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November2010 Volume 5 | Issue 4

Dear CSU Parents and Families:

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Can you believe it's already November?  This semester has flown by and we still have tons to share with you.  We are in the thick of the fall semester and students are gearing up for the "last academic hurdle" - the few weeks between midterms and finals.  It can be a challenging time for students, so we've included an article from one of our Academic Advisors on tips and resources for family members to support your students during the end of the semester.  Our number one tip: don't forget to send a care package!

The start of November also means fall commencement is just around the corner.  If you have a fall graduate and haven't planned your trip to Fort Collins, we have a few resources for you.  It's important to know that every college approaches graduation differently.  The best comprehensive website CSU offers is our commencement site.  It includes information by college, covers FAQs, and, for families unable to attend graduation, lists websites to view the live webcasts by college.  If you are able to attend, we hope you'll use the businesses listed in the RAMFAM Association Business Directory while you're here.  With recommendations from accommodations to shuttles to restaurants, this directory is 'a must' in planning your visit to Fort Collins.

We also want to say thank you, again, for your support with our Former Foster Youth Care Package initiative.  Hannah Love, the graduate student in our office who helped coordinate the entire event, has written a great follow-up, including some information on year-round support for these students! 

Finally, you may have noticed his edition of the Parent & Family newsletter is about a week later than usual.  Given the number of meningococcal disease updates we've sent in the last few weeks, we thought we'd give your inboxes a rest...that is, until we sent the email regarding the second meningococcal disease vaccination clinic.  The unintentded consequence in sending the newsletter a week late is the deadline for students to apply for Campus Step Up is today, November 9

Regarding meningococcal disease, the University, along with various health agencies, saw a tremendous response at Friday's vaccination clinic.  They provided 7,400 vaccinations for students and CSU employees.  The response was so great, students and employees of Colorado State University who are between the ages of 2 and 29 years old and roommates or family who live with them and are within that age group will have a second opportunity to get a free meningococcal disease vaccine from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Student Recreation Center.  We encourage you to talk with your students about the benefits of vaccination because we heard that family messages to students to encourage them to go to the clinic was important to their decision to get vaccinated.  Please visit the Public Safety website for more information. 

As always, we look forward to talking with you, should you need assistance.  Our contact informaiton is listed below.  Please reach out to us so we can help you support your student! 

Best wishes,

Jody & Kacee

Jody Donovan, Ph.D.
Interim Dean of Students
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-5312

Kacee Collard Jarnot, M.S.
Assistant Director of Parent & 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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Thank You!  Former Foster Youth Care Package Update

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Students Assist in Creating Care Packages

By Hannah Love, Graduate Assistant

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity from parents and family members for our former foster care students. We raised nearly $3,000 and received donations ranging from Frisbees to hot chocolate, blankets, and gift cards. Thank you so much to everyone who donated!

On October 6, the Foster Care Work Group created the care packages complete with a personalized note in each package.  View our photos of the event here.

Because of your support, we have money and materials left over! After creating these great care packages, the committee met and decided to send these student small packages throughout the year. We want to show these students they have year-round support from CSU. At the end of November, the committee will send gift cards to help the students through winter break. The dining centers are closed during winter break and we want to help these students eat and support themselves. We will also send the students a small welcome back card in January. It is a major accomplishment to finish one's first semester at college, and to return for a second semester, without the support of family members.

In addition, the committee is working to expand the number of students we are serving. While the main focus is to identify former foster youth, we have identified other students in need (including homeless students and students on the verge of becoming homeless) and we plan to reach out to them as well.

We are still concerned about housing over winter break for these students. This is an issue many of you have brought to our attention and several parent and family members have volunteered to serve as host families for our students. Thank you. We sincerely appreciate your kindness and willingness to open your homes. We are still investigating what the best option will be for these students and will keep everyone updated as we progress.

Once again, thank you for all your generosity. Our parent and family members have risen to the challenge and exponentially increased these students' opportunities for success.

