2020-2021 Undergraduate Students Update

Table of Contents

Dear Returning Student,

With all of you being away from campus since last March, this welcome-back letter takes on special significance this year. Know that we have missed you and can’t wait for the excitement that always marks your return and the start of the fall semester. That said, this will be a fall semester very different from any we have ever known. The pandemic requires that we think differently about the way we learn, the way we interact, our daily routines and the responsibility we share for each other’s safety. If we have learned anything from these past few months, it is how much of our daily experience at Wilkes that we took for granted. The opportunity to return to campus where we can see each other and be together (albeit at a distance) will create moments for which we will have special appreciation.

By necessity, we will operate differently this fall in just about every aspect of our lives at Wilkes; however, we will do so in ways that assure that we continue to achieve the University’s expected outcomes for our students. Our ability to be on campus will much depend on how well each of us adheres to the core principles of our Covid-19 safety protocol. If each of us monitors our own health by answering our daily screening questions via the Wilkes Shield App, if we are always mindful about hand washing and hygiene, if we pay careful attention to wearing our masks and remaining physically distant from one another on and off campus, we will minimize the level of infection that will reach members of our campus community; and thereby, avoid compromising our ability to sustain our campus presence. 

This past spring and summer not only focused attention on our collective and individual health and safety, but it was also a time that required we confront the systemic racial injustice, violence and inequality that continues to be a part of the lives of too many living in our country. As a campus community we must remain committed to the principles of social justice that were “messaged” to us this summer by President Cant, Student Government and the Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (CODIE). We must ensure that all the communities in which we live and work are safe, accessible, belonging and just. In the same way that each of us must act responsibly related to the pandemic, so must we act in support of racial justice and inclusion.

This summer we were delighted to welcome to campus the seventh president of Wilkes, Dr. Greg Cant. Dr. Cant is excited to be at Wilkes and to be able to meet and know you. This spring, we will host a special event on campus that happens only with the arrival of a new president – that being a Presidential Installation Ceremony. This celebration will commemorate this special moment in the University’s history and provide you an opportunity to bear witness to it.

As we begin this unprecedented year, please know that we continue to stand ready to work with you in support of your success. Please take a few minutes to read through the following material that will help you prepare for the upcoming academic year. Should you have any questions and you are unclear about whom to contact, please be in touch with the Office of Student Affairs at Passan Hall (267 South Franklin Street, 570.408.4100). Please feel free to share this update with your families. Should you have any questions with which I can help, please call me by dialing to 570.408.4505.

We look forward to seeing you soon and extend our very best wishes for a great fall semester.


Paul S. Adams
Vice President, Student Affairs

Message from the COVID-19 Task Force

Welcome back everyone! As you have probably heard, and will continue to hear, this is an unprecedented year that will look very different from your previous Wilkes experiences. You will be called upon to comply with a myriad of new rules and procedures all designed to maximize the safety of our community from the COVID 19 virus. Without your understanding and compliance our community becomes compromised. Here are a few of the highlighted expectations:

  • We ask that you read the Colonels Combat COVID guidebook and acknowledge your understanding of that document in a pop-up window that will appear on the Wilkes login page prior to the start of the semester.
  • Please update the Wilkes Shield app which contains the COVID Self-Assessment.
  • Each Wilkes community member will be asked to complete the Self-Assessment daily.
  • Also, know that many of our services where you are used to walking in and getting assistance will be functioning virtually or by appointment only. Please call, or email, in advance, the office you need to access so that you can get timely service.

As the semester begins, we are all looking forward to bringing our academic community back together. Holding that community together will be the responsibility of each one of us to follow expectations with respect to face coverings, social distancing, good hygiene and a host of other rules that, at times, will challenge our patience, but are in place to preserve a true “Wilkes experience.” Let’s all work together to make this semester a truly positive experience. 

On Behalf of Wilkes University's COVID-19 Task Force,

Mark Allen, Ph.D.
Dean of Students

Residence Life

Returning Students

Move-in for returning resident students is contingent upon where you are placed. For detailed move in information please visit, wilkes.edu/moveinday.

First-Year Students

Move in for first year resident students will be Wednesday, August 19 and Thursday, August 20 based on your eMentor assignment. These times will also be sent to students’ emails and visible on the Housing site through the portal. Students should pick up their keys from the tent outside of the Henry Student Center. 

