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Parents and Family News: Published by the Parent and Family Association



Friday, September 6, 2013




Parent/Family Association Update

Dear Moms and Dads, friends, and family:

Without a doubt, this is my favorite time of year. The summer days in Bozeman stretch warm into the late evenings, and the flurry of activities on campus seems to increase with every passing day. The sense of anticipation with the return of students among the academic community is simply palpable. The excitement for fall semester to begin is contagious, as we’ve been working hard all summer to prepare for the academic year.

This sense of anticipation creates anxiety for some of our students (faculty and staff, too). Rest assured that MSU has dedicated resources to support your student’s transition into their academic responsibilities this fall. The Department of Residence Life is working day and night (literally) to make sure the halls are in working order. And, the football team is half way through their double-day practices to ensure a winning team this fall.

I had some time to finish a few books this summer that have been on my reading list. If you’re looking for an interesting non-fiction text, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Andrew Delbanco’s, “College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be." Fascinating and a great reminder of our roots and what the modern college experience should be in America.

Overall, I want to welcome you to the MSU family. There has never been a better time to be part of the academic and co-curricular experience that we offer on campus. If there is anything that I or my staff can offer you this semester, please do not hesitate to be in touch.


Matthew R. Caires, MSU Dean of Students

Dean Matthew Caires



Sophomore Reflections
For me, the beginning of the new school year always brings mixed emotions. While I am excited to have the opportunity to gain new knowledge, the lurking school work is already overwhelming;  I’m not ready to put away my tent and hiking boots! As the walkways of the Centennial Mall begin to crowd with bikes and the buzz of campus returns again, it is easy to find comfort in the familiarity of it all. I am, after all, a sophomore now.

Being a returning student who has spent the summer in Bozeman working on campus and participating in summer courses, navigating through the first few weeks of school is of no great concern. You’d assume that by now I'd have the swing of things... right? You might also assume that I'd make it through my first week without sitting in the wrong classroom for twenty minutes, without buying a textbook for the wrong class and without locking myself out of my house. You’d be wrong.

Fortunately, none of the older film students heckled me as a dashed my red face out of the wrong classroom of the Visual Communications Building. The professor of the class, seeing me struggle with the collapsible desk, even offered to put it away for me. The workers of the bookstore gave a soft chuckle to my mis-purchase and helped me to locate the correct book for my Family and Systems course. I even made a new friend in a neighborhood cat while I waited for one of my four roommates to return home and let me inside. It turns out that to most problems a solution, lays closely ahead.

All of my technical difficulties aside, the first week of school turned out to be a breeze. I share this because it serves as a friendly reminder of all of the support I have in my life. Any glitch on campus is easily fixed thanks to a number of resources and supportive staff members who are willing to guide me through any situation. I am also fortunate enough to have a patient brother on campus and the most wonderful father just a phone call away. This being said, I would encourage parents & family with children at any level in the education system to remain supportive, and further more to encourage their student to find on campus resources. Fortunately, MSU has a number of resources to help students in need. From our Counseling and Psychological Services to our Office of Student Success, support is easily attainable for all. Even our office is only one email away. Now let’s all keep our fingers crossed for me as I try to find the right classrooms these upcoming weeks!

Allie Hay, Sophomore, PFA Student Program Assistant

Allie Hay

Super Senior Thoughts
As I walked to class my last first day of school, I could not help but be consumed with thoughts of the future. Nostalgia and remembrance I saved for a later date, my last first day was reserved for apprehension and curiosity and a little bit of terror. My December graduation is only a few months away, and before then I will finish my Senior Capstone project, see my last Bobcat home football game, and hopefully find a job.

Overall, I am incredibly excited about this new adventure. This is a time of growth and change and learning and that is exhilarating. I am finding my own independence and deciding what I want to be when I grow up . . . but my word of advice to all you parents and family members is this: while I might pay my own rent and car insurance and I'm looking for new opportunities in the world, I am still just as eager for support and guidance.

My father and I have worked out a lovely system where when I call, I tell him right away what I need from him, whether it's a heated debate about Karl Marx and Communism, where I should go when I get a nail in my tire, or just a listening ear during a freak out about my future. This has become a great tool for us in understanding each other and leading useful conversations. Asking for specific help from him has allowed me to get what I need and I like to think has allowed him to become an even cooler parent.

