Students in the grad lounge in Vilas Hall

Support Networks

Creating a place where everyone feels they belong

For our students, faculty, staff and alumni, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is so much more than just a department. From the moment you join us, we want to create lifelong connections that extend far beyond the walls of Vilas Hall.

A sense of connection and belonging is one of the essential elements for a positive educational experience in which students can thrive. What does this look like in SJMC?

Graduate students hold a unique place in the department because they are students and also colleagues. There are a variety of opportunities for grad students to connect and support one another, including:

  • Informal networks based on shared interests, identities, friendships
  • Muckraker socials organized by a small committee of grad students, socials include gatherings on the Terrace, in local venues and special events in people’s homes
  • Shared office and lounge spaces: The graduate lounge in 5050 Vilas Hall serves as a place to relax, have informal meetings, and eat meals. The grad student workspace in 5061 Vilas Hall is designed for grad students who don’t have a dedicated office space to do group work, late night reading and private Zoom meetings
  • Buddy system connecting new students with current students. Grad student buddies welcome new students, answer their questions, help them find furniture, supplies and their way around Madison upon arrival and beyond
  • Friday coffee in the grad lounge! Every Friday morning coffee, tea and treats are available for informal socializing and sustenance
  • Research groups and seminars meet regularly and provide avenues for students to work together, learn from one another and from faculty, and pursue their academic interests
  • Department events including a lunch each semester to share accomplishments. We gather at the end of every semester to celebrate research and achievements.

Undergraduate students are the largest group in the J-School, but the individual and small group connections students make with their classmates and instructors last a lifetime. Opportunities to find support include:

  • Informal networks based on shared interests, identities, friendships
  • Shared space in Vilas Hall such as the 5th floor lounge
  • The Journalism Reading Room in 2130 Vilas Hall offers space to study, work on group projects and socialize. New for the fall 2022 semester, a bring your own cup free coffee station!
  • Classes and working groups are a great way to connect with fellow students, as so much work in the J-School curriculum is collaborative
  • Student organizations based on career interests help students develop their skills and grow their professional networks
  • Career and networking events coordinated by our Media, Information and Communication Career Advisor Pam Garcia-Rivera are a great opportunity for students to connect with one another and with alumni in communication careers

All students are welcome in Vilas Hall and we value the connections we make in our community spaces.