Academic life, involvement in sports and recreation, and participation in a rich variety of co-curricular opportunities are all parts of the Sweet Briar education. From serving on a judiciary committee, to hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, to having a campus job, many of the experiences students engage in outside the classroom complement their academic pursuits and broaden their understanding of the world in general.
The Division of Student Life aims to enhance the student experience through co-curricular programs that further the educational mission of the College. Students are given opportunities to connect classroom learning with student life, as well as to contribute to a diverse campus community through participation in social, cultural and recreational activities. Students are also encouraged to test their knowledge and skills in off-campus internships, volunteer activities and outdoor adventure programs.
Sweet Briar College is an outstanding setting for an active lifestyle balanced with moments of quiet and contemplation. The College campus covers 3,250 acres and includes woodlands, nature sanctuaries, farmland, lakes, a mountain outing cabin, the Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center, recreational facilities, and trails for hikers, bicycles and horses.
Through participation in co-curricular opportunities, students gain both self-knowledge and a greater sense of personal and social responsibility. They are challenged to assume positions of leadership in student government, peer judicial boards, clubs and organizations, and athletics. Volunteer opportunities are available to community members.
The Division of Student Life encourages student creativity and the generation of new ideas. Staff members work closely with individual students, faculty and staff, as well as clubs, organizations and groups to create innovative and engaging programs - including events that offer nothing more than fun and relaxation.
The Division of Student Life consists of the following areas: academic support services, career services, spiritual and community life, health and wellness, the Sweet Briar Leadership Program, the Sweet Briar Outdoor Program, residence life, and student involvement and programs.
Orientation is the first step in a new student’s collegiate career. This program is designed to familiarize new students with the Sweet Briar campus. In addition, new-student orientation is designed to help students become comfortable with one another as roommates, classmates, and members of the Sweet Briar community.
Students also become acquainted with the many services, resources and opportunities offered at the College. During this time, students meet with academic advisors, learn the ins and outs of campus life, how to use campus technology, how to navigate the library and gain an understanding of the Honor Code. Also included are sessions on academic expectations in the classroom, social events and community service opportunities.
Sweet Briar is a residential college and the student residences provide an opportunity for students to learn, live and grow in a dynamic and diverse community. Residential living offers students more than just a room; it is a vital component of a total educational experience. Living in a residence hall or apartment gives students the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships, to develop self-discipline, and become responsible members of the community. The community includes all students, both those who live on campus and those who enroll as non-traditional students, including non-residential and Turning Point students.
The College provides housing for students in nine different facilities. In addition to single- and double-occupancy rooms, there are a number of triple and quad suites that include a common living area, as well as apartment-style living.
The Office of Residence Life employs professional staff who live in the residence halls or on-campus live-in staff members who help to create and maintain community within student residence areas. These staff members have a high degree of visibility and serve as resources for students:
- Resident coordinators (RCs) are part-time professionals who live in the residence halls and support the work of the resident advisors (RAs). They also serve on call after hours, including weekends. These staff members are selected for their expertise and interest in counseling, conflict mediation and community development.
- Resident advisors are the student members of the residence life staff who live and work with new students and serve as community resources. They also live and work with upperclasswomen to help educate and empower fellow students. RA’s assist the College in its overall operation of the residence life program and work collaboratively to provide balance, support and fun to the residential community.
The comprehensive career services program is available to all students and alumnae. It is based on the premise that career planning is highly individual and lifelong. The career services staff helps students formulate their plans for careers, future study or both.
Students are encouraged to consult career services early and often. The formal program begins in the fall semester of a student’s first year at Sweet Briar.
A four-year plan introduces students to the concept of career services:
- First-year students engage in self-assessment and are encouraged to begin exploring career fields of interest. Students can take inventory tests and engage with the office’s online program through CareerBeam, which provides insightful information regarding career preferences, personality traits and action plans. Through carefully planned workshops, students take the first steps toward establishing career goals and constructing effective résumés.
- Second-year students focus on exploration. Students continue to explore career fields of interest, attend advanced workshops on such topics as developing résumés and cover letters, interviewing and networking. Students may also participate in internship opportunities or explore career fields through work experiences.
