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Event encourages students, community to connect with UWRF Chancellor Van Galen

March 7, 2013

Chancellor Dean van Galen
Chancellor Dean Van Galen, along with Student Senate, will be hosting the first ever meet and greet. The event will give students and community members a chance to ask questions and get to know UWRF’s 18th chancellor. (Alicia Carlson/Student Voice)

Chancellor Dean Van Galen knows what it is like to be a Wisconsin college student in the UW System. As a graduate of UW-Whitewater, and Wisconsin native, Van Galen can relate to the small-town backgrounds, first generation college students and Green Bay Packers fans which make up a large part of UW-River Falls.

With this upbringing, Van Galen has been able to connect to the campus community.  But now he, along with Student Senate, want to take it one step further by hosting a meet and greet event that is open to the community. Van Galen will be available for the community to come ask questions and meet the man who has been in charge of the University since 2009 from 6-7:30 p.m. on March 11 in the Falcon’s Nest in the University Center.

“This is an opportunity for students to have a conversation with me about our University,” Van Galen said.

During Van Galen’s tenure, many firsts have happened for UWRF. According to the University’s webpage on Van Galen, “During his inauguration, Van Galen announced UW-River Falls would open a learning center in Hudson with the mission of meeting the undergraduate and graduate educational needs of adults.”

The webpage also states that “Another first for UW-River Falls occurred in April 2012, when the University’s first ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, Rising to Distinction, was announced. The five-year goal of the campaign is $20 million with an emphasis placed on raising dollars for student scholarships and the Falcon Center. As of November 2012, over $9 million had been raised.”

Those items, along with construction projects, current effects of state policies and anything students have a general curiosity about will be items that Van Galen touches on.

“I will provide a few brief updates about the Falcon Center, the impact of the proposed state budget and how our strategic plan will positively impact the student experience at UW-River Falls,” Van Galen said.

“However, the event will primarily be an opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss their ideas and concerns with me in an informal setting.”

This informal setting was an idea put forth by Student Affairs and Academic Services Director Hannah Klingfus, a Student Senator. Klingfus said it is important for students to get to know the Chancellor in order to better appreciate who he is and what he does.

“He does so much for us as students. It is important that students feel comfortable asking him questions and bringing their concerns to him,” Klingfus said.

“I also think it is important to have an event like this in order to build upon our close-knit community. By knowing the Chancellor I feel that students will become more involved in the University, and that’s the goal, to get more people involved to make this a better campus community.”

Part of the event is also to expose students to some of the things the Chancellor does on an daily basis while garnering feedback from students.

“It is important that I hear directly from students. As chancellor, a significant part of my job is external to the campus – representing UWRF within the UW System and state, building relationships with legislators and community leaders and seeking support from our alumni and friends. However, it is also important that, along with other campus administrators, I stay connected to students, faculty and staff.  I am really looking forward to the event,” Van Galen said.

Klingfus added that there will be free food and drinks at the event, including pizza, nachos and desserts. There will also be a bean bag tournament pitting the Chancellor against the students. The event is free and open to the public.