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November2011 Volume 6 | Issue 4

Dear CSU Parents and Families:

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Can you believe there are just 3 weeks until fall break?!  We know it's a long stretch for students from Labor Day to this week-long break, but we're almost there.  This month, we're intentionally highlighting health and wellness because, with it getting darker and colder, and academics factoring in to students' mood and wellbeing, we want students to pay attention to their health and how they're feeling.  We've included articles related to cold & flu season, stress management & positive and negative coping strategies to help you have conversations with your students about being aware of how they're feeling and their resources on campus to help them feel their best. 

Two quick updates before you move on.  First, an update on the Fostering Success Initiative.  Last month, the RAMFAM Association put out a call for donations to help support students who have aged out of the foster care system. Our request was well received. Almost immediately our office was filled with donation items including blankets, school supplies, socks, scarves, and gloves! In addition to these items we also received just over $1,000 in monetary donations. Our CSU parents and family members never cease to amaze!  The next care package is set to be delivered November 10 to 27 students. Thanks to your support, our students will be warm and comfortable this winter.  We will continue to update you on status of the Fostering Success Initiative. Thank you for your continued support of our CSU students.

Second, we've received a few calls asking about scams on campus.  Earlier this semester, we received reports of solicitors on campus selling discount entertainment tickets and encouraged students to be cautious when interacting with salespeople.  If you hear of these issues & alerts, please know you can always check their validity on the Public Safety website.  For information and alerts go to www.safety.colostate.edu. Administrators are often opting to put non-life threatening alerts on this site, so getting in the habit of checking it for information regularly is a great way to stay connected!  You can view all alerts from this fall and last spring under the Recent Incidents & Communications tab.

We close with our deepest appreciation for all you do to support your students and Colorado State University! 

take care,

Jody & Kacee

Jody Donovan, Ph.D.
Dean of Students/Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs
jody.donovan@colostate.edu

Kacee Collard Jarnot, M.S.
Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs
kacee.collard@colostate.edu

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

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Faculty Highlight:  Management

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Dr. Michael GrossName:  Michael Gross

Title:  Associate Professor

College:  College of Business

Department:  Management

Years teaching:  11 at CSU; 18 years in total

Degrees:  Ph.D. Arizona State University, M.A. University of Southern California; B.S. Arizona State University

Areas of research:  My current research interests focus on conflict with managing experience design, trust and trust repair, conflict and verbal aggression, and personality and abusive supervision.

Undergraduate Classes:  MGT 476 Negotiation and Conflict Management, MGT 476 HONORS Negotiation and Conflict Management, MGT 310 Human Resource Management, MGT 410 Organizational Behavior

1. What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching pedagogy includes the use of theoretically informed application of management concepts, principles, and processes.  This approach allows students to achieve their educational and professional goals because it challenges students to think critically about the practical use of what they are learning.  Thus, it is not enough for students to know a conceptual framework, but to know how and when to use well-argued and empirically tested ideas.  As an instructor, I want students to learn how to be critical consumers of practical ideas.  Therefore, students must be able to argue for why they are right regarding the use of their new knowledge.  A theoretical approach to application teaches students how to think strategically when importing new knowledge from the classroom to the workplace.

Another component of my teaching pedagogy includes the use of personal experience.  Students learn in different ways, and by including the experience of each student along with a theoretically informed application of management ideas, there is additional opportunity for all students to gain new knowledge.  Again, with personal experience students are challenged to think critically about their experiences and argue for their ideas in writing papers, completing classroom exercises, and when participating in class discussions.  Active vicarious learning and social influence are important components of educating new managers.

Finally, my teaching pedagogical assumption includes the notion that I am responsible for creating a learning environment that facilitates the attainment of educational and professional goals for every student in class.  When interacting with students, I am guided by the following question: What can I do to meet the educational needs of this student?  In asking myself this question, I acknowledge that all students come into the classroom from a unique frame of reference each with his or her own needs, in addition to earning course credit toward their graduation.  While being intellectually challenged, I want my students to be comfortable and enjoy the educational process.  When students feel positive about the learning, they put more effort into the class, obtain a greater level of knowledge regarding the course content, and are more readily able to apply what they know to complex management problems and processes.  I look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate my teaching effectiveness with your students.

