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March2012 Volume 7 | Issue 2

Dear CSU Parents and Families:

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The beginning of the academic year is always a bit of a whirlwind.  After the excitement of Ram Welcome, new students are learning their schedules: trying to develop routines, feel comfortable in their “home away from home”, find friends, and figure out what is going on in their classes.  It can sometimes take a few weeks or months for students to really feel settled.  Our returning students are also getting back into “the swing of things” and with the first round of papers and tests likely coming in the next week or two, are remembering the dedication it takes to be a successful student at Colorado State University. 

As such, this month’s newsletter focuses on academic issues:  working with academic advisors, time management skills, and Taking Stock.  In addition, some of the articles focus on wellness issues and important updates and events for families.  Finally, we’d like to highlight an article written by our newest staff member, Maria Marinucci.  Maria is a graduate student in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program at CSU and will be working with Parent & Family Programs for the next two years.  As part of her assistantship, she has agreed to share a student’s perspective on some of the hot topics we discover during the year.  This month, she reflects on her transition to college and sheds light on how her family best supported her during that time.

Before you get to the “good stuff”, we want to make you aware of a few important upcoming dates:

  • September 10 is the CSU Tuition Due Date.  Students can log on to their RAMweb accounts to view and pay their tuition bill.  If your student has granted you access to his/her eBilling, you can log onto FAMweb to pay the bill.  We’ve added a fantastic eBilling video to help new users navigate the eBilling module.
  • September 11-13 the Career Center is hosting the Fall Career and Graduate School Fair, where over 220 employers and graduate schools will be represented.  Encourage your students to check in with the Career Center to learn more!
  • September 15 is the first RAMFAM Association meeting of the 2012-2013 Academic year, where we’ll focus on Academic Advising at CSU.  Join us in person or online and read the article below to learn more about topics we’ll cover throughout the year. 
  • The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) is offering multiple academic skills workshops on everything from taking notes to memory and concentration.  Visit their website to learn more.

In closing, enjoy this month's newsletter and thanks so much for supporting your CSU student.  We appreciate you!

take care,

Jody & Kacee

Jody Donovan, Ph.D.
Dean of Students/Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs

Kacee Collard Jarnot, M.S.
Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs

Parent and Family Programs
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-5312

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Academic Advising Insights: Learning about Academic Advising

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Academic Advising

By Gaye DiGregorio, Director of the Center for Advising and Student Achievement

As a direct result of the 2012 Biennial Survey to parents and families, we will highlight information about academic advising at CSU in each newsletter.  Over the months, you can look for topics related to how students identify and set up an appointment with their advisor, what role students play in shaping their academic plans at CSU, and resources for students in finding a major.  Many general advising questions can be answered through the CSU General Catalog, Section 1.7 – Advising & Registration, through the Center for Advising and Student Achievement, or through individual academic departments. 

At the beginning of the semester, it is important to emphasize that students get to know their advisor, understand what is expected of an academic advisor, and go to see their advisor early in the semester.  We hope that you will encourage your students to get the most from their academic advising experience at CSU.

Who is Your Student’s Advisor and How Can Students Contact Their Advisor?

Students can identify their academic advisor through the RAMweb Academic Advisor link, or by contacting either the academic department that the student is majoring in or the Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA) for undeclared students.

Advisors have different ways of seeing advisees, so if your student does not know how to see their advisor, he or she can contact CASA or the individual academic department to learn how to set up an appointment.

What are the Advisor/Advisee Roles and Responsibilities at the Collegiate Level?     (directly from the General Catalog)

  • What can your student expect from an advisor?
    • Help students define and develop realistic educational and career goals.
    • Assist students in planning a program consistent with their abilities and interests.
    • Assist students in monitoring and evaluating their educational progress.
    • Discuss relationships between instruction program and career.  Assist students in identifying career opportunities.  This includes utilizing the Career Center.
    • Inform students of the nature of the adviser/student advisee relationship.
    • Interpret and provide rationale for instructional policies, procedures, and requirements.
    • Monitor all designated educational transactions, e.g., course selection, changes of major, & graduation requirements.
    • Maintain an advising record for each student.
    • Designate and post hours available for advising.
  • What does an advisor expect from students?
    • Schedule and attend advising sessions each semester prior to course registration.
    • Clarify personal values, abilities, interests, and goals.
    • Become knowledgeable of all graduation requirements and adhere to institutional policy, procedures, and deadlines.
    • Prepare for each advising session.
    • Follow through on actions identified during each advising session.
    • Responsibly evaluate his/her adviser in order to strengthen the quality of advisement.
    • Become familiar with the Career Center and other campus resources.

