Dear CSU Parents and Families

We hope you are well!  Spring is here!  As we have observed the students since their return from spring break, many appear relaxed/rested and ready for the final push to the end of the semester.  It’s wonderful to see, especially with warmer temperatures and more sunshine than we’ve experienced over the past few months.  Nevertheless, we need your help in reminding your students just how fast April moves.  There are many activities for students both on and off campus.  Of special note, the Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU) are holding elections this month for next academic year’s executive officers and SLiCE is challenging the campus community to support Project Homeless Connect at the Aztlan Community Center.  Be sure to check important upcoming April dates in this newsletter.  Just as the beginning of the academic year is full of things to do, we end our year the same way—super busy!  

With this in mind, here are a few important reminders:

First, the last day of classes is May 8 with final exams taking place from May 11-14.  Now is the time for students to check-in with faculty if they are struggling with aspects of a course or to utilize The Institute for Learning and Teaching, which has a lot of academic support services for students.  Outside the classroom, it’s important for students to get their sleep, exercise, and try not to be too overwhelmed by activities. 

Next, what sets April apart from any other time of the year, is how it leads up to May and spring commencement!  We realize that this is an exciting time for parents and family members of students who will soon be graduating.  Please note the Spring Commencement 2015 resources for details about your student’s graduation. It’s important for students to check-in with their college re: specifics for commencement ceremonies—which can take place Friday, May 15 or Saturday, May 16.   We want to say a special congratulations to parents and family members of our spring 2015 Ram graduates!  We truly hope your students have enjoyed their curricular and co-curricular experiences here at CSU and realize that they will always be a part of the Ram Family—as are you!

Finally, we want to let you know that Homecoming & Family Weekend is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15 through Sunday, Oct. 18.  These dates were just set so specific events and programs may not be listed on the Homecoming & Family Weekend website for a while—please be patient. 

Otherwise, we hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter that features articles from our Career Center, the CSU Health Network, the Presidential Ambassadors, and more! We are looking forward to a great end to the semester!

Take care,

John and Erin 

back to top

Important Upcoming April Dates 

During the month of April there are various outlets for students to showcase their talents and hard work from the semester. If your student is looking for a way to de-stress in the midst of midterms encourage them to attend the President's Community Lecture Series featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, The ALS Kickball Classic, or The Hobbit. These events are all great opportunities to support peers and get a glimpse of the broad variety of talents on our campus. Speaking of stressors, thinking about post-graduation can be a stressful time – but with a little bit of help there may be an opportunity to explore possibilities that your student may have not yet thought of. Encourage them to attend the Peace Corps Informational Meeting or the TILT workshop, “Should I go to Graduate School?” Finances are one of the main stressors of a college student and Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances.  Last but not least, it’s that time of the year when finding housing for the next academic year is important. If your student is in the process of looking for housing next semester and needs a roommate, there are multiple opportunities for them to go to Roommate Roundup and meet with like-minded people to live with.

Please also take a look at the Calendar as there are various opportunities to volunteer and engage with the CSU community, here are some highlights.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month 

Asian Pacific Islander Awareness Month

President’s Community Lecture Series  - Temple Grandin


Author Series - An evening with Brigid Schulte  

-Parent and Family Programs

back to top

Career Center Launches New Website 

Career Education – Anytime, Anywhere 

By Summer Shaffer | Career Center

After months of gathering and implementing feedback from students, faculty, employers and other partners The Career Center’s new website is officially live.  The new site was specifically designed to help students navigate career resources as well as gain perspective into what The Career Center has to offer.  The site features responsive design, making it easy to use on a variety of mobile devices as well as on traditional laptop/desktop computers.  In addition to its mobile-friendly design, the site features a fresh new look aimed at creating a seamless user experience. 

