Jul 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Life

Division of Institutional Effectiveness, Student Affairs, and University Police

The Division of Institutional Effectiveness, Student Affairs, and University Police fosters opportunities to engage students in an environment conducive to lifelong learning. Student Life is a critical component of a student’s learning experience that goes beyond the classroom and provides a safe and healthy living and learning environment. Our student-centered approach promotes learning, social interaction, and personal growth in a multicultural world. We are committed to developing empowered and responsible students in their progression towards graduation and global citizenship.

Brief descriptions of our functional areas are below.

Institutional Effectiveness and Institutional Research

The Offices of Institutional Effectiveness and Institutional Research are responsible for assisting in institution wide reporting, compliance, assessment, and accreditation. This includes development and management of the assessment framework for strategic planning, strategic management, and continuous improvements. The team ensures governance and validation of institutional data and promotes a culture of assessment and data-based decision making.

Student Affairs

Auxiliaries and Project Management

Dining Services

The goal of University Dining Services is to provide a quality, cost-effective, innovative dining program for students living on and off campus. The University encourages student involvement and awareness to help provide quality, nutritious meals at a reasonable cost. Dining locations provide an important environment for student interaction and socialization. Students living in a residence hall, as well as commuters, may choose from a variety of meal plans. All students who live in a university residence hall must participate in the meal plan program.

PennWest Student Centers

The mission of the Student Center is to serve as the “family room” for the campus Community. We are dedicated to providing and fostering life-long learning opportunities for our community through a broad array of services, facilities, and programs of an educational, multicultural, and recreational nature.

Campus Life

Campus Life aids students in their transition to PennWest through Orientation and Welcome Weekend programs and challenges students to learn and grow through involvement clubs and organizations, University Programming, Homecoming Activities, Greek Life, and Leadership & Career Development. We host several events throughout the year that are planned and coordinated by students, for students. The Programming Boards are the central event planning group for the campus. The student-run organizations provide entertainment and activities for all students. These events enhance the educational, cultural, social, and recreational aspects of the university experience. Activities include speakers, comedians, recreation, and a wide variety of other events that are free to students.

We strive to give students and clubs the autonomy to host their own events, while imparting leadership opportunities for students to become campus leaders. We work in constant communication with the Student Government and the Student Associations for the advancement of the student body.

We offer a variety of resources and programming that enhances college life and celebrates individual differences. We provide leadership opportunities that foster personal and professional development while coordinating multicultural initiatives. We encourage acceptance and appreciation of cultural differences where everyone is welcomed and supported. We are dedicated to helping you develop the skills and experiences valued by employers and learn how to prepare for the transition from college to career.

Career Center

The Center for Career and Professional Development educates and empowers students to explore, prepare, and apply their skills and experiences to meet their definition of career and life success. We offer you important guidance and career resources to be successful in today’s competitive job markets, which are accessible 24/7 at career.pennwest.edu.

Students can meet with their career coach who can help you:

  • Explore majors and careers
  • Understand, develop, and articulate key skills employers seek of interns and graduates
  • View on campus jobs/graduate assistantships
  • Learn internship and job search strategies
  • Develop resumes and cover letters
  • Prepare for interviews and career fairs/events
  • Research and apply to graduate school
  • Connect with employers looking to hire PennWest interns and graduates 

The Career Center also delivers workshops to classes and student clubs and organizations on a variety of topics such as career development and planning, resume writing, interviewing, and job/internship searching. Students are encouraged to visit the center early and often throughout their college experience. If you have any question email career@pennwest.edu.

Internship Center

The Internship Center is a resource for students seeking a for-credit internship. We help students navigate the university’s internship application process, update them on available resources and deadlines, and coordinate the application process for select academic departments. In addition, the Internship Center manages the internship evaluation process measuring students’ Career Readiness. We also oversee the Rutledge Internship Award available to PennWest California students.

Rutledge Internship Award

This scholarship provides financial assistance to students from Southwestern Pennsylvania who wish to pursue a for-credit internship 150 miles from campus.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must reside in one of the following PA Counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington, or Westmoreland.
  • Must have secured a for-credit academic internship.
  • Must demonstrate financial need.

Questions about internships? Visit https://career.pennwest.edu/channels/apply-for-internships/or email internship@pennwest.edu.

Fraternity and Sorority Life

Fraternities and sororities offer students the opportunity for leadership, service, academics, and lifelong friendships. Greek membership carries with it many immediate benefits, including leadership opportunities, academic support, and an emphasis on community service; this has been the basis of the Greek letter movement since its founding over 150 years ago.

Joining a Greek organization is an excellent way to get involved. Besides making great friendships that will last a lifetime, students will gain valuable leadership skills and give back to others through community service.

New Student Orientation/Welcome Weekend

Occurring in the summer, New Student Orientation provides incoming students and their parents/supports one final opportunity to visit campus prior to the start of the semester. As part of the program, participants will have an opportunity to meet with Student Financial, Residence Life, Dining, and other offices/departments to ensure all necessary paperwork has been submitted so the student can smoothly start their first semester. There is also an opportunity for students to review their fall schedule, meet with faculty & success coaches and meet other students.

