Welcome from President Tony Frank
Dear Parents and Family Members,
In just over a week, I expect to see many of you on campus for Homecoming and Family Weekend, one of the best opportunities we have each fall to connect and engage with you as members of the CSU community. This is a great time to be on the CSU campus, and whether you’re able to be here in person – or just in spirit – your involvement and interest are very welcome.
One of our other longstanding CSU Fall traditions is the President’s Address and University Picnic on the Oval, when I share my thoughts on CSU’s progress and hopes for the year ahead. That event took place in September. In my speech this fall, we celebrated our enrollment of the largest, most diverse and among the most academically qualified classes in CSU history – one that represents every county in Colorado and every state in the nation, and one in which one-third of our students are the first in their family to go to college. We noted another record fundraising year and also set new records in terms of graduation rates and student retention. The number of CSU students having international experiences like education abroad has doubled in the last decade, and the number of undergraduates participating in mentored undergraduate research and scholarship has quadrupled in just five years. We’ve held our student:faculty ratio to 16:1 and funded 40 new faculty positions in the last budget cycle alone.
The university is on a great trajectory. Still, as we look ahead to five years from now – when CSU will celebrate its 150th year – it’s important to take stock and really assess where we want our campus to be in that milestone year.
The people who were here at CSU’s founding could not have imagined the great university that would grow from the seeds they planted. And given the pace of change, we cannot fully imagine what CSU will be like a century and a half from now. But we can – as they did – tend our plantings. We can lay a foundation that will support change and evolution, even disruption and revolution, that moves this university forward. We have a chance to leave a legacy for those who will stand on the Oval 150 years from now. We will never see those faces; we won’t know their names; we can’t even imagine the types of things they will be studying. But we know they will build upon our foundation.
In that spirit, I used this year’s Fall Address as a platform from which to challenge our campus community to “Re-Envision Colorado State.” Let’s take a thoughtful, collective look at the kind of university we want CSU to be in her 150th year and beyond. Can we envision how to facilitate learning in a new era of technology, when the pace of change threatens to spin our heads? Can we envision how we discover in an age of big data and even bigger questions? Can we envision how we connect to the citizens we exist to serve in an era awash with information, drowning in “communication,” and trying hard to turn down the noise? Can we envision what student services look like to amazingly talented people struggling with mental health issues? Can we envision a balance between quality and affordability – making real the promise of access to excellence?
Now that we’ve posed these questions, over the next year, our campus community will be working collaboratively to fill in the answers. The leadership of our faculty, staff, and student body will be guiding this re-envisioning effort. Together, they will lay the groundwork for what we hope will be an exciting roadmap for the future of Colorado State University.
It is my hope that you, as parents, family members, and participants in the life of this campus, will engage with these discussions and share your ideas and imagination. CSU has become a national leader in areas ranging from sustainability to student success because of a willingness to dream big and follow through – and our work today will lay a strong foundation for our future.
Thank you – and best wishes!
Dr. Tony Frank
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Fall Has Arrived to Campus, Come Celebrate with Us!
By Erin Hammersley | Coordinator of Parent and Family Programs
As we turn the calendar to October it’s a reminder that fall has officially arrived in Fort Collins. Fall is one of our favorite times of the year on campus, a time where we see the campus come alive with student activities and engagement, when students are fully immersed in their academic curriculum and in October we take time to celebrate the rich history and tradition of CSU during Homecoming and Family Weekend.
With Homecoming and Family Weekend approaching, our staff looks forward with great excitement to welcome families and alumni back to campus. We hope you are able to join us! There are many exciting traditions and events that families can choose to participate in over the weekend, we will take time to highlight just a few below:
Friday, October 16th:
- Housing Options After the First Year, 1:30pm LSC Theatre (REGISTRATION REQUIRED – link here)
Is your student a first-year student at CSU? Have you already begun to have discussions about housing options for next year? Are you unsure of when to begin these discussions or what options are available to your student? Have you heard of the new housing options opening up on campus in Fall 2016?