The site also features several new tools for students.  For example, students can select a topic area of interest and complete career training anytime, anywhere via the new Ram Career Ready web application customized to meet CSU students’ needs.  In addition to easy-to-access online training, students can also search for career resources using Ram Career Tools.  Katie Lloyd, Senior Associate Director of Career Education shared, “The Career Center is committed to making career education tools available at the convenience of our students.  The new website reflects this value through connecting students to online training via Ram Career Ready and valuable career resources available in Ram Career Tools.  We hope students and family members alike find our new site simple to navigate and a conduit to valuable career education tools.”

Visit the new site today to experience its mobile friendly design, Ram Career Ready and Ram Career Tools.  We encourage family members to bookmark The Career Center’s website to visit the site regularly for updates on events, career-related articles as well as Hot Jobs and Job & Internship Interview schedules.    

back to top

Student Perspective: What’s happening in the middle years of college?

The student perspective on changes in planning for a career between entering college and graduation.

By Tess Martin | Parent and Family Programs

As a staff we dedicate a lot of resources to supporting family members of first-year and graduating students.  This makes sense, given that there are a lot of questions and uncertainty that can arise during those specific times of a student’s college experience.  However, we think it is also important to spotlight what might be happening for students that are neither brand new to the CSU experience nor getting ready to graduate.  With the end of another semester approaching and an increasingly competitive job market post-graduation, I was curious about how students and their support networks, their families, navigate the pressure to make sure students’ time is spent gaining professional experience relevant to their intended profession.  I decided to talk with a few of the students who work in our office with the hope that sharing their stories could help other families and students navigate the career planning that takes shape during the middle years in college. 

I conducted brief interviews with Janisa, a junior Human Development and Family Studies major who entered CSU intending to become a physician’s assistant, and Diondre, a sophomore Sociology major who initially declared a major in philosophy with pre-law intentions.  After as little as one semester and as many as 5, into their studies, both students had experiences that led them to change course and pursue different careers than they and their families had previously planned.  Janisa is now on course to pursue a graduate degree and a career in student affairs in higher education.  Diondre has his sights set on a career in student affairs as well, and he hopes to work specifically in support of first generation and underrepresented students through the Department of Education’s Upward Bound program.  My aim in interviewing them was to find out what has driven their decision making and planning for their futures and what have been the ways their families’ support has been most impactful to them.  In listening to their stories, I identified a few themes common to both:

  • Pressure to stick to initial plans and realize the career path that their families favor
  • Experiencing changes in their specific direction and/or interests
  • The distressing prospect of sharing these new plans with their families
  • Ways their families ended up offering support (albeit after difficult transition periods) that are most meaningful to them

Pressure to stick to initial plans, preferably on the career path that their families favored:

Though the specifics of their experiences varied, Janisa and Diondre both described two factors driving their academic and career plans: their families’ desires for them to have more opportunity and less difficulty to achieve success than was their own experience and; their processes of discovery regarding their own passions and strengths and how to align those with a promising career path to which they have been newly exposed. 

Both of them take seriously their families’ desire for them to “not have to work as hard as they did to get where they are”, as Janisa put her parents words.  For these two students, respecting this desire has had the effect of making very careful consideration of their decisions before proceeding.  Conversely it has also made them fearful of disappointing their families when confronted with a desire to change previously laid plans.  This discrepancy proved difficult to reconcile for both the students and their families.  I’ll share more in a moment what was most beneficial to the students as they navigated that situation.

Experiencing changes in their specific direction and/or interests

Typical to the first two years on a college campus, Diondre and Janisa find themselves at different stages of a normal process of discovery and personal growth.  As their involvement on campus exposed them to coursework, jobs and professions they hadn’t previously considered, (CSU offers students 71 possible majors with 133 concentrations and 83 minors) they sought to make changes in their plans to build a future they feel more closely aligns with their strengths, passions and potential.  (Incidentally, this change of plans is not an uncommon one; roughly one-third of CSU students change their major at least once prior to graduating.)  It is not uncommon for students, and their supporting family members, to embark on a college experience without an understanding of the full range of academic and professional possibilities available to them.