- Third-year students focus more directly on their experiences. Students are expected to participate in either focused career research or begin preparing for graduate school. Interview and job-search techniques are enhanced while students continue to work on these areas. Internship opportunities consisting of on- and off-campus employment are emphasized. Students receive assistance with the graduate and professional school application process.
- Fourth-year students focus on lifetime applications of skills and interests. These students are assisted in the formal aspects of job searching. Information gathered over their previous three years - inventory tests, internship experiences, résumés and other experiences - provide the documented references seniors need to prepare for job fairs and interviews. Sweet Briar participates in major job-search opportunities such as field- or major-specific career events, campus interviews, and annual local and regional job fairs. Through mock interviews and programs designed to transition them to the world of work, Sweet Briar students are provided with many opportunities to manage the transition from college to careers.
Health and Wellness Center
The Health and Wellness Center provides comprehensive service and primary care with an emphasis on women’s health. The staff offers general ambulatory medical care, gynecological services, and other health-related practices. There is a co-pay fee.
A licensed mental health professional offers counseling and assistance to students with personal, family, social or educational concerns. An additional agreement with a psychiatrist provides consultation services and care. Student leaders, known as SweetPEAs (peer health educators and advocates), promote wellness and healthy lifestyle choices through a range of programs.
All services are confidential. The Health and Wellness Center is open Monday through Friday. After-hour emergencies are handled by trained campus safety officers, residence hall staff and the Amherst Rescue Squad. Nearby walk-in facilities are also accessible, as are two local hospitals and numerous specialists.
Sweet Briar Outdoor Program
The Sweet Briar Outdoor Program provides outdoor recreational activities and adventures that foster personal growth, leadership and environmental responsibility to those with all levels of skill and interest. Popular activities include backpacking and hiking, rock climbing, caving, whitewater rafting, kayaking, skiing and a variety of other activities. These adventures are available to all students and are either free or deeply discounted. Many of the opportunities are in collaboration with local colleges as well.
Students who are drawn to the outdoors are given the opportunity to become trip leaders. By leading their peers on program outings, they work to build communication, group management and leadership skills. They are also trained in the technical aspects needed for each adventure program.
Sweet Briar student leadership programs encourage new students to become campus leaders, enable returning leaders to enhance their skills, and prepare all students for leadership positions within their areas of interest.
The Sweet Briar Leadership Program is a collaborative initiative with the athletics program that prepares women to become responsible and influential members of a global community. Through an intense and supportive educational environment, students are empowered to learn to lead with integrity, honor and commitment. They do so by integrating the knowledge offered to them through the College’s strong liberal arts curriculum, diverse experiences both on and off campus, and the development of individual and team-building skills. Together, these experiences will provide them with a strong foundation on which to build as they become leaders in their chosen endeavors - while as students at Sweet Briar, after graduation and throughout their lives.
The Leadership Program is optional and one that:
- Combines academic and experiential learning designed to foster an understanding of the theory and foundations of leadership;
- Fosters personal development such as communication skills, time management and ethical decision-making;
- Provides for the acquisition of the organizational skills necessary to work well with others and to motivate groups to work toward a common goal.
The annual Student Leadership Conference is a one-day conference planned and hosted by students in the Leadership Program and open to all students. This event is held on campus early each spring and generally features a keynote speaker as well as professional-level workshops and sessions.
Additionally, many opportunities for leadership are available in various program areas, including: the Student Government Association, clubs and organizations, athletics, and through civic engagement and volunteerism. Students may also participate in Who’s Who Among American Colleges & Universities, the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa, and other organizations that recognize achievement at all levels.
Whatever the interest, whatever the need, Sweet Briar staff are willing to help students become involved with a volunteer project or civic engagement opportunity. Information regarding resources is available through the student life and spiritual and community life offices.
