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February2011 Volume 5 | Issue 7

Dear CSU Parents and Families:

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There is only one way to describe the CSU campus today: freezing. The fact that we are surprised by cold in February is a testament to the warm winter we've experienced! Hopefully this weather will encourage students to get back to their studies and back into campus life, because with classes and programs happening on campus every day, we are officially 'back in the swing of things'.

We wanted to take a few minutes to address the feedback we received from many parent and family members regarding our public safety messages sent this week. Many of you expressed frustration at our vague alerts to 'be vigilant' after a threat was made to campus Monday. We understand your frustration, but unfortunately in this case, we simply could not provide many details because of the ongoing police investigation. As noted in a recent Fort Collins Coloradoan article, we choose to err on the side of alerting people with as much information as possible to ask for campus assistance in monitoring our community.

We value your feedback to help us better define when and how to reach out to families. Thank you for taking the time to send us your thoughts.

This month's newsletter contains a lot of important information– everything from opportunities to learn about housing options to a highlight feature on the Kushner Family's scholarship. Please let us know if there are specific campus programs or services you want to learn more about. A few items for both you and your student to mark on your calendars:

  • February 12, 2011: RAMFAM Association meeting from 10-noon, Lory Student Center, Room 214-216. Information regarding directions for attending/web participation included later in this newsletter. Presenters will focus on making the most of students' spring break experiences.
  • March 12-20, 2011: Spring Recess (Class is suspended for this week, but the residence halls remain open. Dining centers are closed, however.)
  • May 13 & 14, 2011: Graduation! Visit our Commencement website for up-to-date information by College.

Lastly, to kick off the spring semester, the Foster Care Work Group sent out another round of care packages to students who identify as former foster youth. The care packages included school supplies, blue books (small paper books used to record answers while taking a test), hot chocolate, and CSU T-shirts. The students - and the Work Group - are incredibly thankful for the care packages and all of the community support!

We hope you find the above dates useful, and look forward to connecting with you at our next RAMFAM Association meeting!

take care,

Jody & Kacee

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

Kacee Collard Jarnot, M.S.
Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-5312
kacee.collard@colostate.edu

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College of Liberal Arts Faculty Highlight

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Through surveys and emails over the last few years, your feedback indicates you are interested in learning more about CSU's faculty.  Starting this month, we're highlighting faculty members across campus and Dr. Eric Aoki and Dr. Lori Peek in the College of Liberal Arts have been kind enough to serve as our inaugural faculty members in this new feature article. Each faculty member was asked a series of questions.  The abbreviated version is posted below; the full text will be available on our website soon!  We hope you enjoy learning more about our talented professors! 

Dr. Eric AokiName: Eric Aoki, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor of Intercultural & Interpersonal Communication
College: Liberal Arts
Department: Communication Studies
Years teaching: 13 ½ years, fall 1997-Present
Degrees: Ph.D., 1997, University of Washington; MA, 1992, California State University, Fresno; BA, 1990, California State University, Fresno
Areas of research: Culture, Communication, & Identity

  1. What is your teaching philosophy? I teach from a philosophy of critical thought and engagement with my students. Voice, or learning to find one's own voice to articulate ideas and positions, is pinnacle to the foundation of learning in the classes I teach as we discuss Interpersonal & Intercultural Communication issues. Teaching from a philosophy of the personal/cultural, self-awareness imperative while working to enhance skills of voice and identity in the public arena is taught with gestures to both theory and application.
  2. What is your favorite college memory? As a student who did well in school, one of my teachers recognized that I was bored and lost in the large auditorium classrooms that you often attend early on in your student career. So, I stopped going to class thinking that I was still doing well in them anyway. At one juncture my professor asked my classmates if anyone knew my whereabouts, and they told her I was likely down in the student union playing pool. So, at the front-end of that class, she came storming toward my pool table and said, "Mr. Aoki, if you think just because you get good grades on assignments and tests that you don't have to come and contribute to a 'community of thinking and learning,' then you are royally mistaken young man!" My pool buddies, as my professor approached, asked if the woman yelling my name was my mother. I said, "No, she's my professor."
  3. What advice would you give students who want to be successful at Colorado State University? Go to your professors' office hours regularly, talk to your professors, family, and friends about what excites you about learning, find a inspiring mentor, work for balance in your academic and social life, and be as excited about your studies as you are about other passions of your life. It comes together, sometimes, in the most amazing of ways.
  4. What advice would you give parents and families of college students? I often give the perspective that it's important for parents and family members to work hard to stay engaged with and continue listening to their university student about her/his educational passion and needs while simultaneously respecting an often growing need for autonomy or individuality. This said, remember to listen for those times that they really need and want your input.
  5. What else would you like people to know about you? I'd like to add that for me, a First Generation student, meaning that neither of my parents graduated from the university and that we four kids were the first in our family to do so, that I see university life and learning here at the academy as a distinct privilege and opportunity for growth.