I encourage every parent to find the right balance of support and guidance with their student. Each student is different, and each year is different. The key to the success of my relationship with my father has been our openness in communication and his patience and willingness to listen. I hope that the lessons I have learned in my time at MSU can help you grow in your relationship with your student.

Lauren Marsh, Super Senior, PFA Student Program Assistant

Lauren Marsh

August and September Webinar Updates
We hosted a very successful webinar in partnership with Residence Life to discuss questions surrounding the Residence Halls and move - in day. A link to that webinar can be found here.

Secondly, we invite you to attend our September Answering the Unasked Questions Webinar. This Webinar will take place at 6:30PM, Wednesday, September 18. We have brought together experts from around our campus to address questions pertinent to you that you may not have thought of or that you may have been too uncomfortable to ask.

On our panel for this webinar is Dr. Brian Kassar, Psychologist from MSU Counseling and Psychological Services; Doug Fulp, Coordinator of MSU Health Promotions; Amy Ross, from the MSU Police Department; and Lauren Marsh, Parent & Family Association Program Assistant. This webinar will be an opportunity for you to open many possible discussions with your students and to gain knowledge of useful resources on our campus. Register for this webinar here.

AlcoholEdu for Parents
AlcoholEdu is an online science-based substance abuse and sexual assault prevention program that provides a tailored educational experience focusing on the impact of alcohol on the mind and body, as well as ways to prevent serious negative consequences. Our goal is to help new students gain an accurate understanding of alcohol and the most serious consequences associated with misuse. Whether your son or daughter drinks or not, alcohol is part of the campus culture, at MSU and nation-wide. We further know that parents play a very important role — your input can make a substantive difference in students’ choices around alcohol and other drugs.

With this in mind, we are offering a parent-specific course, AlcoholEdu for Parents, at no cost, as a means for you to have a more informed discussion with your son or daughter around the issue. You will be able to access the course starting September 9th. This program will provide accurate information and key facts — essentially the same educational content your student will be receiving, although you will not have access to your student’s responses. While this program is optional, we recommend you take the time to learn more and talk with your student now. For more information and log in instructions visit AlcoholEdu.

Rockin' the M Volunteer Opportunity
Rockin' the "M" will take place on Saturday, September 28th, 2013 from 9am-1pm. This is an annual event held the Saturday before MSU Homecoming to engage MSU students in painting the "M" to keep it preserved for generations to come. Our goal is to recruit 100 students!  Register here.  Lunch and transportation provided.

Questions about Rockin' the "M"? Contact Mandy, MSU Office of Activities & Engagement at 994-6902 or 222 SUB.

Residence Life Update
Greetings from Residence Life! We have just finished one of the busiest times of the year for our staff, moving in over 3500 students into the residence halls and beginning a new year.  We have many fun and exciting programs and initiatives planned for this year, including our Living Learning Communities partnering with academic colleges, annual Residence Hall Association events including Jim Bridger Days and Hapner Formal, as well as the completion of the new North Hedges Suite building for our sophomore-and-above students.

The Residence Life department employs 86 Resident Advisors to help manage the individual residence floors, 9 Resident Directors to supervise each of our residence halls, and a number of administrative support staff that assist in the operation of the residence halls each year. All of our staff members have gone through extensive training to ensure that the students living in the halls are surrounded by supportive, encouraging, and dedicated staff members on a daily basis.

As we begin a new year we hope that you will encourage your students to get involved during MSU’s Year of Engaged Leadership.  There are many ways to get involved or step up within the MSU and Bozeman Community.  Throughout the year there will be many events, activities and speakers that will come to campus and engage with our students and we hope that your son or daughter will take the opportunity to check out these unique and educational opportunities.

If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please don’t hesitate to contact our office either by phone at (406 )994-2661 or via email. Go Cats!





Important Dates

September 9, 2013

Last Day to Drop Courses Online and Add Courses with Professor Signature


September 16, 2013

Last Day to Apply for a Baccalaureate Degree for Spring 2014


Term Calendar


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Montana State University
PO Box 174220
Bozeman, MT 57917

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