Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer

Message to Students

August 24, 2021

Message to Students from Joy Pulsifer, Dean of Student Life

Good morning Bulldogs!

We cannot wait to welcome you to the new academic year! Please review the opportunities listed for our annual 2-week welcome, Bulldog Beginnings, along with expectations put in place to protect the health and safety of you and our entire community this fall. Let’s keep going, #FerrisForward, safely together.


Whether it is your first year or your final semester at Ferris State University, we are excited to reunite the Ferris family once again! The first two weeks of classes feature plenty of opportunities to engage and connect with friends while learning more about Ferris. Be sure to check out our event schedule. Kendall College of Art & Design Students are also encouraged to visit the KCAD Events Calendar.


Get vaccinated, monitor your health, wear a face covering, frequently wash or sanitize your hands, and if you are not fully vaccinated, avoid being in crowded spaces for long periods of time. If you are participating and/or hosting a large gathering on or off-campus, please be mindful of the vaccination status of the participants, the relative risk of spreading COVID-19, and make decisions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. This includes limiting attendance to those who are vaccinated, ensuring that no one attends who is ill, requiring face coverings, and holding events outside. Taking these steps will reduce your risk of exposure and minimize the risk of exposing others.

We are planning for life on campus and at our statewide locations to be much closer to normal this fall. This will depend on the efforts of all students, faculty and staff. The following expectations remain in place as we begin the fall semester to protect you and our campus community:

Everyone at the University is expected to:

  • Wear a face covering inside all campus buildings except when actively eating or drinking and/or when inside your own residence hall room with only your room/suitemates
  • If living on-campus, complete a COVID-19 test at move-in and if participating in a NCAA sports team, get vaccinated
  • Engage in good hygiene practices, including frequent and thorough hand washing
  • Stay at your residence when symptomatic and/or have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Complete the daily symptom checker when coming to a campus location and/or when working for Ferris, regardless of work location
  • Report COVID-19 signs/symptoms in the symptom checker
  • Students at Statewide locations must follow the mask guidance provided by their respective community college
  • Wear a face covering in healthcare settings where patients may be present
  • Report any positive test result
  • And if necessary, cooperate with contact tracing, quarantining and self-isolating

If you are on or near the Big Rapids campus and need a face covering, they are available free at the University Center in the Center for Student Involvement (first floor/formerly known as “CLACS”) and at the Information Desk on the second floor. We will also be handing them out at move-in and during the first and second day of classes at our First Impressions Tents. Statewide locations have face coverings available at regional locations for students who are in need of one as well. Kendall College of Art & Design students can pick up a face covering at the Student Services Office on the 7th floor.

Students who are medically unable to wear a CDC approved face covering should contact Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services before returning to campus. Kendall College of Art & Design students should contact Marie Yowtz, Director of Counseling & Disability Services.

#VaxUp and Cash In!

Yesterday the FDA granted full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older. This is good news, as this may reduce vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccination rates across our local communities, state and nation.

Starting August 25 and continuing through September 10 we will be randomly drawing two student names daily from the list of students who have documented their fully vaccinated status in the Symptom Checker. Two students per day will receive ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS IN CASH! Weekly and daily drawings will continue for fully vaccinated students September 13 through October 1 and prizes include free housing and a meal plan ($5,000 value), three free academic credits, an Apple MacBook, a PlayStation 5, an Apple Watch, Apple Air pods, Gift Cards, and a Faculty/Staff parking pass.

Cash, daily and weekly prizes will be awarded to students who confirm their vaccination status in the MyFSU Healthy Dog portal/Symptom Checker. #VaxUp and Cash In!

Document Your Vaccination Status

To help the University gauge vaccination levels and to be in the Vaccine Incentive Drawings, please complete the “fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 form” when you are fully vaccinated. This confidential form is located in the Healthy Dog portal. If you do not complete this form, the University will assume you are not fully vaccinated.

Vaccines Available

Given the current public health guidance, and our plans for a full and open campus this fall, the University strongly recommends that all members of our campus community become immunized against COVID-19. This is the most effective way to minimize the risk of illness, disruption and inconvenience this fall.

Free vaccinations are available in the Birkam Health Center for students, faculty, staff and their household members age 16 and up. If you have not been vaccinated and would like to be, please contact Birkam Health Center at (231) 591-2614, Option 2, to set up an appointment, visit the Birkam Health Center Table in the lobby at Wink Arena during move-in, or you can visit for area vaccination sites across the state.

What if I fall into a high-risk group, or have a physical or mental health condition that requires only online courses this fall?

If you have a health condition that supports the need for a reasonable accommodation, you should contact Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services before the semester begins at [email protected]. Students at Kendall College of Art & Design should contact Marie Yowtz, Director of Counseling & Disabilities Services at KCAD, at [email protected].

COVID-19 Relief Funds

The University has received additional federal relief funds to provide emergency assistance grants to students heading into Fall 2021. Following federal guidelines, the University has prioritized the awarding of these grants based on financial need. However, any student enrolled at least half time (6 credits or more) in a degree program and who is not a high school student concurrently or dual enrolled, IS ELIGIBLE. Learn more about these funds and how to apply.

Bulldogs in Action Volunteers Needed!

Sign up to welcome students to the Big Rapids campus before classes start! For more information and to pick a time slot, visit our sign-up page.

Remember to visit our Welcome Back webpage regularly for updates and exciting news about all the things we have planned for you for Fall 2021. Please continue to check your email for additional communication from the Dean of Student Life (DOSL) in the weeks ahead. Take good care. Get vaccinated if you are not already, wear a face covering and let’s keep going, safely #FerrisForwardTogether. We can’t wait to see you and welcome you to campus in just a few days!


Please direct them to the appropriate contact.

  • Academics – contact your advisor or dean's office:
    • College of Arts, Sciences and Education: 231-591-3660
    • College of Business: 231-591-2420
    • College of Engineering Technology: 231-591-2890
    • College of Health Professions: 231-591-2270
    • College of Pharmacy: 231-591-2254
    • College of Optometry: 231-591-3706
    • Retention & Student Success: 231-591-2360
    • Kendall College of Art and Design: 616-259-1203
    • Statewide location email and contact info
    • If you are unable to reach your advisor, please contact your College (numbers above) or [email protected]
  • Housing & Dining – [email protected]
  • Student Bill
  • Financial Aid – [email protected]
  • Reasonable Accommodations – Educational Counseling & Disabilities Services, [email protected], or [email protected] for students at Kendall College of Art & Design.

All my best,

Joy N. Pulsifer
Dean of Student Life