Welcome Weekend occurs the weekend before classes start and seeks to get new students acclimated to life on campus. Through interactive programs students will learn about rules and policies related life on campus and in the Residence Halls, opportunities for involvement in clubs/organizations, how to find their classes and will participate in campus traditions, as well as other fun activities.

Student Conduct

Standards for student-conduct are established to maintain order, to provide for the safety and wellbeing of all members of the University community, to support a positive living and learning environment, and to uphold the good name of the University. Students are held accountable for their actions and are encouraged to act as positively contributing members of the University community. Consistent with the educational mission of the University, appropriate efforts are made to foster personal and social development. The Dean of Students Office provides the due process through which allegations of misconduct are adjudicated. Copies of the Student Code of Conduct and Procedures are available here.

Student Government & Student Association

The Student Government is the official representative body of the students at PennWest and has a presence on each campus. Student Government responds to various student issues and concerns to enhance the quality of life for PennWest students. Student Government officially recognizes student organizations and works with the Student Associations to annually allocate Student Activity Fee budgets to the student organizations on our campuses so they can sponsor campus-wide programs and activities.

Membership in Student Government, or on a Student Association Board, is a terrific way to develop your leadership skills through attending meetings, serving on committees, planning programs, working on student concerns, and participating in leadership conferences.

Student Organizations

A complete list of student organizations can be obtained upon request to campuslife@pennwest.edu or by signing into the Engage platform for PennWest: engage.pennwest.edu

Residence Life and Housing

PennWest offers a blend of contemporary housing in suites as well as traditional residence hall communities. PennWest is proud of our residential communities that offer students more privacy in their living options while remaining near classes, the student center, dining area, and all the campus athletic venues. Both contemporary and traditional housing offer convenience and commitment from the university community to promote student success. In all residence hall rooms, each student has individual furnishings that include a bed, dresser, desk, desk chair and wardrobe/ closet. High-speed Internet access and network access. All residence halls feature common lounges with wireless access, recreation areas, television lounges, vending/snack equipment and laundry facilities.

The mission of Residence Life and Housing is to provide quality residential services that complement the mission of the University by encouraging civility, personal development, and student success. This is achieved by offering a just and caring community for everyone. The Residence Life and Housing staff is available to assist new students in making the transition from home to life on campus and to assist students in developing knowledge and skills that will give them a foundation for achieving excellence within and outside of the classroom. The residence hall staff provides activities and opportunities for students to become involved in campus life and community activities. Professional staff are helped by Graduate Hall Coordinators and undergraduate Community Assistants in each community’s operation.

Safety and security are among our top concerns. Students living on campus will reside in facilities having smoke and heat detection systems and sprinklers throughout the facilities. In addition, card access systems are available in all the living units. Beyond the available equipment, the halls are staffed by well-trained professional students and employees who work to maintain a safe environment. Safety education is on-going in the hall communities. In addition, the university police and the Office of Safety and Risk Management participate in staff and student education programs and routinely may be found in the residence halls.


Health Promotions 

The Wellness offices provide students with information and resources that they may use for programming, educational purposes, or personal use. Free materials are available for all students that cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from mental health to healthy- eating habits.

The Wellness Offices also support Health Promotions programs such as BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) and CASICS (Cannabis Screening and Intervention for College Students). BASICS and CASICS are the nationally recognized alcohol and marijuana education programs utilized on each PennWest campus. These programs form a comprehensive strategy to improve well-being; reduce underage drinking and other drug abuse among students and promote the ideals of safety and wellness to all students.

Counseling Services

Counseling Services is part of the University’s comprehensive student health program. It is centrally located on campus and is accessible to all enrolled students.

Counseling Services offers professional and confidential counseling for developmental, educational, and future goals. Counseling creates an opportunity for a student to address personal, social and/or emotional concerns, and to enhance a successful university experience. Counseling Services strives to facilitate the development of students by providing short-term individual, relationship, and group counseling.

Through the provision of high-quality clinical services Counseling Services promotes the total development of students by reducing psychological problems and distress and by enhancing mental health, well-being, quality of life, and supporting aspirations for optimal functioning. The primary focus is on providing brief, strengths-based, confidential counseling aimed at helping students succeed academically and interpersonally.

Counseling Services has three essential roles:

  1. Providing clinical services that help students achieve their academic and personal goals
  2. Educating the campus community about the emotional and developmental needs of students through community level interventions, including outreach, programming, and consultation
  3. Responding to the psychological effects of crisis impacting individual students and the campus community

Counseling Services is open to students in the fall and spring semesters when classes are in session. The Counseling Services faculty are licensed mental health professionals who can provide counseling in person on campus and via a confidential telehealth format to meet the individual students’ needs. For additional information, please refer to the PennWest directory for phone and email information.