Dr. Lori PeekName: Lori Peek, Ph.D.
Title: Assistant Professor
College: College of Liberal Arts
Department: Sociology
Years teaching: 5.5 years – arrived at CSU in August 2005
Degrees: Ph.D., Sociology, University of Colorado-Boulder, M.Ed., Education and Human Resource Studies, Colorado State University, B.A., Sociology, Ottawa University
Areas of research: Children, women, racial and ethnic minorities, social impacts of disaster, qualitative methods

  1. What is your teaching philosophy? Respect for knowledge and the learning process, respect for students, and respect for diversity inform the specific objectives that frame my teaching philosophy.
    1. First, I strive to help students develop a sociological perspective that will enable them to better understand individual and group behavior and our social world.
    2. Second, I endeavor to build community and foster intellectual development among my students as I push them to think carefully and critically about historical and contemporary social issues.
    3. Third, I challenge students to acquire skills that will be broadly applicable both inside and outside of academia.
    4. Fourth, I encourage students to understand and value diversity.
  2. What is your favorite college memory? I lived in the women's residence hall all four years, and my favorite memory is really a series of memories of the evenings that I spent hanging out with my friends in my dorm room. One of my best friends was an Art major, another was an English major, another was a Business major, and I was a Sociology major. At the end of the day we would often just sit around and talk about all the incredible things we had learned in our different classes. Of course, this was also the time when we joked around, gossiped, and just helped each other with whatever we had going on in our lives.
  3. What advice would you give students who want to be successful at Colorado State University? My first piece of advice is simple: go to class. There is no "making up" missed classes, as there is no way to replicate the dynamic that occurs in the classroom. In addition to showing up, be engaged. Put away your cell phones and your laptop computers. Focus on what your professor is saying and what your fellow classmates are contributing to the conversation. Look alive and be excited! If you put the effort in, I can guarantee that you will walk out of every single class session with at least one new piece of information.
  4. What advice would you give parents and families of college students? Encourage your children to find their passion. The most passionate students are the best learners. Also, talk to your children about school and really listen to what they have to say. Ask them about their favorite classes and what they are learning. Talk to them about their assignments and help them to brainstorm when they have projects due. If your child has made it this far, you have obviously already played a central role in his or her development and success. Keep supporting your children, and if you can, let them bring their laundry home on the weekends so they can save their quarters for lunch.
  5. What else would you like people to know about you? Teaching students is what I enjoy most in my life. Our students represent the future, and every time I walk into a classroom I feel so much hope. I learn so much from my students each semester, and they continue to inspire me in so many ways. I have taught undergraduates who have written books for first-generation students, started scholarship funds for suicide prevention, volunteered on Native American reservations, and on and on. I am privileged to know these students, and I am grateful that they have chosen to study at Colorado State University.

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Assessment Results: Off-Campus Housing Options

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As usual, we try to include a few items from our bi-annual assessment.  You indicated you'd like more information on housing options, so this month, we've included two articles on  housing options - from the experts!

By Adrienne Battis, Community Liaison, Off-Campus Life

This spring, students are deciding whether to move off campus or remain in the residence halls for another year. Should they decide to move into the neighborhoods of Fort Collins, Off-Campus Life (OCL) is here to help them make the transition. Below are things to consider when planning a move off campus.

