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Dear Bobcat parent and family members,

As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, the next few weeks are big ones on our campus. Many students are preparing to travel home, we are nearing the beginning of ski and snowboard season, and this weekend is a highlight of every fall semester: the Brawl of the Wild football game between our Bobcats and the University of Montana Grizzlies. This final game of the regular season will determine who hoists the Big Sky Conference championship trophy for 2023!

While all of these are enjoyable events to look forward to, they also present safety and wellness risks that we must be mindful of. I'd like to dedicate some time in this message to important information on that front.

The Brawl of the Wild will be played in Missoula this year, and many of our community will travel to the game. It's a great opportunity to remind your student to be prepared for winter driving. Conditions can change quickly, especially on highways, so remind them to check out this page from the Montana Department of Transportation for some great tips. Please remind your student to:

  • Check engine oil and tire pressure before road trips and make sure wiper blades are in good working order.
  • Driving on snow and ice is a skill that takes practice and an understanding that slowing down is the most important safety skill.
  • Carry an emergency kit with first-aid supplies, jumper cables, gloves, a shovel, a tow strap and a sleeping bag in the car.
  • Communicate travel plans with friends and family ahead of time.

While the Cat-Griz rivalry is a proud and exciting tradition, I also remind our students of the Bobcat Code of a Champion. We love supporting our student athletes and cheering them on, and by attending a game, our students and fans are agreeing to uphold the tenets of good sportsmanship and respect. You can read more about the Bobcat Code of a Champion on the Bobcat Athletics website, but the main points are:

  • We all represent Bobcats. Do so with class and displays of sportsmanship.
  • Respect all staff, fans, officials, student-athletes, and opposing teams.
  • Cheer long and LOUD -- in a respectful manner that avoids obscene or abusive language.
  • Refrain from behaviors that are unruly or disruptive.
  • Demonstrate responsible behavior when consuming alcoholic beverages.
  • Respect all facility regulations and event staff personnel.

The MSU Alumni Foundation and volunteer coordinators organize Cat-Griz watch parties around the country. Be sure to check out their Brawl of the Wild webpage for a full schedule of events, and find the watch party nearest you!

We have been fortunate enough to enjoy a seasonable fall so far in Bozeman, but the snow is inching closer in the Bridger Mountains. While our ski areas haven't opened yet, I know some of our diehard skiers and snowboarders have been taking part in some early-season backcountry exploration. Montana has already seen avalanche activity this fall, so it is crucial to be prepared before heading out on winter adventures. Please remind your students to brush up on the fundamentals of "know before you go":

MSU provides programs and services to help students prepare and reduce the chance of injuries. Our Outdoor Recreation Program offers avalanche rescue clinics where students can learn and practice using an avalanche beacon and probe. They also host Avalanche Awareness Talks on campus through November and December.

Students can rent avalanche safety packages from Outdoor Recreation that include a beacon, probe and shovel. Once our campus has enough snow, they can practice using these tools at our free on-campus beacon park. MSU held our annual Snow and Avalanche Workshop (SAW) on Nov. 8. If your student missed it, or if you are interested in learning more about snow safety, past workshop presentations have been recorded and can be found in the SAW archives.

Wishing you a restful and enjoyable holiday break,

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Matthew R. Caires
Dean of Students

P.S. After Thanksgiving, it will be nearly time for finals. Is your student struggling academically? If so, now is a great time for them to schedule a tutoring session through SmartyCats, a program in the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success. Tutoring will fill up ahead of end-of-semester exams, so it's important to book a spot early.

Bobcat Parent and Family Program, Montana State University
174 Strand Union Building | P.O. Box 174220 | Bozeman, MT 59717 | [email protected] | 406-994-7359
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