, any individual whose conduct interferes with this atmosphere may be subject to disciplinary action.
- All silverware, dishes, glasses, and trays must remain in the dining hall. Exceptions to this policy may be made only by the General Manager of Dining Services.
- Proper attire must be worn in the University dining hall at all times. Shoes and shirts must always be worn in an area where food is being prepared or served.
- Students are expected to assist in maintaining order and cleanliness in the dining hall. The violation of any of these regulations may result in disciplinary action.
- Meal plan exemption requests will only be considered for those who demonstrate that Wilkes Dining Services cannot accommodate their dietary needs and provide the required supporting documentation. Full academic year exemption requests must be submitted by August 15th, and Spring exemption requests must be submitted by January 15th. Contact email@example.com for complete guidelines and instructions.
- Resident students wishing to change their meal plan for Fall may do so until August 1st by sending an email from their @wilkes.edu email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Changes for Spring meal plans are accepted during the official change period of October 1 - November 15.
- Students who are required to be off campus because of a University commitment (e.g., student teaching) during lunch/dinner hours may request a box meal from Wilkes Dining Services at least one day in advance. Students are expected to pick up the box meals they have signed for, and not to eat that particular meal in the dining hall that day.
- Sick trays: Sick trays will be provided for students who are unable to leave their residence hall because of illness. Arrangements for such trays will gladly be made by the Wilkes Dining Services staff. Contact General Manager, Dining Services at (570) 408-4991 for more information.
- Reusable containers are available at a nominal fee for students who wish to select and package a “take out” meal from Henry’s for consumption at a different time/location.
- Guests are welcome at the University dining hall and may make cash purchases.
- Meal plans are available for commuter/off-campus students. Those wishing to participate in a meal plan may select a commuter plan by accessing the Wilkes Portal Student Services page, or a Colonel plan by emailing email@example.com.
The Student Development Office enhances student life by offering leadership programs, experiential education opportunities, and a variety of extracurricular and social activities designed to complement students’ classroom education. A few of the programs offered include the Cultural Series, Wilkes Adventure Education (WAE) programming, and the Weekend Entertainment Series. The Cultural Series introduces students to the world of art and performance by providing opportunities for students to experience visual art, music, theatre, and dance, both locally and in larger metropolitan areas such as New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The WAE program provides an alternative learning experience designed to challenge students to engage in both physically demanding and relaxing activities such as hiking, biking, yoga, and rock climbing. In addition to local outdoor attractions, previous WAE programs have also included excursions to Ireland, the California coast, North Carolina and Grand Canyon National Park. Students can also serve as WAE facilitators, providing practical leadership tools, lessons on teamwork and experience leading team-building activities. The Weekend Entertainment Series gives students a variety of low-cost entertainment options to choose from each weekend, including free bowling passes to the local bowling lanes and reduced priced movie tickets to Movies 14. An active Student Government, together with campus clubs and special interest organizations, also provides an array of activities to enrich student life outside the classroom. Student Government and Wilkes University recognize more than 70 clubs and campus organizations. The University requires that clubs and organizations be open to all students; consequently, groups that are exclusive do not exist on the Wilkes campus. Volunteer action and community/civic engagement are the cornerstone of the Wilkes Mission and of the University’s rich student life tradition. Thus, eligibility for Student Government funding requires that all recognized clubs and organizations be involved actively in community engagement. Community and civic engagement and curricular community engaged learning activities are coordinated by the Office of Civic Engagement, which maintains a current list of community partners. A Residence Hall Council, a Multicultural Student Coalition, and a Commuter Council organize activities for undergraduate students, and the University Programming Board oversees a full schedule of weekly social and cultural events at the University. Student publications include the Beacon, a weekly student newspaper published during the academic year, the Manuscript, an annual journal of original student art, poetry, and fiction, and the Amnicola, the University student yearbook. The University also maintains a television station and WCLH, an FM radio station that is operated by students; WCLH broadcasts daily at 90.7 MHz.
