Student Life

We know life outside the classroom is often just as significant for our students as time spent within the classroom. We’re finding creative ways, through both virtual and in-person opportunities, to keep students connected to one another and our entire Huskie family this fall. Through thoughtful planning involving faculty, staff, students and alumni, we’ve built a comprehensive student life and engagement plan that takes into consideration the health, safety and well-being of our students. Even with today’s physical distancing limitations, we are committed to providing opportunities for students to get involved in our Huskie community and have fun.

Week of Welcome

Our new Huskies will take part in exciting and friendly events designed just for them at our Week of Welcome (WOW) hosted by Orientation and First Year Programs, in collaboration with many partners from across the campus community. WOW allows first-year students and new transfer students to experience campus about a week before the start of fall classes. Our goal is to provide an experience that builds community and NIU pride among our incoming students, while introducing them to all NIU has to offer – whether they’re living on campus or off. Programming involving a combination of virtual and face-to-face events from August 19 through August 23 is still being finalized. Keeping in mind safety recommendations from public health officials, we’re working on a schedule full of engaging activities that will help build excitement about coming to NIU and set expectations for new students about what it means to be part of the Huskie Pack.

Student Organizations and Activities

Our more than 300 student organizations – focusing on service, diversity, culture, entertainment, sports, politics, government, academics and so much more – provide valuable and meaningful experiences. We’re working to foster an environment this fall that supports the activities of these organizations, while prioritizing the health and safety of their members. Plans remain flexible, but our aim is to:

  • Provide specific guidelines to all student organization leaders and advisors, as well as advising directors, unit heads and staff.
  • Offer a mix of virtual and face-to-face programs and meetings for organizations and their members throughout the year.
  • Create a new platform for Huskie Link to enhance online capabilities for student organizations. Through Huskie Link, students will be able to:
    • Discover new organizations.
    • Learn about events throughout campus.
    • Track organization rosters.
    • Communicate with fellow members.
    • Register and update organizations and events electronically.
  • Provide multiple modes to accommodate all students, including those who would rather remain virtual, at activities where attendance is mandatory.
  • Include approved signage in activity spaces to remind guests of health standards, actions to take if feeling ill, the need to maintain physical distancing and responsible health-related behavior.

Fraternity and Sorority Life

Our more than 40 fraternities and sororities, some with off-campus housing, offer their members personal and professional growth, development and education. Although we are deferring formal recruitment activities to the Spring 2021 semester, we’ll continue to support and advocate for our Greek Letter organizations.

The monthly presidents’ meetings will be held virtually through Microsoft Teams and resources to help chapters plan activities will be provided, and will include guidance for conducting new virtual activities, as well as supporting healthy behaviors.

RecWell Programs

The Recreation and Wellness Center will open August 10. In the meantime, we encourage students who are automatically RecWell members to connect with our virtual activities such as fitness classes and personal training.

As of now, our plans are to provide the following this fall:

  • Adjusted hours of operations, facility layout changes and restrictions, and options for both virtual and in-person group fitness and personal training.
  • With approval from university leadership and public health experts, a gradual reintroduction over the course of the fall semester of activities and facilities, such as:
  • Wellness tips through social media, Mission Wellness and other programs to help you be proactive in your health and safety. With our T.A.C.O. (tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other drugs) and Eat, Sleep, Move campaigns this fall, you’ll become more informed on how to remain social and safe amidst a pandemic.

Holmes Student Center

An integral part of campus, our newly renovated Holmes Student Center enhances student life, cultivates unity and promotes development through a variety of cultural, educational, social and recreational programs. In our planning, we are prioritizing the health and safety of all students. Here are some things to expect:

  • Starbucks, a brand new Qdoba Mexican Eats, The Grill at Huskie Den and The Depot C-Store will be open. Meal plans offered through Campus Dining– a great option for eating on campus – incorporate both residential and retail dining. Those with meal plans should make sure to check the hours for meal exchange.
  • With appropriate physical distancing precautions in place, the Huskie Den Bowling and Billiards Center is expected to be open later in the year.
  • Huskie Books and Gear will be open to assist students with their textbook needs.
  • Housed in the center, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) will host virtual and face-to-face activities for all students. Face-to-face programs will have the option of being recorded or streamed for participants.
  • Spaces will be reservable, with priority given to student organizations.
  • The student-run Ellington’s restaurant will not be open this fall.

Fall 2020 Plan (PDF)

Message from President Freeman

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