Please note that the first available meal for all students will be Wednesday, August 19 with lunch.

Winter Recess


24 hours after last final OR 11/25/2020 at 5:00 p.m., whichever comes first.


01/16/2021 @ 12 p.m.

Spring Recess


03/06/2021 @ 11 a.m.


03/14/2021 @ 12 p.m. 



24 hours after last final OR 05/15/2021 at 12:00 p.m., whichever comes first 

*Residence Halls close for Winter Recess, Spring Recess and Summer Recess; all students will be expected to vacate unless approval to stay is received from the Office of Residence Life. 

Please note that if you will receive reminders about hall closings to your Wilkes email account as well as information to request access to your housing assignment during official University breaks. Please visit wilkes.edu/housing calendar for more information.

Wilkes University Police

Wilkes University notifies the campus community of emergency and crisis situations using Wilkes Alerts. These messages provide information on what is happening, what to do, and links to available additional information. The University employs text and email messaging as another technological solution for communicating swiftly and effectively with our campus community in the event of an extreme emergency on campus.

This system will be used only for emergency communication and not for general information or advertisements. While there is no charge to register a phone, your service provider may charge you a nominal fee for the airtime used for receiving these messages. Possible uses for this system will include closures and delays, community crime notifications, weather emergencies and power outages.

University faculty, staff and students Wilkes email addresses are automatically enrolled into Wilkes Alerts. Your Wilkes Alert account is accessible via the Wilkes Portal using your Wilkes username and password. Parents, guardians, and family members of students should ask their student to add their phone number and email address as their second or third contact numbers.

Once your cell phone is registered and validated, a text message will let you know that you have successfully signed up for the notifications.

In support of our emergency notification system, Wilkes University also offers a public safety app called the Wilkes Shield. This app is free to download at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Once downloaded onto your smartphone, users have the ability to make emergency calls to the University Police Department, send/ receive real time text messages on the iReport function and access campus resource information. New to this semester, the app also has a COVID-self assessment tool designed to assist the user in determining their health safety before coming to campus.

Those who have signed up for parking this semester will be notified by email of additional information related to when and where to pick their parking permit.

Individuals who do not pick up their permit on the assigned date may forfeit their ability to park on campus and their application will be moved to the back of the list for further consideration.

University College - "The Center for Student Success"

Here are some important things happening this fall at University College, The Center for Student Success.

If you would like extra support in a class, take advantage of our peer tutoring. You can sign up directly for a tutor at https://tutortrac.wilkes.edu for many classes. Small group and supplemental instruction schedules will be posted on our website and emailed to students in selected classes. For more information on tutoring, contact Katy Betnar, Director of the Learning Center, at katy.betnar@wilkes.edu.

*Due to COVID-19, all tutoring and supplemental instruction will be delivered remotely through Google Meet, Zoom, or D2L.

University College will offer study skills workshops during Welcome Weekend. Recorded workshops will also be available on our website. These online sessions are designed to teach students how to better manage academic demands and become stronger students. The topics covered include an overview of transition to college studies, strategic time/task management, goal setting and motivation, learning from lectures, and preparing for exams. In addition to the online sessions, students can make an individual appointment with Ms. Jessica Buickus, Learning Specialist - University College Learning Center,  at jessica.buickus@wilkes.edu to identify and develop appropriate strategies to improve their learning.

If you have a documented disability and are in need of accommodations, please contact Ms. Katy Betnar at katy.betnar@wilkes.edu. The Disability Support Services Office is located in Conyngham Hall. The documentation guidelines and related information can be found at wilkes.edu/academics/colleges/university-college/disability-support-services-dss.

Your professors have the opportunity to share any concerns they have about how you are performing in their class starting the third week of the semester. This comes in the form of an “Early Alert” message. You will receive an email with the professor’s concerns, and a copy will also be sent to your advisor and University College. Expect to hear from us so we can help you improve!

It is important to reconnect with your advisor in the first few weeks of school after the summer break. You will want to keep your advisor informed of anything that may affect your educational plan. You will also want to be sure your advisor knows about your progress or any difficulties you are facing. You should re-establish your relationship which is important as your Advisor will guide you through your college curriculum. If you are unable to reach your advisor, you can email the advising coordinators at advising@wilkes.edu.

