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Sept. 19, 2023

Welcome to Week 4!

Can you believe it? We are already almost a quarter of the way through the whole semester!

I hope and trust that you all had a wonderful weekend!

This week, I wanted to share some of our larger efforts to invest in and modernize the student experience. Here are four really big and inspiring projects to celebrate week four.

If you are living in Wickersham Hall this semester, you are enjoying the products of a $4 million renovation project completed earlier this spring. Wickersham now features updated bathrooms, windows, flooring, paint and furniture.

Also, you may have noticed that Moore and Bartlett Residence Halls are both offline this winter. Work on the $30 million renovation will continue through next summer and if everything works as planned, the renovated halls will open for occupancy in the fall of 2024.

In addition, we are in the middle of renovating the 6th floor of the Rasmuson Library to house the new Student Success Center. This $9 million renovation project will be the new home for First Year Advising, Math Tutoring, Study Abroad, The Writing Center, The Speaking Center, and much more. It will be a large, open, modern space built to help all students succeed. There will also be an equally robust online center to ensure we equitably serve all of UAF’s students – not just those here at Troth Yeddha’. It is going to be awesome. 

Lastly, have you heard about the planned Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center? This project has been a long time coming and recently, UAF received approval from the Board of Regents to raise $53 million for a new building to be located just east of the UA Museum of the North. This facility is key to UAF fulfilling our vision of becoming a global leader in indigenous and Alaska Native studies, and critical as a home to our Alaska Native students and for the unique scholarship and research enterprise that will grow to become an even larger piece of our future. This is one of the most exciting and transformative projects for our future.

If you think all this is amazing for UAF – you are right. If you’ve tuned into the latest Board of Regents meetings, you may have heard UAF Chancellor Dan White mention hints of even more ambitious plans for the future. We are talking about much larger renovation projects down the road, including new construction plans for an ice rink, renovations to the Patty Center, and more! 

What does all this construction mean for your experience here at UAF? Fundamentally, it means that UAF continues to improve. This is important because, as a UAF student, you are a shareholder in our collective future. You are investing your time and money in yourself, and investing in who we can be and what we will be. By being here and by choosing UAF, you are a part of this improvement. Our futures are more than connected – we have a common future – and that future is looking very bright!

Things to do:

Saturday evening, come and join the 100th anniversary of Starvation Gulch. This annual Traditions event signifies passing the torch of knowledge from returning UAF students to new students. This event will feature 6 huge bonfires, live music from DJ DancingFaraZ, food trucks, and more!

Club Field Day is this coming Thursday evening from 4-7 p.m. on the SRC field. Join the event for fun field day activities, including cash prizes for clubs and catered foods! 

There is much more to do – many things can be found on engage.uaf.edu

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback for me, please don’t hesitate to send your thoughts my way. You can find me at obguthrie@alaska.edu.

Have a great fourth week! You’ve got this!

Owen Guthrie, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management


UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, educational institution and provider and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.