The distressing prospect of sharing these new plans with their families

As Diondre and Janisa began to test the waters of new potential career paths, they both described a recognition of the investment (emotional, financial or otherwise) that their support system had made in their college education and a desire to honor that investment.  They also described distress at sharing these plans with their families for fear of disappointing them, given the divergence from initial expectations.  They were concerned that their families would not understand what it was they wanted to pursue nor why it was important to change course.  Ultimately they decided in favor of honoring the investment made in their education as well as their own fulfillment by discussing their new plans with their families.

Most meaningful ways their families offered support (albeit after difficult transition periods)

Encouragement to put in diligent effort, no matter the career path, has been critical to Janisa and Diondre’s sense of progress, satisfaction and accomplishment.  Janisa has deep appreciation for her parents’ trust in her good decision making skills.  She finds strength in knowing that they trust her to do what is good for her and what will have a positive impact on her community.  Diondre conveyed that knowing he has the approval of his family members is critical, along with a sense that they appreciate that what he is doing will be satisfying to him and exemplary of the high expectations they have of him.   They truly want the best for him and he wants to make sure that desire is honored in his choices.  Janisa and Diondre both mentioned that having their family members ask them about their experiences, thoughts and plans has been incredibly beneficial.  They stated that their parents and family members asking them what direction they’re headed, what work is satisfying to them and how inspired by, and engaged in, their college experience they are  has been a good way to ground conversations about career planning.  By asking about their students’ experience, their families were able to gain context and understanding of the value of what each of them is doing for work, internships and other professional experience.  This has created a mutually beneficial way for these students and their supporters to discuss and cultivate understanding about goals and the value of education and skill building professional experiences. 

Janisa’s and Diondre’s specific experiences are unique to each of them, but the broader process of growth they are in the midst of is true for many of today’s college students.  You, as parents and family members, are critical players in your student’s success, now and in the future.  Your active participation in encouraging, understanding and supporting their endeavors will make a world of difference to them when faced with pivotal junctures.  

back to top

 The Price of CSU: An Event to Educate the Student Body

By Kyle Thornburg | CSU Student - Journalism and Technical Communication

Colorado State University is known to be the home of excellence. It is here that the Rams and the Aggies intertwine and it is here that wealth in educational and life experience are made possible, in large part, due to the generous contributions made by alumni and friends of CSU.

In an effort to promote the philanthropic spirit that has continued to thrive and set records in recent history within the CSU community, the Presidential Ambassadors host an annual student engagement event titled,  The Price of CSU. Taking place on Thursday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Price of CSU takes inspiration from the renowned game show, “The Price is Right”, with a proper dose of green and gold.

During the event, students can approach Presidential Ambassadors to try their luck at various trivia games. The questions from each game are intended not only to spark dialogue around the ways private giving keep tuition costs lower than other public universities within the state, but to also get the student body thinking about how they might begin to leave their legacies as students and eventually as connected alumni members.

This year, the interactive component of the event will be the photo booth. Throughout the day, students who visit The Price of CSU event can write their answer to the question, “How are you leaving your Ram legacy?” on a green or gold price tag. These price tags will then be strung along several clothespins on the photo booth frame, slowly contributing to the background of the photo booth.

Over the course of several years, The Price of CSU has become a staple within the springtime schedule on campus. Though the festive giveaways and games have a large influence in attracting students to the event, the informative nature of The Price of CSU is measurable in the conversations and questions that ensue between Presidential Ambassadors and their peers.

There is uniqueness at CSU in the way that the student body devotes attention and trust to President Frank and his administration when offering advice or information. Part of the success of The Price of CSU comes from the peer-to-peer education that capitalizes on the messages sent forth from administration. Ultimately, The Price of CSU works to marry the fruitfulness of scholarship at CSU with the generosity of the alumni, families and friends of the University in the minds of the student body in order to continue the tradition of philanthropic action at this institution.

