Dear CSU Parents and Families:
I love October. It really showcases campus at its finest: active academics with midterms just around the corner, robust student life through student organization and campus-wide events, and beautiful fall leaves all around. It feels alive and rich with student engagement and it is a great time to be a CSU Ram.
My affection for the fall semester is amplified through our work with parents and families of Colorado State University students. In my new role as Director of Parent & Family Programs, I have exchanged many emails and phone calls with families on everything from academic advising to the recent flooding in Colorado this semester. From each interaction, I see how much you care about your students’ well-being and success and am genuinely grateful for all you do for your students. If I can support you in this, please don’t hesitate to let me know either over the phone 970-491-6680 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. My mission remains to actively partner with parents and families to support students' academic success and personal development, while also assisting families to become appropriately involved and connected at Colorado State University.
To that end, I want to make sure you have all the information you need for the upcoming Homecoming & Family Weekend festivities.
First things first: We’d love to collect your questions for the CSU Leadership Panel at the RAMFAM Association meeting. If you have a question for President Tony Frank, Provost Rick Miranda, Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes, or Associated Students of CSU President, Nigel Daniels, please email them to us at: email@example.com.
Next, registration has closed for the homecoming football game against San Jose State, the volleyball game against Boise State, the RAMFAM Association Meeting & the Housing Options After the First Year session. Registration for other events ends this Friday, October 4, 2013, so please register for the following events before then:
Friday, October 11, 2013
- RAMFAM Association Meeting - Registration is CLOSED for this event, but we'd love to get your questions:
- Festival on the Oval
- Homecoming Parade
- Friday Night Lights: Pep Rally, Bonfire, Lighting of the A
Saturday, October 12, 2013
- 5K Race
- Hillel Bagel Brunch
- The Official Homecoming & Family Weekend Tailgate
Registering for the events ensures we have enough space and refreshments (if applicable) for all attendees.
In terms of logistics, information everything from check-in to parking to specifics on events, including dates/times/locations, can be found on the Homecoming & Family Weekend website (www.familyweekend.colostate.edu). If you check-in on Friday morning, I’ll see you there – please stop me and say hello.
Lastly, we hope you’ll consider using the RAMFAM Association Business Directory while you’re in town. Please pick up a discount business card at check-in!
I hope to see you at Homecoming & Family Weekend, but if not, please contact me whenever we can help your student.
Kacee Collard Jarnot
Director of Parent and Family Programs
Parent and Family Programs
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Career Center Insights: Discover What Drives You
By The Career Center Staff
It is not uncommon for students to feel uncertain, overwhelmed or confused when it comes to thinking about and choosing a major. The mere suggestion of the process at times creates a sense of anxiety for many students. Other students have selected a major but don’t feel well-suited once they begin to immerse themselves in the coursework or identify the reality of future career work. The Career Center is aware of these struggles and has developed programs and offers services to assist students through the major and career exploration process.
The Career Center offers unique ways of considering individual strengths, skills, interests and values to help student identify areas of interest leading them to major selection. Connecting the Dots (October 1 & 2), a collaborative event with CASA, helps students explore individual interests and personality qualities to assist them in getting one step closer to choosing a major. It is a great first step for students dealing with the challenge of selecting a major and beginning to consider career opportunities.
The Career Center programming and career counselors are both excellent resources for students interested in exploring majors and careers. Career development is often a process that students overlook during their college experience. Anyone who has been through a career change will likely share that understanding career options is important no matter if your career is conceptual or currently established. Pamela O’Grady, M.Ed - Senior Associate Director of Career Counseling at CSU offers, “Over the course of our lives we spend a great deal of hours and time working at our jobs/careers. In order to feel motivated and fully satisfied in our work it is important that we choose work that we are excited and passionate about in order to feel we are living fulfilling, purposeful lives.”
Career development may seem as daunting as selecting a major to some students but it can serve as a wonderful means of self-exploration leading to important discoveries about one’s strengths, skills, interests and passions. O’Grady offers, “Through the process of working with a career counselor focusing on career development you are able to explore and identify college majors and occupations/work that individuals will be passionate and excited about so that they can be proactive in managing their future career and create a career plan.”