2. What is your favorite college memory?  Graduation!

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

It's simple: Go to class, follow instructions, start on your work sooner rather than later, take the time you need to study and do your best work.

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

College is an opportunity for many experiences; focus on getting the most out of every class you take as your priority experience.

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

A colleague once told me: "Michael, you have the ability to put toothpaste back into the tube."  Another colleague once told me: "Michael, in a room full of rocking chairs, you are the cat without a tail."

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Assessment Results:  Homecoming & Family Weekend

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Homecoming and Family Weekend GraphicTo those of you who were able to participate in Homecoming & Family Weekend and fill out our post-event survey, thank you so much. Your feedback helps us plan & really shapes what our future events will look like. As a result of your feedback, here are a few things we're committing to for CSU's 2012 Homecoming & Family Weekend:

  • Advertising via the Homecoming & Family Weekend website, the Parent & Family website & the CSU website.
  • Promoting the use of the RAMFAM Association Business Directory in planning for this trip.
  • Keeping the costs to attend Homecoming & Family Weekend events in line with the value of the programming offered.
  • Incorporating a permanent Q&A session with campus administrators in the RAMFAM Association Meeting.
  • Moving the RAMFAM Association Meeting to Friday afternoon, where you've indicated you'd be more likely to attend.
  • Continuing to improve ease of and access to registration and check-in for the weekend.

As always, you can click here to see our full assessment (with some use of wordle), but in closing, we wanted to share our two favorite comments from survey participants:

  • The first comes as one of the top 3 events of the weekend: "#1 Seeing my Daughter so Happy! And meeting her boyfriend...he seems to be OK. :)"  We're glad!  Sometimes it takes a trip to Fort Collins for Homecoming & Family Weekend to know whether or not you approve. 
  • The second, in response to the question:  What information did you find most valuable from "The State of CSU" RAMFAM Association meeting?, said "Nice to have the leaders of the University there. I was impressed that they did not rush out of the room as soon as the Q & A was done, on the contrary, they approached me separately and discussed my concerns. Definitely a sign of leaders who are interested in finding solutions."  We agree!  We are lucky to have top administrators who really care about making CSU a better institution and seek out feedback from all constituents, including parents and families.  We'll be sure Blanche, Rick & Tony see your comments, as well.

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Reasonable Expectations:  Academic Advising

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Student Navigating College, credit to image creator graur razvan ionut

 

The shift in the student/counselor relationship from high school counselors to college academic advisors can sometimes come as a shock.  High school counselors help students prepare for college, are there for any kind of crisis (mental, emotional, academic, etc.), can run interference between students and teachers if there are issues, and are very hands-on in ensuring students do what they need to do to graduate.  Therefore, they are often seen as a "one-stop shop" for students. 

At CSU, these services are split into multiple areas on campus.  Crises are managed through CSU Health Network and Student Case Managers, academic advisors advise students on appropriate next steps, but in the end, students are responsible for doing what they need to do to graduate and for having adult-to-adult conversations with their faculty members to resolve issues or seek help.  So, as a parent or family member, what can you reasonably expect from Colorado State regarding academic advising?

Although the structures within each college and within each major vary, students are usually assigned a faculty or staff member to advise them in making academic decisions.  Depending on the relationship students create with their advisors, they may also help students consider personal, professional and educational goals.

College Parents of America offers great resources for students and families trying to learn 'the college structure'.  Below are tips from their website, adjusted to fit CSU's advising model.

What are students responsible for?

  • Taking the initiative to utilize their academic advisor.  An academic advisor can act as a facilitator, but can only help if your student takes advantage of his or her knowledge.
  • Follow-through.  The advisor's role is just that – an advisor.  Advisors will usually guide and advise, helping the student to make informed choices, but it will be up to the student to carry out whatever needs to be done.
  • Finding an advisor that fits.  If there are multiple advisors within a department, your student may have the opportunity to consult with a different advisor.  Different advisors have different styles of advising.  Some may be more actively involved and some may take a more relaxed approach.  It is up to the students to find an advisor with whom they are comfortable.
  • Keep records of all academic deadlines.  Students are responsible for their courses, requirements, necessary forms, and meeting notes with their advisor.  The student is ultimately responsible for meeting all requirements and academic advisors do not usually check in with individual students to ensure a requirement has been met or a form has been signed.
  • Making (and keeping!)  appointments with their advisors.  The advisors can't help if they don't meet with the students. 

