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Letter to the Community

Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D. Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students 

August 31, 2023

Dear Boilermaker,

Welcome to the Fall 2023 semester! We’re so glad you’re here! As your Dean of Students, I wanted to communicate my well wishes for your personal and academic success!  

Knowing that classes, research, writing, studying, and learning of all kinds are back in full swing, I wanted to remind you to make healthy decisions. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate/professional student, life can lead to challenging schedules where decisions to skip or avoid healthy choices, including getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, checking in with those we care about and taking necessary breaks, all can take a back seat and lead to us feeling stressed. You are not alone. From time to time, most people feel overwhelmed with the expectations and demands confronting them and will feel stressed and make sacrifices. If you are struggling right now, please know that help is available. We believe in you and your ability to be successful.

Your physical and mental health and well-being are important to us, and we want to remind you of the resources available on campus to help address your health needs. These efforts of promoting self-care tools are part of the Steps to Leaps initiative, intending to bolster student success by offering tools, resources, and support for all aspects of your life.

  • Recreation and Wellness provides the Purdue community with recreational and wellness activities that contribute to learning and the pursuit of an active, healthy lifestyle. This excellent Purdue resource offers exercise, fitness training, nutrition counseling, wellness coaching, a mindfulness space, financial literacy/ Boiler Financial Track and, in general, an excellent social outlet.
  • PUSH , the Purdue University Student Health center, strives to keep you healthy and well. If it is right for you, consider getting a COVID booster and/or flu shot. If you are sick or have a fever, get checked out! Delaying care can lead to worsening conditions.  
  • TAO , Therapy Assistance Online, is a free, confidential well-being program with self-guided resources including short videos, brief exercises, and self-reflection tools to help overcome anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other concerns and to assist with topics including social support, relaxation and problem-solving. To enroll, simply click on the link and log in using your Purdue credentials. 
  • Personal networks: Never forget to activate your own personal support network: friends, family, advisors, coaches, supervisors, past teachers, clergy, mentors, and others.
  • CAPS , Counseling and Psychological Services, has same-day or next-day appointments. Contact 765-494-6995 to make an appointment. Services are brief in nature. There are no predefined session limits. Crisis services are available 24/7. Call 911 if your crisis is life-threatening. After-hours support is available by calling the CAPS main number and pressing 1.
  • ODOS Student Support Services : Some students may not need to see a licensed clinician to feel better and/or supported. The Office of the Dean of Students is staffed with professionals who care deeply about students and their success. To visit a student support specialist, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., just walk into the office on the second floor of Schleman Hall, and they can help. 
  • Student of Concern : Worried about another student? Report your concern through the Student of Concern Report. 

Our first home football game is this Saturday (Sept. 2), and we’re ready to cheer on our Boilermakers! A home football game brings a lot of energy, excitement, and visitors to our community. Your health and safety remain paramount, both while you are on campus as well as enjoying our off-campus community. To help make the weekend safe and enjoyable for all, there will be an increased and visible law enforcement presence from the Purdue University Police Department, the West Lafayette Police Department, and the Indiana State Excise Police. Always be mindful of how your actions could potentially impact you legally and with the university and take a few moments to think about your safety ahead of time.

We live and learn in a community without walls and borders; no area, including the Purdue community, is immune to random acts of crime and violence. We must continue to exercise due diligence in our safety efforts by taking precautions for ourselves and our fellow Boilermakers. A few safety tips to remember:

  • Do not accept drinks from random individuals.
  • Travel in groups/always have a buddy. Trust your instincts. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay hydrated. Keep your stomach full. Wear sunscreen.
  • Lock your doors. Watch your valuables.
  • Keep your cellphone charged and your ID with you.
  • Take advantage of safety programs, including the Purdue University Police Department’s Safe Walk program, by calling 494-SAFE (7233).
  • Make the call! Call 911 if you need police, fire, or emergency medical services.
Important Purdue Alert/safety status information:
  • Our up-to-date campus safety status is always on the Campus Safety Status page.
  • For notifications, the Purdue Alert system encompasses everything from emails and desktop alerts to outdoor warning sirens. Please take a moment to ensure that you are signed up to receive emergency text alerts directly to your phone.
  • In an extreme situation, the homepage will host the most needed information, and @LifeAtPurdue Twitter/X account will broadcast clear and factual information. All other university-affiliated accounts will be locked down. Updates will be published every 15 minutes.

Our top priority is you, our students. Please help keep our community safe by taking steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your fellow Boilermakers.

Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue and each of you!


Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost & Dean of Students
Purdue University
Schleman Hall| Room 207
475 Stadium Mall Drive | West Lafayette, IN  47907
Phone:  765.494.1257| Email:

Purdue University, Office of the Dean of Students, Helen B. Schleman Hall (formerly the Recitation Building), 2nd Floor, 656 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086, Phone (765) 494-1747, Fax (765) 496-1550

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