The Career Center is here to help your student throughout their journey at CSU with major and career exploration to defining a job search strategy. “Our career counselors are specifically trained on working with students on career development whether it is exploring majors and occupations, identifying opportunities to gain a better understanding of jobs/careers through part-time work, internships, job shadowing and informational interviewing to name a few examples. One aspect of career development is getting to know who you are, what motivates you, what skills you like to use and are your strengths, what are your interests, and what are your values that are important to you when it comes to the world of work” shared O’Grady.
The Career Center offers a variety of self-exploration programs throughout the year beginning with Connecting the Dots on Oct. 1 & 2 and Discover What Drives You a 5-week discussion-style group beginning on Oct. 23. To find out more about these and other events and services please visit the Career Center’s website.
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Assessment Results: Ram Welcome
By Maria Marinucci, Graduate Assistant with Parent & Family Programs
As we gear up for Homecoming and Family Weekend, we wanted to take a moment to report back on the assessment results regarding Ram Welcome. With 719 responses, we are confident we have a pretty good representation of how you as parents and families felt about this multi-day event, and we wanted to thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback—we could not improve our programming without you! We pulled a lot of great information from your responses, which we will bring with us to planning meetings for next year’s Ram Welcome.
In general, most of you reported being pleased with the move-in process, with over 95% responding that you were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with this experience. Many of you had great things to say about the Greek-affiliated students that helped with move-in, and we have passed this information on to them. They were incredibly grateful for your positive words, so thank you again! We were extremely happy to see that over 91% of you reported feeling connected to CSU after the Parent and Family portion of Ram Welcome—after all, this is one of our main goals and we are glad we can help build these connections. It was also encouraging to see that our newsletter was useful in Ram Welcome preparations: 80% of you found it helpful.
We are happy to report far fewer comments about long lines at the picnic and poor audio quality for convocation—feedback we received last year and used to make adjustments. We hope this conveys to you how valuable your input is and how much we take it into account.
There were still, however, some things we can continue to improve and your comments were helpful. Some of you mentioned parking troubles/the need for a parking map (while others were very satisfied), uncertainty about food options on move-in day, and lack of clarity about what your students would be doing during their part of Ram Welcome. We will be looking into ways to improve in these areas to make Ram Welcome a great experience for all.
More detailed feedback can be found in a slideshow here. The Wordles (explained in the slideshow) are based on your responses to the questions and present a visual representation of your comments. The feedback regarding the Friday morning sessions includes selected testimonials representative of remarks for that specific presentation. Thank you again for your assistance in improving Ram Welcome and Parent & Family Programs!
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Learning Outcome: The Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT)
By Heather Landers, Director of Learning Programs, The Institute for Learning and Teaching
Mid-semester can be a stressful time for students. The excitement of being at school has worn off; papers, tests, and assignments pile up, and the grades start coming in and sometimes don’t match the expectations students had for themselves at the beginning of the semester. Faculty and staff at CSU know early grades (those received before mid-semester) are an important indicator of how students will end up doing in the course. If students are struggling with their courses, it is important that they seek academic support to learn strategies to change direction.
Luckily, there are a wide range of academic support programs available to CSU students—some of them aimed at helping students through this mid-semester crunch. U-Turn is an academic support expo, a “one-stop shop” of the academic resources available to students. This year, U-Turn will take place on October 15 from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. At U-Turn, students work individually with a CSU staff member to talk through academic struggles along with other concerns that might be impacting performance in their courses. Then, the student will go upstairs to TILT’s Great Hall, where a wide range of academic support programs have booths set up, ready to talk with students about academic services and offer advice, tips, and strategies. One of the biggest benefits of attending U-Turn is that students can talk with someone from the offices that can meet their needs on the spot, rather than running all over campus visiting different academic support offices. At the conclusion of their time in the Great Hall, each student creates an “action plan” with specific steps they are going to take to get their semester back on track.
