The Backpack 11/12/13 - Native American Heritage Month, Housing for 2014 + More!
The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University Native American Heritage Month
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Vol. 10 No. 15 | November 12, 2013

Parent to Parent

by Shannon Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

Many of us are looking forward to having our students home for Thanksgiving and winter break. Texts, e-mails, FaceTime, and short visits are just not the same as having them home sleeping--and there will be lots of it--in their own beds! Here are a few ideas and things to think about that may help everyone enjoy these special times together.

  • Confirm holiday travel details, arrangements, and reservations.
  • Have a conversation about holiday expectations such as duties around the house, family dinners, other family obligations, and any specific plans your student may have while at home.
  • Revisit house rules that make sense now that your student has been living away on his/her own. Many families find it's time to abandon curfews.
  • Check the Residence Life calendar for residence halls end of semester closing and spring 2014 opening dates and times.
  • Do your students need to make any appointments at home over the break? (for example, the dentist, banking, or haircut)
  • Plan to spend some time reviewing with your student his or her budget and spending the past semester. Does it need some fine tuning for next semester?

I encourage you to consider having "big subject" conversations with your student over break. These discussions might include finances, choice of major, study abroad, or career goals and aspirations, and are best done in person with plenty of time to revisit topics over a period of days. The big topic at my house over break will be summer plans, including family vacation, summer courses, and most importantly, summer work!

November is Native American Heritage Month

Students and departments across campus are celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November, a month long tribute to Native/American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian heritage. A complete schedule of events is online.

Peak Performance Strategies

by Kimberly Vercauteren-Griffin, LPC , Counseling Services

As Thanksgiving approaches, the end of the semester and finals closely follow. This time of year typically increases your student's stress, which can negatively impact one's academic performance. Encourage your student to use these eight principles for peak performance.

  1. Give High Quality Effort - Perform at your peak level by distributing your study time over several sessions rather than cramming. Take short breaks to renew energy.

  2. Defend Your Wellbeing - Be brilliant with the self-care basics. Get plenty of sleep, avoid people who zap your energy or cause increased stress, eat a balanced diet, and maintain regular exercise. Breathe deeply from the belly rather than engaging in shallow breathing from the chest. Schedule some down time to go to a movie or listen to music.

  3. Manage the Moment - Focus on the process (strategy) rather than the outcome (grades). Realize that worrying is asking for what you do not want. Ask yourself, "What do I need to focus on right now?"

  4. Perfect is the Enemy of Great - Avoid over-thinking and under-performing. Patients would die on the operating table if a surgeon was focused on trying to make the perfect stitch. This does not mean that you have to be sloppy or careless; it is striving for excellence versus perfection.

  5. Love the Fight as much as the Finish - Embrace the challenge of finals week rather that hating it, dreading it, and wishing it were over.

  6. Be Optimistic - Life is a series of self-fulfilling prophecies. If you think you can, you probably can. If you think you can't, you probably can't.

  7. Own the Zone - Recall past feelings of being "in the zone" that you have had in your role as a student, performer, musician, or athlete. Reclaim this confidence.

  8. Regret Nothing - Begin with the end in mind. Be disciplined at doing the "right" things to finish the semester on a good note. At the end of finals week, are you going to think "I am glad I did" or "I wish I had?"

Remember, if your student is struggling with this or other stress, Counseling Services at 928-523-2261 is here to help.

Start Thinking About Housing for 2014-15

It's the time of year when Housing and Residence Life starts to plan for Reapplication, the process through which current residents sign up for on-campus housing the following academic year.

Housing Priorities

With consecutive years of record student enrollment increases, we continue to experience high demand for on-campus housing. In recent years the university has added 1,918 beds to the campus inventory and an additional 328 beds will be available for the start of the fall 2014 semester. These additional beds are a result of a combination of university construction and a public private partnership with American Campus Communities (ACC). As we work to keep up with student interest in Northern Arizona University and the student desire for on-campus housing we are working to advance projects that will meet that demand.

The university supports the student transition to college by guaranteeing housing for all incoming freshmen, and prioritizing additional space for rising sophomores. This ensures students are provided with a supportive environment and access to the resources that are known to improve student success in the early years of college. Nearly 86% of students currently living on campus are freshmen and sophomores.

University residence halls and university partnered housing through American Campus Communities (ACC) will house over 8,800 students on campus for fall 2014, enough space to accommodate all students wanting to continue living on campus. Juniors and seniors can apply now to secure a space at Hilltop Townhomes, The Suites or Suites II, the new residence hall opening fall 2014 adjacent to The Suites. Current on-campus residents have priority leasing before off-campus students and new spring students in all ACC housing. Applications and process details are available online at Hilltop Townhomes or The Suites.

Fall 2014 Reapplication Process for University Housing

Reapplication for all other non-freshman residence halls will occur in late spring and will align with the housing priorities noted above.

Phase 1: Submit Application

  • The online application will open March 24, 2014
  • Students with past due rent at that time will not be eligible to apply
  • Students may invite and accept roommate invitations

Phase 2: Room Selection - April 1-11

Room selection will occur in order of priority. Specific room selection times will be generated randomly within each priority group.

  • Priority 1 Room Selection - Rising Sophomores (1-2 semesters of enrollment) - April 1-4
  • Priority 2 Room Selection - Rising Juniors (3-4 semesters of enrollment) - April 7-8
  • Priority 3 Room Selection - Rising Seniors (5-6 semesters of enrollment) - April 9
  • Priority 4 Room Selection - Continuing Seniors (7+ semesters of enrollment) and Grads - April 10
  • Room Selection closes at 12 noon on April 11
  • Spring study abroad/internship students who lived on campus fall 2013 are eligible to participate in the same selection priority as if they were living on campus.
  • Students are able to place accepted roommates at the initial time of room selection


A cancellation fee will be assessed only if a room was selected prior to cancelling the application:

  • Cancel by May 15 - $500
  • Cancel May 16-June 30 - $750
  • Cancel on or after July 1 - $1000

Additional Housing Changes

Beginning fall 2014, the following housing changes will occur:

  • Morton, Campbell and Taylor Halls will become Freshman Connections halls
  • Gabaldon Hall will house both freshmen and upper-division students
  • On campus university partnered housing managed by American Campus Communities (ACC) is currently available to lease for 2014-2015. ACC provides 1,126 beds geared toward upper-division students in Hilltop Townhomes and The Suites. An additional 328 suite-style beds will be available for fall 2014 adjacent to The Suites. Current on-campus residents have priority leasing periods prior to off-campus students in all ACC housing.

More Information

Additional details are available at If you have questions, please contact us at or 928-523-3978.

Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair

Parent And Student Volunteer Opportunity

Northern Arizona University is hosting its 13th Annual Mountain Campus Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair November 23 and 24 at the du Bois Center. All proceeds from the Fair are donated to United Way of Northern Arizona. United Way is coordinating volunteers for the Fair. This could be a great opportunity to spend some time on our campus, meet community members and spend time with your student volunteering at this event. Please contact Christine Pierce at if you would like to volunteer!


Parents, sign in to My Student Body to learn more about this complete alcohol, drug, and wellness program at Northern Arizona University.

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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.