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May2011 Volume 5 | Issue 10

Dear CSU Parents and Families:

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Where has the semester gone?!  There are only two more weeks until summer break.  Here at CSU, April equals awards ceremonies to celebrate students' accomplishments and it was filled with the achievements of student scholarship, service, and personal growth.  It’s nice to recognize students who are so great at accomplishing their goals academically and still managing to give back to their communities.  We thank you for the support and guidance that makes our students amazing.

We also would like to thank you for your support of CSU's former foster youth this year.  With your generous support, the Fostering Success Program was able to send 4 rounds of care packages to these students, as well as offer workshops and other programs to support student success and transition to CSU.

Moving forward, the end of the semester brings a time of celebration, but also brings final exams.  We can’t stress enough the importance of your support and encouragement during this time of high stress and pressure.  Families know just what to say to students so they can conquer the final hurdle of the semester. A small care package with your student’s favorite snacks, stress-relieving items, and motivational messages can lift students' spirits and help them get through this week. CSU also offers a number of academic and personal resources on campus should your student need additional support to cope with these pressures. Check out The Institute for Learning and Teaching website for academic resources and contact information.

Is your student graduating this semester?  Congratulations!! It’s so exciting to know your student accomplished his or her goals and is moving toward the next phase of life. For comprehensive information regarding your student's commencement ceremony, please visit the University’s Commencement website. Each College has a separate commencement ceremony, with webcasting available for those unable to come to campus. Graduation weekend (May 13-15) is extremely busy with students moving out of the residence halls, changing apartments, preparing for summer school and summer jobs, graduation, and end of the year celebrations.  We hope you’ll use the RAMFAM Association Business Directory to help you plan your visit to Fort Collins.

You may want to begin having conversations with your student about expectations for the summer. If your student is returning home, you may be longing for some great family time but your student is longing for some extended R & R. You may be anticipating being able to rely on your student to drive younger siblings to activities all summer, while your student may be anticipating continuing to keep a schedule without boundaries, supervision or curfews.  In this edition of the newsletter, CSU Health Network provides some great conversation starters and things to think about in the Home for Summer article.  We encourage you to read it and apply the ideas to you and your student.

Planning is underway for Homecoming & Family Weekend 2011! Mark your calendars for Friday, September 30 - Sunday, October 2, 2011! Events begin early Friday afternoon so plan ahead to arrive around noon for a variety of Open Houses, a seminar on Housing Options After the First Year, the Homecoming Parade, Bonfire and Fireworks. Saturday morning includes the Health and Exercise Science 5K Race, a RAMFAM Association meeting, RamTown, the tailgate and football game against San Jose State University.  Check the Homecoming & Family Weekend website for programming updates over the summer and stay tuned for more information via e-newsletter in the fall.

In closing, thank you for what you do to support your students.  We think we have the greatest families of any university and are grateful for your support & feedback.  We wish you a fantastic, safe, and productive summer. We look forward to seeing many of you and your students next fall. Congratulations again to the graduating seniors!

take care,

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
jody.donovan@colostate.edu

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
kacee.collard@colostate.edu

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President's Leadership Program Faculty Highlight

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Keith Lopez, PLP Instructor
Name: Keith Lopez

Title: Coordinator- First & Second Year Programs, Instructor- President’s Leadership Program (PLP), Instructor- Greeks Against Sexual Assault (GASA)

Department: Orientation & Transition Programs, Student  Leadership Involvement & Community Engagement (SLiCE), Center for Women’s Studies & Gender Research

Years Teaching: 4 ½ (college students) and 1 (middle school students)

Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education
 
1. What is your teaching philosophy? 

I believe that the students are the center of every classroom experience and that the student/instructor relationship is a reciprocal one, meaning, as an Instructor, I am on the learning and personal development journey along with my students and continue to learn from them as they learn from me and each other.