When Should Students See an Academic Advisor?

  • If they are considering dropping a course.
  • When they would like to explore majors, learn more about their major, want to discuss educational goals, or have a question about campus resources.
  • Whenever they have questions, concerns, or want to make changes to their schedules.
  • Course Registration: students need to schedule an appointment 2-3 weeks in advance of their registration date.
    • The following dates are when each class BEGINS registration for spring semester. Once students complete the Registration Ready portion in RAMweb, they can access their specific registration date and time.
      • October 23 – Seniors (90+ credits)
      • October 26 – Juniors (60-89 credits)
      • November 2 – Sophomores (30-59 credits)
      • November 9 – Freshmen (29 or fewer credits)

How Can Parents & Families Help? 

  • Be available to support and encourage your student.
  • Maintain regular contact with your student, rather than the advisor.
  • Offer advice and coaching when appropriate.
  • Encourage students to do things they can do for themselves.
  • Allow students to make mistakes in this safe environment.

How is College Advising Different from High School Counseling?

Students have much more responsibility in determining their course curriculum and academic path in college.  Students are responsible for reviewing their major check sheet and doing the research to ensure they are on track to graduate.  Advisors can help students decide which electives to take, offer alternatives for scheduling conflicts and help students hone in on interests, but students have to do the work in choosing their future.

Students count on parents & teachers to remind them of responsibilities and to guide them in setting priorities. Students must balance their responsibilities and set priorities. They will face moral and ethical decisions never faced before.
Most classes are arranged for students. Students arrange their own schedule in consultation with their adviser. Schedules tend to look lighter than they really are.
Students are not responsible for knowing what it takes to graduate. Graduation requirements are complex and differ from year to year. Students are expected to know those that apply to them.
Guiding principle: Students will usually be told what to do and corrected if their behavior is out of line. Guiding principle: Students are expected to take responsibility for what they do and don't do, as well as for the consequences of their decisions.

adapted from Southern Methodist University

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Assessment Results: Career Center & Upcoming Fair

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Shaking Hands at a Career Fair

By Summer Shaffer, Associate Director of Communication and Outreach, Colorado State University Career Center

The Career Center at Colorado State University strives to empower students and alumni to connect with employers and succeed in a global employment market. This process starts the first year students arrive on campus. One of the ways the Career Center works to engage students in their career process is through major and career exploration. Students who are in the beginning stages of their college experience can meet with career counselors to discover their interests, skills, and values in order to find their fit both at the university and in a career path.

“We want students to understand that our team of professionals is here to support students in every step of their journey,” says Career Center Director Jeremy Podany. “Whether we are working with a first year student exploring their major options or a graduating senior who is poised to get their first job, the Career Center seeks to ensure students have the tools, experience, and training to succeed.”

Over 10,000 students participated in group training last year through the Career Center. One aspect of group training includes the various workshops that are offered throughout each semester on resume building, interviewing skills, job searching, and many other topics. Career Counselors can also meet with students throughout the year by appointment or during drop-in hours to polish a cover letter or answer any other career-related question students may need answered which they did for over 11,000 students this past year.

Another important role of the Career Center is to connect students and employers. Each year the Center holds 12 unique career fairs, bringing students and employers together to discuss full-time, part-time, and internship positions. Similar to the fairs, the Career Center hosts Connect Events which allow students to network with a panel of professionals in their field or area of interest. “Making connections with employers is important for students who may be looking to complete an internship in their field or who need a full-time position for after graduation. As a Career Center we want to make sure we are offering a variety of opportunities for students to make those connections,” Podany says.

Encourage your student to use the Career Center early and often beginning with the Career Fair on September 11-13 with over 220 employers on campus.

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Reasonable Expectations:  CSU's Continuum of Services

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Family, courtesy of Microsoft Office


By Jody Donovan, Dean of Students/Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs

Many of you have heard Kacee and me talk about the differences between K-12 parenting and college parenting. In a nutshell, we ask college parents and family members to shift from "doing for" students to "being there for" them. We wish all students had a parent or family member in their corner and you remain an important factor in your student's success at Colorado State.