Several years ago, a new policy went into effect that may help students who change their major. The GPA Adjustment Policy is a policy and procedure for a student to request removal of substandard grades in majors/programs for which they are clearly not suited. Removing grades of less than 2.0 may help the student gain confidence in his/her academic ability, choose another academic career path, increase their GPA to be removed from Academic Probation or Ineligibility, and, possibly, reinstate financial aid. This action will only be permitted if the student agrees to the specific conditions. The complete policy and procedure and the form are available from the Registrar in the Student Services Center. The student MUST change majors/programs. This can include changing between declared majors/programs, changing from declared majors/programs to “undeclared”, or changing from “undeclared” to declared majors/programs. The student MUST receive permission from the Department Chair of the new major to invoke this policy or the Executive Director of University College if switching to undeclared. The Chairperson of the Department into which the student desires to transfer has the decision-making authority to accept the new change of major. If the Chairperson of the Department refuses to accept the student, or if the student decides upon “undeclared,” the student may contact University College personnel and request a change to “undeclared” status. The student may initiate the GPA Adjustment Policy anytime during his/her current academic career. A returning student may apply the Policy to previously completed courses with no time limit. The student may only apply a maximum of 18 credit hours of courses to the GPA Adjustment Policy during his/her academic career at Wilkes. The student must follow the Director of Financial Aid’s Federal Guidelines regarding the maximum number of acceptable credits earned each academic year and minimum GPA. This implies that the Policy may be applied more than once during his/her academic career at Wilkes as long as the student follows the Federal Guidelines and change majors/programs a second time.

Center for Career Development and Internships

The staff of the Center for Career Development and Internships invites all students to participate in our events and services designed to help you launch successful careers.

The Center consists of a designated academic Internship and Cooperative Education Program, designed to support your search for experiential opportunities to enhance your professional development and academic career. Contact Sharon Castano at sharon.castano@wilkes.edu, ext. 2950 for information about planning.

Career Services provides mentorship and coaching to all students of every major regarding their career planning and decision-making, as well as connections to professionals and resources to help them reach their employment or graduate school goals. Connect with us at careers@wilkes.edu, or call ext. 4060.

A fall semester highlight is the launch of The Career Gateway Program, which affords students the opportunity to explore, connect and gain guided experiences from their first through senior years, while achieving a professional network to bring forward into a career.

Prepare to join the #1 career network app, Handshake! Learn of opportunities from thousands of employers, along with personalized career development resources and updates, by downloading the Handshake app and completing your profile.

  • CAR 398A, Career Success Plan, a one credit elective course for all juniors and seniors. Wednesdays at 12 p.m., CRN #31045
  • Internship, career or grad school questions? Connect with us via our zoom sessions during the semester. Visit Wilkes Today & Handshake for event times and to register to attend.
  • Employer Visits via zoom or Microsoft Meetings
  • “Career Conversations” are hosted via podcast with a variety of alumni
  • Virtual Resume Sessions
  • Virtual Career/Intern Fair (10/15/20)

For additional information and services

  • email careers@wilkes.edu to schedule an appointment with the staff at the Center for Career Development and Internships (rear of the Henry Student Center)
  • Visit our webpage at wilkes.edu/ccdi
  • Check the Handshake app for our event updates

Center for Global Education and Diversity

The staff of the Center for Global Education and Diversity invites all students to visit the Center and to participate in the multicultural, inclusion, and international activities sponsored by the Center.

There are several activities already scheduled for the fall that will be advertised in today@wilkes. The Center consists of the Office of Diversity Initiatives and the Office of International Student Services. The GEDI staff offer support, programming, and advocacy for students from underrepresented groups and international students. All students are invited to these popular events.

The Center for Global Education & Diversity hosts a Global Coffee Hour held every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. in the Savitz Multicultural Lounge (second floor SUB). American and international students gather to learn about world cultures in an informal setting of conversation and playing board games. Occasionally there are themed presentations and there is always coffee and other refreshments. For more information, contact Georgia Costalas by emailing georgia.costalas@wilkes.edu or calling x7854

The Global Hub, first floor of the Max Roth Center (corner of South St. and S. Franklin), is a lounge with computers, a television, workspace, and coffee. It is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is an extension of the Colonel’s Closet where students can pick up food items to carry to their residences.

The Office of Diversity Initiatives will host a Welcome to our Neighborhood Social. Everyone is welcome. Join us on Thursday, September 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ballroom (second floor SUB) for food and games and to meet new people and campus resource staff.