2. What is your favorite college memory? 

I attended the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque, NM and truly working with new students during New Student Orientation as an Orientation Leader for 3 consecutive summers is my favorite college memory.  Additionally, serving in that position was a turning point for me.  Up until that point, I had changed my major 8-9 times.  Once I had one summer in the role of assisting students with their transition to the college environment, I found a sheer passion for education and was able to find what I would later deem to be my purpose, working in education and working with students.

3. What advice would you give students who want to be successful at Colorado State University? 

Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and try something new, meet new people.  Students always hear the “get involved” message, but I can’t stress how important it is to help students feel a part of our larger CSU community, as well as help students explore their interests, their passions and their purpose. Be open to new experiences, you never know what is ahead of you!

4. What advice would you give parents and families of college students?

Ask questions!  What I appreciated most about my parents while I was in college was if I ever went to them with a problem or an issue, instead of telling me how to resolve the  issue or the problem, they asked questions that helped me to explore the issue at hand.  This way I felt as if how to handle the problem was still my choice and my decision, but I was being supported through the process!

5. What else would you like people to know about you?

Although born and raised in New Mexico, Colorado has become my home after 6 years.  I’m truly passionate about working with people and getting them to explore their passions, interests and purpose and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else right now at this very moment.

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Assessment Results: Final Grades

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In our bi-annual assessment, many of you indicated you are concerned about knowing how your student is performing academically while enrolled at Colorado State.  One of our strategies to assist you with this is to ensure you have enough information to redirect your student to resources on campus when they struggle throughout the year.  However, we also know this is the point in the semester that can become stressful – especially if the student has not met academic expectations.  Help your student understand that you may not be happy with the end grade point average, but you are there to listen and help them problem solve.  Grades are available on RAMweb on May 18, 2011.  With this in mind, we found a few helpful tips for talking to students about their final semester grades, courtesy of College Parents of America.  

  • Set a careful tone when you ask to talk about grades.  You are not going to make judgments, but rather help your student use grades as a measure of progress and to understand what grades might mean.
  • Take time for a real discussion.  A “How are your grades?” in passing will probably get a “Fine” in response.
  • Don’t take good (or great) grades for granted.  Congratulate your student on high grades and remind her that you recognize that good grades are usually the result of hard work and successful transitions.
  • Look at the entire picture provided by grades.  Are they generally good with one bad grade?  That may indicate a particularly difficult subject (not all students do well in all subjects), a particularly difficult professor, or some other special circumstance.
  • Do help your student try to honestly evaluate one, or several, poor grades.  What happened?  What might he do differently next time?
  • Help your student understand that the purpose of good grades is not to please you, but to accomplish the learning necessary to do well in college.  Your student needs to accomplish his goals educationally, not worry about pleasing you.
  • Help your student look for patterns.  Is she receiving good grades only in her major?  Are her poor grades all early morning classes, evening classes, once a week classes?  Does she do better in classes with many papers or many tests?
  • Help your student evaluate the meaning of each grade.  Students know that in some classes an “A” is easily earned, and in other classes a “C” may be an indication of an outstanding student
  • If your student’s grades have taken her by surprise, brainstorm how she can get a better indication earlier next semester.  Has she met with professors during the term?  Has she kept all of her papers or tests?
  • Help your student consider next semester in light of the information grades give him about this semester.  Should he consider changes to his schedule?  Should he repeat a class?  Did he do poorly in a prerequisite class that indicates that he is not ready for the next level?  A conversation with his academic advisor may help him put these questions in perspective.
  • Help your student consider her grades in the context of her entire college experience.  If she has wonderful grades but does nothing but study, she may be missing out on some advantages of the college experience.  If her grades are poor because she parties several nights a week, she hasn’t found balance.  If her grades are moderate, but she is involved in important activities or taking on leadership roles, she may be gaining many advantages outside of the classroom and gathering important resume experiences.
  • Help your student use his grades to think about a plan of action and strategy moving forward.  How is he still feeling about a choice of major?  Is he motivated to do well?  Are his grades an indication that he needs some time off?  Does he need help with study skills, time management, note taking?  Grades are only one indication of success, but they can provide important clues about areas for improvement.