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Fall Break Check-In

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Family Conversing

By Jody Donovan, Interim Dean of Students

As you welcome your student home over break, take a moment to reflect on how much he or she has changed over the past few months. Is your student gaining confidence socially, emotionally, and intellectually? Are your student's feet planted at Colorado State yet? As November begins, students experience a wide range of emotions and begin striving to develop more mature interpersonal relationships with friends and family members.

While your student may still be in the throes of transition (some folks feel the intense emotions of grief and loss or numbness until mid-spring!), it is critical to provide language and validation for these emotions. I often express affirmation when students share their homesickness with me because this means they love their friends and family members back home. We shouldn't dismiss these very real feelings, instead, we should provide a vehicle for students to express their feelings to their loved ones as well as develop strategies to build friendships and connections on campus. As parents and family members, you may also have intense emotions about missing your student. Write these feelings in a card, throw it in a box with some goodies, and send it to your student! These messages of love are powerful (mixed in with some homemade treats, fun socks, miscellaneous school supplies, and a gift card for good measure!).

Throughout the first few years of college, students work on creating more mature, respectful, and caring relationships. You may see a shift as your student experiences less "drama" among friends, fewer spats, and more mutually respectful, caring interactions. You may also experience this at home, wherein your student wants to sit with you at the dinner table to talk about current events, or is sincerely interested in your activities and actually seeks your opinion on occasion. I want to caution you however, this may take time!! Sometimes it isn't until after graduation that students begin looking beyond themselves to acknowledge their parents and family members' support and sacrifice!

Students' growth and development does not happen by accident and it does not happen overnight. As I shared in the September e-newsletter, students grow when they are challenged. Parents and family members must adjust their parenting/supporting styles to allow students to experience some challenge, to problem-solve and create solutions for everyday issues and concerns that occur during college. These are important life skills for your student's future. The next time they call home to ask advice or ask you to take care of something for them, take a deep breath and respond with a question, "What have you tried already to take care of this issue?" Encourage your student to brainstorm options and then explore the consequences of each option. Practice or role play the conversations and then follow up in a few days to hear from your student how it went. While it is sometimes easier to just take care of things, it is better for the long term to allow your student to flounder, to struggle, and then to succeed. This teaches self-efficacy, the belief in oneself. This is a powerful notion that goes a long way to helping your student become a mature, productive, and engaged citizen of society!

As always, Kacee and I enjoy speaking/emailing with you about any issues or concerns you may have about your student. We also love to celebrate with you when your student has success! Best wishes for this season of giving thanks. Thank you for sharing your student with us. 

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Breaking Through "The Wall"

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Students Studying

By Cecilio Alvarez, Academic Advisor in the Center for Advising and Student Achievement

Marathoners often cite the dread of hitting the metaphoric "wall": the point at which a person's body has used nearly all of its stored energy and the weight of fatigue makes it almost physically impossible to finish the race. Similarly, the stress and workload of the middle of the semester can weigh students down considerably and generate concerns about being able to complete the semester successfully. It's quite common for students to feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, tired, and even homesick. Therefore, it's important to understand how we can support students through this difficult time and empower them to seek the resources that they need. Although there are a number of ways to provide support and encouragement to our students, we encourage you to consider how the following tips can be helpful in partnering with your students to identify and address their concerns:

1. Listen actively to your student's concerns.
It is critically important to listen to your student's concerns. As academic advisors, we listen to help students feel understood and to encourage students to explore and understand the challenges they may be encountering. Instinctively, our desire to help sometimes moves us to begin discussing solutions, which is a valuable skill; however, we must first help students to identify and understand their concerns. It's important to demonstrate empathy, affirmation, and support through this process.

2. Help your student assess concerns.
Help your student identify what his or her challenges are. As advisors, we find that often the concerns our students present are compounded by a number of things. A discussion about healthy studying skills can easily include questions about a student's proficiency in note-taking, critical reading, and time management skills. Academic concerns can rarely be attributed to one factor. It's important to ask questions throughout this process to help your student explore any number of things that could be contributing to these challenges.

3. Encourage your student to seek appropriate resources.
Help your student identify and remind your student to access the resources that can help her or him address these concerns. As advisors, we work with students to explore their challenges and help connect them with the information they might use to seek support. Providing information is a great way to demonstrate our concern for students and ultimately, we work to empower our students to make use of their resources. It may be helpful to assist your student with this process by helping them learn about resources, contacting campus offices for information, and referring your students to resources you feel may be helpful.