Deciding where to live next fall can be a daunting process for students and families; families are encouraged to attend this event to find out information about options available to their student in their second year. This information-packed session will present options for both on and off-campus living, as well as provide families with information about the rules and regulations for residents of the City of Fort Collins – applying to students choosing to live off-campus. Participants will hear from representatives from Off-Campus Life, Residence Life, Apartment Life, and Re/Max. This session helps to support your student in making a decision about where to live during their second year and beyond.
- Festival on the Oval, 3:30pm The Oval
- Homecoming Parade, 4:30pm The Oval
- Friday Night Lights, 6:00pm West Lawn
Includes the Pep Rally, Bonfire, Fireworks and Lighting of the A
Saturday, October 17th:
- Homecoming 5K Race, 8:00am The Oval
- Parent and Family Breakfast, 9:00am LSC Theatre
Thanks to your amazing support, we have SOLD OUT our first Parent and Family Breakfast on Saturday, October 17th! Details about the program and check-in process for those that registered will be sent to your email on Monday, October 12th.
We know that there continues to be interest in the program and we hope next year to move to a larger space to accommodate interest – if you were unable to purchase a ticket this year to attend (we didn’t imagine it being sold out this quickly!) we want to offer a few other suggestions for enjoying breakfast Saturday morning here in Fort Collins:
- Enjoy breakfast with your student at one of our dining halls! Parents and legal guardians are welcome to eat with their residence hall student any of our dining centers or express locations for FREE (see this link for details)! For more information on parent and guest meals see the Housing and Dining Services website.
- Enjoy breakfast in Downtown Fort Collins! In close proximity to campus, there are many local restaurants (and your student may already have a favorite!) that serve breakfast and provide a great atmosphere. For a list of dining options see the Downtown Fort Collins website.
- A few other local options and student favorites not listed on the Downtown Fort Collins website (these include some of my personal favorites)
- Homecoming and Family Weekend Tailgate, Begins at 10:30am Ram Town at Hughes Stadium
- Homecoming Football Game, 1:30pm Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium
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Important Upcoming October Dates
Fall has officially begun and that fall weather is slowly coming to Fort Collins! In addition to the excitement of Homecoming and Family Weekend, there are many other activities, events, and workshops throughout the month to keep your student warm for the remainder of the semester! Throughout the entire October month The Institute for Learning and Teaching will be hosting a variety of workshops in honor of Academic Integrity Month at Colorado State University. Unintentional plagiarism, citing publications, and testing strategies will be some of the main topics covered in this month's workshops which will assist your student in experiencing academic success.
Spring semester may seem to be far ahead but to assist students in future class schedule planning the spring 2016 class schedule will be available on October 2nd.
October is National Latino Heritage month and LGBT month! Throughout the month there will be a variety of events in celebration of Latino culture aimed at spreading diversity, culture, and knowledge about the contributions Latinos have made throughout history! At the same time, the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning and Ally Resource Center, in collaboration with other campus and community offices, will be hosting a number of events for LGBT History month.
Other important dates to keep in mind:
- Oct 19th - End of course withdrawal period and repeat/delete deadline
- Oct 26th - Spring Registration begins, talk with your students about making appointments with Academic Advisors
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The Importance of Happiness
By Viviane Ephraimson-Abt |Coordinator for Resiliency and Well-Being Initiatives, CSU Health Network
Though it might seem a bit frivolous, happiness is more than just a positive fleeting emotion. The field of positive psychology is booming with research on how happiness is related to increased life satisfaction and overall well-being. Participating in activities that are known to boost happiness helps us with emotional fitness in the same way that exercising can boost our physical fitness. As parents and family members, we might want to take a moment to do a happiness check-up, especially during this time of transition to being parents and family members of college students.
