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The Backpack
The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of NAU students
Blank Blank
Vol. 6 No. 17 | December 1, 2009
President's Prize 2009 Recipients

Graduating Seniors Recognized

Three graduating seniors have been awarded the prestigious President’s Prize for their exemplary leadership, academic excellence, and service to the NAU community. The awards were announced at the Gold Axe Awards Banquet, where the three—Jamie DeKemper, Rachel Williams, and Michele Coy—were among 16 students receiving the coveted Gold Axe Award for their achievements.

The tradition of the Gold Axe Award dates back to 1933, a year after the student body adopted the axe as the symbol for Lumberjack athletics. It was then that NAU established the tradition of awarding small gold axe pins to outstanding members of the student body. To this day, the gold axe pin is considered the official emblem of the Associated Students of NAU and is presented to recognize students’ outstanding achievement and distinguished service to the university and the greater community.

Gold Axe Award Winners

Katherine Ashley, Physical Education and School Health
Rachel Bodamer, Liberal Studies, Biology
Daniel Brown, Elementary Education
Michele Coy, Biology
Jamie DeKemper, Elementary Education
Dana Flower, Electronic Media and Film
Nitsa Gianakoulias, Management
Filiberto Gurrola, Public Agency Administration
Angelica Hernandez, Speech Communication
Morgan Johnson, Speech-Language Pathology
Naomi Lajeunesse, Elementary Education
Nicole Lucero, Community Health Promotion
Jessica Schwartz, Psychology
Kim Skinner, Physical Education and School Health
Samantha Stauffer, Political Science
Rachel Williams, Speech Communication

Investigation continues into small explosives placed at NAU

from InsideNAU

The Northern Arizona University Police Department is continuing its investigation into the five small, homemade explosive devices that were placed around Mountain View Residence Hall early Wednesday morning. The university will provide a future update when there is new information to share.


Fall Commencement 2009 will be held on Friday, December 11 at 10 AM and 3 PM at the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome. View a complete schedule on the Commencement webpage. Guest attendance and seating at commencement are unrestricted; no tickets required. Guest seating is on the east side of the dome. Information regarding commencement traffic, how to make arrangements for individuals with a disability, hotel and motel lists, and weather can be found on the Commencement webpage.

Health Tip - Winter Driving

from The Fronske Health Center

Many of our students have very limited experience with winter driving prior to moving to Flagstaff. Icy and snowy road conditions occur here from late fall through much of the spring. If your student will be driving in Flagstaff and/or home for winter break, consider sharing these tips:

  • Get the car winterized and make sure tires and windshield wipers are in good condition and appropriate for driving in the snow.

  • When driving on icy or snowy roads:

    • Decrease speed and leave plenty of room to stop
    • Allow at least three times more space than usual between vehicles
    • Use lower gears to keep traction, especially on hills
    • Don’t use cruise control or overdrive
    • Turn on lights to increase visibility to other motorists

It’s also recommended that emergency repair items be kept in the car during the winter. These include:

Car Emergency Kit
  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod-type jack
  • A small shovel for digging out of snow
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow and tire cables or chains
  • A bag of salt or cat litter (to improve traction if the vehicle gets stuck on ice)
  • Working flashlight and extra batteries or a wind-up, battery-free flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
  • Non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts and dried fruits
  • Water
  • Blankets
  • Winter gloves and hat
  • 3 compact safety triangles
  • Reflective vest

If your student doesn’t have these items, you might want to consider an emergency car care kit as a holiday gift.

Proposals for P3 Awards: People, Prosperity, and the Planet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requests proposals for the 7th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet. P3 supports research and development and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. Areas of interest include: energy, built environment, materials and chemicals, water, and agriculture. The amount is expected to be available is $850k, and up to 46 awards are anticipated. Responses are due January 5, 2010. For more info, e-mail Cynthia L. Nolt-Helms or visit the EPA website.

Internship Opportunity

Second Nature

Second Nature is seeking students to work on multiple projects involving sustainability in higher education. Interns will conduct research, gather information, and assist with the implementation of several national programs focused on advancing green building at under-resourced colleges and universities. This work may also include assisting with Second Nature’s other strategic initiatives, including the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Graduate students, very capable seniors, and recent graduates will be considered. This is a grant-funded position encouraging minority students to pursue sustainability-related professions. Applicants with an academic interest in sustainability are preferred.

These internships require a working presence in the downtown Boston Second Nature office. Interns are expected to work the equivalent of 20 hours/week for one year (which can include more summer time hours and less work during the school year), with flexibility around holidays and each individual’s academic calendar.  A stipend of $16/hour will be provided. Interns will work closely with other Second Nature staff and report to the Program Manager and Program Director.

How to Apply

Candidates are invited to submit their resume, cover letter, and the names/contact information of two faculty members who can act as references to internships@secondnature.org

Full details are available online. Applications are due by January 1, 2010.

Event Highlights (Tue, Dec 1–Mon, Dec 7, 2009)

♦ NAU’s Winter Fair 2009 will be held on Wednesday, December 2, from 11 AM to 2 PM in the University Union (second floor dining expansion area). The fair is designed to help prepare students for Flagstaff’s upcoming winter season with information on such topics as physical wellness, driving tips, outdoor recreational activities, etc. Participants will include the Arizona Snowbowl, NAU Bookstore, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), NAU Parking Services, Fronske Health Center, Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, City of Flagstaff Parks and Recreation, and NAU Recreation Center.

♦ The Landsward Institute at Northern Arizona University presents the R4 Holiday Benefit Reception: Reduced, Reused, Recycled, Renewed on Thursday, December 3 from 5-8 PM in the atrium of the Applied Research and Development Building. The celebration will include a recycled fashion show, a silent auction featuring sustainable items and services, and raffle prizes including a vintage cruiser bike! Raffle tickets are on sale now and cost $1 each, or 6 tickets for $5. You need not be present to win. Proceeds will support student internships with regional resource managers, scholarships for environmental field courses and research, and the Native American River Guide Training Program. For more information, please e-mail Catherine Woodwell or call 928-523-0716.

Luminaries at NAU

♦ A Winter Wonderland Celebration awaits you and your family on Friday, December 4! Beginning at 5:30 PM, luminarias will be lit around Heritage Square and lining Route 66. Santa and the mayor will arrive by fire truck at 6 PM, followed by a tree lighting at 6:30 PM. The celebration moves to NAU to view thousands more luminarias lining central and north campus leading to the large pine tree next to the Blome building. The tree will be lit at 7 PM with festive holiday lights. Members of Mortar Board, a service organization of seniors, will serve hot chocolate and cookies. A free showing of The Polar Express follows at 7:30 PM in Prochnow Auditorium. Or, purchase tickets in advance to see NAU Theater’s performance of A Christmas Carol at 8 PM at the Clifford E. White Theater. Also on campus, the Flagstaff Symphony will perform The Nutcracker at 7:30 PM at Ardrey Auditorium.

Flagstaff International Relief Effort (FIRE) is hosting its fourth “fireworks” photography and fine art auction at the Flagstaff Photography Center on Saturday, December 5, from 6 to 9 PM. The silent auction boasts artwork from some of Flagstaff’s most renowned photographers and artists as well as Mongolian artwork and other unique items. Complimentary wine and appetizers will also be provided and attendees can also look forward to a raffle every 15 minutes. There is no cost to attend the event. All proceeds from the “fireworks” auction will be used to benefit FIRE programs and the organization.

♦ More event highlights can be seen at ShowUp Flagstaff.


What's the Flagstaff weekend forecast? Check out Flagstaff Weather, courtesy of Northern Arizona University Weather Service.

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