4. Help your student evaluate progress.
Addressing academic concerns is a process that involves consistent self-evaluation and use of resources. As academic advisors, we remind our students that a single resource will not likely address every concern that they may have. Rather, it takes a commitment to learning about and using different resources as well as evaluating the progress that one is making. It's important to check in with your student throughout this process and help them explore if the changes they have made and resources they have been using have been helpful to them.

Ultimately, we know that it takes a community to support the success of our students. It can be easy to take on the responsibility of helping your students address their concerns; however, we are here to help. As partners for students' success, we, in the Center for Advising and Student Achievement, welcome you to communicate with us and share your concerns with the offices and professionals that can provide valuable resources to your student. Together, we can help, support, and encourage our students to the finish line.

The following is a list of resources that Academic Advisors in the Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA) consistently refer students to:

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Options for Sending Care Packages

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Care Packages

Regardless of major, year in school or vicinity to home, students can always use a care package during the final weeks of the semester.  We encourage you to send something to let your student know you support him or her, whether it be a hand-written note or a basket full of goodies.  Some students love items that remind them of home - things they can't find in Fort Collins and bring a touch of home to their college experience.  Others love the pre-packaged items and can't wait to try all of the new snacks, using them as on-the-go fuel to study for finals week.  Here are some options and tips for sending your students care packages this fall:

  • SAC Packs through the Student Alumni Connection and the Residence Hall Association - available for both on-campus and off-campus students!!
  • Flowers on Campus, as a member of the RAMFAM Association Business Directory- order flowers online or call to create a specialized gift baskets
  • Send your own compilation to your student either to an off-campus residence or to the Residence Halls

If you send a package to the Residence Halls, use the following format for United States Postal Service:

Student Name
Room # Hall Name
Fort Collins, CO 80521

If you choose to send a package using another mail carrier, please add the street address for each hall.

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November RAMFAM Meeting

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Job Search Word CloudThis month, we're talking internship and job searching!  In our bi-annual survey, we asked you, "Which topics are of interest to you as a parent/family member of a CSU student?"  As you can see in the word cloud, you resoundingly told us you are interested in internship & job searching opportunities for your students.  We hope you'll join us either in person or online for this month's meeting.  Here are the logistics: 

Who: All Parents and Families of CSU Students
When: Saturday, November 13, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - Noon Mountain Standard Time
Where: Lory Student Center, Room 214-216 on campus or online via the webcast and RAMFAM Blog
Cost: FREE!!

Tentative Agenda:

  • Welcome
  • Internship & Job Search Workshop
  • Meningococcal Disease Update
  • Parents Fund Focus Group

On-Campus Logistics:

  • Lory Student Center, Room 214-216
  • Parking is available north of the Lory Student Center, in Lot 310 at no cost on the weekend


  • Just before the meeting, please click on this link and it should take you directly to the streaming video with the blog capabilities below the screen.
  • If you run into trouble with the above link, just go to the live video to participate without the blog capabilities. Internet Explorer is the ideal browser for this system.


  • If you are participating via webcast, we'd love your participation, questions, and comments! To participate, click here, type your name and comment in the white boxes provided, enter the non-spam code, and send! We'll do our best to weave your comments and questions into the live conversation, and if we are not able to include the comments, we will post the comments and Q&A online after the meeting.

Please note, if you have had trouble logging on to view the webcast and need technical support, please contact Jason Rogien at 970-491-8728 or email him and he can assist you in 'working out the bugs'.

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Get Involved: Student Recreation Center

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Student Rec CenterBy Alexis Hendrix and Heather VanHall, Student Recreation Center

The fall semester is in full-swing and with Homecoming festivities behind them, students are in the midst of mid-semester. As the blustery sheen of winter weather approaches and days get shorter in length, Colorado State University students may be more apt to hibernate in their residence hall rooms and homes than engage in university-wide involvement opportunities. Certainly, winter's cold, crisp air and dark skies make it difficult to saunter out of bed or fit in a late-evening visit to the Student Recreation Center for many students. However, we encourage students to step out this fall semester, make the most of their college experience, and explore the Rec Center's wide variety of options for a healthy, active lifestyle, inside and outside of our building.