  • Mid-February, all students living in the residence halls should receive in their hall mailbox a handbook titled Off-Campus Life Student Handbook: Avoiding Sticky Situations. The guide offers tips on where to search, negotiating a lease, being aware of City Codes and Ordinances that impact students (noise, occupancy limit, nuisance gatherings, parking, snow shoveling, etc.), and much more!
  • U+2: Fort Collins has an Occupancy Limit Ordinance, which states that no more than three unrelated persons can live in a dwelling. Learn more here.
  • Encourage your student use our new online rental search to find a place to live. Listings are updated daily and include a variety of rental options. There is no cost to use our service and students can view our listings online.
  • Students should attend the annual Housing Fair on March 2.  Students can visit with landlords, apartment complex managers, and property managers. They can also learn about storage units, renter's insurance and City resources.
  • Want your student to become a preferred tenant? Have your student take the Renting 101 workshop on March 10. Speakers from Student Legal Services, Consumer Credit Counseling & the City's Code Enforcement Office will tackle the topics of lease-signing, city ordinances, fire safety, off-campus parties, renter's insurance, and more! At the completion of this course, students receive a certificate. Students can register online.
  • Avoid Renting a Lemon: Prior to renting, students should check the property history for a record of code violations. If a home has had noise violations or tickets for animal disturbances, trash, weeds, parking on yards, or over-occupancy, it may be a "public nuisance property". The Public Nuisance Ordinance follows the residence, not the tenants. The Neighborhood Services Division can be contacted (970) 221-6676 or bsowder@fcgov.com to provide this information.
  • Does your student need a roommate or a new place to live for summer or fall? The Roommate Roundup is designed for students to meet potential roommates, as well as take in a brief presentation about successful roommating. Students should bring flyers, scratch paper, and a smile! 
  • Students can pick up a free deck of cards, with helpful neighborhood tips, information about local codes and ordinances, and useful phone numbers. These cards will be distributed throughout the spring semester and during the Getting to Year 2 @ CSU conference.
  • Grab some popcorn and watch The Rental World! This 23- minute "Real World" parody addresses issues commonly faced by students who move off campus for the first time.
  • Students can test rental knowledge with Off-Campus E-Trivia! Categories include: Leases & Housing, City Codes and Ordinances, Roommates, Parties & Neighbors.
  • Remember to visit the Student Legal Services website to download a Lease-Fix kit, with step-by-step instructions to make sure the lease terminology protects the renter. Student Legal Services also offers legal advice, free of charge, to full-time fee paying students. 

For other helpful information and resources to assist in a possible move off campus, please visit our office website or call us at 970-491-2248.

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Assessment Results:  Residence Hall Room Selection Begins February 7, 2011

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Residence Hall Room

 

By Tonie Miyamoto, Housing and Dining Services

Sophomore and upperclass students who return to the residence halls for Fall 2011 will enjoy several benefits:

  • first choice of rooms during room selection in February
  • designated upperclass housing in Aspen Hall, Summit Hall, and Newsom Hall
  • single rooms in Summit Hall, Aspen Hall, and Durward Hall
  • double-as-single rooms in Newsom Hall, Ingersoll Hall, and Edwards Hall
  • three room corner units with private bedrooms in Durward Hall and Westfall Hall

Students who live on campus for a second, third or fourth year have higher GPAs than students who move off campus. The residence halls offer 24/7 security, access to student jobs in the halls and dining centers, and close proximity to classes and academic resources. All utilities, including cable and high speed Internet, are included in room and board rates. Students who live on campus can enjoy an ideal location, well-balanced meals, and designated upperclass housing options and do not have to worry about leases, splitting bills with roommates, or maintenance issues.

Residence hall room selection is online and begins at 12 a.m. on Monday, February 7:

  • February 7 - 8: Eligible students can reserve their same room for next fall
  • February 9 - 11: Displaced students can select any available room on campus (i.e. students in first year buildings or programs)
  • February 14 - 28: Open selection for any available space

For more information on room selection visit our website.

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Boundaries and Good Decision Making

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By Christina Berg, CSU Health Network

New students often feel an amazing amount of independence during their first year in college. You may find your student testing boundaries and exploring new beliefs and behaviors. Sometimes, however, they are unaware of the consequences of their decisions. Talk openly with your student about attending parties, alcohol and drug use, sexual decisions, safety and peer pressure. Although these conversations can be tough, they are extremely important. Families have more influence than they realize when it comes to students making positive decisions about such life situations.

Here are a few resources to help you with these important conversations:


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Students Overcoming Mistakes

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 Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services By Chris Bryson, Assistant Director, Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services

It may not come as a surprise that students sometimes make mistakes, but as a parent or family member you may wonder if your student is the only one making them. As an Assistant Director in the office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services (CRSCS), I meet with students on a daily basis to have serious conversations about their choices, decisions, and mistakes. The types of mistakes can range anywhere from a noise violation within the City of Fort Collins, to academic misconduct, to alcohol and/or drug use. Students make mistakes, and it is how they respond to accountability and consequences that will determine the value of the experience.