How can you help your student?

  • Encourage your student to plan ahead and write down questions to ask the advisor.  Advisors can answer questions, but they need to know what the student's questions are.
  • Remember that the advising partnership is between your student and the academic advisor.  The advisor expects to work with the student, under FERPA.  If you have questions about the advising process, ask your student and let your student contact his or her advisor.
  • Remember that the FERPA regulations apply to the Academic Advisor.  Without written permission from the student, she/he may not discuss the student's academic record with you.
  • Like many other areas of college, the academic advising system is developmental. Your first year student will probably receive much more guidance and attention from the advisor at the beginning and this will taper as your student progresses.  This is appropriate as your student assumes more and more responsibility for his or her progress.
  • Remember that your student will need to take the initiative of working with his or her advisor.  Hopefully, the advisor will have the open door, but the student must take advantage and walk through the door.

Ultimately, the overall theme of this article is that students must take responsibility to self-advocate.  As written by Carol Jones & Patricia Wilkins-Wells in their book, Toward College Success: Is Your Teenager Ready, Willing & Able?, self-advocacy is the key.  Their quote applies specifically to working with professors, but we think it also works for academic advisors:

"Once in college, if a student needs an [academic advisor's] help, that student must be ready and willing to venture into his [advisor's] office, no matter how unwelcoming the situation or the [advisor], and no matter how inconvenient the [advisor's] office hours might be.  Students also need to be willing to listen to the [advisor's] assessment of their situation, rather than assuming, as some students do, that a visit to the [advisor's] office is solely for the purpose of venting one's frustrations" (pg. 69).

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It's That Time Again:  Call-A-Ram is Calling You!

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Care Packages

By Ginny Fanning, Director of Development for Student Affairs, Enrollment & Access, and Provost Programs and Meg Weber, Executive Director of Annual Giving

Call-A-Ram students are gearing up to talk to you!  Starting November 1, 2011 Colorado State University students will be calling you, our CSU parents and families.  The Call-A-Ram students provide great insight into CSU from a student perspective and will help you find resources for many of the issues your student may be facing. 

They are also calling to fundraise for the Parents Fund.  The Parents Fund gives parents and families the opportunity to enrich the lives of all undergraduate students by funding university-wide programs to support leadership, diversity, service and learning.  In cooperation with the Parents Fund Committee, the Vice President for Student Affairs determines where the need is greatest for use of Parents Fund gifts.  In past years, this fund has contributed to everything from the annual Hunger Banquet, which exposes students to poverty issues, to the President's Leadership Program, which teaches students leadership skills to help them engage in social change.  In addition, Parent & Family Programs is funded solely through the Parents Fund:  all of the publications, the RAMFAM Association, Family Weekend and other parent and family events, services, programs, and staffing.  When these students call, give them a chance to help you connect to CSU.  We know families of college students have many expenses, but this is an opportunity to enhance your student's education outside of the classroom.  This fund is sustained on donations from numerous families and we appreciate the support you can provide.

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November RAMFAM Association Meeting

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RAMFAM GraphicWe hear it often, especially in this economy:  family members want to be sure their students can get a job (with benefits!) upon graduation from Colorado State. We recognize the impact of financing a college education on both students & families, so we are happy to host a session to discuss resources to assist with the job search.  Last fall, we hosted Renée Welch from the Career Center to walk families through a job and internship search workshop.  This year, we're taking a different angle.  We want to be sure families know about all of the resources offered to their students both while they're attending CSU and after they graduate.  While we tend to think of the Career Center as a resource for current students & the Alumni Association as a resource for alums of the university, both offices offer resources to students & alumni.  Join us to learn more!

Who:  All Parents and Families of CSU Students
When:  Saturday, November 12, 2011
Time:  10:00 am – Noon, Mountain Standard Time
Where:  Lory Student Center on campus or online via the webcast and RAMFAM Blog
Cost:  FREE!!

Tentative Agenda:
  • Welcome & Networking Time for Families in the Room
  • Career Development During & After College
  • FAMweb Demonstration
  • Reasonable Expectations Conversation

Look for details on meeting location & webcast logistics in a separate email and on the Parent & Family homepage.