The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) offers a range of opportunities for students struggling with motivation or academics at mid-semester. The Arts & Sciences Tutoring program and TILT Study Groups both offer course-based assistance for many difficult courses at CSU if students are struggling with a particular course. These programs are free, drop-in, and support many courses required for 1st and 2nd year students, particularly in the Sciences and Math. In addition, a new website, Tutoring@ColoradoState, is designed to help students seek private tutors and find online tutorials on difficult course concepts.
For students who aren’t struggling in a particular course but could use some help with their study skills, TILT offers free workshops on a wide range of topics from test-taking strategies to motivation & goal-setting. The workshops are held three times a week: Mondays at 4 pm, Tuesdays at 5 pm, and Thursdays at 6 pm in TILT 221. The week of October 21, the workshop topic is Study Smarter: High Impact Learning Strategies, which would be a great workshop for students who are interested in what the research says is the best use of their time for learning and long-term retention of material. Students can also meet one-on-one with an Academic Coach who can talk through student’s current study habits and strategies for more effective reading, time management, test-taking, and learning in general.
Mid-semester is a great time for students to reflect on how the semester is going and utilize the numerous resources available to succeed academically!
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Interacting with Academic Advisors
By Liz Hysen, Academic Support Coordinator with the Biology Department
Getting to know your Academic Advisor(s), is an important part of being successful in college. Many departments on campus now have full-time Advisors to support students’ progress to graduation and help them navigate the immense resources available to them at CSU. Some students may have multiple Advisors; in addition to their major Advisor, students may have a Health Professions Advisor, a Pre-Vet Advisor, or an Honors Advisor. Students should plan on meeting with their Academic Advisor(s) at least once per semester to go over course selection and update their 4-year plan. Speaking of 4-year plans…
It is important for students to attempt making a plan on their own and then bring it to their Advisor for revisions. This is a great way for students to start familiarizing themselves with their program requirements. Knowing and understanding the requirements for your major is a responsibility each student must undertake to take ownership of their education and write their own story. Some departments have a required, first-year seminar for freshman where students learn the curriculum for the major and how to make an individualized 4-year plan. Other departments hold optional curriculum workshops to learn some of these same things. If your student’s department does not, it is up to the student to meet with his or her advisor to make sure they understand their program requirements.
There are many ways for students to stay in touch with their Advisor, their departments, and CSU, in addition to individual advising sessions. Advisors utilize several formats to actively push important information out to students; department newsletters, email, and something virtually every student has access to – Social Media! CSU, and several individual departments, maintain Facebook pages and/or Twitter accounts to keep students up-to-date. Students can simply “like” these pages and receive need-to-know dates, reminders, and other information to help them succeed at CSU. With all of the different ways information is made available to students, “I didn’t know,” is not an excuse Advisors, or professors, like to hear.
As we move in a direction that utilizes Social Media more and more to communicate with one another, a word must be said about email. This is still the most common and effective way, in most cases, to communicate with Advisors and Professors. It is the student’s responsibility to check his or her student email account at least once a day, and when sending emails it is important to practice professional email etiquette. In most cases, it is helpful for students to include a CSU ID number as well. Consider coaching your student on how to write a professional email when home on his/her next break!
The bottom line when interacting with Advisors, Professors, and other professionals on campus, is communication and a student’s willingness to ask for help when it’s needed. This can be difficult for some students, but it is very hard for Advisors to help if they don’t know what students need. Students should talk to their Advisors if they don’t know where else to go – they may not have all the answers, but they will certainly help their students find them.
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Academic Integrity Week
By Allison Welter, Senior Copywriter with Colab: The Lory Student Center Marketing Shop, and Peter Connor, Communications Director with The Institute for Learning and Teaching
Did you know that students can be called to a hearing, have a grade reduced, or even fail a class for not understanding the basics of academic integrity and the scholarly responsibilities set down in the CSU student conduct code? In the realm of academic misconduct, ignorance is not bliss.
Starting Monday Oct. 14, students have the opportunity to learn what constitutes academic misconduct and how to avoid it. During a week of free, informative seminars addressing common mistakes, students will learn how select credible sources, cite them correctly, and much more. Particular attention will be placed on student misconceptions regarding plagiarism standards.
