UVA Orientation for First-Year Families


UVA Orientation for First-Year Families
The mission of the Contemplative Sciences Center (CSC) is to foster understanding, compassion, and resiliency in individuals and communities through contemplative practices, innovative research, and practical applications. We explore these questions: What does it mean to flourish? What is contemplation? What is human potential? What practices allow us to cultivate our fullest potential, and what practices prevent us from doing so? We focus particularly on what these questions mean  in the context of education and the present and future lives of students. CSC thus is particularly focused on the holistic development and flourishing of University of Virginia students in a number of ways. 
Here is a short list of resources and opportunities for family members of first year students at UVA:
Hereford Residential College
Hereford unites living and learning through dynamic programs and opportunities not offered in the traditional classroom or dormitory setting. The Hereford community is comprised of nearly 200 first through fourth year students from a diverse range of majors and schools. The community is also made up of faculty, University, and community Fellows. Hereford students have the opportunity to interact with Fellows through many programs, such as Food with Fellows dinners, the Adopt-a-Floor program, and one-credit short courses. In 2018-19 we are launching a gradual process to establish Hereford as a college devoted to student wellbeing and flourishing, and thus functioning as an incubation for exploring innovations in residential education (so stay tuned!).  Learn more.
Contemplative Academic Courses
Each semester, CSC curates a list of contemplative-focused academic classes offered at the University. To see a partial list of the Fall 2018 semester roster, go here.
The Art and Science of Human Flourishing
CSC has co-created a course for first-year students to help them look within and to one another in order to build foundations of resilience, insight, and compassion during college and afterward. The class, "The Art and Science of Human Flourishing," is part of the Student Flourishing Initiative (SFI), a groundbreaking, cross-institutional initiative in order to provide students with a 21st-century toolbox of theories, experiences, and contemplative practices to explore and establish the grounds of flourishing in their own lives. The group is comprised of leading figures in the fields of neuroscience, higher education, contemplative studies, and humanistic research from three universities: The University of Wisconsin–Madison, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Virginia. "The Art and Science of Human Flourishing" was offered to first years at all three universities in the fall of 2017 and will be offered again in the fall of 2018. Articles about the course and the Student Flourishing Initiative:
Co-curricular Contemplative Instruction
The University and CSC provide numerous ways for students to engage in both academic and co-curricular contemplative activities. Following are a few ways we do this:
  • Clemons Contemplative Room
    CSC offers free drop-in programs in Clemons Contemplative Room 220 located on the second floor of Clemons Library, the room is also a reservable space for contemplative practices and serves as a quiet, drop-in space at all other times. The programs offered in Clemons 220 are open to all students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community. Learn more.
  • Student-Designed Programming
    CSC partners with student organizations around the University to offer contemplative opportunities specifically requested by students or designed with students' needs in mind. Programming takes place throughout the school year including over the summer. One example is the program created for summer 2018, called Wellness Wednesdays. Every Wednesday over the course of nine weeks we offer instructor-led Tai-Chi in the UVA gardens, and yoga in the amphitheater.  See for full listings.
Experienced CSC yoga programs manager, John Bultman, teaches various levels of Ashtanga yoga at the UVA gym (known as IMREC or UVA Recreation) at special rates for gym members. John has practiced Ashtanga daily for over 12 years and he is one of only 27 KPJAYI Certified Ashtanga Yoga Teachers worldwide. We also offer Night Owl Yoga, a free and very popular evening class taught by various experienced instructors.  Learn more.
To afford students quiet spaces to meditate or just take a break, CSC has curated a list of resiliency spaces intentionally created for relaxation and contemplation. They are part of a network of spaces dedicated to peaceful reflection and are located across UVA including the Law School, the Nursing School, and Newcomb Hall, and others. They are open to all students, faculty, and staff at the University. All are intended for quiet reflection or contemplative group activities, and are technology-free. Learn more
Counseling at UVA
The University offers various options for students seeking counseling services.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
    CAPS is the primary student counseling clinic at the University and is part of the Student Health Center. CAPS is committed to providing a safe and affirming environment for all students seeking to improve their wellbeing. The Student Health Center provides wellness, mental health, care as well as illness, and injury care. The services at the Student Health Center are available to all registered students who have paid the comprehensive fee, regardless of insurance coverage.