The excellence at CSU is made more vibrant by an engaged and curious student body.  This has been the fuel for The Price of CSU, a venue where the Presidential Ambassadors and the greater student body will continue to make altruism a commonplace conversation on greater and “greener” scales for years to come.

Follow the Presidential Ambassadors on Facebook for more information on The Price of CSU.

back to top

Commencement Information: Celebrate your graduate!

If you have a student graduating in May … congratulations! This is a very exciting time for both you and your student. Since graduation will be here soon, we encourage you to talk with your student about ordering a cap and gown. The deadline to order is April 8, 2015.

Grad Pack prices start at $39 and include:

  • Cap, gown, and tassel rental 
  • Alumni Association Annual Membership
  • Diploma frame discount

To view additional Grad Pack options or to place an order, click here

Give a gift your grad will love with a Life Membership to the Alumni Association! Life Member Grad Packs are $750 and include all items in the Annual Grad Pack, plus a Life Membership in lieu of the Annual Membership. The Alumni Association Membership is a great way for your graduate to stay connected to CSU through exclusive member benefits, professional development and career services, access to short-term major medical insurance and more. Click here to learn more.

Questions? Please contact the Alumni Association at (800) 286-2586. 

Click here for more information about commencement and graduation. 

back to top

Notice and Respond 

Training for students and staff to help those who are struggling

By Janelle Patrias | MSW, CSU Health Network Manager of Mental Health Initiatives

CSU takes a community-based, public health approach to student mental health. This means each member of the CSU campus community has a role to play in supporting the mental health of our campus including administration, mental health counselors, staff, faculty and students.

CSU Health Network’s Notice and Respond Assisting Students in Distress training program is just one part of a comprehensive campus-wide suicide prevention plan that prepares community members to notice signs of distress and know what to say and do in response.

An integral component of this suicide prevention training, is exploring not only the warning signs and campus resources, but also the undercurrents of human interaction around mental health situations and why and how our perceived barriers can make it so difficult to intervene when someone is struggling.

Three different Notice and Respond workshops reflect the relative relationships between students/peers, students/staff and students/faculty members. Each version of these interactive workshops uses a combination of learning modalities to learn how to recognize and respond to a range of mental health issues including suicide ideation.

Participants can expect to:

  • Observe a realistic filmed scenario of a conversation with a distressed student
  • Engage in self-reflection and dialogue
  • Overcome fears, judgments and hesitations in order to help others
  • Learn about response options they can use in their settings
  • Consider campus resources that offer support

Since its inception in July of 2013, the response has been tremendous with more than 2,220 students, staff and faculty members completing training. Nearly 90% of all participants report having an increased awareness of the signs of distress and available campus resources to assist someone who might be struggling. The program’s goal is to reach as many of the CSU community members as possible in the near future. These trainings are an integral step toward empowering the entire campus community to look out for one another and to always remember that CSU is a caring community where Rams take care of Rams.

For more information contact Janelle Patrias, MSW, CSU Health Network Manager of Mental Health Initiatives, or log on to

The CSU Notice and Respond Friend2Friend session is facilitated by trained student staff. Here’s what two student facilitators say about their experience:

June Homdayjanakul, MPH Student, Colorado School of Public Health

“Oftentimes, many of us observe a change in behavior in others and suspect that something is wrong, but perhaps were unaware of what resources are available to reach out to others. Being able to deliver this training as a fellow student is both powerful and liberating. Facilitated in an open and honest manner, Notice and Respond provides a safe space for students to discuss a video simulation from different perspectives along with the different support options that they have.”  