On Wednesday, Oct 16, many of the colleges and departments will be offering presentations on academic and professional ethics. At the end of the week there will be drawings for prizes with students’ chances improving based on the number of workshops they attend. The grand prize will be donated by RAMTech, our go-to on-campus technology retail and service shop.
Here is a list of events students are encouraged to attend:
- Monday, Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in TILT 221 – Ignorance is Not Bliss: Avoiding Unintentional Plagiarism
- This session will explain the concepts and resources to help students determine what is considered plagiarism at Colorado State University, with particular guidance given for summarizing and paraphrasing without committing academic misconduct.
- Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. in Morgan Library, Room 174 – Endnote: Your Citation Sidekick
- If students have never used or are new to using software to manage references for written work, they can come learn about a powerful tool named EndNote. It can help collect and organize reference (citation) data in "libraries" for the books, articles, and other resources that students use in their research.
- Wednesday, Oct. 16 at noon in Morgan Library, Room 173 – Cite. Sources Fast.
- Using today’s technology and online guides, we will explore ways to make citing your sources as easy as possible. Participants will get hands on practice with exporting citations directly from library databases.
- Wednesday Oct. 16
- Wednesday is ‘Colleges’ Day” with faculty from various departments including Animal and Equine Sciences, Design and Merchandising, Communication Studies, Health and Exercise Science and CHHS, Engineering, and Philosophy providing workshops. For session details visit the Academic Integrity Week website.
CSU’s annual “Academic Integrity Week” is co-sponsored by the Associated Students of Colorado State University, The Institute for Learning and Teaching, and Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, and it is a perfect opportunity for students to learn. Don’t let your student make a mistake that could negatively impact their future. Please join in this effort to dispel myths, spread knowledge, and engage valuable campus resources.
Help your Ram know better. Please encourage students to attend any and all seminars.
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By Emma Hart, Assistant Residence Director for Corbett Hall, and Samantha Sickbert, Graduate Assistant with Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services
The month of October can be a stressful time for students at CSU. Academic pressures may finally be setting in with mid-terms on the horizon, and sometimes, roommate conflicts begin to arise. The honeymoon period of adjusting to living with someone new has worn off and conflict occurs. Coincidentally, October is the month designated to increase public awareness about conflict resolution and its many benefits.
If the roommate conflict is occurring in the residence halls, Residence Life staff, particularly RAs, are available as resources for your student. If your student is experiencing conflict with his or her roommate, encourage him or her to connect with the RA on the floor. They will be able to help process the situation and give advice about potential next steps. All students should have completed a roommate contract and returned it to their RA at the start of the semester, which can be a great tool used by an RA to get the conversation started.
We hope your student feels comfortable communicating with their RA about any roommate conflict that may be occurring, but we also know parents and families can be wonderful initial resources. Here are some talking points you could use when discussing roommate conflict with your student:
- Encourage communication and compromise. Most roommate conflicts occur because of lack of communication. Suggest that your student uses I statements to communicate any behavior bothering him or her, rather than judging or accusing another individual.
- Conflicts are normal. It’s not essential for roommates to be best friends with one another, in fact, sometimes it’s better not to share a room with a best friend. Roommates just need to be able to get along and respect each other.
- Being assertive is the key. Sometimes students are afraid to hurt their roommate’s feelings, but it is essential for students to stand up for themselves and communicate what is upsetting them, while also respecting others.
- Encourage avoiding the following behaviors: communication through text message or social media, getting friends and others involved, and confronting a roommate when there has been no time allowed for “cooling-off”.
Another resource on campus, particularly for off-campus roommate conflicts, is the Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services Office (CRSCS). During the month of October, the staff of CRSCS see an increase in roommate conflicts, both on and off campus, but students often do not know how to have navigate the situation. Students who seek assistance from our office tend to be looking for some form of conflict coaching, and our staff can provide tips on how to have a difficult conversation, and can even role-play a dialogue with a student. For students who feel their lines of communication with their roommate have broken down, we can offer a neutral third-party mediation to help facilitate a difficult conversation.