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Home for the Summer

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Home

By Stefanie Lucas, Health Education and Prevention Services Graduate Student

Coming home for the summer can be an adjustment for you and your student.  If your student will be living at home this summer, know there are several things you can do to assist in the transition:

  • Talk to your student before they come home to discuss any changes that have taken place since the last time he or she was at home.  Was the student’s room converted into an office or guest bedroom?  Did you get a new animal?  Prepare your student for any major family changes.
  • Ask your student what his or her plans are for the summer.  He or she will most likely want to catch up on sleep after finals week, hang out with friends from high school, or start a summer job.  Communicate with him or her that you are hoping to spend time together over the summer.
  • Consider having a conversation with your student about expectations you might have for him or her during the summer.  Make an attempt to find a balance between personal independence and family responsibilities.  Here are a few things to consider:
    • Will there be a curfew?
    • Does he or she need to call and check in with you if out with friends late? 
    • What responsibility does he/she have to help around the house?  Will there be chores?
  • The summer is also a good time to have open conversations with your student if there are any issues that need to be resolved.  Having a proactive discussion early in the summer might help to alleviate problems throughout the summer.  If you need to have a frank conversation with your student about his or her grades, money spending, housing or roommates, finding a job, or drinking behaviors, plan ahead and plan to spend enough time to have an adult-to-adult conversation. 

Here are a few tips to open the lines of communication with your student.

  • Ask good questions.  Asking questions about your student’s last semester is a good strategy to get the conversation started.  Ask open-ended questions so he or she does not just respond with a yes or no.  Here are a few examples:
    • Tell me about your friends.
    • How did your first and second semester differ?
    • What did you do during your free time?
    • What types of things did you learn in your classes?
    • What did you find to be your best resources on campus?
    • What are some of your strategies to be even more successful next year?
  • Listen.  Show your student you are concerned by actively listening to him or her.  Try not to interrupt your student when he or she responds to a question and ask any follow up questions that might be appropriate.  Show you are listening by nodding your head, not being distracted by your cell phone or the television, and check to make sure you are not crossing your arms or appearing to be critical of what your student is saying.
  • Follow up.  Make sure to set aside a time to follow up with your student after the conversation.  Make plans to go out to lunch or simply remember to check in the next day.

If you have any health related concerns in regards to your student, visit the CSU Health Network website for more information about physical health, mental health, and health education and prevention services and programming offerings.  Know as a parent or family member, you can call Student Case Management at 970-491-8051 for help with locating resources and referrals for your student.

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The Boomerang Effect:  Moving Home After Graduation

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Moving Home
In about 2 weeks, over 6,000 Colorado State University students will graduate and, if they are like 85% of their peers across the country, they will move home.  While not a new phenomenon, the boomerang or the “back-to-the-bedroom” (El Nasser, 2010) effect is becoming more common, due to increasing loan debt, rising housing costs and the spiraling job market (Dickler, 2010).  A 2011 Harvard study found nearly 4 million 25-34 year olds live at home after graduation.  Another study by the Families and Work Institute found “households with incomes of $80,000 or more a year were significantly more likely to have adult children living at home than lower-income households” (El Nasser, 2010).

When presenting on the new developmental stage called Emerging Adulthood, occurring between the ages of 18-29, (Arnett, 2004), we ask participants (of all ages) if they moved home after graduation. A third of all attendees raise their hands, regardless of audience.  What has changed with this generation is the lack of stigma or sense of failure of independence when moving back home after earning a degree.  These boomerangers are matter of fact about their residential status, they get along quite well with their parents and are frequently welcomed and encouraged to move home after graduation.  Students and families alike believe this living arrangement is just temporary.