As I meet with students, I work to help them understand the impact of the decision they made that led them to my office. Depending on the situation, and how the student responds, our office offers a myriad of educational tools to help students understand the consequences and grow from the experience. This includes, but is not limited to:

Party Partners

  • An educational workshop for students who receive tickets for violating local and state laws in the Fort Collins community. Party Partners workshops are developed and conducted by:
    • CSU Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services,
    • Fort Collins Police, and
    • City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services.
  • Both workshops offered – one for noise violations and one for other common city violations – are designed to help students understand their rights and responsibilities as a community member in Fort Collins.

Choices

  • The one-time class provides an educational opportunity to students who participated in situations involving errors in judgment. Students are challenged to think about their moral judgment and how they currently make decisions by analyzing and discussing various ethical dilemmas. At the end of the class, students are asked to develop a personal ethical decision-making philosophy that they can use to guide them in the future.

Crossroads

  • An intensive, educational intervention program for students who have engaged in poor decision making. Each four-week session is designed to specifically meet the needs of the individual students in the class. Possible curriculum topics include anger management, conflict management, decision making, cognitive restructuring, and discussion around privilege and entitlement.

DAY (Drugs, Alcohol, and You) Programs

CSU created DAY Programs in the spring of 2005 as a result of the Alcohol Task Force and Colorado State University's commitment to be a leader in the prevention, education, and treatment of college substance abuse. The DAY Programs office consists of a wide spectrum of services designed to meet the needs of students who are facing issues related to alcohol and drug use.

Recent research suggests that there is a continuum of substance abuse by today's college students. On one end of this continuum, there are a growing number of students who are committed to abstinence. On the other end, there are a significant number of students who started their use at earlier ages and are using substances at rates that define them as clinically dependent. The needs of students vary widely along this continuum of use.

Some of the education classes offered at DAY are:

  • Live Safe 101 - A one time, three hour class held in a small group that focuses on lively and stimulating discussion. Topics covered include: the glamorization of alcohol, media influences, addiction vs. abuse, and myths and reality about substance use on college campuses.
  • Basics - Students meet with a clinician for two sessions to review the online Alcohol and Drug Assessment (Infosoft). These meetings help students determine their level of risk for problem drinking or substance abuse. Sessions are designed to help students identify and acknowledge risky behaviors.
  • Back on TRAC (Treatment, Responsibility, Accountability, on Campus) - The Back on TRAC program is a treatment program for students facing potential separation from the university due to drug or alcohol issues. The program emphasizes accountability and personal responsibility while providing on-campus treatment resources, case management, peer-group support, and individually tailored contracts.

Now, let me share with you the story of "Joe," a student who had a few lapses in judgment throughout his time at Colorado State University (CSU). During Joe's freshman year, he made multiple poor choices related to alcohol, making the Back on TRAC program his only option if he wanted to remain at CSU.

If you asked him today how it went, he would share that the experience changed his life forever. Throughout his journey in the program, Joe came to the conclusion that alcohol and drugs could not play a role in his life if he was going to be successful personally and academically. Although this experience was difficult for him, Joe found the program so valuable that he volunteered his time to other students in the program up until he graduated from CSU with a degree.

I must note that Joe's circumstances reached a higher level of consequences than most students at CSU. At the same time, this story is a testament that CSU understands students make poor decisions which ultimately result in learning opportunities. At CRSCS, we hold students accountable for their actions while providing them an opportunity to be successful in their personal, academic, and/or professional life.

For further information about the office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services or the student conduct process, please visit our website. Be on the lookout in the April e-newsletter for an article about our offices' conflict resolution services!

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2011 Campus Step-Up Retreat

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2011 Campus Step-Up ParticipantsPaul Ronto, Graduate Leadership Coordinator, SLiCE

Campus Step-Up is a three day social justice retreat sponsored by the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement (SLiCE) at Colorado State University. At Campus Step-Up students have an opportunity to expand their awareness on issues of diversity and cross-cultural communication. The retreat enables participants to spend time in a safe environment focusing on self-reflection, education, and personal growth regarding their perceptions of social justice, multiculturalism, and global issues. The ultimate goal is to help develop and support future change agents that will make positive impact in the global society by giving students the skills to act on the issues and causes that they are most passionate about. This year, Anupama Mehrotra gained an experience she won't soon forget:

"We are told growing up that college is going to be the best time of our lives. I hesitate to accept that, but I can now understand why it's said. Campus Step-Up was an incredible opportunity for growth, and one of my favorite experiences at CSU.

