The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University Welcome Week
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Vol. 10 No. 4 | August 27, 2013

Parent to Parent

by Shannon W. Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

Expect those late night calls! Students may call you, their family, for reassurance when things aren't going well, and call their friends with the latest exciting news. When you get those late night phone calls, and you will, instead of trying to fix the problem, you can be a good listener and encourage your student to use the appropriate resources on campus--to go to Campus Health Services, talk to an advisor, professor, a counselor, or tutor.

Resource Connect is an easy way for you to familiarize yourself with some of the resources at the university so you can help your student connect with the support he or she needs. If you need additional information you can always contact me at Parent and Family Services or post a question on our Facebook page.

Family Weekend: September 27-29, 2013

Now that classes have started for your student it is time for you to start planning your Family Weekend visit! It's a perfect time to visit your student, enjoy a range of university activities and soak up the beautiful fall weather in Flagstaff. There are several events that require you to purchase tickets, but there are many more events that are free, fun, and family friendly. We will keep our website updated as additional Family Weekend events are confirmed.

Here are a few of the weekend highlights:

  • Parent Reception (Friday, September 27 @ 5:30 PM) FREE
  • Casino Nite (Friday, September 27 @ 9 PM)
  • Celebration of Academic Achievement (Saturday, September 28 @ 9 AM) FREE
  • Student Showcase (Saturday, September 28 @ 11 AM) FREE
  • BBQ (Saturday, September 28 @ 3 PM)
  • Football vs Montana (Saturday, September 28 @ 6 PM)
  • Family Brunch (Sunday, September 29 @ 10 AM)

Welcome Week

Welcome Week

Welcome Week is in full force! Activities will continue through September 6. Welcome Week is a great opportunity for your student to dive into activities that will help him/her build friendships and connect with students, faculty, and staff who are here to support their success. There are too many activities to list here so be sure to get all the details at Welcome Week Highlights. You may see an activity or event that is a perfect fit for your student!

Freshman Fusion

by Amy Phillips, Campus Recreation Services

In an effort to encourage freshmen to achieve high levels of student connection, enjoy smooth transition and success at the university, and to make healthy lifestyle choices, we encourage students to participate in the health and fitness program: Freshman Fusion.

This three-step program incorporates more than 30 free health, fitness, and nutrition events throughout the student's first semester.

  • During September (step one), freshmen will learn to enjoy a fun, healthy, and active lifestyle through Welcome Week events such as the Freshman Fusion/Sport Club Expo and Health-a-Palooza on September 4. You can even enjoy some Freshman Fusion events with your student during Family Weekend, September 27-29.

  • The month of October (step two) will energize students to the importance of exercise. Students may participate in a multitude of collaborative, in-hall health discussions, paired with fun workouts such as Stress B Gone and Yoga, Siesta & Latin Dance, among others! Campus Recreation Services also hosts their annual PINK week events such as Dodgeball, Group X Power Hour, a Splash to Dash 500m swim, and a 5k run.

  • November (step three) events will educate students on improving their quality of life with a balanced diet. Students will learn to make healthier food choices as they approach finals as well as the importance of hydrating during exercise.

Students may participate in any/all steps in the program, but the more they participate the more fitness gear (workout bands, T-shirts, yoga mats, etc.) they'll receive.

Students have reported that by participating in this program they feel prepared to make or maintain a commitment to regular physical activity (87% of respondents). They are also enrolling in more credit hours and earning higher GPAs (+.28 than non-program participants).

For additional information and to access the calendar of events, visit the Freshman Fusion website or 'like' us on Facebook.

Multicultural Engineering Program

by Kelley A. Horn, Program Coordinator, Scholarships, College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

Whether your student is an incoming freshmen majoring in engineering or a returning student, the Multicultural Engineering Program could be his or her ticket to having a successful year at Northern Arizona University. Don't be fooled by the title; the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP) is available to ALL engineering students. Some of the benefits of participating in MEP are:

  • a private lounge furnished with computers, printer, refrigerator, and coffee
  • one on one tutoring opportunities
  • connect with other engineering students
  • network events with upperclassmen and alumni
  • bi-weekly e-newsletter offering important deadlines
  • workshops featuring interesting topics on careers, internships, and scholarships

The MEP is the "go-to" for any questions your student might have about the College or the University. If we don't know the answer, we will find it for you. Best of all, this service is completely FREE. If you or your student would like to learn more about the Multicultural Engineering Program, you can visit our page at You must complete an application to participate; a link is available on the site. Still not sure? Give us a call at 928-523-9787 or stop by the Engineering building (#69), room 122F and meet us in person. We are excited to get the new school year started!

Grade Performance Status Messages for Students


Grade Performance Status, or GPS, is an academic feedback system to inform your student about important grade and academic performance information. Instructors send your student feedback about attendance, grades, academic concerns, and even positive feedback. GPS helps students stay on the same page as their professors, which in turn makes it easier for them to succeed.

  • Students should watch for GPS messages at and their university e-mail (not Bb Learn).
  • They're not receiving GPS messages? Students should ask their instructors about GPS, and request them to use it to send feedback.

Good Nutrition for Students on the Go!

by Jo Cahill, MS, RDN, Health Educator/Dietitian

Staying well-fueled will help your student succeed with all aspects of campus life from efficient studying, to managing stress, to maintaining an active social life. Developing the habit of eating a healthy breakfast every day is an excellent start. Yet, for many, an extra half hour of sleep in the morning often wins out over a trip to the dining hall before class. If that's the case for your student, you can help them get sleep and fuel by stocking healthy choices in their room. There are healthy ways to stock a dorm room mini fridge (PDF).

Foods like high fiber cereal, yogurt, fruit and nuts can supply fast morning fuel THAT LASTS. An added benefit of eating breakfast before heading out is that it may help them resist a quick stop for a sweetened morning beverage and pastry that increases the likelihood of a mid-morning crash, as well as an increased appetite for sweets.

Native American Student Services

Did you know that Native American Student Services (NASS) at Northern Arizona University provides culturally-sensitive support services to American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students, and assists with the transition from home to the university community. NASS is available to all university students. When you're visiting campus be sure to check out their beautiful new building, the Native American Cultural Center.

NASS offers:

  • a gathering place and a home away from home
  • one-on-one academic, financial aid, personal, and cultural guidance
  • peer mentor support
  • connections to resources for tutoring, child care, and health care/social services
  • cultural events and activities
  • computer lab and study lounge
  • free faxing and printing
  • a variety of complimentary beverages

Event Highlights

  • Welcome Week: August 26-September 6 - Events for students across campus and in Flagstaff.
  • Family Weekend: September 27-29 - Events for the whole family across campus and in Flagstaff.
  • Family Weekend 5k Partner Run/2 mile Walk: September 28 at 8 AM.

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at Flagstaff 365.