A former boomeranger and author of Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living with your Parents the Second Time Around, Elina Furman (2005) suggests the following practical tips for both students and families considering this living option:

  • Set a move-out deadline: Before your student moves in, work together to set a departure date.  This will help motivate your student to take the steps toward financial and employment stability necessary for residential independence. This will also give you peace of mind that this is indeed, temporary.
  • Don’t stunt your student’s growth unintentionally: You may have missed “babying” your student while he or she was away at school. While this may be fun in the short-term, you may create a long-term problem for everyone.  Students need to continue to grow and take on adult responsibilities. Get to know each other as adults; you’ve all changed over the years.
  • Don’t put your lives on hold: Students need to get involved in the community, meet other young adults and develop networks.  Families need to continue their regular routines to avoid resentment or unrealistic relationship expectations.  Maintain previous work and life commitments.
  • Encourage goal setting: Why is your student moving home and what does she or he hope to accomplish while there? Revisit these goals and work together to accomplish them.
  • Pay/collect rent: This may feel counter-intuitive if your student is moving home to save money; however, it is important for students to carry some load around the house. Collecting $50/month, charging for food, or requiring your student to do household chores can help your student feel like a contributing member of the household.  You can invest the rent payments and return them in the form of a gift, a down payment, or help with relocation expenses!

In conclusion, before, during and after your student moves home, focus on open communication.  Every family is different. Take time early to set expectations, talk about developing and maintaining mutual respect and develop “ground rules” for living together once again (Zemlak & Savage, 2011). Lastly, keeping a sense of humor is necessary.  Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute jokes, “They can live with me now as long as I can live with them later.”

References

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Tell Someone

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Colorado State University wants all members of the CSU community to look out for one another and if someone is struggling, know we have resources to help.  Please see the email sent to students, staff and faculty by the CSU Public Safety Team in mid-April below.  We encourage families to use these resources to help your students, as well.  Please let us know if you have questions.
____________________________________

Being a student can be stressful, particularly as the end of the academic year approaches. People who are experiencing an emotional difficulty or mental health illness might show signs they need help. If you recognize those signs, it is important that you find someone to help.

If you are concerned that someone you care about at CSU (including yourself) might be too stressed, sad or angry -- please Tell Someone.

You can Tell Someone by calling 970-491-1350 to discuss concerns about any member of the CSU community. Your call can help connect the person you are concerned about with campus resources and people who want to help.

You also can visit the Tell Someone Web page on the University’s Safety site to review information about how to tell if an individual might need help, resources available, and fill out the online Health and Safety Referral Form, which is another way to connect the person you are concerned about with support.

If you believe a member of the campus community is an immediate danger to him or herself or others, it is important you contact CSU police by calling 911 or the department’s non-emergency number at 970-491-6425 as soon as possible. Your help might save a life.

If you are concerned about your own level of stress or are having an emotional difficulty, you can take an anonymous screening to check in with how you are feeling. Students also can search for information regarding mental health, emotional difficulties and suicide prevention through ULifeline.

We want all students to have the opportunity to thrive, be successful, and enjoy their experiences at CSU, and know that emotional well-being is at the center of student success. Please take these matters seriously, and take advantage of these resources to help yourself or someone you care about.

This website and phone number is available to anyone concerned about a member of the CSU community.  Encourage your student to Tell Someone!

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Alumni Association Services for Graduating Seniors

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Alumni Association graphic
By Colleen Meyer, Director, Alumni Association

Congratulations! This is a special moment for you. Whether your student is the first, last, or somewhere in the middle of the family to graduate with a college degree, you should feel incredibly proud of their accomplishments (not to mention your selfless support along the way).  Your soon-to-be alumna/alumnus will join more than 170,000 Colorado State University alumni worldwide. Their relationship with CSU doesn’t stop when they graduate but rather evolves into a lifelong connection with their alma mater.

Unlike the student experience, there isn’t a specific curriculum for being an alumna/alumnus of Colorado State University. There are many opportunities for alumni to stay connected to CSU throughout their lifetime, and in a variety ways that are meaningful to them. Below are a few opportunities for alumni to stay engaged with CSU and a few points about what they can expect from their Alumni Association. 

