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The Backpack
The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of NAU students
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Vol. 7 No. 4 | September 21, 2010
Students succeeding

First Year Support Tips

The first few weeks are critical for new students, and the support they receive from home and what they can do on campus can have an important effect for the rest of their lives. Expect your student to feel some stress and homesickness, and continue to encourage your student through this transition period. Here are some tips you may pass on to your student in the next week:

  1. Get to know your roommate and hall. Most of the students are going through the same experiences, and many can be your student’s main safety net or vice-versa.

  2. Get organized. Professors post assignments, often for the entire semester, and expect students to stay up-to-date. Using a planner to calendar everything can help keep your student on track. Remind your student not to procrastinate! The excuse, “I didn’t know it was due today” doesn’t work at the university.

  3. Go to class. Sleeping in and skipping class is tempting, but going to class is vital to stay informed, especially when professors change dates or give critical information about upcoming tests and assignments.

  4. Find balance. Academics and fun — they seem to be always pulling a tug-o-war against each other. Finding a balance between social, spiritual, physical, and mental takes a little effort, but pays off in how your student feels and performs.

  5. Get involved. With more than 200 clubs, service organizations, and groups on campus, there is sure to be something of interest for your student, whether it includes robotics and Ham Radio or table tennis and backgammon. Feeling involved and part of the community is one of the best ways to feel a sense of belonging.

For more tips and support, please contact Parent and Family Services — we’re here for you!

Family Weekend - Oct 15-17

Family Weekend Update!

You still have time to make a reservation for Family Weekend, but please contact Central Ticket Office soon as some events are filling up fast. Orders through the mail will still be accepted through Friday, October 1, and phone orders will be taken up to Friday, October 15.

Take A Seat Campaign

Honor your student with an engraved seat at Ardrey Memorial Auditorium

Since 1973, more than one million people have taken a seat at Ardrey Memorial Auditorium at Northern Arizona University to enjoy live music, theatre, dance, and more. The 40-year-old seats have seen much use and are showing signs of wear and tear.

At the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra opening concert on September 18, the Ardrey Memorial Auditorium rolled out its Take-a-Seat campaign to replace 925 of the seats on the lower level of the performance hall.

“I have spent many an evening attending a wide range of different fabulous cultural events throughout the years,” said Liz Grobsmith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Like everyone who has ever spent time sitting in the audience, I have thought that the venue deserves higher quality seats.”

Grobsmith is just one of many prominent community members who have “taken a seat” at the auditorium. Business owner Lavelle McCoy, prominent community members Gene and Molly Munger, and Flagstaff Arts and Leadership executive director and NAU alumna Becky Daggett have also donated money to replace the seats. The first Take-a-Seat Row sponsor is Crafco, Inc. from Chandler, Arizona.

Ardrey Memorial Auditorium is the largest performance venue of its kind in northern Arizona. The auditorium serves the NAU and Flagstaff communities, and the many visitors to the area. Audiences have enjoyed performances by the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, the NAU School of Music, and world-renowned artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Jerry Seinfeld, Willie Nelson, the Lord of the Dance, and the Vienna Boys Choir, to name a few.

A tax-deductible donation will help with the purchase of replacement seats. Donors can have a seat engraved with their name, or in honor of someone else. For more information, visit nau.edu/takeaseat or call 928-523-5011.

PHOTO: Louie the Lumberjack, Pete Choukalas (Alumnus, '90) and Ryan Choukalas (future alumnus) Take-a-Seat at Ardrey Memorial Auditorium. Photo by Amanda Voisard.

World Carfree Day - September 22

On Wednesday, September 22, Northern Arizona University will join the World CarFree Network to promote alternatives to car dependence and automobile-based planning. Help make the university a healthier, happier, and more sustainable community by encouraging your student to take the car-free pledge and leave his/her car at home for the day. Everyone who pledges will receive a 20% off coupon from participating sponsors and will have a chance to win a new commuter trailer donated by Absolute Bikes. There will also be free Mountain Line bus service all day, and a Heritage Square fair featuring organizations with a health or environmental focus.