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Health and Wellness:  Cold and Flu Season

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Woman with the flu, credit to the image creator Michal MarcolBy Andrea Coryell, Assistant Director for Alcohol and Other Drugs, Health Education and Prevention Services, CSU Health Network

Cold and flu season is here!  College students across the country report these bugs as one of the major factors that affect their academic performance.  It comes as no surprise, given their living situation and number of germs they are exposed to daily.  Although most of us have heard those common prevention/treatment tips more than once, it bears repeating.  Remind your student about how to stay healthy and prevent the spread of colds and flu:

  • Practice good hand hygiene.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as germs spread this way.
  • Perform routine cleaning, as the flu virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on the surface. Clean items and surfaces likely to have frequent hand contact with cleaning agents.
  • Engage in immune boosting strategies:
    • Sleep Hygiene - 7 to 8 hours of sleep is optimal.
    • Physical Activity –Aerobic and strength building exercise several times a week builds long-term immunity against viruses.
    • Healthy Diet – Include more fruits and vegetables a day, as well as whole grains and healthy sources of fat and protein.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of the flu.
    • For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control flu and cold websites.
  • Decide whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu.
    • For CSU seasonal flu vaccination information, call the CSU Health Network at 970-491-7121.
  • For suggestions on home flu care and cold care, visit the CDC website.

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Health & Wellness: Stress Management

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CSU Health Network graphic

 By Janelle Patrias, Coordinator of Mental Health Initiatives, CSU Health Network

According to the National College Health Survey conducted last fall, which representing over 30,000 students from 39 institutions, stress was the number one factor impacting academic performance.  So chances are, stress is impacting your student as well. In fact, over 80% of the students surveyed reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do. 

The Top 5 Academic Impacts:

  • Stress - 25.4%
  • Sleep difficulties - 17.8%
  • Anxiety - 16.4%
  • Cold, flu and other related illnesses - 13.8%
  • Internet and Computer (overuse) - 11.6%

All students are bound to experience stress at one time or another. When it comes to stress management, there are two choices. Change the stressors in your life by re-evaluating the source of stress or change how you react and respond to stress.

Encourage your student to re-evaluate all of the activities that take up time. Students are notorious for getting themselves overcommitted as developmentally they are still honing their decision making skills. Time-management is a skill that often needs further development. Improved study skills can also go a long way to relieving student stress. Consider sharing the following tips with your student:

  • Write everything down, write it all in one place. Keep one calendar on paper, on your computer or on your phone. Use it to schedule everything. Even time to sleep, relax and reward yourself.
  • Plan ahead for big projects like research papers. If you think you'll need six weeks for the entire project, work backward from the due date and schedule the time into your calendar before it is too late.
  • Learn to say no to things that you cannot commit to or do not have time to do. Don't overload yourself with activities. Let go of guilt and know it is okay to say no.
  • Remember that some tasks need to be done perfectly, and others just need to be done.

Sometimes stress cannot be avoided. However when stress is not well managed, it can cause distress which can cause all kinds of havoc for our health and our relationships.  Many times we cannot change the source of stress, we can only change how we respond by attending to our emotional needs. 

  • We talk to ourselves silently every day. Work to make this self-talk positive, by identifying, challenging and changing negative messages.
  • Sleep, physical activity and good nutrition are powerful stress relievers!
  • Take time out for yourself every day.  Go for a walk or enjoy your favorite hobby.
  • Talk out it out with a trusted friend. Even if you don't come up with any solutions, talking may make you feel better.

If your student seems to be struggling with managing their stress, there are many campus resources that can assist them. Check out the following resources to guide your student.

Counseling Services has a group of caring professionals ready to assist with managing stress and/or stressful situations in your student's life. Popular stress management groups are available.

Eating nutritious, healthy foods is key to combating stress. Nutrition Consultation is available at Colorado State to educate and assist students with making positive, dietary changes.

The Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT) offers tutoring, skills workshops (time management, writing, test taking, etc.) and peer advising to assist students in achieving academic success.

