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Student Experience and Engagement

WKU is committed to creating a rich, robust out-of-classroom student experience where students learn about themselves and others, experience meaningful connections, and realize their peak potential. In doing so, we reinforce our primary goals of delivering quality, effective student services while caring deeply for students and investing in their personal and academic success. 


General Operating Procedures for Programmatic Initiatives

  • In designing and executing programmatic initiatives, employees will adhere to the provisions of WKU’s Big Red Restart plan.
  • In-person programming will be restricted to the number of individuals advisable by public health officials, which may change during the semester. 
  • Key programs may need to be repeated to accommodate student and stakeholder consumption.
  • In the event of a program with a speaker or artist, employees will ensure broadcasting online and/or the use of overflow rooms. 
  • Employees will create and execute a plan to disinfect programming spaces after each student event.


Events Sponsored or Hosted by Students

  • Students are encouraged to adopt the University values outlined in the WKU Creed  and the Student Code of Conduct when engaging with others in public campus spaces. 
  • Students will adhere to all CDC/KY guidelines for social distancing, sanitizing, hygiene, and self-screening.
  • In-person attendance to all student events (including student organizations, clubs, greek events, etc.) will be limited. Events should be individually evaluated to determine if the event can be offered virtually or through a combination of in-person and virtual modalities. Fall 2020 Campus Operational Norms (pages 8-13) apply to the activities of all registered student organizations regardless of the event/activity’s location.
  • Students hosting events will clearly communicate to participants expectations of health safety, as well as inherent health risks associated with activities.
  • Additionally, students will assist in minimizing congregating. Provisions include:
    • Set time limitations or restrictions on use of public spaces 
    • Limit the number of people who are able to be in one space at a time

    • Limit the available seating in public spaces and cut the number of spaces available for reservation by half

  • University staff will limit student group reservations of on-campus spaces to reduce density.  Students reserving space will work with employees to create and execute a plan to disinfect buildings and programming spaces after each student event.


Reintroducing standard programming is imperative to student engagement. This will be subject to the determination of what is possible in a restrictive environment and what needs to be delayed. We must think creatively; not every program will be able to happen like it used to. Further, programmatic engagement for each unit should be classified into one of four categories:

    1. Definite – programs that need to be available at the inception of the semester
    2. Delayed – programs that can begin later in the fall semester 
    3. Deferred – programs that may need to be reintroduced in spring 2021 or later
    4. Delivery - programs that may need to be delivered in-person, in small groups and frequently repeated to meet student needs


Orientation and Communication

Traditional orientation activities (e.g., M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan, H-4, the ISEC Academy Academic Bootcamp, Greek Life activities, student worker trainings, etc.) will have instructional components outlining required guidelines and behavioral expectations.

Orientation, training, and onboarding activities will be conducted in an online modality and in small group settings held frequently.

Student leaders (e.g., SGA, SpiritMasters, Resident Assistants, ISEC Navigators, International Diplomats, etc.) will aid Divisional staff in the orientation process and activities.

Communication for the Division’s onboarding plan will involve several steps: 

  1. Prior to students returning to campus, residential, commuter, transfer students, and students enrolled in online courses will receive a series of email messages outlining guidelines and expectations for all face-to-face, on-campus interactions.
  2. Students, parents, guardians, support members, community members, and guests will be directed to the Big Red Restart webpages. These webpages will host a frequently asked questions section. Updates and modifications in procedures will be housed in this centralized portal.
  3. Activities organized by staff or students within the Division will inform students about the risks associated with participation and outline specific guidelines for that particular event prior to participation.  


Housing Considerations

  • Open all buildings at full capacity - two residents/room. Residents will complete a revised roommate agreement in which they are able to share any concerns and agree upon conditions related to Covid-19. With the space in the room, residents will be able to social distance with the understanding that they may come in contact with their roommate - which will be considered a member of their household.
  • Visitation: Each student will only be allowed to check in one guest at a time, though guests are not required to be WKU students. (This is a change from a previous iteration of the Big Red Restart plan.)
  • Requirement for freshmen and sophomores to live on campus will continue with the same exemption process in place. However, Housing and Residence Life (HRL) may adjust the waiver requirements (e.g. increase the mileage radius to qualify for commuter status) in order to accommodate students who prefer to remain at home during this time. Students who are seeking an exemption can fill out an exemption request through the Housing Portal.
  • Student Accessibility Resource Center (SARC) will be the main point of contact for students who are seeking exceptions to the mandatory housing requirements due to COVID-19-related concerns.
  • A plan for quarantine of residential students has been developed. If needed,  quarantine spaces will be available based on CDC and local Health Department recommendations.
  • M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan: Amend session sizes to the number of individuals advisable by public health officials; all events and programs adjust to floor size; rotation of locations to keep to the number advisable by public health officials; focus on the importance of the small group core. Social programs will be done within the floor or hall. Signature/traditional programs will be re-imagined. Dining options will be re-evaluated with the assistance of Aramark.
  • Move-in M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan: Move-in begins August 17; M.A.S.T.E.R Plan begins August 20. The move-in window will be increased to reduce congestion in the halls and promote distancing. HRL staff should determine safety of the university-provided moving crates and/or identify a process for maximizing health safety for all users. Arrival times will be controlled through the development of a more strategic and granular move-in schedule. HRL will also communicate directly with residents to provide the maximum number of individuals (i.e. parents, family members, friends) who can assist with moving into the residence halls. Additionally, HRL is exploring curbside check-in options for move-in days.  
  • Standard (non-M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan) Move-in begins August 20-23: Arrival times will be controlled through the development of a strategic and granular move-in schedule. This would include time slots for upperclassmen and returning students. HRL is exploring curbside check-in options for move-in days.
  • In-Hall Staffing: Staffing levels in residence halls will be based on occupancy within the hall.  Professional /paraprofessional staff levels will be adjusted as needed. 
  • Residential Student Programming: Amend programming to be limited to the number of individuals advisable  by public health officials. All residence hall events and programs should be adjusted so that the maximum number of participants does not exceed the number of residents on a floor within the hall. 
  • Thanksgiving: All halls will remain open for Thanksgiving. Classes move to remote delivery November 20 while all halls remain open until 10 a.m. December 12.


Dining Considerations

  • All residential and retail restaurants and convenience stores will open with regular hours. 
  • WKU and Aramark will work together to explore possibilities for on-line/mobile ordering and a campus food delivery.
  • Utilize floor decals in all locations to assist with social distancing while guests are in line and at POS stations.
  • Remove tables and chairs to meet maximum occupancy requirements. Tables and chairs should be rearranged to achieve social distancing expectations. The number of guests at each location will be limited to meet CDC and Federal/State guidelines.
  • Plexiglas barriers will be installed at all POS, product hand-off and face-to-face stations throughout campus restaurants.
  • Expand events/specials to weekly occurrence within Fresh Food Company and Hilltopper Hall.
  • No self-service stations will be available at any dining location.
  • WKU and Aramark will explore the expansion of contactless payment options.
  • Educate the campus community on the steps taken to ensure maximum safety guidelines are followed.
  • Offer Early Arrival Meal Plans for M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan students as well as student athletes, band members, Greek students and other students that arrive to campus before Meal Plans start for the fall.
  • Follow detailed Aramark dining services plan to provide meals, snacks and beverages to students under quarantine. Deliver to housing contact for delivery to individuals.


The complete Student Experience and Engagement Restart Committee report is available here. 

Addendum to the Student Experience and Engagement Restart Committee report is available here.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 6/18/20