Off-Campus Student Information

If you have not already done so, students residing off campus (in apartments, not at home) are asked to provide their off-campus address and telephone number via the form below. You can use this link to do so here. Sharing your local address does not substitute for the Wilkes Emergency Contact System or vice versa.

Off-Campus Address Form

In light of CDC guidelines regarding safety in this time of COVID, off-campus students are reminded that large gatherings are not permitted. Restrictions allow for groups of less than 25 people with proper physical distancing and masks.

If you have any questions about off-campus life, please contact Gretchen Yeninas at the Office of Students Affairs by emailing gretchen.yeninas@wilkes.edu or calling 570-408-4107.

University Dining Service News

  • Keep an eye out for all of the seasonal favorites that you love!
  • Join us at the Starbucks location inside UCOM Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The P.O.D. Market is the one stop shop for all of your convenience needs on campus, and this fall you can get your Sushi fix too! Pick up your favorite roll Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.!
  • Eating healthy in a hurry? The P.O.D. Market at Stark will have a full line of Grab & Go salads and sandwiches, as well as new Naked Juice options.
  • Greens To Go will be serving up your favorite salads, as well as new weekly features like Asian Chicken Salad and Pear Walnut Chicken Salad. Greens To Go is open Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • From the Grille to the freshly toasted sandwiches, you’re sure to find something to appease your appetite!
  • Schedule:
    • Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Vegetarian Zone: find your vegetarian options at our Vegetarian Station or make a delicious salad from our vegetarian salad bar.
  • Vegan items made-to-order for lunch each day!
  • Food allergy? No problem! Campus Dining is here to make eating easy for you at Wilkes! Our visiting dietitian, Michelle would love to talk with you! Our gluten free area is expanding this Fall! We now have more options at Henry’s including gluten free grill favorites, breakfast options and more! Email james.watkinson@wilkes.edu with any allergy concerns.
  • Cash Equivalency is a cash amount that is credited towards the purchase of food items in Rifkin Food Court (Grilleworks & Which Wich?) and Greens To Go in the Stark Learning Center.
  • A “meal” is deducted from your meal plan balance and a cash equivalent value is applied toward the total cost of items purchased.
  • Any outstanding balance can be paid for with Dining or Flex Dollars, cash or credit.
  • Students may use one swipe during each of the following periods
    • Breakfast & Late Night Swipe: $5.11
    • Lunch & Dinner Swipe: $6.46

Each month, we will hold Food Advisory Board meetings to get feedback on what’s going well, what’s coming up, etc. Be sure to keep an eye out and stop in to share any ideas you have. We are always looking for new ideas to spice things up!


Athletics Competition Suspended for Fall 2020 Semester

After careful consideration of internal and external circumstances and with the health and well-being of each campus and community in mind, the President’s Council for the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) and the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) made the difficult decision to suspend all intercollegiate athletics competition through the fall semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Presidents recognize the important role athletics plays in the lives of student-athletes and will continue to revise and reassess plans as necessary.

The University is committed to provide opportunities for student-athletes to engage with their coaches, participate in strength and conditioning sessions, participate in fall practice and focus on team building, with all safety standards in place. The MAC is exploring opportunities for fall sport student-athletes to have a competitive experience during the spring semester. Fall competition for wrestling, men’s and women’s ice hockey, basketball and swimming was suspended for the fall semester. The winter and spring sports are expected to resume competition in the spring semester.

With advice from the COVID-19 task force and guidance from the NCAA, the MAC and UCHC Presidents and athletics directors will continue to monitor the athletics landscape throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

Health and Wellness Services

University policy requires that all students living in university owned housing or participating in an intercollegiate athletic program must show proof of health insurance in addition to the completed health form before receiving keys for housing. International students on an F or J visa must have proof of health insurance and can write to the International Office (Georgia.costalas@wilkes.edu) for suggestions of companies that meet requirements. Wilkes University does NOT offer any type of student health plan, it is up to the individual to obtain health care coverage privately.

In an effort to help the student find an affordable health insurance policy the following link may be used as a resource: www.individualhealthquotes.com/listings.jsp.

