Campus Life

Saint Mary’s College offers students outstanding programs and services. As a women’s college and as a Christian community, Saint Mary’s offers women unique opportunities for leadership and individual growth and development. As a part of the Saint Mary’s–Notre Dame community, the College also offers women the advantages of a co-educational environment.

Division of Student Affairs

The staff in the Division of Student Affairs provides opportunities for growth and development in a wide range of areas. The departments in Student Affairs include:

  • Belles Against Violence (BAVO),
  • Residence Life,
  • Health & Counseling,
  • Student Involvement,
  • Multicultural Services,
  • College Safety and
  • Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation.

A key objective of the Division of Student Affairs is to provide a variety of programs and services that help students clarify personal goals, crystallize career and life-style needs, and develop the tools for effective and independent decision making.

Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Program

Saint Mary’s student-athletes are powerful in the classroom and on the playing fields. As a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Saint Mary’s competes in eight NCAA Division III sports. These sports are volleyball, soccer, golf, tennis, basketball, cross country, softball and lacrosse.

In addition to our varsity athletic programs, students can also join the cheerleading squad and club sports teams. The Angela Athletic and Wellness Center provides fitness, recreational, and lounge space.

Health and Counseling

Health and Counseling supports the educational mission of the college by providing high quality care in an accessible, safe, secure, and confidential environment. The staff is committed to assisting students in their acquisition of knowledge, skill, and behaviors necessary to become self-directed health advocates. Students are encouraged to participate actively in their own health maintenance and to make informed choices regarding their care.

Belles Against Violence

The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) incorporates and reflects the Catholic Church’s faith and social teaching to increase the capacity of Saint Mary’s College to appropriately and effectively respond to violence against women in order to decrease the incidence and impact of violence against women as it impacts the College community. This office incorporates these issues through advocacy, education, training, and collaboration.

Residence Life

The Department of Residence Life strives to create a cooperative residential community and a comfortable living environment based on mutual respect and involvement. Saint Mary’s College believes that living on campus gives students the opportunity to be fully engaged in academic and student life and to exercise adult freedoms responsibly with professional and peer support. A diverse community of various viewpoints, goals, and styles prepares students for future relationships, diverse careers, and living in a dynamic global society.

Residency Requirement Policy

Saint Mary’s College believes that living on campus gives students the opportunity to be fully engaged in academic and student life and to exercise adult freedoms responsibly with professional and peer support. A diverse community full of various viewpoints, goals, and styles prepares students for future relationships, diverse careers, and living in a dynamic global society.

As a women’s, private, Catholic, residential, undergraduate college, Saint Mary’s College requires all students to reside in college-owned housing (including housing provided during study-abroad programs) for six (6) semesters, unless the student meets one of the exceptions.

Residency Requirement Exemptions

  1. Resides with a parent or legal guardian in their principle residence within 30 miles of the campus.
  2. Has resided in a college residence hall for at least six (6) semesters prior to the semester for which the request is for.
  3. Has reached the age of 23 prior to the semester for which the request for exception is made.
  4. Is married.
  5. Has dependent family (children or parents) under the student’s care.
  6. Is enrolled in eight (8) or less credit hours for the semester in which the request for exception is made.
  7. Has received written permission from the Director of Residence Life for special circumstances.

Residency Requirement Procedures

Students may request an exemption by completing the online form on our website at least 30 days prior to the 1st day of classes of the requested semester.

Decisions will be communicated with students in a timely manner.

All students will be billed for room and board as a residential student until an approved exception is on file.

Residence Hall Life

There are five residence halls on Saint Mary’s campus housing six residential areas:

  1. Holy Cross,
  2. Annunciata (for seniors),
  3. Le Mans,
  4. McCandless,
  5. Regina, and
  6. Opus Hall senior apartments.

Each traditional residence hall is staffed by a professional residence hall director and a number of student staff, including resident advisors, desk workers, and mail clerks. The front desks of each hall are staffed 24 hours a day. Access to the buildings is limited after 5 p.m.

The residential environment supports and enhances the formal educational experience while teaching valuable life skills. The department works cooperatively with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) to provide programming and leadership in the residence halls. RHA is a student organization committed to promoting interaction among residential students, citizenship through self-governance and self-development of individuals. The organi­za­tion provides several leadership opportunities as well as social and educational events, including the annual Little Sibs weekend. Each residence hall has a fully functioning hall council which receives funding and guidance from RHA.

The Code of Student Conduct outlines the expected standards for all members of the college community.

Each residential section is assigned a resident advisor (RA) who is available to assist with the transition to college and community living. RAs receive training and skill development in many areas including communication and mediation, emergency assistance, and serve as a resource for students as well as a liaison to various College departments. Students interested in serving as resident advisors may look for information in December of each year.

