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E-Newsletter - March

 

In this edition of the Parents Association E-Newsletter:

Being Safe on Spring Break

Start Early, Start Successful: Reminding Students to Meet with Their Academic Advisor

Where Should I Live?  Helping Students Consider Housing Options

Student Services Spotlight - Campus Recreation

Submit your ideas for future E-Newsletter articles


 

 Being Safe on Spring Break

 

Eager to take a break from tests and winter weather, many Missouri State students are busy making plans for their Spring Break vacations.

This year, Spring Holiday falls directly before Spring Break. Spring Holiday will be March 20 & 21. Spring Break is the week of March 23.  No classes will be held from the 20th to the 30th. University offices will remain open to conduct business (except for the 21st); however, residence halls (except for Hammons, Hutchens, Sunvilla, and Scholars Houses) will be closed for Spring Holiday and Spring Break.

While we want students to have a fun and relaxing time during their Spring Break, we also want them to remain healthy and safe.  As parents of our students, we hope that you will share with them some tips that can help them do so.

Road Trips

  • If your student is traveling in their own vehicle, make sure it has been serviced by a mechanic to ensure it can make a long trip safely.
  • Have your student plan a route primarily based on heavily-traveled highways and interstates, and make sure they are familiar with the route before departure.  Being lost decreases a person’s vigilance and increases the possibility that he or she could become the victim of a crime.
  • Ask your student to inform you of when he or she is leaving, when he or she will return, and the route he or she is traveling.  You may also want to know if they will be at different locations during the week (for example, in Orlando, Florida Monday through Wednesday, and Daytona Beach Thursday through Saturday).
  • Have your student complete a checklist of things to bring with them or pack in the car.  This list might include a health insurance card, a cellular phone, tools, a first aid kit, a flashlight, an AAA card, fire extinguisher, water and snacks. 
  • Emphasize that students should be alert and aware of situations and people they encounter.  They should not pick up hitchhikers, and they should be extremely cautious should they decide to stop for anyone on the side of the road. 

Foreign Travel

  • Students should research their destination country carefully for information on safety, law enforcement, entry/exit requirements, food/water safety, etc. The U.S. Department of State maintains Consular Information Sheets that provide extensive details about travel in other countries. Travel warnings can also be found on the U.S. Department of State web site.
  • In addition to researching your destination, take special care to research your tour group, hotel, side trip companies, and car/recreational equipment companies. If your student is working with a travel agent, have the agent provide your student recommendations on legitimate, safe options.
  • Special medical care, special vaccinations or medications to prevent common local diseases, may be needed before traveling to another country.  The Center for Disease Control provides comprehensive health and vaccination information by country of destination. The Taylor Health and Wellness Center on campus may be able to provide these services. 
  • Encourage your student to make copies of all of their identification and plane tickets and store them in the hotel safe, not his or her room safe.
  • Make sure you know about your student’s travel itinerary. You might want to know hotel information and transportation information, and you might also want copies of all of his or her important documents (passport, visa, driver’s license, plane tickets, etc.).

Fun and Sun

  • Students should wear sunscreen with a “sun protection factor” (SPF) of at least 15 (higher if you burn easily or are taking medications that increase risk of sunburn).  Remind them to reapply the sunscreen after swimming, sweating, and after the recommended time on the bottle. 
  • Sun damage and sunburns can occur even if you are not at the beach.  Students should wear sunscreen even if it is cloudy or they are doing any activity around water or snow (skiing, snowboarding, etc.) since they both reflect light. 
  • They should wear sunglasses that block out harmful UVA and UVB rays, as well as protective clothing and hats.
  • Avoiding the mid-day sun is important.  The sun’s rays are most intense between 10:00am and 3:00pm.
  • Students should also drink lots of water to avoid dehydration if they are in the sun.

Assorted Tips

  • Students should make sure their name and address are not highly visible on their luggage so that people who know that you are away from home will not know where you live.
  • While traveling, students can put their foot through the strap of a bag or purse to prevent leaving it behind or having it stolen. 
  • Students should be aware that pickpockets prey on people in crowds. They usually get close and bump into people without them noticing. Pickpockets also work in groups. One will distract while the other slips away with valuables. 