Fitness Centers

The Fitness Centers are on each campus and are accessible to all students with their student ID card who pay the campus recreation fee. Memberships are available to current students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Guest passes are available for non-members if they are accompanied by a current member. Weight rooms, cardio areas, climbing walls, group fitness studios, walking/running indoor tracks, and gym space are just a few of the areas offered on each campus. Aquatic areas, eSports, and informal recreation vary by facility. Stop by and ask for a tour and learn how you can enjoy these services.

Health Services 

Intramural Sports

Intramural sports provide members with a flexible, yet structured, environment in which to participate in a variety of athletic-type activities. These programs are operated in league and tournament formats, with various divisions including men’s, women’s, open, and co-recreational teams. Individuals and teams must register to participate through IM Leagues on each campus. The program is open to all students, faculty, and staff. Opportunities range from Basketball (3v3 & 5v5), Board Games, Fantasy Football, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball and MORE.

Office for Students with Disabilities

Services for students with disabilities are provided through the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). Students must request accommodations through OSD and should make the request for accommodations as soon as possible. An application is available on the Penn West website and must be submitted with accompanying documentation that supports the need for services. Examples of acceptable documentation are and IEP, 504, psychiatric and or psychological evaluation, a summary letter from a clinician, counselor, therapist or other appropriate health professional that lists one’s diagnosis, symptoms, and how those symptoms impact the students’ activities of daily living as well as academics. The decision regarding appropriateness of the requested accommodation rests with the service provider office and must be supported by the student’s documentation on file with OSD.


Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation provides the campus community with additional outlets for the expenditure of leisure time. Outdoor recreation trips complete with equipment rentals include white water rafting, skydiving, caving, mountain biking, hiking, camping, canoeing, paintball, spring break adventure trip, alpine and cross-country skiing, rock climbing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and more. These programs are structured for any level of adventure. No experience necessary! Stop by your fitness center for more trip information or to rent any of our outdoor equipment.

Sports Clubs

Sports clubs provide students the opportunity for personal growth and leadership development through competitive sports interaction amongst intercollegiate competition. The mission is to enhance each club and provide the best available resources, and to promote each participant not only as a student, but a student-athlete inside and outside the educational classroom and on the playing field. It should be emphasized that the clubs are operated for and by the students; each club is student initiated and sustained. Each club has a University Advisor, and some have coaches as available and required. Teams typically compete in local, regional, and national conferences and leagues against other colleges and universities. For a complete listing of the sports clubs offered please go to the Engage Platform for PennWest or stop by your campus fitness center.

 Health Services

Health Services provides episodic, wholistic health care. Health Services is staffed by a medical director, a certified registered nurse practitioner, and registered nurses.

The goal of the staff is to promote wellness, healthier lifestyles, provide health education, increase health consumer awareness, and encourage self-care responsibilities. A wide referral base is maintained for any expertise needed to treat a student. Confidentiality is maintained and health information will not be released without the student’s written permission. Students are encouraged to have open communications with their family or significant other. A sample of services available include illness and injury diagnosis and treatment, TB testing, allergy injections, physicals, pap tests, birth control, immunizations, educational programs, eating concerns, nutrition, stress management, and sexual health.

Ambulance service is available from the local community fire department and is utilized at the student’s own expense or his/her insurance carrier.

For additional information, please refer to the PennWest directory for phone and email information.

Student Support Assistants

Student Support Assistants provide a wide array of resources and support to students who may be struggling with mental and/or physical health, academics, relationship issues, interpersonal conflict, and more. Student Support Assistants help students get connected to resources on campus that can help them overcome obstacles and succeed both academically and personally.

Hours differ on each campus therefore, to request services, please contact the Counseling Center on the campus in which you are primarily enrolled:

Clarion Campus: 814-393-2255 - 256 Becht Hall

California Campus: 724-938-4056 - G-53 Carter Hall

Edinboro Campus: 814-732-2252 - McNerney Hall, 1st floor

**Students enrolled as Global On-Line students, please contact 814-393-2255 or email at Studentwellness-cal@pennwest.edu

Students experiencing a crisis outside of Counseling Services normal operational hours are to contact the University Police or 911.

University Police

The PennWest University Police Department is responsible for security on campus. All PennWest University police officers have extensive, ongoing police training, including courses in criminal justice, investigation, accident reporting, first aid, and criminal law and procedures. All PennWest University Police Officers complete annual training as required by MPOETC (Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission), and other training as required under the standards of the Pa. Chiefs of Police Association’s Accreditation Program. Their top priority is the safety and security of our campus community.

University police representatives meet regularly with local police and receive all information concerning allegations of criminal activity by students. This information is retained by the PennWest University Police Department and provided to the Office of Student Conduct, who may subject the violator to university disciplinary procedures.

The PennWest University Police Department is on duty around the clock, every day of the year. University police officers work with local, state, and federal law enforcement, as needed, to process physical evidence or investigate crimes. All crimes that occur on PennWest University Campuses are investigated by the PennWest University Police.


Parking at each PennWest University campus is overseen by the University Police Station for that campus. All campuses have annual student parking permits available for their campus. Specific information for student parking on each PennWest Campus can be obtained through that campus parking office. Permits are required on all campuses for students during the academic year.