First, let’s explore happiness itself. Happiness is both a set trait, and a state we can cultivate. Some of us are more genetically predisposed to being happy. Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California Riverside and the author of several books about happiness offers a Three Legged Theory of Happiness. Roughly 50% of our happiness is related to genetics. We can find ourselves on a continuum of the high, mid, or low range of being a happy person. This is referred to as our happiness set point.
10% of our happiness is related to our life circumstances, including if we have our basic needs met, where we live, our family circumstances, enough financial resources, and so on. Some might think that we could be happier if we are able to attain more in life. Yet, after a certain point, more does not make us happier. And, we are quick to adapt to the gains in our life, as their novelty wears off. For example, when researchers gave participants money and invited them to buy something for themselves or for someone else, they found that the persons who bought something for someone else had a more lasting boost in happiness.
Which brings us to the fact that a whopping 40% of happiness can be influenced no matter our set point! So, what can we do to feed the happiness meter? Lyubomirsky and others have found that engaging in small intentional activities on a daily and weekly basis can increase and sustain happiness. Here is a sampling of ones that have been researched: taking in the good and giving to another by expressing gratitude, being altruistic and practicing acts of kindness, and cultivating optimism by imagining and writing about one’s best possible future.
One important point that Lyubomirsky makes is that what helps one person boost happiness might not be as effective for someone else. In her book The How of Happiness, she identifies twelve strategies to increase happiness. Dr. Lyubomirsky has a short assessment to determine what strategies fit best for us. Consider taking this assessment and seeing what you might like to do to support your happiness and your well-being, especially during times of transition. Encourage your student to take the assessment as well. Who knows, you might find that you share similar pathways to happiness.
Sonja Lyubomirsky’s evidence-based happiness-increasing strategies from The How of Happiness
1. Expressing Gratitude
2. Cultivating Optimism
3. Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison
4. Practicing Acts of Kindness
5. Nurturing Social Relationships
6. Developing Strategies for Coping
7. Learning to Forgive
8. Increasing Flow Experiences
9. Savoring Life's Joys
10. Committing to Your Goals
11. Practicing Religion and Spirituality
12. Taking Care of Your Body
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at UC Riverside, is the author of The How of Happiness (2008) and The Myths of Happiness (2014), among other works.
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University Expectations - A Focus on Programs to Support Academic and Social Transitions
As we reach the mid-point in the fall semester, students are approaching midterm exams and adjusting to new and challenging expectations of the University academic environment. As a family member you may be a key person they turn to for advice or to voice complaints as previous study strategies and skills, which led to success in high school may not lead to the same grades in their new environment. In addition to new academic expectations, our students are still adjusting to a new living environment, new relationships, and a new community. Any transition comes with these challenges and emotions, and should your student be looking for advice, as a mentor through this experience, you have the perfect opportunity to bring up conversations about adjusting expectations and behaviors to help them find success while transitioning to college expectations.
Here are some areas we recommend for discussion with students making the transition.
- Take control of your own education: think of yourself as a scholar. (You are here for a reason, you can do this!)
- Get to know your professors; they are your single greatest resource. (Professors have office hours to support students.)
- Be assertive. Create your own support systems, and seek help when you realize you may need it. (Talk with your RA, a counselor in the CSU Health Network, or even your peers as others may be feeling the same way!)
- Take advantage of campus resources like TILT: Many students benefit greatly from tutoring in college even if they didn’t utilize it in high school.
- Take control of your time. Plan ahead to satisfy academic obligations and also make room for everything else. (Get organized, use a calendar or make lists.)
- Stretch yourself: get involved in an activity or take a class that expands your interests and social circles. (Connect with the SLiCE office!)
- Make thoughtful decisions: don't take a course just to satisfy a requirement, and don't drop any course too quickly.
- Think beyond the moment: set goals for the semester, the year, your college career. (Goals help guide our priorities and decisions, keeping those in mind helps us to stay focused on what's important!)
adapted from Southern Methodist University
CSU offers additional programming to support students during the transition, we've highlighted just a few programs and services available to students this month to ease the challenges and normalize the emotions associated with transition. Please encourage your student to attend the following events or utilize the resources available to them if challenges arise - also please call the Parent and Family Programs Office if you have any questions or concerns at (970) 491-6680.