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 Start Early, Start Successful:  Reminding Students to Meet with Their Academic Advisor

 

Now that students are finishing up mid-semester exams, many are considering their academic plans for the summer and fall semesters of 2008.  As they consider their options, students should seek out the advice of their academic advisor.

Advisors help students make good academic decisions, understand requirements, plan ahead for future semesters and make use of the resources of the University.  “We believe each Missouri State University student deserves to work with a knowledgeable, caring advisor who wants to help that student have a successful educational experience,” says Kathy Davis, Director of the Academic Advisement Center.  Because academic advising is important at Missouri State University, freshmen, sophomores, graduate students and students on academic probation are required to get an advisor’s approval prior to registering each semester.

You may want to remind your student to call for an academic advising appointment by the beginning of April.  If a student does not know who his or her advisor is, they can find out by viewing “My Information,” the student information page online.  Other questions about advisor assignment should be directed to the departmental office of the student’s major.  Undecided students may call the Academic Advisement Center at (417) 836-5258.  College of Business Administration students should contact the Business Advisement Center at (417) 836-5386 and elementary education, early childhood, middle school and special education majors should call the Professional Education Advisement Center at (417) 836-5429.  Academic advisors are very busy during early registration, so it is especially important for students to call for appointments well in advance of the registration date.

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Where Should I Live?:  Helping Students Consider Housing Options

In addition to planning their vacation and course registration for next semester, students are also busy contemplating living arrangements for the next academic year.  While students with fewer than 30 credit hours are required to live in a residence hall on campus, most students will have options available to them. Students generally have two choices: residence hall living and renting off-campus.  You may want to discuss both options with your student to decide which option is best for your student and you.

Residence Hall Living
When students compare residence hall and rental property living, they may want to be aware of some of the benefits of living on campus.  First, students benefit academically by living on campus.  Research (such as that in the Journal of College Student Development) has consistently shown that on campus living directly influences the rate of academic persistence and completion of student’s degrees.  Missouri State’s own research has found that the grade point averages of our students living on campus are higher than their peers off campus, and this finding holds true for all class levels (i.e., freshmen through seniors).  More information about residence hall living and academic performance can be found at www.missouristate.edu/reslife/gpa.

Residence hall living is more convenient than living in a house or apartment off-campus, as well.  Students are a short walk away from resources such as our 24-hour computer labs, academic buildings, and Meyer Library.  Dining centers offer students meals without the time it takes to prepare and cook meals.  Community bathrooms in the residence halls that have them are cleaned daily by custodial staff.  These and other conveniences allow students more free time to study or relax.

Cost is another important consideration in choosing living quarters.  Students may initially compare monthly residence hall rates to monthly rent and find that off-campus living is cheaper.  That might be so, but students sometimes forget other incidental costs associated with off campus living.  For example, internet access, expanded basic cable television, utilities, and laundry are all included in residence hall rate fees, while similar services would typically be in addition to rent paid at rental facilities off campus.  For more information on costs, please visit www.missouristate.edu/reslife/rates.

If your student is currently living in a residence hall and would like to return for the next academic year, he or she can complete the online reapplication process on the Residence Life and Service website.  The reapplication process is open to students until March 16th, so they should reapply as soon as possible.  For more information about the reapplication process, please see the Residence Life and Service website.

Renting Off-Campus
Making the decision to live off-campus is another step on the journey of independence for students.  While they have more freedom about what they can do in their living quarters, they also take up more responsibility, such as cleaning, cooking, and other chores.  You may want to make sure students have a clear understanding of their expectations regarding off-campus living and the responsibilities they will incur from doing so.