  • Masks must be worn at all times.
  • In an effort to reduce face to face symptom assessment, ALL visits will be made by appointment only after answering a few questions prior to making the appointment. Please call 570-408-4730.
  • Doctor’s hours will remain Tuesday 9 to 11 and Wednesday 10 to 12 by appointment only.
  • Telemedicine will be offered via a secure internet/HIPPA compliant system. For a telemedicine appointment call 570-408-4730. You will be instructed how to access telemedicine when you are making the appointment.
  • Allergy shots and other injections, including Mantoux testing, will require an appointment. Call 570-408-4730.
  • Appointments can be made between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. The office will be closed from 12 to 1 for lunch.
  • For Campus Counseling appointments, you can call 570-408-4730 or directly email Theresa DaKay at theresa.dakay@wilkes.edu or Melissa Gaudio at mellissa.gaudio@wilkes.edu.
  • To the best of our ability, we will offer all of our regular services but sometimes in a different landscape. We will provide a safe and effective health and wellness experience to our Wilkes campus community, while following the CDC guidelines regarding Covid-19.
  • In case of an emergency call 911.

Student Leaders

  • Kevin Long | President Student Government
  • Brooke Mazzotta | Vice President Student Government
  • Lauren Harner | Recording Secretary Student Government
  • Nataliya Scarantino | Corresponding Secretary Student Government
  • Ben Wojciechowski | Treasurer Student Government
  • Nathan Pitcher | Parliamentarian Student Government
  • Matt Franchetti | President Residence Hall Council
  • Bree Polascik | President Commuter Council
  • Brianna Rowland | President Multi-Cultural Student Coalition
  • Deandre DePass | President Programming Board

Required Notifications

Wilkes University is committed to providing a welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensuring that all educational and employment decisions are based on individuals' abilities and qualifications. Wilkes University prohibits discrimination in its educational programs, employment, admissions or any activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, marital or family status, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local laws.

Consistent with this principle, Wilkes University will comply with state and federal laws such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act or other applicable state law, Title IX, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Ethnic Intimidation Act of 1982 (P.L. 537-154) and other laws that prohibit discrimination.

As a recipient of federal financial assistance for education activities, Wilkes University is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to ensure that all of its education programs and activities do not discriminate on the basis of sex/gender, including in admissions and employment. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking are forms of sex discrimination, which are prohibited under Title IX and this Policy.

All members and visitors of the Wilkes University community have the right to raise concerns or make a complaint regarding discrimination under this Policy without fear of retaliation. Inquiries about this Policy statement may be addressed to the University's Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, by telephone, or by email, using the contact information listed below. A report may be made at any time (including during non- business hours). Anonymous complaints may also be made via the online reporting form.


Samantha Hart
10 East South Street, Suite A
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
(570) 408-3842

Inquiries about Title IX may be directed to Wilkes University’s Title IX Coordinator, the Assistant Secretary, or both. The Assistant Secretary can be contacted at U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202, or (800) 421-3481. For further information on notice of non-discrimination, you can find the address and phone number of the OCR office that serves your area online or call 1-800-421-3481.

Information regarding graduation and persistence rates as required by the Students’ Right to Know Act is available at the Office of Student Affairs, the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Admissions and the Athletic Director’s Office. Consistent with law, this information is disseminated according to regulations. 

The WILKES UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT of Public Safety prepares and distributes the “For Your Safety” Annual Safety and Security Report. This document is prepared in compliance with Act 73 of 1988 of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 USC 1092(f). This report is available in hard copy format upon request during normal business hours at the DEPARTMENT of Public Safety, 148 S. Main St.; the Office of Admissions, Chase Hall, Reception Area; and the Office of Student Affairs, Passan Hall, Reception Area. An electronic copy of this report is available on the University website. Additionally, daily logs and crime logs are available for review during normal business hours at the DEPARTMENT of Public Safety. Any questions regarding this report and the specific requirements of the Acts that govern its production can be addressed to the DEPARTMENT of Public Safety, ext. 4982 

The link below provides important information regarding the drug and alcohol information. They include: effects associated with drug and alcohol use and abuse, federal, state, and local laws and campus policies; and resources for those seeking professional help. Please take a few moments to review these important documents.

Drug and Alcohol Prevention

The University encourages all students to take seriously their responsibility, as citizens, to vote. Voter registration information is available online at usa.gov/register-to-vote. It takes only minutes to register!

Student Handbook

The 2020-2021 Undergraduate Student Handbook is available online below

2020-2021 Student Handbook

In the Handbook, you can find important resource information as well as the most current policies and procedures at the University.