Dear Bobcat Parent and Family Members,

What an incredible week to be at Montana State University! It all started last Wednesday when we moved in over 3,000 incoming students into their residence hall rooms and then served up the "first meal" in the Romney Oval. I tip my hat to my colleague James Tobin, MSU Culinary Services, and all of the 500+ MSU employees and Bozeman community members who volunteered to make our annual Move-In Day a tremendous success.

And I heard from many students how inspired they were by Tara Westover's Convocation keynote address. They commented that Westover's down-to-earth delivery connected with them and that her stories highlighting what she learned about life in college were encouraging.

All students and faculty were back to campus yesterday morning when the siren at 08:00 signaled the start of the new semester. The energy on campus--and in town--feels electric. It's hard to top the liveliness and spirit of the first few weeks of the fall semester.

For you parents of second-year students, we are very excited to have your returning student at MSU! This is a critical year in their college journey and though they may be more comfortable on campus, this year presents its own challenges. For this reason, we are especially diligent in linking them to programs and resources to keep them engaged and on track academically. Because it's common for 3rd-term sophomores to still be on the fence about majors and minors, I encourage parents of sophomores to keep the communication lines open with their student to gauge their level of enthusiasm for their studies. You may have tested these waters over the summer, but if not, this article offers suggestions for broaching these conversations.

With everyone back on campus, I am spending a fair bit of my time with MSU Police Chief Frank Parrish, talking about the various campus safety initiatives currently underway. The MSU SafeCats app is now available in the Apple and Android app stores, and we're encouraging all students to download it to their smartphones. Also this fall, all MSU students, faculty and staff have been enrolled into MSU Alert, our emergency alert and communications program. MSU parents and family members are also encouraged to enroll in MSU Alert--more information can be found by visiting the MSU Alert homepage.

Finally, please check in with your student before the Labor Day weekend. Our students are known for working hard and playing hard, especially in the outdoors. Many will head to nearby rivers and lakes or adventure into the mountains over the long weekend, and it's important to make sure they have made appropriate plans to play/stay safe before they head out.  

Warm regards,

Matthew R. Caires

Dean of Students

P.S. Parents in greater Seattle area, you're invited to a Bobcats of Puget Sound event Sept. 12 at 20 Corners Brewing. Dan Stevenson, who leads MSU's University Services, including campus planning design and construction, will be talking about the physical changes to MSU and what they mean for today's students.

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