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Positive Stress Relief is on Campus at The Rec Center

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CSU Campus Recreation CenterBy Rachel Griess, Service Center Manager, Campus Recreation Center

Though the weather outside is frightful, the CSU Campus Rec Center is the perfect place for students to escape from the cold this winter season. Whether it's kickboxing midterm stress away, a peaceful meditation study break, or a celebratory massage for passing that statistics test, the Rec offers plenty of ways for students to stay healthy, active, and stress free all winter long.

The Rec has numerous group fitness classes available free of charge. From Zumba and Barbell Body Blitz to Hoop la Fit, students can be sure to find a fun way to keep their mind off stress and work up a sweat. Our student-taught classes will keep students active and healthy, giving them the energy they will need to dive into the last of their midterms and begin studying for finals.

Also offered are daily cycling and mind and body classes for a small charge (just $4 a class). Our certified cycling instructors turn up the heat and motivate students to push through workouts, warming their bodies up to withstand the Colorado snow. For those who prefer something a little less intense, students are invited to free their minds through meditation and relaxing movements lead by our professional instructors.

Staying active and healthy deserves a break every once in a while. With competitively priced sessions and two certified massage therapists, the Rec promises nothing short of satisfaction through the massage therapy program. Our therapists leave students feeling relaxed & stress free.

For the more adventurous student, why not climb a mile in the Rec? Students can take on the challenge to climb the wall in the Rec Center, log their climbs, and attempt to hit the 5,280 foot mark (~150 climbs) up the towers by the end of the semester.

Intramural Sports, always popular among students, provides the opportunity to get de-stressed in competitive activities. Still left this fall are floor hockey, bowling, and wiffleball tournaments, and the free NCAA football bowl game pick'em contest.

The secret to staying healthy and stress free as the homework piles up and the weather gets colder cannot be found cooped up in a dorm or spending countless hours in the library. Students need to get up, get active, and get to the Rec.

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Health & Wellness: Alcohol & Other Drugs - Is Your Student at Risk?

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Students Mingling, credit image creator photostockBy Andrea Coryell, Assistant Director for Alcohol and Other Drugs, Health Education and Prevention Services, CSU Health Network

Even though your student is at college, as a parent or family member, you still have a tremendous amount of influence.  This is a time of major transition, and knowing the stressors and situations your student may face, will better equip you to assist them throughout their college career.  Alcohol and other drugs might be used as a way to cope with stress, fit in with peers, or self-medicate when struggling with mental health issues, just to name a few.  Keeping an open dialogue going with your student about their academic and personal life can help to keep them safe - and successful - during their time at CSU.

Alcohol
A significant number of students choose to experiment with alcohol.  CSU strictly enforces minimum drinking age laws, and does not allow any person (even over age 21) to possess alcohol on campus.  However, we also recognize that underage students may choose to drink.  An open, honest discussion about how to stay safe can go a long way.

Alcohol FAQs…

  • My student is too busy to drink.  While students do carry more responsibility now than in high school, they have a significant amount of unstructured free time.  Being a successful student means finding meaningful connections with others outside the classroom, in addition to managing their courseload.  Students who are engaged in their campus community are more likely stay in school, and perform better academically.  CSU offers a huge number of clubs, organizations, activities, and volunteer opportunities to fit your student. 
  • My student didn't drink in high school, so why would they start now? Results from a national survey in 2009 indicated that nearly 80 percent of high school seniors have had a full drink; 50 percent reported drinking in the past month, and approximately one-third reported binge drinking in the past month (5 or more drinks in one setting).  Despite exposure in high school, the college environment poses a greater risk.
  • Isn't drinking just part of being a college student? 
    • Students are surrounded by a culture that recognizes drinking as a rite of passage and a normal part of the college experience.  Your student may experience pressure to "fit in" by drinking.  In fact, many students overestimate the number of their peers who drink, or drink to excess (binge drinking).  The truth is, most students don't drink to excess.
    • The young adult brain does not fully mature until age 18, and sometimes not until 25.  Those parts of the brain that are critical for learning, decision-making, and judgment are often still developing during the college years – which can explain sometimes impulsive behavior.  Alcohol misuse can seriously affect this development process.
    • Talk to your student about the consequences of drinking, especially alcohol poisoning, physical and sexual assault, and unprotected sex.
  • What should I know about the University sanctions and other legal consequences?
    • Students living in a residence hall who are in possession of alcohol, and/or intoxicated, will be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will result in disciplinary action by the University.  Those caught off-campus will also receive a fine of up to $250.
    • Any underage person caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .02 or greater may have their driver's license revoked for 3 months.  If they are convicted of a DUI or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), their license will be revoked for a full year.  Fines and court costs can add up to several thousand dollars.
    • Both the court system and University conduct system will refer students to the DAY Program (Drugs, Alcohol, and You).  DAY is part of the CSU Health Network and works to meet the needs of students facing issues with substance use and abuse.