Searching for that first apartment or rental house can be very exciting for students, but they may not always know what to look for until after they have signed their lease.  We’ve compiled a list of questions students may want to ask landlords while searching for prospective homes:

  • How much is rent, and when is it due?  Are there grace periods or penalties for late payments?
  • In addition to rent, what other fees are incurred (such as parking, extra storage, recycling services, etc.)?
  • How much is the deposit?  Under what conditions is the deposit held?
  • Are utilities included?  If only some utilities are included (such as electricity, gas, garbage services, water, etc.), what are those that are not?
  • Is the apartment/house furnished?  What kinds of amenities are available or provided?
  • Are the appliances, plumbing, heat and air conditioning in good working order?
  • Who do I contact about repairs when they are necessary?  What would I do in an emergency situation?
  • What can you tell me about the neighbors and the neighborhood?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • How much am I allowed to decorate?  Can I paint walls? How about nails to hang pictures?
  • Can I have roommates or sublease? (The option to sublease may be important to students who might want to spend more than a month or two away from the area; for example, they may want to take that internship in New York City they have had their eye on over the summer months.)
  • When can I move in?

In addition to these questions, students may want to evaluate rental properties on their own.  The following is a list of things students may want to watch out for:

  • Stained or discolored floors, ceilings, or windowsills (This could mean water damage, especially near sinks, drains, tubs, and toilets!)
  • Odors (for example, from cigarettes or pets) or damage (like holes in walls)
  • Cluttered or damaged halls or stairs
  • Drafts from improperly insulated doors and windows
  • Lack of safety features, such as emergency exits, smoke alarms, or fire extinguishers
  • Evidence of pest infestation, like insects or animal droppings
  • Exposed wires, faulty appliances, scorch marks, or smoke damage
  • Loud, unruly, or inconsiderate neighbors

The University also can assist students in the process of living off-campus.  The Office of Student Retention Services provides students with off-campus housing information and helps students looking for roommates meet each other.  For more information about these services, your student can contact the Office of Student Retention Services using the information on their contact page.

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Student Services Spotlight - Campus Recreation

by: Jessica Joubert, Assistant Director, Campus Recreation

 

Campus Recreation offers a variety of activities for Missouri State students.  We consist of three areas of programming aimed at enhancing the college experience:  Fitness & Wellness, Intramural Sports, and Outdoor Adventures.  Each area provides opportunities for all skill levels to participate in events to promote healthy, well-balanced lifestyles for the great university community. 

Fitness & Wellness activities for this semester include Tai Chi, Yoga, American Red Cross CPR & First Aid certifications, Mat Pilates, self defense classes primarily for women, and a variety of dance classes such as Latin, Swing, Ballroom, and even Belly Dancing.  We also offer a number of group fitness classes held daily that focus on strength, toning, and cardio endurance in a fun and interactive environment.  Registration for Session 2 of these activities is now available with deadlines quickly approaching, so encourage your student to sign up today. 

Intramural Sports are offered each semester for both indoor and outdoor sports for individuals and teams.  We offer both competitive and recreational leagues for the skilled athlete as well as the average student looking to have a good time with friends.  Individuals who are looking to play team sports, but don’t have a team may register as a Free Agent.  Free Agents are matched to teams or a team of Free Agents is created if there are enough registrants.  This helps everyone to be able to participate, despite not knowing a lot of people on campus.  In addition to league play, there are a number of 1-2 day tournaments offered each semester.  Registration deadlines are quickly approaching for Ultimate Frisbee and Sand Volleyball leagues, as well as Golf, Tennis, and Racquetball tournaments.

Outdoor Adventures provides students with the chance to explore the Ozarks through the experience of our seasoned trip leaders.  These trips are designed for all skill levels and give students a chance to develop their own outdoor leadership skills through challenging and hands-on experiences.  Workshops are conducted prior to each trip to provide information and basic skill training to interested students to enhance their trip experience.  We even offer an extended Spring Break Backpacking trip.  Remaining trips planned for this semester include:  Petra Climb nights, Paintballing, Climbing, Fly Fishing, and Canoeing.     

For a complete listing of activities and more information about Campus Recreation, visit our website www.missouristate.edu/recreation, because the college experience is more than just what goes on in the classroom!

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Parents Association - E-Newsletter Ideas

 Have ideas for future Parents Association E-Newsletter articles? We'd love to hear them! Please send your article ideas to us at mailto:ParentsAssociation@MissouriState.edu?subject=E-Newsletter%20Ideas.

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