The scene was set in a beautiful lodge in Estes Park. The separation from campus framed our minds to begin conversations that "aren't socially acceptable" to talk about: ourselves. I was able to explore and explain my identity without interruption or judgment. I listened to my peers divulge into their own identities. I learned about myself through the stories I listened to, and the stories I told. These stories shed light on how each of us experience oppression. Many of my close friends were at the retreat with me and I learned more about their personal hardships in the capacity of a three day retreat than I had in the entire length of our friendships. I was the most challenged when I began to understand how I contribute to those hardships without realizing it. However, our hardships (and I emphasize "our" because ultimately, oppression belongs to all of us) will not be eliminated unless these conversations take place, and new behaviors stem from them. With a renewed awareness, I left the retreat feeling empowered; ready to change my own actions, and to inform others who also may not be aware of their impact on others.

Now let's be serious, this stuff sounds ridiculously touchy/feely. I'm a student in the College of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences... So how do I reconcile my natural inclination for science and factual information with a retreat like this? Well, I must insist that this was a priceless experience. I will face social justice issues in my future international public health career every day. Access to resources is not available for everyone, depending on a variety of identities, including race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ability… the list continues. It will be my job to address these issues. Social justice, a movement that advocates for equality amongst all groups, is everyone's problem. It can only be changed by changing language, hearing stories, and being touched by our friends' experiences… social change is a slow process. At Step-Up, I heard a quote that best embodies this idea: 'Anything that can be done in a day can be undone in a night.' It's the slow, all-encompassing alterations of belief, values and actions that will one day enable us to live together on this planet without oppression. Campus Step-Up, though challenging and emotional, renewed my spirit and belief that this is possible. I recommend it to everyone."

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February RAMFAM Association Meeting

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RAMFAM Graphic

Who: All Parents and Families of CSU Students
When: Saturday, February 12, 2011
Time: 10:00 am – Noon, Mountain Standard Time
Where: Lory Student Center, Room 214-216 on campus or online via the webcast and RAMFAM Blog
Cost: FREE!!

Tentative Agenda:

  • Welcome
  • Making the Most of Spring Break Student Panel
  • Post Winter Break Discussion
  • Parent and Family Calendar Feedback

On-Campus Logistics:

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

Webcast:

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

Blog:

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

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

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Getting to Year 2 @ CSU Schedule

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Getting to Year 2 @ CSU

Getting to Year 2 @ CSU is a one day conference on February 8, 2011 in the Lory Student Center for first year students (in their second semester). Students are able to select breakout sessions to attend throughout the day.  Sessions provide students with information and resources to assist students with the transition to a second year at CSU and include academic skills, transitioning to off-campus life, study abroad opportunities, how to be successful in the classroom, and much more!!

Please note, sessions denoted with a "UD" are highly recommended for Undeclared Students. Sessions denoted with an "S" are highly recommended for students in the sciences.

8:00am-5:00pm: Check-in and Registration

9:00am-9:50am: Session Block #1

  • Find the Career that Best Fits You!
  • Relax! Relaxation Techniques to Improve the College Experience
  • Should I Change My Major? (UD)
  • Networking in the Sciences, How to Use Your Social Skills to Help You Get a Good Career (S)
  • Off-Campus Jeopardy - Parties, Leases, Neighbors, Oh My!
  • What's In Your Psychological Toolbox?

10:00am-10:50am: Session Block #2

  • Study Abroad: Explore, Engage, Discover!
  • Getting Involved On-Campus Without Getting TOO Involved!
  • Making Year 2 @ CSU An Adventure!
  • (10:00-11:15am) Decisions, Decision, Decisions - How Will I Make These Decisions??? (UD)
  • Preparing For a Career in Health Professions (S)
  • Working in Scientific Research; What Will Set Me Apart (S)
  • Off-Campus Jeopardy – Parties, Leases, Neighbors, Oh My!

