June 24, 2024

Britni Greenleaf: Virtual Orientation

Britni Greenleaf knows what it’s like to be the new kid on campus. She didn’t know a single soul at the University of Mary Washington when she was hired two summers ago.

Coordinator of New Student Programs Britni Greenleaf.

Coordinator of New Student Programs Britni Greenleaf.

That made her a perfect fit for her job as coordinator of New Student Programs. In that role, she welcomes Eagles to the UMW community, planning First-Year Seminar Peer Mentoring, NEST early arrival, and freshman and transfer student Orientation programs, like the one for first-years that started today.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered campus this spring, Greenleaf and her team were still tasked with planning the events, which for many, commemorate their first concentrated interaction with UMW classmates. But it all had to be done virtually.

“A large-scale program like this usually takes a year to prepare. We had to do it in two months,” said Greenleaf, who earned a master’s degree in counseling and college student personnel from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Hailing the preparations as a “team effort,” Greenleaf praised her UMW colleagues and student leaders who have worked tirelessly to make online Orientation happen.

Held over Zoom, the one-day online experience gives new students the chance to connect with peers, learn how to use Canvas and UMW email, and ask questions about their schedules and potential majors. They’ll meet President Troy Paino, become acquainted with the University’s value system, ASPIRE, and watch “UMW Live,” featuring prerecorded skits – written by and for students – about campus life and resources.

And hopefully, Greenleaf said, even online, participants will begin to feel like Mary Washington is home. Mindful that these freshmen missed out on traditional high school experiences like prom and graduation, she and her staff have added “touchpoints” to allow for student engagement all summer.

“They haven’t had some of their ‘lasts’ in closing one chapter and opening another but are still excited to become a part of our community,” Greenleaf said. “The best thing we can do is connect with them virtually until we can show them the spirit of UMW in person in August.”


Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Watching students come to UMW, get involved, take on leadership roles and eventually graduate.

Q: The most challenging?
A: Transitioning to the job as a young professional and making programs work with limited resources.

Q: What do you miss most about the UMW campus?
A: Waving to people on Campus Walk while golf carting with Associate Dean Melissa Jones. Random conversations with my students. Hanging out with Mr. Russell, a custodian in the UC and one of my favorite people on campus. Visiting my friends in Campus Rec and Student Activities and Engagement. Seeing students benching on Ball Circle.

Q: What do you do when you aren’t working?
A: I recently became a registered yoga instructor through the Yoga Foundation of Fredericksburg. I also love to read, journal, run and spend time outdoors.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m a first-generation college student from a working class family in rural Pennsylvania. I used to spend my summers driving a dump truck at a paper mill to pay for college.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: “You don’t always have to know what to say or what to do, but continue to show up. #blacklivesmatter

Campus Update on Coronavirus

To students, faculty, and staff:

As members of our community return from spring break, when many of us have been traveling, we would like to provide an update on the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Rest assured that UMW’s medical and emergency management officials have taken proactive steps and are continually monitoring the situation and are regularly in touch with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

There are no confirmed cases in our community or in Virginia. At this point, VDH recommends self-quarantine only for individuals who have traveled to or been in close contact with residents of China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. In addition, the same protocol is recommended for anyone who has been in physical proximity with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

We realize many students, faculty, and staff have traveled widely during the past week. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 is lower if you have not traveled to any of the four countries named above or been in close contact with someone who has, we urge all members of the campus community to practice vigilance in regard to their health.

As a means of ensuring your safety as well as the safety of the campus community, we ask that you inform student health via this link of where you have traveled in the past several weeks.

The symptoms associated with COVID-19 are similar to the common flu – fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other respiratory complaints.  Students who are ill or think they may be ill should stay home from class and must contact their instructor via email or telephone to discuss appropriate adjustments. Faculty will be provided guidance on ways to accommodate students who may temporarily need to participate or complete assignments remotely. Faculty members who have questions about how to do this may find assistance through the Center for Teaching and Digital Learning Support.