We've been reflecting during these first weeks of the semester, supporting students and families with significant transitions (enrolling in college, moving off campus for the first time, changing majors, identifying an undiagnosed learning disability, preparing for life after college, etc.).  We welcome your emails, calls, and visits and love to hear about things that are going well in addition to providing a listening ear and guidance when things aren't going as well.

As Kacee and I reply to numerous emails, chat on the phone, and talk in person with students and their families, the conversations focused on empowering students to take responsibility for their transitions have resulted in terrific learning, significant development, and a sense of achievement for students.  Parents and family members often walk away feeling good about their student's newfound skills for problem-solving and self-responsibility.

It is hard to watch students struggle or listen to their sad stories, and we know an immediate thought is to step in to "make it all better." We caution parents and families against "doing for" to resolve the challenges and instead, listen, support, discuss options, and empower your student to problem-solve, access resources, and take initiative... to begin "doing for" themselves.  We share a common goal to see your students graduate and get jobs with benefits and/or accepted to graduate or professional school.  But, this isn't our only goal.  We also want to see your students grow and develop life skills to live in society as educated, interdependent, productive citizens of the world.  College is about learning in and out of the classroom, and we believe learning comes from both challenge and support.

This fall we're focusing on a concept called, "reasonable expectations."  CSU has high standards for education, research, and service. And, at the same time, we are a large, public university, educating over 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  During Summer Preview and Next Step Orientations, we shared a continuum of parent & family needs, including everything from "concierge-like" requests, inquiries about campus policies and resources, to desires for us to "make" students do things. There are numerous links and great information on the CSU and Parent & Family websites, as well as infinite resources through Google for those "concierge-like" questions. We're happy to provide clarification, information about services, and support for parenting college students.  However, if you ask us to step in to take away the challenge for your student or to "make them do something," we'll talk with you about "reasonable expectations."  This is not intended to provide poor service or to be unhelpful, instead, we want to focus on those areas where we can be most helpful....to you and your student.

Please do not interpret this article as pushing parents and families away.  Rather, it is intended to further extend our partnership toward supporting (and challenging) your students during this wonderful journey called higher education! Parent & Family Programs is focused on supporting you and your student through the transition from K-12 to college…and beyond!

We look forward to seeing you at the first RAMFAM Parent & Family Association meeting on September 15 to further discuss this idea of "reasonable expectations" and learn about academic advising at the collegiate level.

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Student Perspective: Challenging Beginnings

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Student studying

By Maria Marinucci, Graduate Assistant for Parent & Family Programs and Retention Initiatives

As I begin my first year of graduate school, I am left reflecting back on those first few weeks (and months) of my undergraduate experience, a time so tough for me it is a wonder I can look back on it and see the positives.  My experience was not unique, but it is one that isn’t usually talked about amid the excitement of going to college. 

The scene unfolded like this: I woke up early on move-in day to make the 3.5 hour drive with my family, having eagerly packed the car days before.  We arrived and everything went smoothly…until it came time to say goodbye.  I felt like I was the only student so upset, as everyone else seemed excited, but I knew it was a big step and being emotional was to be expected.  Unfortunately, the weepiness didn’t end there.

I cried almost every second I was alone and called home between every Orientation session.  I tried to spend free evenings connecting with other students, but mostly went back to my room with the excuse that I was exhausted.  After Orientation, I called my mom several times every day, before and after every class, usually in tears.  She would ask me what was wrong and all I could tell her was that I didn’t know: the school was gorgeous, everyone was great, and I liked my classes.  I was just sad. I wanted to come home, where things were familiar.

I remember my parents telling me a few things that I hated then, but in hindsight, made all the difference.  The first of which was “no, you cannot come home. Try to stick it out through Fall Break.”  I was angry and sad; I was so certain a trip back would ease the pain just enough to be bearable.  I was wrong.  I had to go home on an early weekend for a wedding, and that led to me starting the cry-cycle all over again because  I was reminded of what I left behind (remember the Ending, Losing, Letting Go phase from the Transition model?).  The trip home also prevented me from setting up a schedule—something I realized later I so desperately needed to feel a sense of belonging.  It took time to establish, but this routine gave me a sense of being “at home” away from my home.