To set up an appointment with our office, your student can call, 970-491-7165; they can also learn more about our services through our website.
Conflict can be scary and uncomfortable for students, however, it can also be a good opportunity for them to learn and grow as an individual. Encourage your student to be open with his or her communication and proactively strive to improve their living situation.
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Protecting Yourself from Theft on Campus
By Dell Rae Moellenberg, Senior Public Relations Coordinator, CSU Police Department Public Information Office
Colorado State University is generally a safe place to be, but like all locations with a large number of individuals concentrated in on place, there is crime.
Each fall, the University is required to share its crime statistics with the University community through the Clery Reporting Act. Those annual reports, including, the report developed for the most recent year, are available on our website.
As always, we encourage you to encourage your student to take basic precautions. Remind him or her to be aware of surroundings and trust his or her instincts.
They also should be sure to secure their belongings in their residence hall room, at home, or while on campus, such as when they are working out at the Student Rec Center or studying at the Morgan Library to prevent a theft based on opportunity.
Theft crimes of opportunity occur in the locker rooms, class rooms, study rooms, public areas and other areas when belongings haven’t been secured, such as in a Recreation Center locker without a lock. Students should be reminded to never leave any personal items such as IPods, cell phones, or keys unsecured while working out, going to the rest room, etc.
The Colorado State University Police Department wants to remind your students of some general theft-prevention tips:
- Always secure your belongings.
- Keep all electronic equipment and other items of value with you at all times if you are not putting them in a locked locker, room, or home.
- If you see someone acting suspiciously, please report that person to police immediately.
- Register your bike with the CSU Police Report for proof of ownership, and use a sturdy lock when leaving your bike on campus.
- At home or in your residence hall room, lock your door when you leave or at night, and keep your valuables in a safe place that isn’t visible to others who are passing by or visiting.
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Healthy Student, Happy Family: A Message from the CSU Health Network
By Christina Berg, Director of Health Education and Prevention Services, 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.
Stress and Homesickness
According to the National College Health Assessment, stress is the number one factor impacting academic success. So chances are stress is starting to weigh heavily on your student.
The first tests, assignments, and grades are starting to come back for the semester. Lower than expected performance on a first exam can be a real shock. For those students for whom grades came easily in high school, this can be a challenging experience. For others, it rattles their confidence in their ability to be a successful college student. It can also prompt self-doubt about their chosen major or academic path.
- Try to lend a supportive ear and refrain from any chastisement about a low grade. They are probably already being hard on themselves.
- Offer encouragement that you believe in their abilities and will stand by them.
- Suggest they check out campus resources like TILT. The Institute of Learning and Teaching, offers tutoring, skills workshops (time management, writing, test taking, etc.) and peer advising to assist students in achieving academic success.
In the early part of fall semester, students are notorious for finding themselves overcommitted by their enthusiasm to get involved on campus. There are many different opportunities and students can easily end up too busy. Developmentally, they are still honing their decision making skills and often time-management techniques need further development. If this is the case:
- Encourage re-evaluation of their activities, prioritizing “needs” and “wants.”
- Remind them to plan ahead for big projects, like research papers.
- Empower them to say no to things that they cannot commit to or do not have time to do. Help them let go of guilt, and know it is okay to say no.
Sometimes the opposite is true and your student might be struggling to find meaningful involvement and community. Encourage them to connect with the SLiCE office to explore opportunities to get involved and find programs to enrich their academic and social experience at CSU.
It is very normal for students to start to feel homesick after the novelty and newness of the semester starts to wear off. Students are dealing with unfamiliar situations and a loss of close friends and family. This can stir up emotions and lead to missing the familiarity of home. Remember that change, even positive change, can create a new level of uneasiness and alter feelings of security and confidence.
- Let your student know that you miss him, however try not to dwell on your own adjustment to his absence.
- Continue to speak positively about college and avoid buying into negativity.
- Resist the urge to swoop in and bring your student home or text more often. Recognize that she may need even more distance and time to make the social connections that will help her feel more connected on campus.
Sometimes stress cannot be avoided. However when stress is not well managed, it can quickly escalate. If your student seems to be struggling with managing their stress or their adjustment to school, the CSU Health Network has resources available from one-one-one counseling to skill building workshops and support groups.
