The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University Get Involved
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Vol. 10 No. 14 | November 5, 2013

Parent to Parent

by Shannon Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

It is the 11th week of the semester already and a great time to check your level of involvement with your student.

Are you still making appointments for your student? Are you guilty of providing morning wakeup call service? I'll admit it: I recently had a slip when I e-mailed my son's advisor with a question without even checking with my son first. At the time I thought I was being helpful, but in hindsight I overstepped. He was perfectly capable of asking the question for himself.

I challenge you to ask yourself, "Am I giving my student space to grow? Are there responsibilities that I am still handling that I could easily pass along to my student?" Families can support their students through gentle reminders, patient listening, brainstorming ways to solve challenging issues, even role-playing difficult conversations with roommates or professors.

Providing opportunities for your student to practice these skills now will help him/her prepare for life after graduation.


The Final Word On Weather

NAU Alert

There may be times when the weather is so bad that your student feels it's unsafe to travel to the university, yet the university has not called for an official closure. In this extraordinary situation, we ask that your student contact his or her professor(s) in order to make arrangements about how to make up missed class work.

Official university weather-related closures and other emergency notices are sent from the Office of Public Affairs. Sign up for the free NAU Alert system to get text message notifications sent directly to your mobile device and e-mail. Students can sign up parents to receive NAU Alerts.

Student Involvement

by Kristine Koehler, Office of Student Life

Research has shown that students who are involved on campus tend to do better academically, feel more connected, and persist to graduation at a higher rate than students who choose not to participate in extracurricular activities. Eighty-four percent of last fall's freshman student organization members returned to campus for fall 2013, compared to 72 percent of the overall freshman class. Our data also shows that student organization members tend to earn more credits per semester and have a slightly higher GPA compared to their peers.

The university has more than 320 student organizations to choose from. There is something for every interest from running to theater, chemistry to criminal justice. If students don't find what they are looking for, it's easy to start a new organization.

All of our student organizations are listed online in True Blue Connects. Students can browse through alphabetical or subject listings to find opportunities to get involved. They can also use a tool in True Blue Connects to identify their interests and view student organizations with similar interests to find a great match. The electronic flyer board on True Blue Connects displays information about upcoming campus events so students can find opportunities there as well.

If your student is not yet involved with activities beyond the classroom, encourage him/her to explore everything that is available at the university!

Health Tip

by Aurelia Acquati, Campus Recreation Services

Students are feeling the crunch of the semester with midterms left and right, and the anticipation of everything they still have to do. Unfortunately, this is also the time when many students feel a decrease in energy and often catch a cold. So how can your student feel revived, fight those nasty colds and persevere through the rest of the semester? We have some tips that we hope will leave them feeling their best!

  1. Get those Z's! When lack of sleep becomes normality, people can suffer from weight gain, high blood pressure, and a weaker immune system. By clocking seven to eight hours of sleep each night, your student will be able to remember information better, increase their mood, maintain their weight, and lower stress levels.
  2. Stay active. Remain active, even when your student is feeling like they have no time left in their day. Exercising on a regular basis will give your student more energy to complete all their tasks and homework, and will also lift their mood and make them feel better.
  3. Drink that H2O! Water has many benefits besides just hydrating the body. It will help your student feel more energized and control their caloric intake. Drinking enough water will also help your student's cognitive function, allowing them to improve brain performance.

Stay connected with Campus Recreation Services through our blog.

NAU Career Services

For many students, deciding on a meaningful career path is an important part of the college experience. As a parent or family member you may be wondering how you can assist your student, or other students, in this process:

  1. Read A Parents' Guide to Career Development. Published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and customized for NAU, this article presents tips, tools, and conversation starters for talking to your student about a career.
  2. Follow NAU Career Services on Social Media. We have a growing presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and maintain a blog and Pinterest site. Learn more about the career-related information being shared with your student, or participate in our LinkedIn discussions.
  3. Recruit via Jobs for Jacks. If you are a hiring manger or recruiter and are interested in recruiting students to work with your organization, we manage an online job search site specific to NAU. Visit, select Jobs for Jacks from the side navigator, and login as an Employer to establish and manage your account.
  4. Attend an NAU Career Fair or other recruiting event. The university holds semi-annual career fairs, including a campus-wide fair and specialized fairs focused on business, engineering, and hotel and restaurant management students. Some employers also schedule information sessions and interview students on campus. Contact if your organization is interested in recruiting here.
  5. Share your expertise. Your student may have classmates or friends interested in your career field. Be open to serving as an informational interview subject, resource, or mentor.
  6. Learn About NAU Degrees and Related Career Paths. What Can I Do With this Major? provides robust resources for exploring the many career paths available for most degrees. Explore this site with your student and discuss potential career paths related to his or her major. If your student is still deciding on a major, understanding related career paths may assist in the decision. Gateway Career Services is here to support your student as they develop their career readiness and skills!

Event Highlights

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