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Appalachian State University’s division of Student Affairs develops lifelong learners and leaders by engaging and challenging students within a culture of care and inclusion. We aspire to transform all students through a foundation of care and engagement.

Our work creates a culture of care that builds a foundation for students to thrive and be resilient. Our diverse, student-centered community fosters local-to-global learning, leadership, engagement, and service. We transform students into dynamic leaders and lifelong learners who will make a difference in their communities and throughout the world.

Update from Vice Chancellor JJ Brown

As we start the final push of the semester, I’m writing to share a few updates and thoughts on several matters impacting our community. I hope you will take the time to read this email, and forgive its length.

The Division of Student Affairs is committed to providing transformational programming, events, and support for each of you. Each of you deserves our very best to thrive in our community.

I’m writing to share a few updates that relate specifically to student life and engagement at App State, for which my division is responsible.

Free Expression Working Group:

I appreciate the responses to the Free Expression Space Working Group email that was sent last week. To date, we have had more than 50 applications to serve on the working group. We will pull together the group to meet next week, and given the responses will need to have some open dialogue sessions for those who are not selected so everyone may participate as they are able in these discussions. The most up-to-date information on the tunnel project can be found here.

Henderson-Springs LGBTQ+ Center’s Spring Fest:

Since 2008, the Henderson-Springs LGBTQ+ Center has served as a place of resource and support on our campus. Even prior to the center’s opening, Appalachian State University has affirmed our LGBTQ+ community through student organizations, various programming, and celebrations, including many in celebration of LGBTQ+ pride. It is important to know we are holding several events — through programming designed by students, faculty and staff — to affirm to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community this week. The mission of the programming has always been designed to “educate, empower, and unite Mountaineers of all identities, especially our LGBTQ+ community of AppState.” This year, the annual programming week is titled the Henderson Springs LGBTQ+ Center’s 2024 Spring Fest. Bo Henderson and Ed Springs, for whom the Center was named, are valued and important members of the university’s history. While the programs and the name were created by members of the university community, I hear and understand the concerns related to the title change of the week this year, and we will absolutely take this into account as we plan events for next year.

Working through challenges now and in the future

The last few weeks have been filled with frustration for some in our community. I hear the concerns being raised, and appreciate the voices that have come forward to share their experiences and perspectives. App State has long been a place of discussion and engagement in and outside of the classroom. As we face these challenges, I have reflected upon the words written by App State Professor of Creative Writing and former North Carolina poet laureate, Dr. Joseph Bathanti, about the Appalachian State University experience.

“Appalachian State University — a place invested with a kind of mysticism, certainly mystery and wonder, a portal that opened to them at a key moment in their lives, beyond which was revealed to them the limitless possibilities for a fully realized, purposefully committed, happy life, and the fact that the human spirit, in all of its guises, is inextinguishable. Appalachian State University has never been just a college, but a rare place where students, and faculty alike, the entire university community, are not only educated and sustained, but transformed.” (

The depth and breadth of programming through our departments and affiliated organizations is designed to provide the transformational experiences Dr. Bathanti references for all backgrounds, beliefs and identities within our community. Appalachian State University has been here for 125 years, and will continue to grow, and create new opportunities for students for at least 125 years to come.


As we look to the final few weeks of the semester, I encourage you to continue to support one another. When you see someone who needs some support, offer it. When you need support, ask for it. And when support is offered, take it. In doing so, managing the challenges becomes easier. I will never forget what a difference the support of others made for me as a college student, and I want to be sure you have the best possible support available to you.

I’ve included several links below to some great resources we have that might help you in the coming weeks. In addition to the resources listed below, there are many, many others on campus that are here to help you navigate the challenges of life, and the semester as well. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you or someone you know needs it.

Counseling Center

Free Speech Responsible Officers

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Plan and Policy

Henderson Springs LGBTQ+ Center

Student Health Services

AppCares Resources website

University Tutoring Services

Academic Strategy Instruction

University Writing Center

I look forward to providing additional updates in the coming weeks, and thank you for your contributions to our community.


JJ Brown
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

Apr 3
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Message from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J.J. Brown

Dear Students,

Thank you to the many of you who have shared your desire to have a space on campus designated for painting/drawing/posting your messages of free expression, and to those who joined the forum held by the Student Government Association last night.

This message is to let you know that I will be working with Student Government leadership to establish a group to engage in alternative options for free expression, given the safety priorities and changes being made to the tunnels on the Boone campus.

We will begin by establishing a Free Expression Space Working Group that will meet weekly, beginning the week of April 8, throughout the end of this semester, to discuss the needs expressed at last night’s student forum held by SGA, and to help determine the best way to meet those needs. Further discussions will take place over the summer and/or the fall as needed.

Jamie Parson and Jeff Cathey, App State’s Free Speech Responsible Officers, will facilitate this group.

Next week, we will reach out to students with invitations to sit on this working group. If you are interested in serving on this group, please complete this Google Form. Our student body will also have an opportunity for feedback sessions with this group in the coming weeks.

I will keep you updated on this project as it progresses.

I wish you all a restful and restorative weekend.

JJ Brown
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
Appalachian State University

Mar 28
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2024 Student Affairs Conference Awards

On January 9th, we had to cancel our SA Annual Conference due to weather!   However, we still wanted to celebrate our award winners so we presented them at departmental staff meetings!  Below are our award winners:

Behind the Scenes Award: Paul Ford (Plemmons Student Union) and Anna Lee Evans (University Recreation)

Impact Award: Nursing Staff (M.S. Shook Student Health Service)

Fresh Influencer Award: Leigh Lessard (Student Conduct)

Front Line Hero Award: UREC Maintenance & Housekeeping Team (University Recreation)

Innovation Award: Eating Concerns Team (M.S. Shook Student Health Service)

Care.Engage.Transform. Award: Ashley Vinson (Community-Engaged Leadership)

Changemaker Award: Dr. Heather Jo Mashburn (Community-Engaged Leadership)

Thank you for nominating our award winners and so many other.  It is always tough, because we have so many wonderful people in our Division.

Feb 21
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App State Women's Center Celebrating 25 Years

As we enter Women's History Month, Intercultural Student Affairs is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Appalachian State University Women's Center. For a quarter-century, this center has been a fundamental resource for the University and the empowerment, advocacy, and support for women at our institution.

To mark this significant milestone, the Women's Center, in collaboration with Intercultural Student Affairs, is thrilled to announce the 2024 Women's History Month kickoff event featuring the accomplished Appalachian author, Halle Hill.

Halle Hill has made waves with her debut novel, *Good Women*, published by Hub City Press. The book has received accolades from Kirkus Reviews, O Magazine, Electric Literature, Book Riot, and Southwest Review, establishing Hill as a powerful voice in contemporary literature. Her stories delve into the depths of womanhood, identity, and resilience, resonating with readers of all backgrounds.

Join us on March 6, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. in the solarium of the Plemmons Student Union for an engaging Craft Talk and Book Signing with Halle Hill. This event promises an intimate opportunity to interact with the author, gain insights into her creative process, and have your copy of *Good Women* personally signed.

ISA and The Women's Center would like to thank Clarinda Choice, our former assistant director, for her invaluable contributions in organizing this event and bringing Halle Hill to our campus.

To secure your spot, please RSVP via Engage. For any questions about the event or the Women's Center, feel free to contact Cody Michael Henderson.

Let's come together to celebrate the Women's Center's remarkable journey and honor the voices and experiences of women throughout history. 

Feb 21
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