Kylie Pybus, MPH Student, Colorado School of Public Health

“Notice and Respond prepares students, friends, and leaders to identify when their peers may be in cognitive, emotional, or physical distress and equips them with the tools to intervene. As a facilitator, this program has taught me how to care for the people around us and have tough conversations when we are concerned about a friend. I hope that students who participate in the 60-90 minute program come away learning similar lessons.”

 back to top

Meet the Office: Learning Assistance Service 

Cindy Swindell, Ph. D. leads the Learning Assistance Service at the CSU Health Network.  Cindy began her career at CSU almost 27 years ago.  Her background is in counseling services, but since 1997 she has an increased focus on learning and development.  Cindy is a licensed psychologist and a certified Irlen Syndrome screener. 

What is Learning Assistance?

Learning Assistance Service is a place where students who are experiencing academic challenges find guidance and direction on the hurdles they face and create a plan for moving forward.  Working specifically with learning, attention and academic performance challenges, I serve as a consultant and academic coach.  We work together to uncover the specific challenges a student is facing and connect the student to many amazing resources on campus, which help support student academic success and retention. 

What are the most common reasons students set up a Learning Assistance consultation?

Students will find themselves asking questions such as, “How come I study so much more than my peers, but don’t perform as well on tests?”, “I was a great student in high school. Why are my grades lower now that I’ve come to college?”, or “I’ve always struggled a little bit with learning material for a test, but now it’s a problem.  Can you help?”.   It’s these types of questions that bring students to a consultation.  They are interested in finding academic success at CSU and have explored all the resources they are aware of around campus. They come to Learning Assistance to dive further into their study process and look for reasons for the challenges they are facing.

How do students find your resources?

Students can self-refer to our office, but often students find their way to Learning Assistance through recommendations from offices around campus.  Resources for Disabled Students (RDS), the Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA), and CSU Counseling Services will recommend that students use our resources. 

To begin the process all students will need to start with a brief screening with a counselor at CSU Counseling Services. Students cannot call the Learning Assistance office to make an appointment without first meeting for the brief screening.   Students can complete the brief screening through drop-in counseling in Aylesworth Hall or by calling a counselor during regular business hours at (970) 491-6053. After students screen with the counselor on call, the counselor will schedule appropriate follow up appointments.

What should students expect during a consultation?

Students check-in early for their Learning Assistance consultation appointment to provide academic-related background information on a few forms. This helps me to prepare for meeting with the student.  The consultation itself is one hour. We discuss the needs and hopes of the student, in what context the student is experiencing challenges, and then I guide the student towards additional testing or academic resources.  It is likely students will meet at least one more time with me to complete additional screenings, such as the Irlen Syndrome screening.  Students may also be referred to other offices that would require a follow up meeting with that staff, such as RDS or The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT).

What is the cost of a Learning Assistance Consultation?

For students who have paid general fees, the consultation and some additional screenings are free of charge!

What advice do you have for parents and family members of students who may be experiencing academic challenges at CSU?

Quite a number of students, who can make good grades through high school, and/or community college, come to a four-year institution with very reasonable expectations to perform well academically in the university setting.  We want them to succeed, and the reality for some is that they may suddenly need assistance in areas that are essential to academic success.  

These students may be lacking some skills and study habits that are required to successfully complete the work and studying in and out of the classroom.  Additionally, in college we live in the world of testing, which often requires our students to adjust from a high school format that relied less on tests as the majority of the grade in the course. 

Parents and family members can help support students who are struggling in these areas by having conversations about the hurdles their student is facing.  It is essential that students learn to overcome testing anxiety, reading challenges, and learn essential test taking skills and how to practice active reading. By opening a door for your student to discuss their academic challenges it can help the student connect to appropriate campus resources and gain confidence to work through the process.

We don’t want students to find resources once they are on academic probation. Instead it’s important to understand there will be an academic transition to the university setting, and we encourage proactive outreach.  If your student is struggling there are wonderful individuals on this campus who truly care about their academic success.  Please encourage your student to ask for help. We can help support their transition and redirect or improve study skills needed to find the success they seek. 

Link to resources:

back to top

Connect with the Community this April!