The other thing I distinctly remember is my parents just listening.  I learned later that my perpetual sadness was terrible for my mom and there were times she almost didn’t answer the phone because it broke her heart.  But she did answer.  And she listened and was empathetic and just kept telling me she knew it was hard and understood why, but that she knew I could do it.  It made a world of difference to know it was okay for me to have a hard time because she supported me.  She encouraged me to go to the gym, meet a new person, go to events - but that it was okay to not be fully invested right away.  She never once scolded me or told me how difficult I was being and I cannot thank her enough for it.  It reassured me that even if I was feeling so insignificant and unnoticed at school, I was still a priority at home.

But there did come a time, toward the end of September (after a full 4 or 5 weeks of daily tears) when a swift “okay, enough is enough of the wallowing, let’s figure out how to make this better” really helped.  And the message was this: you have a choice—try to find some things on campus that make the experience worth it and help you in ways that I cannot, or give up.  My mom knew me well enough to know there was no choice for me.  I was not going to give up, but she wanted me to feel like it was my decision to get help, because ultimately, it had to be.  She could not fix it for me.  She made suggestions, and I took the lead.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that things started looking up once I took ownership of my experience and committed to making it all that it could be.  My mom was supportive, but I needed to do the work. 

Of course every situation is different, but this was what worked for me, and I was certainly a challenging case.  Staying at school and trying to establish a routine (family coming to see me helped me develop pride in my new life!), my family listening and letting me be sad and supporting me, and then their encouragement to take initiative to get extra support eased my long transition.  I ended up falling in love with my school, but it was definitely not right away.  I had a great support and some eventual tough love, and that made all the difference.  

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Parent & Family Programs and Social Media

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Facebook GraphicBy Maria Marinucci, Graduate Assistant for Parent & Family Programs and Retention Initiatives

Hello Facebook users and all those with an interest in social media!  According to the 2012 biennial survey, over 36% of parents and families responded they would like to communicate with other parents and families via an online discussion board or chat room.  Great news!  We already have this in place via our Facebook group for parents and families, which was developed after the 2010 survey showed similar results.  The intent of the group is to provide a location where parents and families can pose questions, offer suggestions, or just reach out to others with a student at CSU.  It is not moderated by the staff of Parent & Family Programs, although we do occasionally post if we happen upon something to which we can contribute.  However, the major goal is to have parents and families interacting and sharing valuable information that only you can provide!

Many of you (367 to be exact) have already found the group, but for those who have not, just search “Colorado State Parents & Families”, locate it listed under “Groups”, and join!  You’ll know you are in the right place if you are brought to a wall full of comments by a variety of individuals.  Feel free to post as often as you would like, or just peruse it for some useful information from others.

If you are looking for a social media connection that is managed by the staff of Parent & Family Programs, then you can follow our official page by “liking” “Colorado State Parent & Family Programs” (it is under the category “Places” when you search).  Unlike the group, this page will include links, messages, and updates from our office.  If you wish, you may post questions or comments to this page, especially if the response will benefit other parents and families!  We even have a recommendation section where you can let us know of something you would like to see us do, present, or set up.  We always love hearing from you, so we hope that you use this resource often.

Of course, you may still be in touch with us via phone or email, but we hope the group and page provide another convenient bridge between you, others with students at CSU, and our office.  We understand that all this social media could get confusing, so just remember: the group is for and by parents and families; the page is for you by the Parent & Family Programs staff!

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Learning How to Manage Time Effectively

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Old-fashioned Time KeeperBy Heather Landers, Director of Learning Programs, The Institute for Learning & Teaching

One of the most difficult transitions for new college students is time management.  Where high school students, for the most part, have their time scheduled for them (school all day, after-school activities, homework, sleep, repeat)— in college, students have much more “free” time.  Students who are used to being scheduled from sun-up to well after sun-down now find themselves in class for only 3-4 hours of their day. And with all the new people around and fun things to do on campus, in the residence halls, and in the Fort Collins community, those hours can quickly become filled with social engagements and time wasters.  While it’s certainly important for students to have some down time, keeping up with the academic rigor of college does require a significant investment of time.  Here are ten ideas and tips on time management to share with your students to help keep them on track:

1.  At the beginning of each semester, encourage your student to create a “master plan,” where he/she lists out important dates based on class syllabi for all big papers, exams, quizzes, long-term assignments, and presentations.

