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 Office of Student Life supports the student experience at the College. Students are given opportunities to connect classroom learning with daily living, and to contribute to our community through participation in social, cultural, volunteer and recreational opportunities. Sweet Briar College is an outstanding setting for an active lifestyle balanced with moments of quiet and self-reflection.
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!
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.
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 and with the services and opportunities available to her.
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.
First-year Integration Groups (FIG)
To help reflect about their upbringing, their transition to college, their place in this community and their skills for future success, all new students will participate in a First-year Integration Group (FIG) during the fall 3-week term. Through a series of facilitated dialogues, FIGs will enhance students’ sense of belonging, as well as greatly improve students’ ability to recognize one another’s common humanity, while valuing the difference and distinctiveness of each individual. Students will also participate in workshops designed to orient them to key College resources like the library, the Academic Resource Center and career services as well as education workshops focused on mental/physical well-being, wellness and bystander intervention. FIGs will meet every day during the 3-week term for 75-90 minutes.
Sweet Briar is a residential college with residence halls that provide an opportunity for students to learn, live and grow. Residential living is a vital component of the educational experience, giving students the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships, develop self-discipline and become responsible members of the community. The Office of Student Life utilizes professional staff who live in the residence halls and on-campus in order to assist and guide our students.
Resident coordinators (RCs) are part-time adult 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. Resident advisors are students who serve as leaders in the residence halls. 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.
Health and Wellness
Local medical facilities include Centra Amherst Medical Center (1.8 miles), Physicians Treatment Center in Amherst (2.5 miles) and Central Virginia Family Physicians in Madison Heights (9 miles). All offer walk-in care.
Emergencies are coordinated through the campus safety office. Should a student need emergency medical care, professional staff will navigate that student’s transport to Lynchburg General Hospital. Student life staff can also provide support while a student is in a local emergency room, so they needn’t be alone. We do not encourage students to transport each other during an emergency.
The Health and Wellness initiative at Sweet Briar includes student leaders, known as SweetPEAs (peer health educators and advocates) who promote wellness and healthy lifestyle choices through a range of programs.
We’ve also partnered with Meriwether Godsey to enhance the dining program and special events on campus. In addition to being employee-owned and a certified Woman Business Enterprise, Meriwether Godsey has a commitment to using local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients and to providing creative, nutritious options for every member of the Sweet Briar community.
Inclusivity and Diversity
Sweet Briar College is dedicated to maintaining an inclusive, nurturing environment that respects individual choice and difference. Several student organizations exist to create a welcoming campus climate.
Campus Events Organization (CEO)
Student events are developed and produced by the student-run Campus Events Organization (CEO) with supervision and guidance by the assistant director of student life. Funded by the student activity fee, CEO provides a range of programming designed to enhance the student experience.
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. They are encouraged to establish groups and clubs if existing offerings do not correspond to their interests.
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, The Briar 92.7 FM. The radio station is prominently located in Prothro Dining Commons.
Please note: 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.
Student Government Association (SGA)
The Student Government Association (SGA) offers students an opportunity to participate in the philosophy of self-governance. Students are encouraged to run for positions within the SGA, participate in the elections process and to assume leadership roles. SGA allocates student activity fees toward events and initiatives sponsored by various student groups.
The honor system is based on the fundamental belief that our community is strongest when our core principles are based on honor, mutual trust and respect.
Each entering student becomes a full member of the Student Government Association upon taking the Honor Pledge: Sweet Briar women do not lie, cheat, steal, or violate the rights of others. Therefore, I pledge to uphold all standards of honorable conduct. I will report myself and others for any infractions of this pledge.
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.
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, particularly in the residence halls. An assessment will be applied to the student account as appropriate. Sweet Briar endeavors to protect the property of its students in the same manner as its own, however 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 cashed. This privilege may be forfeited if a check is returned for any reason; in addition, there is a $35 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.