Dear Bobcat parent and family members,

Tomorrow is the big day, and we're so excited to start a new school year. As is the tradition, all students and faculty (and surrounding neighborhoods!) will be greeted by the old steam whistle when it sounds at 8 a.m., signaling the first day of classes. I still get the chills every time I hear that whistle! The electricity and excitement on campus -- and in town -- is all around us. It's hard to beat the liveliness and spirit of the first few weeks of the fall semester.

Everyone wants this school year to be as normal as possible and for students to safely enjoy all the activities that make attending college a singular experience. To do this, we all need to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the Bozeman community.

In my August 12 message, I mentioned It's Your Shot to Win, our student vaccination sweepstakes open to all vaccinated students enrolled for the fall semester. All students who enter will receive an instant $10 credit on their CatCard and are eligible towin prizes such as $5,000 financial assistance awards, a season ski pass, airline vouchers and other valuable prizes (an average retail value of $500). Drawings will be held daily from August 30 to December 16. And just so you know, this program is funded by federal COVID relief funds -- no tuition, student fees or state dollars are being used.

Please help us out and encourage your student to participate in this innovative and strategic program. If they're already vaccinated, it's a no-brainer. And if they're not already vaccinated, getting a COVID-19 vaccine on campus is straightforward and convenient. Vaccines will be administered on Sunday, August 22 through Friday, August 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the tents outside the Swingle Health Center -- walk-ins welcome. After August 27, students can visit the MSU COVID-19 vaccination webpage for updated vaccination clinic information.

We have a multifaceted approach to keep our campus community as healthy and safe as possible this semester, and vaccination is just one component. Last Tuesday, you and your student received a communication from MSU President Waded Cruzado with a call to action, asking that everyone on campus - students, faculty, staff and visitors - meets the need to wear face masks indoors on campus . MSU will revisit this issue October 1, but until then we're calling on our campus community to act together to protect each other.

To parents of our second-year students: We are delighted to have your student return to MSU! This is a critical year in their college journey. We know that your student did not have a typical first-year experience last year and that they missed out on MSU Debut and other campus traditions.

In recognition of our returning sophomores, we'll be communicating directly with them and inviting them to participate in a number of MSU Debut events. One of these events is the Jamestown Revival concert scheduled for Saturday evening, August 28, on the lawn north of Jabs Hall. Although the concert is open to all, it is being planned to honor and recognize our second-year students and acknowledge their perseverance through an incredibly challenging freshman year.

Finally, I've received several emails from families about their student's difficulties finding off-campus housing this fall. With both MSU and the city of Bozeman growing, we know that finding affordable housing off-campus is a challenge for many of our students. MSU provides educational and informational resources on our Off-campus Living website. The website also includes a portal for the Off-campus Housing Marketplace, with listings for available units, roommates and subleases. Additional opportunities to rent may be found through Facebook Marketplace. If your student is still searching for a place to live, please encourage them to check out these resources.

Here's to the start of a great fall,

Matthew R. Caires
Dean of Students

P.S. To revisit or catch up on any of my emails, you can find links to each message in our archive.

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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