Outdoor Adventure: Inside and Out!
The Outdoor Program offers a variety of experiential opportunities connecting students to the outdoors. With the addition of the new climbing tower and bouldering cave, students of many different ability levels can explore their passion for rock climbing during any season of the year. Educational workshops are another element of the Outdoor Program. In particular, this November the Outdoor Program will host an Avalanche Awareness Clinic, teaching the fundamentals of avalanche safety, sharing advanced training opportunities and exposing students to local backcountry ski routes that are known avalanche zones. Additionally, students have access to the Outdoor Program Resource Area, a place to rent outdoor gear, research the Colorado outdoors and explore resources such as maps, videos and magazines. Despite falling leaves and dropping temperatures, the Outdoor Program provides both indoor and outdoor activities to keep students' spirits high as they explore the adventurer in them.

Fitness Programs: New fitness center options
Our new fitness center opened this fall, and whether your student is a novice or an expert at exercising, the fitness center has something for everyone. Offering vast options for a complete cardiovascular workout, our two-floors of cardio equipment includes several treadmills, stationary bicycles and ellipticals. Weight-lifting options include free-weight workouts, circuit training on our resistance machines and individualized muscle isolation on our weight machines. Additionally, this semester the fitness center will offer new programs around fitness center education and orientation to ensure students feel comfortable in the new space, regardless of fitness level.

Intramural Sports: Connecting through recreational sports
Though fall intramural team entry deadlines have passed, students still have the ability to join several of our fall coed sports, including basketball, volleyball, inner tube water polo, indoor soccer and dodgeball. Participation opportunities vary from joining an existing team of students, to registering online as a free-agent through the Rec Center website. At this time of year, students may still be trying to form their own community. Intramurals offers an outlet for students to engage in varying levels of recreational sporting activity as a means of creating social connections with their peers, which may not otherwise happen in a classroom setting. Additionally, fall intramural sports are held indoors, bringing students in from the cold to warm up through active participation in a variety of sports.

The Rec Center: Big impacts, small community
On a campus that may sometimes feel like a small city, the Rec Center is a place where students can find their own personal passions. Through participation in group sporting opportunities, individualized fitness options, or educational workshops, the Rec Center creates a space for students to feel comfortable exploring healthy, holistic lifestyle options.

Though it is difficult to muster-up the motivation to venture outside of a warm home during the cold winter months, within their first few visits to the Rec Center, your student will recognize the physical, emotional and social benefits of our programs and services. The Rec Center is more than just a gym; it's a place to relieve stress, create social networks, and discover individual affinities to health and wellness options, all of which contribute to a positive college experience for your student. During your next visit to campus, we encourage you to stop by our new facility, swim some laps in our newly renovated pool post-spring break, and experience your student's favorite Rec Center programs with them.

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Maintaining a Health Lifestyle

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Students WalkingBy Christina Berg, CSU Health Network

At CSU, your student's well-being is of our utmost concern. Staying healthy can sometimes be challenging for busy college students. According to the National College Health Assessment conducted at CSU, used to determine student health habits, behaviors and perceptions, it turns out stress (financial, academic, emotional/personal, etc.) is the number one health factor impacting academic success. Knowing stress will likely be a factor your student will deal with in college, you can:

  • Discuss the importance of sleep, healthy eating and physical activity, in addressing their stress level in college. Knowing and applying sound health habits positively impacts mental and physical health and our ability to ward off illness.
  • Express the importance of time management and planning in managing stress.
  • Encourage your student to take time out of their busy schedules to de-stress and relax. This can actually help with productivity and make the college experience more enjoyable.
  • Talk about the importance of creating a positive, social support system in managing stress.
  • Let your student know that there are services available, like the CSU Health Network and the Student Recreation Center, if he or she needs some assistance when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Assessment Results: Tips for finding Off-Campus Housing

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Living in the CommunityBy Erica Schmidt, CSU Sophomore and Guest Contributor

It may seem like you just moved your student into the residence halls, and while the school year is still young, I would like to propose a topic that may become very relevant soon—off-campus living.