By Alina Osika | Graduate Marketing Coordinator, Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement (SLiCE)

The month of April is certainly a busy one for the Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement (SLiCE) office at Colorado State University! With two diverse programs that aim to impact our surrounding community, we provide many opportunities to get involved before your students’ finals!

Project Homeless Connect is a one-day event that provides individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness with access to vital services such as rapid re-housing, basic medical exams, and legal advice. It’s a one-stop shop for assistance that helps families stop struggling and paves the way for their success. This year, Project Homeless Connect will take place on Friday, April 10th at the Aztlan Community Center in Old Town.

Started in 2009 as a partnership between Homeward 2020 and SLiCE, it has impacted the lives of more than 1,200 individuals and involved more than 1,000 volunteers and non-profit organizations. “Although Project Homeless Connect is a single-day event, the resources available to clients can have a major impact on their future and the future of homelessness in our community,” said Vanessa Fenley, executive director of Homeward 2020. “This event gives us the opportunity to better understand the barriers that many of our residents face to having a permanent home. With that knowledge, we can develop long-term solutions to break down those barriers.”

In addition to Project Homeless Connect, the SLiCE office hosts CSUnity, an opportunity to volunteer with fellow students for a day of service in the Fort Collins community. Services are provided to neighbors in the community, the City of Fort Collins, state, county, and federal agencies, as well as local non-profit organizations.

“I’ve been privileged to have the CSUnity team come out this spring and take care of my yard for me,” a Fort Collins resident said after last year’s event. “They were just absolutely fabulous young people who I thoroughly enjoyed and they worked so well.”

This spring marks the 18th year students will gather for the day-long service plunge in an effort to foster community engagement and give Fort Collins agencies and residents the means to complete projects that are lacking in resources.

“It’s wonderful to hear the gratitude in the voices of neighbors as they speak about their past experiences with volunteers,” said Kristy Aldrige, a past volunteer special events coordinator with SLiCE. “The connections that students and community members form are the heart of this event.”

For more information, please contact the Graduate Marketing Coordinator, Alina Osika at or at (970) 491-1682.

back to top

Thank YOU Parents and Families!

Thanks to the generous donation of parents and family members the Parents Fund was able to sponsor the following upcoming events.

The Pre Healthcare Club is hosting their annual Easter Egg Hunt for Individuals with Disabilities. The event is happening Saturday, April 4th on the Montfort Quad. Encourage students to join for an afternoon at CSU filled with crafts, games, good times and of course an Easter egg hunt.

The Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects(SCASLA), the Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and the College of Agriculture will be sponsoring the 22nd annual Landscape Architecture Days on April 13th. The event brings in world renowned professionals to discuss their work with CSU students and community members.

Each month we will share where your donations to the Parents Fund are used.  Please remember that without your support these events would not happen!  Please consider a donation to the Parents Fund as we continue to support CSU students and the broader campus community. 

back to top

In This Issue

CSU Acronyms

ASCSU - Associated Students of Colorado State University

Poll Results

Last month, we asked what your student did over spring break. With a strong 69% most students went home to visits friends and family. 20% responded that their student went on a trip either in the U.S. or abroad. Finally, 10% chose to spend the time relaxing or working here in Fort Collins. Don't forget to stop by our page and take this month's poll as well!  



Major: Nutrition and Food Science


Student Involvement: CSUnity - A day long service event around Fort Collins 

RAMFAM Association Business Directory 

Be sure to check out our featured Platinum and Gold Partners:

Quality Inn

Quality Inn

Colorado State University Bookstore

Quality Inn

RE/MAX Advanced, Inc.


College Student Storage

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill 



Connecting With Us On Social Media

As many of you know, Parent & Family Programs is on Facebook! If you like our page using the image below, you will be kept up to date with happenings around campus, and important information regarding campus emergencies. You can also connect with other parents and families in this group! Thanks for partnering with us to help your student succeed at CSU!

Facebook Parents Group

GIVE NOW to the Parents Fund

Give Now