2.  Talk with your student about studying at least two hours per week per hour of class (if you student is taking 15 credit hours, that means at least 30 hours per week are devoted to school work).

3.  On Sunday evenings or Monday mornings, students should look over their schedule for the week ahead and write down the “big” things they want to accomplish on each day.

4.  Each weekday evening or first thing in the morning, students should create a daily “To Do” list of everything they need to accomplish, big and small.  This includes sudying, errands, downtime, exercising, extracurricular activities, and anything else — it’s helpful for some to even break the day down hour-by-hour.  Students should create a weekend “to do” list as well, including the non-negotiables: things that MUST be done to have a successful week.

5.  Students need to develop routines by finding regular study times and study locations and avoiding studying in locations with big distractions:  friends, music, etc.

6.  Help your student identify his/her “best” time, and encourage him/her to use this time for more challenging tasks. For example, students could try starting their study sessions with more difficult tasks, while their minds are “fresh.”

7.  Students shouldn’t schedule marathon study sessions.  Instead, they should plan on studying for one or two-hour blocks, with breaks between to get up, stretch, or give their brains a rest.

8.  Encourage your students to turn off their cell phones while studying — each time they are interrupted, it’s hard to get back on track.  Scheduling in study breaks to check Facebook, email, talk on the phone, and text gives small rewards.

9.  Remember self-care:  students’ physical, emotional, and mental health are all important to academic success.

10.  Is your student a procrastinator?  Here are three tips to share:

  • Just start.  Encourage your student to start get started on an unpleasant task by working for just five minutes.  Focus for all five of those minutes, and if he/she still having trouble with motivation, encourage him/her to switch things up on the “to do” list.
  • Break it up.  Students should break large assignments up into small, manageable parts and give themselves a due date for each part.
  • Just do it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Procrastinators are often perfectionists who become overwhelmed with starting large projects, because they want each portion to be without mistake.  Encourage your student to start the project knowing what they are working on at this moment doesn’t have to be the final product.

Want more information related to college and academic success?  The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) offers workshops for students each week on topics such as time management, memory & concentration, test-taking, and other skills related to academic success.  Check out the schedule on the TILT Learning website.

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Taking Stock Academic Initiative in the CSU Residence Halls

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MAP-Works GraphicBy Michelle Valoris, Graduate Assistant in Residence Education & Leadership, Residence Life

Retention research has shown that by the 4th week of classes, students can predict how they are doing in their classes and how they are transitioning to college life. Taking Stock, an academic initiative, has been developed by Residence Life and the Center for Academic Success and Achievement (CASA) to support the academic needs of CSU first year students.

Students will receive a link to the electronic Taking Stock survey on Friday, September 7th. The students will have a week to complete the survey if they choose. RA’s will be holding floor meetings on Sunday, September 9th to discuss the importance and benefits of the survey. This survey, developed through MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible), is intended to measure how well each student is transitioning to college life. Before students agree to take the survey, they consent to have the results released to their RA, Residence Life Staff, and academic advisors to ensure that all parties are aware of the successes and struggles of the student(s). 

Research has shown that peer to peer interventions are one of the most successful practices. Therefore, RA’s will contact each student to have a conversation regarding their transition to CSU. Discussions will focus on residence hall experiences, classes, and campus policies. The RA will also help to connect students with academic resources, campus resources, and support services that will aid in the transition to college life.

In accordance with the Taking Stock program and Map-Works resource, the Early Grade Feedback program is an additional academic initiative. This program collaborates with faculty members who volunteer to report either a “S” (satisfactory) or “U” (Unsatisfactory) grade for students early on in the semester, based on test scores, assignment grades, and/or class attendance. Students will receive an e-mail informing them of their “U” status and hall staff within the residence halls will reach out to students with one or more “U” grades to guide them towards helpful campus resources.

We want to help all CSU students successfully transition to campus. Please be sure to ask your student if they have taken the Taking Stock survey, because parents & families are an important part of this process. If you or your student has any questions or concerns, please have them discuss the matter with their advisor or RA, or call the office of Residence Life at (970) 491-4705.

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RAMFAM Association Overview & Biennial Survey Results

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RAMFAM Association Graphic

By Kacee Collard Jarnot, Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs

Through surveys this summer, parents and families of CSU students gave us great information to help us improve parent and family programming and RAMFAM Association discussion topics.  We appreciate you taking a few minutes to send us your thoughts and hope you know we incorporate your feedback at every opportunity. 

