Dr. Parker summarizes campus enhancements and encourages self-care as students strive toward goals

Wheaton is committed to developing the next generation of leaders through holistically creating experiences that prioritize agency, resilience, and preparedness

by Dr. Darnell T. Parker, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Dear parents and guardians,

It is wonderful to see students on campus meeting new friends and catching up with old friends. The Dimple has been busy with students studying, playing lawn games, and just taking some time to enjoy the weather in between classes. It is important for students to take the time for some self-care as they embark on their academic and leadership journey.

We opened the academic year with Convocation on August 29th. Convocation is a tradition at colleges and universities that signifies the start of the new academic year. It is the opportunity for students to hear messages from college leadership and their peers. My message to students this year focused on developing agency and resilience, while practicing self-care. As the Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington shared with our new students during orientation, “Wheaton is preparing the next generation of leaders.” Dr. Washington is correct in his observations of our great institution. We are committed to developing the next generation of leaders through holistically creating experiences that prioritize agency, resilience, and preparedness. This is done with the partnership of our parents and guardians, as we help our scholars accomplish their goals and aspirations while encouraging them to practice self-care.

As we start the academic year, I wanted to share some updates with you:

  • Over the summer, we continued our commitment to improve the state of our residence halls. We were able to renovate Meadows residence hall with new furniture, flooring, painting, lighting, and update the lounges. We were able to paint and remove the carpets in Stanton residence hall and refurbish the lounge. We made updates to some of our theme houses and worked on the outside facade of Beard residence hall. The work we completed this summer builds on the work we completed last summer on Clark, Young, and McIntire residence halls. I shared with students that we are addressing the residence halls in stages and will be updating next summer.
  • Last fall, the Counseling Center added Mantra Health, a telecounseling service to complement the mental health services offered in our Counseling Center. The service has allowed us to see students sooner and avoid putting students on a waitlist. The Counseling Center will be offering a coping skills support group and a grief group that is open to students. You can find more information about our counseling services in the Counseling Center section of our website.
  • A number of parents and guardians have inquired if there is a safety app students can use on campus. Wheaton College uses the safety app called Livesafe. Livesafe has features that allow students to request emergency help when needed. The app also has the safewalk feature where students can provide a friend or family member their location and that friend or family member can track that the student made it safely to their location. This feature is highly utilized at colleges and universities and students enjoy using it. The app also provides a list of critical resources for students so they do not have to search the college website. If your student has not downloaded Livesafe, please encourage them to download it. Information for the app can be found on our website. here:
  • I will continue to hold office hours for students on Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and my monthly lunch with the dean sessions. I have found these sessions useful and provide students the space to share concerns and even successes.

In closing, I would like to take this time to invite you to Family and Friends Weekend / Fall Fest on October 20th and 21st. The registration link will be available soon with the schedule. We are finalizing great programming and activities for both days that will provide an overview of what our students are doing in the classroom and leadership opportunities.

I look forward to working with you and your students as we assist them with their academic journey. You are always welcome to reach out to the Dean of Students Office with questions or concerns.

Dr. Parker