Student Involvement, Leadership and Inclusivity
The Office of Student Involvement, Leadership and Inclusivity promotes engagement in social, cultural, academic and wellness activities that enhance the classroom experience and help students to create rich and interesting lives on and off campus. Students are encouraged to design and produce a variety of events including social gatherings and parties, concerts, comedy nights, game nights, poetry readings, athletic activities and more.
Campus Events Organization (CEO)
Student events are developed and produced by the student-run Campus Events Organization (CEO) with guidance from the director of student involvement, leadership and inclusivity. Funded by the student activity fee, CEO provides a range of programming: comedy, novelty, main stage concerts, solo performers, cultural enrichment and wellness.
CEO also supports Sweet Briar’s belief in the importance of experiential learning. Students gain training and experience in event planning and management, finances, publicity, time management, organizational behavior and advertising. These opportunities are personally enriching and have the potential to lead to internships and career employment.
Among the advantages of a women’s college are the unlimited opportunities for students to participate and assume leadership roles in many types of organizations and activities. At Sweet Briar, students are urged to actively engage in existing co-curricular and departmental offerings. They are also encouraged to establish groups and clubs if existing offerings do not correspond to their interests. Examples of organizations initiated by students include the Environmental Club; Anime Manga Pop Culture Club; Gay, Lesbian or Whoever (GLOW); and the Cooking Club. Campus organizations are funded through the Student Life Fund and are part of the Inter-Club Council. In addition, the Office of Student Involvement, Leadership and Inclusivity offers specialized training, resources and professional development activities to student organizations and their advisors throughout the academic year.
Student Publications and Media Organizations
Students are welcome to join the staff of Red Clay, the College’s literary magazine, which publishes student poetry, stories, photography and artwork.
Students interested in broadcasting can take part in writing, producing and announcing documentary or entertainment programming for the College’s student-run radio station. There are also writing, announcing and other creative opportunities in the athletics department’s sports information office.
The opinions expressed in any Sweet Briar College publication or other forms of media are not necessarily those of the students, faculty, staff or administration. Therefore, Sweet Briar College is not responsible for its content. Editorials represent the opinion(s) of the editor(s).
Student Government Association (SGA)
The Student Government Association (SGA) is founded upon a highly developed concept of honor, which applies to all phases of academic and social life. It is based on the fundamental belief that community harmony is best achieved when built upon honor, mutual trust and respect. Each entering student becomes a full member of the Student Government Association upon taking the Honor Pledge.
The Student Government Association is founded upon a highly developed concept of honor, which applies to all phases of academic and social life. It is based on the fundamental belief that community harmony is best achieved when it has as its basis honor and mutual trust and respect. Each entering student becomes a full member of the Student Government Association upon taking the Honor Pledge, which in essence states that Sweet Briar women do not lie, cheat, steal, or violate the rights of others.
Spiritual and Community Life
Sweet Briar has a variety of volunteer chaplains, clergy and worship leaders who serve to support the spiritual lives and wellness of our students. The goal is to not only support students in their own faith pursuits, but to encourage appreciation for and understanding of different beliefs or cultural and religious perspectives. The Office of Spiritual and Community Life sponsors weekly opportunities for worship, study, volunteer service and ethical reflection. Embracing the fact that we live in an increasingly diverse world, this office works intentionally to develop programs that speak to the needs of students from all faith backgrounds.
In addition to on-campus spiritual opportunities, the Office of Spiritual and Community Life serves as a liaison to many area churches, synagogues and mosques that welcome Sweet Briar students. In effort to better enable students to become community builders, this office also creates opportunities for off-campus volunteer work.
Responsibility for Property
Students are responsible for any damage to College property, beyond normal wear and tear, and an assessment will be applied to the student account as deemed appropriate. Although Sweet Briar endeavors to protect the property of its students in the same manner as its own, it will not be responsible for the loss or damage of any personal property of any student.
For the convenience of the College community, the business office operates a cashier’s office where personal checks are honored. This privilege may be forfeited if a check is returned for any reason; in addition, there is a $25 fine for returned checks. It is recommended that students open checking accounts with their home banks or with local banks. Checks drawn on foreign banks will be subject to a $35 service charge to cover the cost of sending the check overseas for collection.