As we mentioned last month, we needed a bit of time to sort through the mountain of information you provided in the biennial survey.  We’ve done that and can now definitively say parents and families are interested in learning more about academic advising, opportunities for jobs and internships for your students, and budget and tuition issues on campus.  (You can find the full report using wordle here.)  Jody, Maria and I read through all of your comments and have had multiple conversations about how we can best meet your needs.  We believe we can address these issues through various avenues, including the monthly electronic newsletter, social media outlets, our website, and the RAMFAM Association. 

To start, we want to be sure you know what RAMFAM is and what it offers families. 

RAMFAM’s primary goals are to support families and students; enhance the connection between families, students and the university administration; and to provide feedback to the University on student and family issues.

During each meeting, we create programming based on your feedback from assessments, emails or other connections.  Campus relationships allow us to find speakers on programs you find interesting or services you’d like to learn more about to better support your student.  In the last four years, we’ve tackled everything from financial aid to health and safety on campus and we continue to look for ways to enhance the connection between CSU and families.

We encourage you to attend our meetings from 10:00 am – noon (MST) on the following dates.  Based on your feedback, we’ve locked in dates, times*, locations, and topics:

Date Location Topic
September 15, 2012 LSC Grey Rock Room Academic Advising
October 6, 2012
LSC East Ballroom
*11:00 am - noon
State of CSU with University Leadership
November 10, 2012 LSC 214-216 Getting Jobs and Internships
February 9, 2013 LSC 214-216 Tuition & Financial Aid
April 6, 2013 CSU Denver Center Helping Students Develop Life Skills


For families living outside of northern Colorado we offer webcasting and blogging opportunities during RAMFAM Association meetings. We also archive the meeting video on the above link to serve as a resource to you when you need it!

If you’re interested in connecting to CSU families closer to home, consider starting a Hometown RAMFAM Club in your area!  Contact us if you're interested in participating in an existing club, or starting your own club.

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Homecoming & Family Weekend - Have You Registered?

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Woman with a headache Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Register for Homecoming & Family Weekend by September 21, 2012! 

We are so excited for this fall’s Homecoming & Family Weekend!  It kicks off Friday, October 5, with a session focused on helping families explore all of your student's housing options after their first year of living in a residence hall.  Visit the Parent & Family website for handouts from past Housing Options After the First Year sessions, but be sure to attend this year’s session on October 5 to have the most up-to-date information about living options. 

Saturday morning (October 6) CSU leadership will join us at the RAMFAM Association meeting to share current issues and host a Q&A session with families.  Will they discuss the future of tuition?  Give stadium updates?  Register and attend to find out! 

We also hope you'll join us in the afternoon for the Homecoming & Family Weekend Tailgate, providing families an opportunity to connect and show your Ram Pride before the football game vs. Fresno State.

Programming for Family Weekend ends after the Homecoming Football game.  We hope you'll enjoy Saturday evening and Sunday morning with your student in Fort Collins!  Here is a tentative list of all the Family Weekend Events – check the Homecoming & Family Weekend website for updates:

Friday, October 5, 2012

  • Housing Options After the First Year
  • Festival & Reunions on the Oval
  • Homecoming Parade
  • Bonfire, Pep Rally & Fireworks
  • CSU Volleyball vs. Wyoming

Saturday, October 6, 2012

  • 5K Race
  • Hillel Bagel Brunch
  • RAMFAM Association Meeting
  • The Official Homecoming & Family Weekend Tailgate
  • Homecoming Football Game (CSU vs. Fresno State)

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Healthy Student, Happy Family: From CSU Health Network

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By Marie Allen, Coordinator of Marketing & Communications, CSU Health Network

Good health is essential to the academic success of students. The CSU Health Network is your student’s partner in staying mentally and physically healthy while at college.

Choice Making
New students often feel an amazing amount of independence during their first semester. You may find your student testing boundaries and exploring new beliefs and behaviors. Sometimes, however, they are unaware of the consequences of their decisions.

