Welcome back from Vice President Susan Murphy

Dear Cornellians,

I join President Skorton in extending a warm welcome to all as we start the fall semester.

As I promised at the end of the spring semester, I want to provide an update on activities in support of our students' health and well-being.

We began the year with a new orientation program, Real Students, Reel Stories, introducing our newest Cornellians to the opportunities and challenges they will encounter during their time with us. Programs in the resident halls, where building community and fostering a sense of belonging are top priorities, will build on this introduction.

We are expanding access to counseling resources in Gannett, commencing a faculty review of the academic calendar and advising systems, increasing our outreach to faculty, staff and students, enhancing our efforts to identify and support students in distress, and strengthening our resolve in confronting alcohol abuse. We have a lot to accomplish this year, but many members of the campus and local community are working together on all of these initiatives.

During the past two months we also have taken steps to improve safety on the Cascadilla and Fall Creek gorge bridges. The chain link fences have been replaced with less obtrusive black fencing so that we all can enjoy some unobstructed views of our beloved gorges.

These fences are not permanent. We are just beginning the year long process of design of solutions that take into consideration both safety and aesthetics. Soon we will engage the campus and local community in a discussion about "means restriction." Watch for the announcement of the first public forum of the semester in the near future. In the meantime, an extensive collection of background reports is available for your review at http://caringcommunity.cornell.edu.

As we start the school year, I encourage you to support one another and seek support for yourselves-to develop resources and resilience, and to learn when, how, where, and from whom to ask for help. You might want to bookmark Cornell's caring community website at http://caringcommunity.cornell.edu. It provides materials describing campus resources that support the health and safety of our community.

Wishing you a successful and rewarding year.

Susan Murphy
Vice President for Student and Academic Services