Student Life and Success Grievance Policy/Internal Complaint Procedure
The purpose of this policy is to serve as a guide for students who wish to file a complaint about any aspect of Wilkes University’s operations/policies/procedures or about the actions of any student, visitor, or employee of Wilkes University. This policy is to be implemented only when dealing with circumstances not covered by existing academic or student conduct procedures. See the Undergraduate Student Handbook for further information: https://wilkes.edu/campus-life/student-affairs/wilkes-undergraduate-student-handbook/student-rights-and-responsibilities.aspx#grieveProcedures and Guidelines
- Complaints, other than those being filed against persons, should be directed, in writing, to the appropriate Administrator (e.g. Director, Dean, Department Chair, Faculty Member). It is the responsibility of that person to address the situation and, if possible, see that it is corrected. This must be done within a reasonable amount of time which will of course, depend upon what must be done to rectify the situation. The Administrator (Director/Dean/Department Chair/Faculty Member) should inform the student in writing of the measures that were taken or are being taken to address the issue. If a student does not receive a response from the Administrator within two weeks from the date of originally filing the complaint, the student may then bring the complaint to the appropriate Vice President or the Provost.
- Complaints being filed against a person, should be directed, in writing, to that person’s immediate supervisor. If it is an anti-harassment complaint the procedures, outlined in the Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy should be followed. If the complaint is not one of anti-harassment, then it is the responsibility of the supervisor to address the issue with the respondent. The supervisor must inform the student of the measures that were taken or are being taken to address the issue. If the student does not receive a response from the supervisor within two weeks from the date of originally filing the complaint, the student may then bring the complaint to the appropriate Vice President or Provost.
- All documentation regarding a complaint, as well as its disposition, must be securely stored in the office of the person who received the complaint and acted upon it. These records must be maintained for a period of six (6) years from the date final action was taken on said complaint.
- In all instances of a student filing a complaint, the student must be assured in writing that no adverse action will be taken against the student for filing a complaint.
- If a student feels that a response to a complaint is unacceptable and/or unreasonable, the student may bring the complaint to the immediate supervisor of the person who initially acted in response to the matter. If a student does not receive a response from that supervisor within two weeks from the date of originally filing the complaint with that person, the student may then bring the complaint to the appropriate Vice President or Provost.
Student Life and Success
The Division of Academic Excellence and Student Success works with students in a holistic manner, providing guidance and support in students’ pursuit of their educational goals and in their development as persons preparing to assume the responsibilities of maturely educated persons. The Office of Residence Life, Office of Student Development, the Center for Career Development and Internships, Health Services, Campus Counseling, the Office of Academic Success, Civic Engagement, and Athletics report to the Associate Vice President for Student Life and Success.
Wilkes takes seriously its commitment and responsibility to encourage students to discover their own abilities and potential and to assist them in making sound and independent decisions. Students are expected to consult regularly with academic instructors, faculty advisors, the Student Life and Success Deans, department chairpersons, or academic deans regarding academic matters. Recognizing, however, that students sometimes need additional guidance in resolving personal, social, or academic problems, the University has institutionalized within Student Life and Success a variety of programs to assist and support students, individually and in groups. Staff members are specially trained and available to help students resolve problems, coordinate emergency situations, and handle referrals from members of the University community. The Associate Vice President and Deans of Student Life and Success, having familiarity with University resources, serve as ombudsmen, as well as “sounding boards,” for student concerns.
Wilkes takes equally seriously its role in the development of the whole person and provides a wealth of programs for the social, cultural, and civic engagement of its students. Many of the programs offered or advised by units within Student Life and Success contribute to the holistic nature of a Wilkes education. The campus resources, services, and activities described in brief in this bulletin are discussed more extensively in the online Wilkes University Student Handbook, which explains the University student governance system, outlines University regulations, and provides a directory of student activities.
In addition to the curricular and co-curricular activities sponsored by specific organizations and academic units, many all-campus and campus-community events are held each year. Family Day, Homecoming, and the Annual Block Party are typical of the social events that help to promote an active and involved student body. The University joins area cultural groups each year for the Fine Arts Fiesta, a four-day festival of music, drama, and the arts presented each spring on the Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre. A series of University sponsored concerts and lectures is presented throughout the academic year at the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts and in other venues on or close to campus. These university-sponsored events are open to University students, faculty, and staff, and to members of the surrounding communities. Admission for most events is free of charge. Consult the Events Calendar on the University Web site for schedules of events and admission information.