Talk openly with your student about attending parties, alcohol and drug use, sexual decisions, safety, and peer pressure. Although these conversations can be tough, they are extremely important. Families have more influence than they realize when it comes to students making positive decisions. Research shows the impact of such conversations, just prior to starting college, leads to lower alcohol consumption during college students' first year. Check out the following resources:

More Isn’t Always Better
CSU Health Network poster
CSU students, much like their peers across the country, engage in high-risk alcohol use. While many CSU students who choose to drink are aware of, and engage in, some risk reduction behaviors such as staying with the same group of friends and designating a sober driver, a significant number of students simply choose to drink too much. Data collected from AlcoholEdu, the online module required of all new students, highlights risky behaviors such as “pre-gaming” (drinking excessively before going to a party or bar), taking shots, and playing drinking games.

With this is mind, the CSU Health Network Health Education and Prevention Services has partnered with departments across campus to remind students that “More Isn’t Always Better.” The campaign uses visual imagery to remind students that there are many times in life when more isn’t better, and drinking is one of those times.

Materials provide students with a link to information about campus resources such as RamRide and about how to drink responsibly if they choose to drink. Visit the More Isn’t Always Better Website for more information.

Mental Health and Your Student
As the excitement of the first weeks of college start to wear off, new (or old) problems may start to surface. If you suspect your student could be struggling with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue please know that there are tools and resources to help.

  • Students can complete an online, anonymous mental health screening. This tool screens for possible depression, bipolar, anxiety, PTSD and eating disorders. After completing the screening, areas of risk are identified and information connects students to resources.
  • CSU’s Tell Someone program provides and opportunity for anyone to call to report concerns about a student, staff, or faculty member. Once a report is made identifying a person in distress, campus professionals work together to develop strategies and coordinate resources to help that individual.

CSU Health Network has numerous resources to support students who are struggling; of course the difficulty often lies in recognizing the problem and convincing them to get help. Your help identifying distressed students and getting them connected to campus resources is critical to their well-being and academic success, and can play a significant role in the safety of the campus community.

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Access, Attainment, and Responsibility: Diversity Symposium

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SLICEBy Rod Higgins, Office of the Vice President of Diversity

What is diversity and how is it represented in the Colorado State community? In the past this has been a question on many people’s minds. Diversity is usually defined by a person’s ethnicity or race; however, there are other many other facets of diversity that often aren’t considered; such as veteran status, geographic background, marital status, etc.  Furthermore, there are various questions about race, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. that people want to know the answers to, but don’t feel comfortable asking or feel that they have right outlet to ask. 

In response to this, the Diversity Conference (now known as the Diversity Symposium) was created in 2001. The first conference held was restricted to invited Deans, Department Heads and Directors, and only lasted one day. Today however, the symposium is open to the CSU and Fort Collins communities and goes on for three days, allowing people to come and go as they please. Each year the Symposium has a different theme relating to diversity to discuss and invites several guest speakers and one keynote speaker to talk about the chosen topics.

With the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, otherwise known as the Land Grant Act, coming up this year, the Diversity Symposium’s goal is to focus on and explore how access in higher education has evolved over the years and what can be done to improve the process. The overall theme of this year's Symposium is “Access, Attainment, and Responsibility.”

For example, two of the topics that will be discussed in sessions are Access through Affirmative Action and Increasing Access through National and Local Partnerships: The Lorenzo de Zavala Student Experience. Access through Affirmative Action, presented by Diana Prieto, the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity at CSU, will explore the history and controversy surrounding the process of affirmative action, and how/if the process will continue in the future. Increasing Access through National and Local Partnerships… will be presented by Dr. Maria L. Gabriel, who has been a Latina educator for fifteen years in Colorado. This topic will share hopes for increased community partnerships with higher education access, and student experiences from the Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Leadership program at CSU this summer.

This year the keynote speaker will be Sherman Alexie; author, poet, producer, screenwriter, and performer. Alexie is a member of the Spokane Tribe in Washington. He has written over twenty books, countless poems, and he is also the writer/co-producer of Smoke Signals. Smoke Signals was the first film written, directed and produced completely by Native Americans and won awards at Sundance Film Festival in 1998.  Alexie will be giving his keynote address on Tuesday, September 18th at 7:00 pm in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

The Symposium will last for three days, September 18-20, and will begin at 9:00 am every day with sessions being held every hour in different rooms on the second floor of the Lory Student Center.  Everyone is encouraged to come get any questions answered and learn more about the community and how to support and engage those around you.

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