Other Drugs

  • Marijuana - It is no secret that medical marijuana has caused some issues in the Fort Collins community, especially for students.  This legislation and availability has caused confusion about legality and if it's truly a harmful substance.  At CSU, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance – regardless of whether or not a student holds a medical marijuana card.  Just like alcohol, marijuana impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and affects coordination.  It can also affect learning and memory in the long-term.  It is an addictive substance, and withdrawal symptoms are very similar to those associated with heroin, cocaine, and alcohol.  Those found in possession will be referred to the DAY Program, in addition to other University and legal sanctions.
  • Prescription Drug Abuse - Prescription drugs are widely available and are not always perceived to be as dangerous as street drugs.  Students may use prescription drugs to self-medicate for anxiety or depression, to get high, or to help with concentration when studying or taking an exam.  ADHD or ADD medications (like Adderall or Ritalin) are used for this purpose, but affect the brain like cocaine, are highly addictive, and illegal without a prescription.  Pain pills (opioids) like Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet are also growing in popularity.  These are also highly addictive, and especially lethal when mixed with alcohol.  Selling/sharing or using these drugs without a prescription is illegal and can result in jail time along with large fines.

How can I help my student stay safe?

  • Stay involved and ask questions!  Do they know the signs of alcohol poisoning?  Do they know who to call for help in an alcohol or other drug-related emergency?
  • Watch for warning signs that they may be struggling.  Sleeping too much or not sleeping enough, poor class performance, change in eating or exercise habits, withdrawal from activities they normally enjoy, or isolating themselves from friends or family are all indicators that your student could be dealing with mental health and/or substance abuse/misuse.
  • If possible, attend Family Weekends and other campus events open to parents.  Ask to meet their friends.
  • Let them know that marijuana is still an illegal substance, is addictive, and is not a safe alternative to other drugs.
  • Make sure they understand that some medications can be as harmful and addictive as illicit drugs.  Discuss proper dosage and the dangers of mixing with alcohol and other drugs. Develop a strategy for warding off friends and roommates seeking to share medications. Store meds in a safe, secure location, and maintain an accurate count of pills. Properly discard unused medication.  When in doubt – flush them.
Resources:

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Fall Break Conversations

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Fall Break phone conversation, credit to image creator AmbroBy Joshua Gallegos, Graduate Assistant, Parent & Family Programs

Fall break provides the first opportunity for many students to return home after three quarters of a semester of independence. This can be an exciting time for both students and their family members – it can also be a large adjustment. For many students fall break provides just that, a break.  At this point in the semester, students have been challenged academically, socially, and emotionally.  The return home may mean an opportunity for students to sleep, eat home cooked meals, get laundry done, and just relax. That being said, it's important to remember that your student has been exposed to an exciting and challenging new way of life and have been making decisions largely on their own for the last 3 months. With this exposure and time away from home, be mindful of the changes he or she may have undergone during their time at CSU.

Conversations with your student might sound different and their appearance may have also changed. Don't be alarmed - it's unlikely that your student will return home with blue hair and facial piercings - but if there are changes, be supportive and try to ask open ended questions to learn more about the changes that have occurred. While home, students may feel inclined to have conversations with you about hot topics in politics or the economy. You might wake up to your student reading the newspaper, having made a fresh pot coffee….you might also come home from work to a student who is just rolling out of bed.  Differences like these are a normal part of adjusting to life with a college student.

It's important to have an adult-to-adult conversation with your student about what their expectations will be when they're home for break and what your expectations for them will be when they're home for break.  We recommend having this conversation before your student arrives home so you're working from common ground when they arrive.  Here are some things we recommend discussing:

  • What are the curfew expectations?
  • What do you envision their contribution to family life will be?  Chores?  Family dinners?  What are their expectations?
  • Family gathering expectations vs. your student's need for some down time after midterms
  • Will they need time to do homework?
  • How much time will they spend reconnecting with high school friends?