11:00am-11:50am: Session Block #3

  • Study Abroad: Explore, Engage, Discover!
  • First Generation Faculty and Staff…Finding Our Way, Helping You With Yours
  • Off-Campus Jeopardy – Parties, Leases, Neighbors, Oh My!
  • Find the Career that Best Fits You! (UD)
  • How to be Successful in Science Courses (S)

12:00pm-12:50pm: Lunch & Keynote Speaker (LSC Grey Rock Room)

Keynote Speaker, Juwon A. Melvin

Sciences Graduate Student Panel (S)

1:00pm-1:50: Session Block #4

  • Money: You Can Handle It!
  • (1:00-2:15pm) Housing Options After the First Year
  • Who Am I and What's My Major? – How Interests & Values Can Help You Declare A Major (UD)
  • Service Learning and Research Experience for Science Students (S)

2:00pm-2:50pm: Session Block #5

  • Charge It! Using Credit Wisely
  • Off-Campus Jeopardy – Parties, Leases, Neighbors, Oh My!
  • Strategies for Academic Success in the Sciences (S)
  • Who Am I and What's My Major? – How Interests & Values Can Help You Declare A Major (UD)

3:00pm-3:50pm: Session Block #6

  • Research Opportunities – How to Get Started
  • Paying for College
  • Learning for Academic & All-Around Success
  • Relax! Relaxation Techniques to Improve the College Experience (UD)
  • Participate in Science Clubs and Organizations (S)
  • Off-Campus Jeopardy – Parties, Leases, Neighbors, Oh My!

4:00pm-4:50pm: Session Block #7

  • Research Opportunities – How to Get Started
  • Off-Campus Jeopardy – Parties, Leases, Neighbors, Oh My!
  • Enhancing your Science Education: Undergraduate Research, Internships, Scholarships and More! (S)

For detailed descriptions of each session, visit the student schedule for the Getting to Year 2 @ CSU Conference.

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CSU Experience Inspires Family to Endow Scholarship

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By Tony Phifer, Senior Writer, Vice President of Public Affairs

Success stories generally take unexpected twists and turns before a happy ending can be achieved.

Greg Kushner's story is no exception.

His path at Colorado State University was anything but direct, but he credits his time as a Ram for making him a success, and for inspiring his family to create a scholarship for students majoring in Construction Management.

"I really think my time at CSU made me who I am today," he said. "CSU offered me the opportunity and the freedom to explore a lot of possibilities and to find myself. I really appreciate that."

Kushner, 27, arrived in Fort Collins from Chicago in

2001, and he freely admits that his primary reason for choosing CSU was the opportunity to ski some of the best snow in the world. It also helped that was born in Colorado and felt at home during his campus visit.

The most challenging aspect of his college experience was finding a major that suited his skill set and passion.

"I was never the greatest student in the world, and it didn't help that I was in five different majors while at CSU," he said. "It took me six years to graduate, and at times I was just scraping by."

His mother, Stephanie, remembers her son's struggles.

"Greg had no idea what the heck he wanted to do," said Stephanie, the executive vice president and COO of Broadwind Energy. "He started, with geology, then fine arts, then history … he just couldn't find his niche. But that area is such a warm, welcoming part of the country, and the support system at CSU is very good."

Greg also made another discovery during his CSU experience. Even though he grew up in the Midwest, Stephanie's family (her maiden name is Knaus) had a long history at CSU, with numerous relatives attending school in Fort Collins.

Stephanie's grandfather, Dan Knaus, and his brother were among the first homesteaders in the Niwot area, and many family members attended CSU. Greg is the 45th Ram in the clan.

"My grandmother was here when CSU was still the Aggies; she worked at the front desk at her dorm," Greg said. "I didn't know much about it when I got here, but now I think our family history here is really cool."

Greg, whose wife, Megan, is a CSU alum, finally found his calling while helping to frame and remodel houses while earning money to pay for school. That led him to CSU's Construction Management program.

Part of his studies included an internship with Fort Collins-based Neenan Company, which has earned a reputation for innovative design and construction methods. Greg has been with Neenan ever since, working in Monte Vista, Trinidad and Longmont.

The Kushners are so pleased with Greg's experience that they established a scholarship for Construction Management students.

"We really wanted to be supportive of CSU and the Construction Management program," Stephanie said. "I like to focus my charity giving on things that are meaningful to me personally, and supporting higher education has always been important to me.

"It took Greg a while to find himself, but at the end of the day he grew up and found his way, and he's very happy. CSU gets the credit for that."

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