Summer Letter Writing Campaign Engages Students Ahead of Fall Semester

Summer postcards.
Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2021) — The Fall 2021 semester marks the full in-person return of students, staff and faculty across the University of Kentucky campus. After transitioning to a remote schedule during the Spring 2020 semester and a hybrid 2020-21 school year, UK is ready to welcome back its Wildcats. In doing so, Student Success is ramping up its annual summer letter writing campaign. 

In its fifth semester, the campaign pulls together over 120 campus partners tasked with writing handwritten postcards to students in the Fall 2020 Cohort.

“This initiative serves to emphasize the value that our students bring to our community and communicate our excitement for them to return,” said Anne Marie Bickel, assistant director of Student Analytics & Decision Support. “The front of this year’s postcard said, 'You are our Why!' and, while writers are encouraged to make the message their own, we asked that they communicate to our students that they are the reason why we are excited for the fall semester.”

While all semester beginnings are exciting, this one seems especially unique as the nation begins to ease many pandemic protocols. Throughout our Commonwealth and the country, growing signs of optimism and hope surround a beginning in the return to some sense of normalcy. 

Ensuring a safe return for students, the return to campus committee has been deeply engaged in setting the groundwork to return to full on-campus operations with the health and well-being of our students as the guiding priority. The letter writing campaign is not only a great way to engage students ahead of the fall semester, but also a way for the university to communicate our preparedness for their return. 

“Students are an essential part of our community and make campus come alive,” Bickel said. “After a challenging year, connecting with our students reminds us of our purpose: supporting them throughout their journey here at UK.”

Throughout the history of the initiative, Student Success, along with its partners, has written more than 10,000 letters to incoming Wildcats. A testament to the university’s unwavering commitment to its students, this campaign is just a steppingstone to the support they will receive once they arrive on campus.  

“Letter writing is just one way that we express our excitement for our students to return and serve them as they achieve their personal and academic goals,” Bickel said. “We are here to help as they prepare this summer for the upcoming semester, and we will be here throughout their time as a Wildcat and beyond.” 

To learn more about Student Success at UK, click here

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.