U-Turn - Acting on Academics
By Joanna Lilley | Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA)
With October finally here, the mid-semester point is now upon our students. The first set of exams have most likely happened, and more often than not, students cringed in receiving their grades because they “didn’t do as well as they’d hoped.” Fortunately, CSU is proactive in supporting students in this situation. Staff on campus have partnered with faculty in identifying students who are already struggling in their courses. Most professors assign students a “U” if they are not passing and/or at-risk of not passing the class at this point in the semester. From there, professors and staff are reaching out to these students encouraging them to attend “U-Turn.”
U-Turn is a single-day academic success expo that serves as a “one-stop-shop” to get students back on track. Although we encourage students who receive a “U” to attend this event it is open to any current CSU student. All students find this event beneficial as it is one of the only times during the year where multiple resource offices are under one roof. This year, U-Turn will take place on Wednesday, October 14th from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. in the TILT building.
The experience at this event is fairly simple. At U-Turn, students will meet individually with one staff member to discuss some of their academic challenges up to this point in the semester. During their discussion, the staff member will identify and recommend three on-campus resource offices that that student needs to connect with. From there, the staff will walk the student up to the TILT Great Hall where more than twenty resource offices will be present and ready to chat. The last thing each student will do before leaving U-Turn is create an “action plan.” This action plan allows each student to identify specifically the changes they need to make and the steps they need to take, in helping them turn their academic performance around.
Regardless of academic standing, we encourage all students to check out U-Turn to advance further in their academic success. It can be hard to ask for help, especially if a student doesn’t know where to begin. U-Turn can be the place to start!
Work It Out in Conflict Resolution Month!
By Liz Menter | Graduate Assistant for Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services
October is Conflict Resolution Month, which means it’s a great time to explore CSU’s conflict resolution services for students. Conflicts can come up unexpectedly, especially as your student is navigating life in college. New roommates, classmates, faculty and staff, neighbors, student organizations – it can be a lot to handle!
We often don’t think about conflict until we’re already involved in it. Fortunately, there are many things your student can do to be proactive about preventing conflict.
- Set clear boundaries and expectations. Being proactive about needs and hopes for the year can mean a much smoother year for everyone. Rather than waiting until your student is in a standoff with a roommate about who should take out the trash, having an open discussion early on about what your student expects will help avoid unnecessary conflicts.
- Make connections with neighbors, faculty members, and supervisors. Having a personal connection and opening the way for dialogue will make it easier later in the year if your student needs to have a tough conversation or go to someone for help.
- Be open and honest. We sometimes want to ignore a budding conflict in the hope that it will blow over, but encouraging your student to verbalize their needs and emotions will help their peers and mentors to know how they’re impacting your student. A roommate may not know they’re getting on your student’s nerves if they don’t know how much your student values clean common areas, but sharing needs early on can facilitate communication and ensure a positive, rewarding relationship for everyone.
We at the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services (CRSCS) are here to help your student manage conflicts if they arise and to increase public awareness about the many benefits of conflict resolution. Our mission is to:
- Support students as they overcome mistakes
- Engage in character development with an emphasis on ethical decision-making and integrity
- Resolve conflict at the lowest level possible through education, facilitation, and support
- Foster a safe and welcoming community
We want to listen to your student, help find answers to their questions, provide information and advice, develop options, and assist in pursuing a resolution. Here are some highlights of the services we offer:
- Conflict Coaching: We can meet one-on-one with your student to talk through any conflict, brainstorm solutions, and provide coaching on helpful conflict resolution skills to empower students to solve the conflict on their own.
- Grade Appeals: We are happy to explain policies and procedures and give general guidance if your student files a grade appeal.
