The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University Commencement
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Vol. 10 No. 19 | December 10, 2013

Parent to Parent

by Shannon Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

Save the date for Family Weekend 2014

Thank you to everyone who participated in Family Weekend, September 2013 and made it a success! We hope that you were able to spend meaningful time with your student, learn about campus, and connect with other families.

Family Weekend 2014 will be held September 26-28, 2014.

Save the date and make plans for family fun at the Flagstaff campus. Events will begin Friday late afternoon/early evening and conclude mid-day on Sunday. We guarantee there will be food, family fun and football, but you'll have to wait until August, 2014 for specific event details to be posted on our website and on our Facebook page.

Whether you attended or not please take a few minutes and complete our Family Weekend survey. We value your opinion on past events and ideas for next year!

Commencement Information

Where and when is the commencement ceremony?

The fall 2013 Commencement Ceremonies will be held on Thursday, December 19 at the Skydome on the Flagstaff campus. The NAU fall 2013 Commencement Website provides the time of each ceremony, directions to the venue, and helpful information for family and guests.

You should arrive at the Skydome one hour prior to the ceremony start time. Signs will be posted at each entrance, suggesting where families and friends should be seated for best viewing. (Interior Skydome map).

Do my family members and friends need tickets to attend?

The ceremony is free and tickets are not required. You may invite as many friends and family members as you wish!

If your guests plan to stay in Flagstaff, they will find a list of accommodations at the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau website or by calling 1-800-842-7293.

Where can the ceremony be watched live online? How do I go about purchasing a recording?

All ceremonies will stream live online on the NAU Commencement website. Live coverage begins 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start times on Thursday, December 19, 2013. A DVD of your loved one's ceremony makes a great gift! Purchase your DVD by calling NAU-TV Services at 1-800-628-6266.

Individuals with disabilities

If students require accommodation due to a disability to participate in commencement exercises, please contact the Office of Affirmative Action at 928-523-3312 or Requests for accommodation should be made as early as possible, preferably at least one week prior to commencement, to allow time to arrange the accommodation.

Guests of graduates do not need to call ahead for accessible seating accommodations. The Skydome has accessible seating with companion seating for individuals in wheelchairs and scooters, as well as designated seating for those who have trouble negotiating stairs. We recommend that individuals needing assistance getting to seating arrive an hour before the ceremony. For other accommodation needs or to ask questions about access, please contact the Office of Affirmative Action as early as possible at 928-523-3312 or

Accessible Parking: We have reserved a large portion of the Skydome parking area (P66) for individuals with disabilities. Please plan to park in this lot if you need to drop off a candidate or guest with a disability close to the Skydome. For direct access to disabled parking, drive east on McConnell Dr. to San Francisco St., then South on San Francisco St. where you will be directed into lot P66 by the officers directing traffic at the lot entrance (see commencement map).

Fall Closing and Winter Break Housing Reminders

Residence halls close for the winter break at 10 AM on Thursday, December 19. Students involved in the December graduation ceremonies will be allowed to stay until noon on Friday, December 20 with prior approval from their residence hall director. The residence halls will reopen at 9 AM on Saturday, January 11, 2014.

Winter downtime halls will remain open over the winter break. Residents of the following downtime halls will have continued access to their rooms:

  • Aspen Crossing
  • Campus Heights
  • Gabaldon
  • McKay Village
  • Pine Ridge Village
  • South Village Apartments
  • Tinsley

All other residence halls are locked over the winter break and card access is deactivated until the halls reopen in January. Students returning in spring to their same room can leave their belongings in their room over the break, but are encouraged to take valuable items with them as they will not have access to their room. Remind your student to pack important items and prepare their room for the break:

  • laptop, cell phone, and chargers
  • eye glasses and medications
  • driver license and passport
  • airline tickets
  • clean the refrigerator and remove perishable items
  • remove all trash and recycling from the room
  • unplug everything except the refrigerator (and aquarium if applicable)
  • lock windows, close the blinds and lock the door prior to leaving

View a fun demonstration of how your student should prepare for closing:

All residents have been sent detailed closing and winter downtime information to their university e-mail accounts, including tasks to complete prior to the winter break. Please encourage your student to follow the guidelines outlined in this e-mail and contact their RA with any questions.

Good luck to your student with fall final exams - we hope you enjoy a happy holiday season!

Stress Relieving Workouts

by Aurelia Acquati, Campus Recreation Services

Finals are right around the corner, which usually means high stress levels and lack of sleep for students. Luckily, there are many ways your student can relieve their stress. The most popular exercises for stress relief are Yoga and Pilates, walking, and circuit training--all of which can be done on their own or at NAU's Recreation Center.

Yoga and Pilates - Yoga is known to help calm the mind and relax the body, but it also helps relieve stress. Pilates can be more intense than yoga because it focuses on core strength and stability, requiring mental concentration. But Pilates can help reduce back and neck pain, which often come from stress.

Walking - If your student is looking for something to do on their own, or in their spare time, walking is a great way to stay fit and reduce stress levels. Regular walking can boost your student's mood and self-confidence, while decreasing anxiety and stress.

Circuit Training - Maybe your student is looking for a workout to get their blood pumping and sweat flowing; if that's the case then circuit training is for them. This high intensity workout releases feel-good endorphins and packs in a great workout in a short amount of time--perfect for study breaks.

Visit our blog to learn more and stay connected with Campus Recreation Services!


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

Passcode: nauparent

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.