Remember, it's important to listen & ask open ended questions to reach a mutual agreement.  Try to hear your student's perspectives before shutting down – a compromise is often better than a flat-out no. 

For those families whose students will not be able to return home over fall break, we suggest sending them a care package. Include a handwritten note or card, some homemade treats, fun school supplies, neat gloves or a scarf, and any of your student's favorite things.  Be mindful that, although the residence halls are open during the break, the dining centers are not. Encourage your student to connect with their peers who might live in Ft. Collins. Often times, families will open their homes to their student's friends for the break. If this isn't an option, many students in the residence will have a "potluck Thanksgiving" cooking simple meals together like mac and cheese and hot dogs in their residence hall kitchen.

We are thankful that your student is at CSU and want to be helpful in any way that we can. Have wonderful break and feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss your student's success!

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Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement

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SLiCE GraphicBy Tina De Giso, Graduate Marketing Coordinator, SLiCE

The Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office is the perfect place for any student who believes that college is not just about classes, but also about the experiences outside the class. SLiCE is like an umbrella, with each panel housing a variety of different programs focused on helping students meet their full potential throughout their college career.

The Student Leadership section of SLiCE offers a wide range of leadership development opportunities that help students realize what really drives and inspires . These programs include the Presidents Leadership Program (PLP), Rams Engaging in Active Leadership (REAL), and retreats like Leadershape and Campus Step Up. Students discover what leadership means to them and how to make their ambitions come to life. PLP is a three-year, credit-based program. Each year of the President's Leadership Program is an independent learning experience and students may choose to participate in one, or many years. PLP participants engage with a wide variety of topics about leadership, service and group dynamic theories culminating in a leadership capstone experience. On the other hand, the REAL experience is a co-curricular program and is not available for credit. The REAL Experience is tailored to meet the interests, needs and goals of each participant. This is done through a variety of workshops within four different levels and, upon completion individually and collectively, will result in receiving a certificate. REAL is a great way for students to obtain personalized leadership training on a drop-in basis. Applications for PLP and a schedule of REAL workshops can be found at the SLiCE website.

Involvement is another area that the SLiCE office houses. With over 400 student organizations registered through the SLiCE office, students have an abundance of opportunities to find their academic, professional, or social niche on campus. SLiCE makes it easier for students to find organizations and keep a record of their involvement with RamLink. RamLink serves as a CSU specific social media platform that revolves around student involvement. Students can search organizations, get recommendations of organizations or events concurrent with their interests and values, and create an involvement resume.

SLiCE also offers a huge amount of Community Engagement opportunities. Currently, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Cans Around the Oval, the single largest community source of food and monetary donations for the Larimer County Food Bank. Students collect nonperishable food items and monetary donations through "canvassing" neighborhoods; writing letters to friends, family and community partners; and personal donations. Cans Around the Oval is a rich CSU tradition that began as a student's idea and has become one of CSU's most fun and inspiring events. SLiCE also provides students with service and leadership opportunities outside our immediate communities through Alternative Spring Breaks (Alt Breaks). Alt Breaks are 100% student led, and take participants to both domestic and international locations where they can practice leadership through service.

SLiCE offers many more programs and opportunities for students than described above. For a complete list of what SLiCE does and hopes to provide for students and our communities please visit our website.

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Fall Commencement Information

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CSU Graduates

The start of November means fall commencement is just around the corner.  Congratulations to our families of graduating students!  If you have a fall graduate and haven't planned your trip to Fort Collins, we'd like to share a few resources.  This year, Fall Commencement ceremonies will be held  December 16-17, 2011 on campus.  In terms of graduation, each college's approach to graduation is unique to the spirit of the college.  To find the most up-to-date information on your student's graduation ceremony, we suggest checking the CSU commencement site.  It's the best comprehensive resource for information by college, FAQs, and, for families unable to attend graduation,  it lists websites to view the live webcasts by college.  If you are able to attend in person, we hope you'll use the businesses listed in the RAMFAM Association Business Directory while you're here.  With recommendations from accommodations to shuttles to restaurants, this directory is a great go-to source in planning your visit to Fort Collins.


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