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Student Involvement: Alternative Breaks
By Crystal Ligon, SLiCE Graduate Marketing Coordinator
Students often count the days until school breaks, especially the ever-coveted Spring Break. They get excited to head home or go on excursions with friends — planning trips several months ahead of time. Some students, however, decide to take a trip that makes a difference in not only their own life but in the lives of others.
The Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement (SLiCE) sponsors Alternative Breaks, affectionately dubbed AltBreaks, where students forgo the typical trip and choose an option that hopefully leaves impact.
“Alternative breaks are essentially about creating magic,” Jen Johnson, Assistant Director for Volunteer Programs, said. “We plan trips that consistently transform the lives of students and communities for the better. I’ve been involved with this program for nearly 10 years and when I think about our work, I get chills.”
On these trips, students take on volunteer opportunities with like-minded peers to combat a variety of social causes. Students immerse into different cultural, environmental, and socio-economic communities across the nation and in different countries. Through their volunteer service, students receive education about current social and cultural issues facing the host communities.
Past trips have focused on issues of hunger, AIDS/HIV, homelessness, issues facing Native Americans living on reservations, environmental conservation, education, and women’s issues. This year, there will be trips that will also focus on sustainability issues, immigration and refugees, outdoor youth education, urban youth poverty, and domestic and sexual violence.
Students, ranging in age, major, and background, can choose from a variety of destination locations — from Denver to Achiote, Panama. There are 15 trips available to students this year, most of them lasting one week. With the application deadline for the 2014 Alternative Spring Break approaching at the end of this month, students are urged to submit their materials early. About 300 students apply on average; and there are 150 spots available.
Informational meetings will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at LSC Grey Rock Room, and from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Lory Student Center Room 220. The meetings will provide more details about the trips, locations, and cost. Interested participants can also pick up an application. The applications for the 2014 Alternative Spring Break trips are available online at RamLink. To apply, your student can go here. For information about grant opportunities, click here.
More information about each trip is available at our website.
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Lory Student Center Revitalization Update
As students begin to populate campus, the leaves begin to change, and the Colorado weather gets colder, campus friends and visitors can expect one element of CSU life to continue: the revitalization of the Lory Student Center.
In May, Lory Student Center Central (the center of the building) closed its doors with the promise of returning in Fall 2014. Student Center South, or the LSC Theatre, and Student Center North remain open for students, faculty, and staff to use.
LSC North services still available include the CSU Bookstore, Adult Learner and Veteran Services, Student Legal Services, CAM’s Lobby Shop, Recycled Cycles, the Transit Center, Info Desk 2, Bagel Place 2, and the Aspen Grille. The temporarily relocated Ramskeller and Sweet Sinsations coffee cart, as well as RAMtech’s new home, can also be found in LSC North. All other services and resources were relocated to varying campus locations, including LSC West (aka the Campus Recreation Center’s MAC Gym).
“It was quite the undertaking, but all offices – no matter where they moved – took time to streamline operations and make their new locations known,” said Doni Luckutt, director of marketing for the Lory Student Center. “It’s everyone’s goal to make the renovation as easy as possible for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors.”
When the revitalization is complete, the new student center will showcase unobscured views of the Rocky Mountains, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, a centralized location for student diversity programs and services, a newly designed Sutherland Sculpture Garden, and an expanded ballroom – making Northern Colorado’s largest such space even larger.
The student center will boast a newly branded wall that pays homage to CSU history, from its beginnings in the landmark land-grant college legislation signed by President Lincoln to the world-renowned research institution it has become.
“When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law, he forever changed higher education,” said Mike Ellis, director of the Lory Student Center. “The Land- Grant Wall in the student center captures this story and, more specifically, the role of Colorado State in providing an outstanding educational experience as the foundation for student success.”
If you’re planning to come to campus for Homecoming and Family Weekend on October 10-13, come check out our progress. You’ll be amazed. Visit www.sc.colostate.edu/ for all the latest construction updates and office/food relocations.
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