Residence Life maintains all housing records and assists students with housing concerns such as room changes and roommate mediation.

Student Involvement 

The Office of Student Involvement helps students explore their leadership potential by creating a strong foundation of ethical behavior with an overall awareness of social justice and global issues. Involvement in co-curricular activities provides the opportunity for students to apply skills learned in the classroom.

In addition to promoting and encouraging the development of leadership skills, the office supports the needs of traditionally underrepresented students. The office provides services that address the needs of underrepresented students as well as promote educational opportunities for the entire campus community.

The office provides a wide range of diverse and inclusive leadership opportunities that include:

  • College governance through a comprehensive student government association, class council, and residence hall association, and membership on college-wide committees.
  • Clubs and organizations provide the opportunity to fulfill the social, cultural, academic, political, spiritual, and recreational interests of students.
  • Student publications, such as Chimes, the student literary magazine which reflects the artistic life of its contributors; The Avenue, an independent literary journal designed to allow the expression of student thought and concern; The Blue Mantle, the student published yearbook; and The Observer, the daily newspaper published for and by the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame student community.
  • National leadership and academic conferences, where Saint Mary’s student leaders enjoy a broad sphere of influence at the state, regional, and national level serving as board members on steering committees, presenting at leadership and academic conferences, and hosting regional and state conferences.
  • Ad hoc initiatives, such as campus committees and task forces that provide students, faculty, and student development professionals the opportunity to work together to address real problems and issues on campus, forge working partnerships, and model a new concept of leadership.

Multicultural Services

The Office of Multicultural Services provides a wide variety of services and programs related to cultural diversity and support. Some of those programs and services include:

  • the Belles Connect program (an orientation program for under-represented and first generation students),
  • advising student affinity groups, and
  • providing support for the Student Diversity Board and the annual Diverse Student Leadership Conference.

Division for Mission

The Division for Mission fosters the integration of the Gospel, the riches of the Catholic tradition and the heritage of the Sisters of the Holy Cross into the life of the College community; serves the College community by enlivening the hearts and minds of its members to respond to the Gospel call to community, prayer, and service. The Division for Mission is comprised of Campus Ministry, the Center for Spirituality, and the Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OSCE).

Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry fosters the call to community where freedom and fullness of life is celebrated through word, sacrament, service, and action for justice. Contributing to the liberal arts tradition, Campus Ministry has a particular responsibility to encourage students to grow in both intellectual and experiential knowledge of their faith and to assume leadership roles within the Church and society.

Campus Ministry offers regular celebrations of Eucharist and Reconciliation and oppor­tunities for communal prayer. These prayer opportunities are ecumenical and often include student presiding and preaching. The community also gathers to pray before Christ during Solemn Exposition of the Eucharist. The department offers catechesis and formation for students interested in baptism or for those students baptized in other Christian denominations who would like to become Catholic. Every year students who request it are prepared for Confirmation. Students engage in other forms of reflection and formation through liturgical ministry formation, bible study, retreats and individual spiritual guidance. Campus Ministry offers the chance for interested students to experience pilgrimage to places where the Sisters of the Holy Cross serve outside the United States. An active Catholic Relief Services group engages students to work for global justice.

Many students serve as faith leaders on campus as Campus Ministry Interns and Ministry Assistants. These student ministers serve their fellow students by accompanying them in faith, leading them in prayer, and learning and witnessing what it means to be a woman of faith.

The Center for Spirituality (CFS)

Founded in 1984 with generous support from the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the Center for Spirituality offers programs that promote the engagement between faith and reason and the connection between mind, body, and spirit. Spirituality at the Center is discussed as an academic discipline and as a way of life and includes individual and social dimensions of spirituality. Programming draws on intellectual resources in the Catholic and Christian heritage as well as how individuals practice faith in their daily lives to develop critical conversations around contemporary religious issues, especially as they relate to women’s experience. Opportunities for students include: annual fall and spring lecture series on designated themes; the Madeleva Lecture given annually by a prestigious female scholar of religion; and the Real Life Project seminar in vocation, inviting women in small groups to discuss the ways in which faith intersects with their future careers and life callings.

The Office for Civic a­nd Social Engagement (OCSE)

The Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) exists for the benefit of Saint Mary’s College students, faculty, and staff. Our purpose is to help each and every person fulfill the College’s mission to “make a difference in the world,” by helping them connect with the community.

The office offers opportunities to engage with the community through service commitments, one-time volunteer projects, community-based learning resources, and other events. On occasion the OCSE also sponsors opportunities on campus that deepen students’ under­standing of the “complex needs of contemporary life.”