While some of your students may decide to stay in the residence halls for two, maybe even four years, most will venture into the housing and renting market in the Fort Collins community. As a sophomore at CSU, I know exactly what stress this "venture" may entail. I started my search by typing "Apartments in Fort Collins" into Google. I wish I would have known about these resources, so I'd like to share my experience, in hopes that I can help you avoid obstacles I wish someone would have told me about.

1.  Begin looking early in the spring semester
I moved into my off-campus apartment a week prior to the current school year. The move itself was more exciting than anything, but getting to that point was stressful and overwhelming. My first line of advice is, tell your students to start looking and planning early! My roommates and I started looking in mid-April and even then, we had fewer options than we wished. We were looking for a four bedroom apartment and by the time we looked, the only places to legally house three unrelated were taken. I would recommend looking as early as late February early March.

2.  Encourage careful selection of roommates
I would also suggest encouraging your students to select their roommates early and to take their time with this process. After all, your student will see these people every day; so he or she needs to be able to stand them!

3.  Help your student understand what questions to ask
I also wish someone had told me what to ask when searching for places to live. Any question regarding rent, what rent includes, parking, and laundry options is worth asking. Talk with your student about his or her priorities. Is it more important to be close to school or have a lower monthly rent? Is a pool necessary? Do you want a home where you have to mow a lawn vs. an apartment on the third floor? Does the rental need to be pet friendly? For me, parking availability made the final decision for my current apartment.

Resources for Students
The process of house hunting and moving out was more stressful than one paragraph can explain, yet I did not know the resources campus offers. Had I known them, I'm sure I would have used them! 

Off-Campus Life

For one, there is an entire office dedicated to helping students who live off campus. It's called Off-Campus Life. Their website is set up directly to help students transition and find housing off campus.

  • They coordinate the annual Housing Fair. I actually attended this fair last year and it was incredibly helpful in finding available rentals.
  • They offer resources such as a complete apartment complex and property management list.
  • They also offer a Renting 101 Workshop to help clear up understanding on issues such as city ordinances; this workshop will be coming up on November 10th, you can register online.
  • Along with that they offer an extremely helpful rental search website, this is a free service for landlords and students in which they can post ads for renting or leasing—it is allows you to filter out unnecessary information to find exactly what you need.
  • Off-Campus Life also has a solution for any roommate issues you may run into, whether it is finding a roommate or finding a place to live, it's called Roommate Roundup. These are sessions in which students can attend and meet potential roommates.

Student Legal Services

After all your research on the rental, CSU also provides a tool in which you can review your lease before making a final decision. They are known as Student Legal Services and they are there to make sure you are entering into a fair lease on any living situation.

It is more than understandable to be stressed, but there are many resources that can help make this transition simple and exiting. Moving your student into his or her first apartment should be a milestone, not something you fear or lose sleep over. If you have any further questions on this topic feel free to post your question on our Parent and Family Facebook page. I would also stress using the resources offered through Off-Campus Life & Student Legal Services; they offer all of their contact information directly on their websites.

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SLiCE Encourages Students to Step Up and be the Change

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2010 Campus Step Up ParticipantsBy Stephanie Ashley, Graduate Marketing Coordinator, SLiCE

The Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement         (SLiCE) office is now accepting applications for the annual Campus Step Up retreat. Campus Step Up is a social justice retreat to provide an opportunity for participants to understand issues of social justice as well as share their own knowledge and skills regarding issues and causes that will inspire positive change.

Additionally, Campus Step Up aims to provide a forum for students, faculty, and staff from all life experiences and perspectives to engage in meaningful dialogue around diversity and social action through unique and in-depth discussions in an inclusive environment.

Participants will have the opportunity to hear a wide variety of viewpoints relating to race/ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, socioeconomic status, age, education level, and other identities.

All interested students should apply by Tuesday, November 9. Applications can be found online or in the SLiCE office on the main floor of the student center behind the information desk.

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