- Mediation and Facilitation: We provide confidential mediation services for small group disputes or large-scale discussions with multiple parties. A neutral third party mediator will sit down with the parties in conflict to facilitate dialogue and help to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
- Restorative Justice: Restorative justice brings together those who have been harmed with those who did the harm, whether physical, verbal, or emotional. Our trained facilitators help both parties to decide what harm was done and how to restore relationships by repairing the harm.
Whatever the conflict your student is experiencing, we are here to help work toward a resolution. If you want to refer your student to our office, they can call 970-491-7165 or make an appointment online. You can find more information about our services on our website. Let’s be proactive and work it out in Conflict Resolution Month!
Academic Integrity Month
By Dr. Elaine Green | Director of Academic Integrity
We are fast approaching the midpoint of Fall semester when exams and papers will be due in nearly all of your student’s classes. Our annual October Academic Integrity Month is designed to familiarize students with their scholarly responsibilities and the expectations we have of them, some of which may be quite different than their experience in high school.
Particular attention will be paid to student misconceptions regarding what constitutes plagiarism. These free, informative seminars address many common mistakes, paying particular attention to selecting credible sources, citing them correctly, and how to use a variety of online citation formatting tools effectively.
On Thursday, Oct 29, at 10:00 a.m., our Library staff will present a workshop on using technology and online guides to easily and correctly format citations in their written work. That session will be in Morgan Library, room 174.
The full Academic Integrity Month schedule and session descriptions is available online.
You can help your Ram get off “on the right foot” by encouraging him or her to attend these seminars and by understanding how important academic integrity is to fellow students and faculty. Please help us help your student avoid making the kind of academic mistakes that might negatively impact their future. Join us in our effort to dispel myths, spread knowledge, promote a culture of integrity, and introduce valuable campus resources.
October is a reminder to “Choose Integrity” for a successful career at CSU.
Your Students Have Time Before They Sign (a lease)!
By Emily Allen | Off-Campus Life
As we approach the middle of the fall semester, many students and family members begin to discuss housing options for the following year. The process of looking for housing can be an additional source of stress and anxiety for students, and many are under the assumption that housing is so limited that individuals must sign early (as early as now) to secure a place for the following year. The fact is, the fall semester is a great time to start the research process, so the student is well informed come spring semester.
By waiting to sign a lease in the latter spring months, students can take their time in figuring out if they want to study abroad, look for compatible roommates (hint, they typically aren’t the ones they are thinking of right now!), learn what a realistic budget looks like, figure out the type of housing they want (apartment, single family home, etc.), and the list goes on and on. The exception to the rule is if the student has very specific needs (i.e. a service animal, accessibility requirements), in which case they will want to begin researching and seeking help earlier in the process to make sure those needs can be met.
Please encourage your student to take their time and not rush into signing a lease! Now is the time for researching and becoming an informed renter. Have them swing by Off-Campus Life in the Lory Student Center, Room 274 to gather a lot of great resources. Additionally, Housing & Dining Services will be rolling out Live On, the room selection campaign for students currently in the halls, on November 1. We are very excited to offer returning students premium spaces on campus as well as incentives to remain on campus. Please stay tuned for details and plan to attend the Housing Options Presentation during Homecoming and Family Weekend on October 16.
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Commencement Information: Celebrate your graduate!
If you have a student graduating in December … congratulations! This is a very exciting time for both you and your student. Since graduation will be here soon, we encourage you to talk with your student about ordering a cap and gown. The deadline to order is November 11, 2015.
Grad Pack prices start at $43 and include:
- Cap, gown, and tassel rental
- Alumni Association Annual Membership
- Diploma frame discount
To view additional Grad Pack options or to place an order, click here.
Official CSU License Plates make a great gift!
Still looking for the perfect graduation gift? Your student will love to show their Ram Pride on the road with the official CSU license plate. The Colorado Annual Grad Pack includes all items in the Annual Grad Pack, plus an official CSU license plate!
Learn more about or purchase a Colorado Grad Pack here.
Questions? Please contact the Alumni Association at (800) 286-2586.
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