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The Backpack
The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of NAU students
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Vol. 6 No. 27 | March 2, 2010
NAU Bookstore - Gradfest


Join us at the NAU Bookstore March 4-5, between 9 AM and 4 PM for the bi-annual Bookstore Gradfest. Representatives from Herff Jones and Framing Success will be in store to supply information regarding regalia, custom announcements, class rings, and diploma frames to mark your student's achievements. The Office of Alumni Relations, the Office of the Bursar, and the Office of Student Financial Aid will also be on hand to answer any questions regarding holds, student loans, and other pertinent information.

Spring Break Safety

by Dianna Van Sanford

Spring Blooms at NAU

Students across campus are talking about their plans for spring break 2010. There are a variety of plans on the table. Perhaps your student is headed to Rocky Point, Lake Powell, or further abroad. Maybe he/she is coming home to visit family or staying in Flagstaff to enjoy some snowboarding. Whatever ideas your student is entertaining for spring break, a reminder about safety is in order. Share some safety tips with your student about selecting hotels, driving, staying alert in new environments, and traveling abroad. On-campus safety tips are always available through the NAU Police Department.

Residence halls and dining facilities will be open and available throughout spring break from March 15-19, 2010. Encourage your student to ask his/her Resident Assistant what is happening in the hall during spring break if he/she is staying on campus for the week.

NAU Outdoors is offering a San Juan River Kayaking Trip for beginner to intermediate kayakers from March 15-18 in addition to a Wilderness First Responder training on the San Juan River from March 14-22. Have your student contact NAU Outdoors for more information or to register for an event.

Spring Job and Career Fair at NAU

NAU/NASA Space Grant Undergraduate Research Internship Program

Encourage your student to apply for the NAU/NASA Space Grant Undergraduate Research Internship Program sponsored by the Arizona Space Grant Consortium. This program provides research opportunities for full-time NAU undergraduate students. Students earn $9/hour for up to 10 hrs per week for the academic year (300 hour maximum). It is desired that the research further NASA’s mission in some way. The application deadline is March 12.

The United States Geological Survey and Lowell Observatory have additional internship opportunities. Encourage your student to contact Dr. Nadine Barlow or 928-523-5452 if he/she is interested in any of these opportunities.

Health Tip: Gratitude—Stress Management with a Twist

by Dr. Chris Gunn, Director of NAU’s Counseling Center

I’ve been teaching students classic stress management techniques for years. Then I heard Robert Emmons speak. He’s a professor at UC-Davis whose career has focused on gratitude. Gratitude? Really?

Emmons defines gratitude as an affirmation of the goodness in our lives and the recognition that this goodness comes from sources partially outside of us. This recognition is seeing something as a gift, that has value to us, and that is something we are not entitled to. So, to appreciate the grandeur of a Flagstaff snowfall or the privilege to attend college is true gratitude. Taking such things for granted is clearly not.

So what does gratitude have to do with stress management? In research that Emmons and colleagues have done with college students, they have found that small efforts in practicing gratitude (such as keeping a daily list things they are grateful for) results in higher energy, better sleep, greater alertness, and feeling less lonely. Not only is it a technique to fight stress, Emmons argues it may be preventing depression - which is the common cold of mental health.

So now, as I did last week with a class of Health Science majors, I talk about quick and easy ways to stay grateful - simple things students (and all of us!) can do to boost our gratitude immune system:

  • Communicate thanks with a text, a phone call, a postcard.
  • Make of a list of “things I usually take for granted.”
  • Notice the small things - yes, stop and smell the coffee (and snow!)
  • Keep a gratitude journal - write down a few things each day.
  • Catch (and release) ungrateful thoughts and words.

I often close with a challenge to students to “Give it try - what do you have to lose?” As for me, I’m grateful for Dr. Emmons’ work that gives empirical support to things our parents, teachers, and spiritual leaders have been saying for centuries. Very grateful.

Event Highlights (Tue, Mar 2-Mon, Mar 8, 2010)

♦ The College of Arts and Letters Classic Film Series continues to screen free films on Tuesday nights (with one exception,) at 7 PM in the Cline Assembly Hall until April 27. The next film is Spartacus and will screen on March 2.


SUN Entertainment presents Switchfoot March 4 at Ardrey Auditorium. Doors at 7 PM. Show at 7:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased at the Central Ticket Office.

♦ Every AfterHours brings your student great entertainment and a chance to win great prizes such as Dell laptops, PS3’s, mountain bikes, MacBooks, iPods, Wii’s, Disneyland passes, and much more. AfterHours events are free to students with their JacksCard. Student can text ‘sun events’ to 39649 for extra raffle tickets. The next AfterHours event is on March 5 at 9 PM at The Point (formerly known as the Union Dining Expansion) and will include Comedy Sportz Utah Improv, Magician David Hall, and Comedian Scott Derringer.

NAU Women’s Basketball competes against Montana on March 4 and Montana State on March 6 at 6:35 PM in the Skydome. Athletic events are free to students with their JacksCard.

♦ The NAU Theater Department presents Macbeth directed by Dr. Mac Groves March 3-12. Tickets can be purchased at the Central Ticket Office. Student tickets are only $2.

♦ The Traditional Knowledge Scholar Lecture Series continues with “Home Remedies-Wild Medicinal Plants around Flagstaff” on Monday, March 8, with Marina Vasguez in SBS West, room 115 from 4 to 5 PM. Free. Questions? Marina Vasquez or 928-523-5927.

More event highlights can be seen at ShowUp Flagstaff.

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