Organizing partners for this event include Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, NAIPTA, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff Biking Organization, City of Flagstaff/Sustainability Program, and Absolute Bikes.

On campus, students can take advantage of the free Yellow Bike program that allows him/her to use a courtesy bicycle on and off campus for a specific time period. The Campus Shuttle service is also free to all students and campus visitors.

Protecting Bicycles on Campus

Flagstaff is a great place to be a cyclist, especially on campus. Weather is ideal and there are plenty of bike lanes and paths, including a pedestrian/bicycle corridor that runs centrally through campus. The university also provides plenty of bicycle racks at all residence halls and academic buildings where students can secure their bikes.

Unfortunately, this semester the university has seen an increase in bicycle theft, but there is good news. According to research, more than 60% of all bicycles stolen are unlocked at the time of theft. Of the remaining 40%, only 2% of the stolen bicycles had been secured with a U-lock.

Here are some tips for your student to keep his/her bicycle safe:

  1. Get a lock that works. Cable locks are not very secure. Thin ones can be snipped in one or two bites with a basic cutter, and thick ones can be cut with a hacksaw in about 60 seconds. Not all U-locks are created equal either. Experience suggests that narrow-shaped locks are harder to break than wider ones. Also, case-hardened locks are harder to saw through.

  2. Use that lock! This means locking both the front and rear tires to the frame and to a secure post or rack. Please note, however, that locking a bicycle to anything other than a bike rack on campus is illegal and Parking Services will impound bicycles locked to trees, handrails, fences, light posts, parking meters — you name it. Wheels are easy to swipe, so locking both is essential (a replacement rear wheel and tire can run $80 to $200).

  3. Lock the bike securely. While it seems like a hassle, the extra time and effort students make will make it more difficult for thieves. Bike thieves look for the easy job and will pass over bicycles locked securely.

Proper way to lock a bicycle
  1. Keep expensive bicycles at home. It’s not a bad idea to keep expensive or nice-looking bicycles at home. Thieves are more likely to take a bike that looks expensive. While it can be painful to resort to this method, painting or “uglifying” a bicycle is often enough (along with a secure bike lock) to make thieves look the other way.

Health Tip: Balancing Act

by Melody J. Hicks, MC, LPC

When most students come to college one of the greatest challenges is learning to balance all the demands, responsibilities and fun that is tossed their way. Many students feel torn between socializing, playing, studying, writing, reading, and doing homework. If students do too much playing and socializing, they are out-of-balance, and the same is true if they do too much studying, homework, reading, or writing. Feeling stress and anxiety is often the result of being out-of-balance.

Creating and keeping balance in students’ lives is often not easy, but here are a few tips to help:

  • Sleep - Sleep renews and refreshes. Sleep deprivation results in decreased functioning, and that leads to increased problems and stress.

  • Eat Well - What that really means is eat regularly and toss in some veggies and other things besides junk food and snacks.

  • Exercise - Most classes for freshmen involve lots of time sitting and that means little movement. Walk, bike, check out the Recreation Services or NAU Outdoors, and move. Movement and exercise have many benefits including reducing anxiety and stress.

  • Listen to others - True friends or people who care tell students when they see them doing too much play or work. Listen to them and get their advice, help, and support.

  • Keep a log - Want to see how time is spent? Then keep a log for just two weeks. See where time is spent on a daily/weekly basis and adjust as needed.

  • Take a Stress Management or Time Management Class or group - It helps to talk with others who are also struggling and to learn new ways to manage stress and time. Both the Student Learning Center and the Counseling Center offer options to students.

The struggle to find balance in college is normal and for students who learn how to create it in their lives it provides a foundation for maintaining balance far beyond college. Currently, Dr. Tom White at the Counseling Center is seeking interested students who want to learn Stress Management.

Event Highlights

♦ The Department of Theatre presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the Tony Award-winning new musical comedy. Performed at the Clifford E. White Theatre, October 15, 16*, 17*, 20, 21, 23*, 24 at 8 PM (*2 PM matinee performance). Tickets available at the Central Ticket Office.

Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at ShowUp Flagstaff.

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