  • Alumni Groups/Ram Networks: Alumni Groups are a great way to find and connect with other Rams in the area. Whether its geography or a common interest that brings alumni together, getting involved in an Alumni Group will lead to celebrating the green and gold.
  • Events: More than 200 events are held throughout Colorado and the nation in the spirit of bringing alumni together to network, receive campus updates, participate in community service, recruit incoming students, and much more. There is something for everyone!
  • Products & Services: It isn’t until they’re on their own that alumni wonder about such things as insurance. The Alumni Association partners with several companies to offer discounted auto, home, renters, medical, dental, life, and even pet insurance (they’re part of the CSU family too).
  • Communications: Be sure your student updates his or her contact information to ensure that they receive alumni news from the University, their respective college, and the Alumni Association. They will receive the Colorado State Magazine three times per year, and if they’re a paid member of the Alumni Association, they will receive additional communications about alumni events happening in their area, discounts to Alumni Association events, and much more.
  • Philanthropic  Support: Alumni are asked annually to give back to their alma mater. There are hundreds of places to give that align with one’s passion or affinity. Alumni giving of any amount is welcomed and has an impact on university rankings in U.S. News and World Report. Membership in the Alumni Association is a great way to begin supporting CSU.
  • Career Services: The Alumni Association partners with the Career Center on career programming and career counseling. The Career Center offers free career counseling for the first year following graduation, and the Alumni Association hosts several professional development and career services programs.

While one journey ends and another begins, the Alumni Association is here to connect alumni in the life of the University. It is our privilege and honor to welcome your student into our alumni family. All of the information above can be found online or by calling us at (800) 286-2586.

We wish you the best for a memorable and enjoyable commencement weekend.

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May RAMFAM Association Meeting

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This month, we’re celebrating the 10th year of Parent and Family Programs at CSU!  We hope you’ll join us on campus for a small brunch to celebrate parents and families of our students.  We will meet on May 7, 2011 from 10:00 - 11:30 am in the Lory Student Center, Room 214-216.  Because there will not be a formal presentation, we will not webcast the meeting.  If you are an out-of-town family, we hope you enjoy the few extra hours on your Saturday morning.

If you are planning to attend the brunch, we need you to RSVP to Karen Rewinkel by noon on May 4, 2011 with the number of family members who will be attending.  This way we can plan for an appropriate number of guests! 

If you’d like to review any of the topics covered this year, please feel free to view our archived videos online.

In terms of planning for next year, we’ve set the dates for the 2011-2012 RAMFAM Association meetings.  Please reserve time from 10:00 am – noon MST on the following dates to join us in person or online – room locations to be determined:

  • September 10, 2011
  • October 1, 2011 (during Homecoming & Family Weekend)
  • November 12, 2011
  • February 11, 2012
  • April 21, 2012

Lastly, we’d like to thank you for your participation with the RAMFAM Association this year.  We thoroughly enjoy interacting with families and appreciate your dedication to your students and CSU.  We are pleased with the programming offered to parents and families through the RAMFAM Association; however, we know there is always room for improvement.  Please take a few minutes to complete a short survey regarding your experience this year – whether you participated in person, online, or did not participate at all.  Your feedback is incredibly valuable to us and will assist us in programming for next year’s meetings.  You can click here to access the survey or copy and paste the following address into your web browser:  http://studentvoice.com/colsa/ramfam2011. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey by May 23, 2011.

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Meningococcal Disease Vaccine Update

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Vaccination syringe
By
Lisa A. Duggan RN, BSN, Immunizations Coordinator/Infection Control/Travel Nurse, CSU Health Network

CSU Health Network would like to make all students and their families aware of the following new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on the meningococcal vaccine (commonly referred to as the Meningitis vaccine).  All students who have received a primary dose of meningococcal vaccination before their 16th birthday should receive a booster dose.  Persons who received their first dose of meningococcal vaccine at or after age 16 years do not need a booster dose.

Please call CSU Health Network Immunizations Department at 970-491-6548 if you have any questions.

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