As with any cold or flu, it is important for everyone to follow these self-care habits to reduce the chance of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid eating or drinking after others or sharing e-cigarettes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

There is currently no treatment available for COVID-19; for more than 80% of people who contract the virus, cases are mild and the virus runs its course. However, if you test positive with coronavirus, VDH recommends self-isolate for 14 days so as not to expose anyone else to the virus.

If you have medical questions or are in need of a thermometer, please call the Student Health Center at 540-654-1040.

For any other questions or concerns, please email healthupdates@umw.edu or call/leave a message at 540-654-1999.

Further information on COVID-19 can be found at Virginia Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and/or x211 (press 9).

We continue to work closely with local, state, and federal health officials, and we will regularly update the campus.

Your well-being is a top priority. In our commitment to minimizing the health risks to our students, staff and faculty, we will provide as clear and timely communications as possible.


Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Mary Washington


Annual Alcohol and Drug Reports

The following message is from the Vice President for Student Affairs:

To Members of the UMW Community:

I am writing to bring to your attention an important institutional responsibility: to maintain and communicate our established alcohol and drug policies.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended by the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1994) requires that any institute of higher education receiving federal financial aid, such as the University of Mary Washington, must adopt and implement a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees.

Drug and alcohol prevention information is accessible on UMW’s website at https://students.umw.edu/studentconduct/.  An “Alcohol & Drug Reports & Notifications” tab can be found on the left side of the referenced website.  Students and faculty/staff are encouraged to review this information. The topics covered include:  1) Standards of conduct related to alcohol and drugs; 2) Legal sanctions; 3) Health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol; 4) Drug and alcohol counseling, treatment, rehabilitation, and re-entry programs; and 5) Disciplinary sanctions. Clicking on the tab will lead to both an Annual Notification (February 2020) and a Biennial Report (February 2020). The latter document contains information concerning what actions were taken in 2017-18 and in 2018-19 related to alcohol and drug prevention, what the results were, and what further actions are planned.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (540-654-1062) or the Office of Student Conduct and Responsibility (540-654-1660)  if you have questions regarding this material.

Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs


Faculty and Staff Welcome New Students to Campus

UMW faculty and staff joined nearly 1,000 new students for the inaugural Eagle Gathering at Ball Circle on Thursday, Aug. 23. The candlelight event was part of the five-day orientation for incoming students.

“The light we passed at Eagle Gathering represents the torch of knowledge that can be seen at the center of our institutional seal,” said President Richard V. Hurley. “It stands for the desire to learn, to grow, to serve, to lead, and in all things to give our best in search of meaning and truth.”

Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs, hopes Eagle Gathering will become a time-honored tradition at UMW.

“Standing on Ball Circle as students, faculty and staff raised their candles to the alma mater was a moving experience,” Searcy said. “This inspirational event set a tone of community and connection to start students on their UMW journey.”

The following day, the new students pledged to abide by UMW’s cherished honor system during the Honor Convocation ceremony at the Anderson Center.

During orientation, students also attended sessions focused on student life, UMW traditions and academics. They met with faculty advisers to prepare for the first day of classes on Monday, Aug. 27.

For photos from orientation, visit http://www.umw.edu/news/2012/08/27/incoming-students-experience-traditions-new-and-old-at-umw/ and

UMW Staff Volunteer at Day of Caring

Two teams of University of Mary Washington staff traded in their desks and computers for paint brushes and shovels as volunteers at the Day of Caring on Thursday, September 15.

A total of 28 volunteers, 16 from Student Affairs and 12 from Advancement and University Relations, spent the morning cleaning, painting and landscaping for local agencies.

The team from Student Affairs volunteered at Thurman Brisben Center and Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services while the team from Advancement and University Relations volunteered at the Rappahannock Emergency Medical Services Council.

This is the second year that a group from Mary Washington has volunteered with the Day of Caring, a project of Rappahannock United Way.