Parents and Families  
 

eNewsletter: August 2010

 
Welcome Class of 2014
A Message from the Provost
Getting AQuainted
Resident or Commuter - Life is Good!
When Your Son or Daughter Leaves for College
Safety First
A Student Perspective: Kati Rogers
 
A Presidential Welcome to Your Sons and Daughters
By C. Edward Balog, Ph.D., President of Aquinas College
President Balog

I am delighted to have the opportunity to welcome you as you continue your education en route to what I am certain will be a successful and productive life. This is an exciting time filled with both opportunities and challenges. The faculty and the professional staff are eager to support and to assist you in this journey. You are becoming a member of a community that is committed to learning about the world and the society in which we live as well as encouraging you to understand the world within yourself.

 

As you begin this process, think of it as the beginning of a lifelong learning experience, not just for you but also for your family. I look forward to seeing you on August 19 as a member of the Aquinas College Class of 2014.

 
A Message from the Provost: Dr. Chad Gunnoe
Dr. Chad Gunnoe

In decades past, administrators liked to deliver a little tough love to incoming students from the first day of college orientation. The act would go something like: “Look to your right and your left. One of two students beside you will not be here next year.” We have come a long way in recent decades in creating a kinder and gentler learning environment, and it is not our goal to intentionally weed out students. If your son or daughter gained admission to Aquinas College, we feel they have the requisite skills to succeed here. Nevertheless, the transition to college remains a challenge, and some do not succeed.

 

It is not so much because such students could not handle it academically; many have difficulty finding the motivation, attitudes, habits or connections needed to facilitate their success. Unfortunately, their pre-collegiate education has not always served them well, as many have been “spoon fed” to such an extent that they have difficulty owning their own education. The issue is for your student to become engaged - to become connected with his or her classes, fellow students, campus life, and instructors. How can we help them make that happen without doing it for them? Here are three tips:

 
  1. Encourage your son or daughter to visit a professor during his or her office hours. Faculty keep weekly office hours so students can follow up with them regarding general course content, specific assignments, or more open ended issues about their subjects or life in general. Stopping by to follow up on a lecture or to get additional insight on an upcoming assignment is a great way to get to know the instructor as well as connect to the material in the class at a deeper level. Students don’t need a great justification – they should just pop in.
  2. If your son or daughter is not on an athletic team, encourage them to connect with a college club or organization or become active in student government within the first three weeks of school. This will forge lasting bonds across the institution and help your student link with successful upper level students.
  3. Finally, and this one seems rather obvious to people of our vintage, but ask your son or daughter if they are taking good notes. The learning that transpires by hearing someone say something, processing it mentally, and rephrasing it in one’s own words in note form is nearly miraculous. Our students today often feel they have the material covered when they have jotted down a slim outline from a PowerPoint presentation. They are passing up a great learning opportunity in actively engaging the class material by taking thorough notes in class. Without detailed notes they will be much less well armed in preparation for the exams. In short, a student should make the best use of the time they are in class by taking all the notes they can.
 
Even at fine colleges like Aquinas, about one in five students will drop out during or after one year in college. We are quite confident that if a student becomes constructively engaged in their classes, with their instructors, and with their peers in the first weeks of their first year, their prospects for a successful outcome of their college career are exceptional. We hope that your student, as well as the hypothetical students to their right and left, will still be standing together at graduation in four years.
 
Get AQuainted Days - Fun and Pun Intended!
By: Heather Hall, Director of Student Activities and Orientation
Did you know that 70% of your AQ student's time is spent OUTSIDE of the classroom? This is the time where they will eat, sleep, study, volunteer, engage in campus events and programs, connect with friends or a significant someone, focus on fitness or recreation and explore their surrounding community. Those first two weeks before Labor Day weekend are critical to your student. That 70% is important to them (and us), so we developed some fun and educational activities to connect them to life as an AQ Saint. Get AQuainted Days
 
Get AQuainted Days (fun and pun intended!) is a series of events held on and off-campus for students to "get connected" and to "stay connected" while creating a home here on campus. Whether they are commuting or residing in one of our residential communities, there is something here for everyone - and these are just the events that were planned this summer!
 
Students can explore various academic disciplines at our Academic Major Fair and speak to professors about various majors and what a degree in that area offers our AQ alumni. The Saint Stock program brings local vendors, non-profits and area places of worship to campus along-side AQ organizations so that students can interact with representatives and do some shopping for activities that best fit their interests. The Leadership Day program offers students training in developing successful student organizations or learning how to develop the ability to interact in a vibrant, global community.
 
It is important that students engage in some type of out-of-class experience while they are here. For some, that is becoming a leader in a student organization. For others, it's attending campus events as a member of our audience or serving as a Super Fan in the Saints' Squad student section. Whatever the case, we encourage students to find a way to get connected!
 
If you think that your student needs some direction finding ways to maximize the 70% of time they are not in class, or if you are hearing that they are not getting connected, please have them contact Campus Life at (616) 632-2983 or by visiting us in the Cook Carriage House. We look forward to helping them grow and explore!
 
Resident or Commuter - Life is Good!
By: Terry M. Keller, LMSW, ACSW, Woodward Area Coordinator
Resident or Commuter - Life is Good! On behalf of the entire Residential Life staff, welcome to Aquinas! We are very excited to welcome you, your sons, and your daughters to our residential community.

The primary goal of Residence Life is to provide a comfortable, safe environment in which resident students are given the opportunity to extend their learning outside the classroom. We have highly-qualified Area Coordinators and Resident Assistants in each of our residence halls who will serve as your son's or daughter's main campus resource. These staff members are committed to a vision of creating community with rights, respect and responsibility. The 2010-2011 Residence Life Handbook that your student will receive when they move in is an important guidebook for the year. We encourage you to review these policies with your sons and daughters in order to have a full understanding of Aquinas' expectations for our students.
 
We realize the challenges commuters face and are here to help! The Commuter Club was established in fall 2009 as a way to more fully integrate the commuter students into the Aquinas on-campus community. The monthly Commuter Club Newsletter is sent to your student's e-mail and offers students lot of information about upcoming programs and events on campus. The newsletter also provides a look forward to programs and events for commuter students from both the Residence Life and Campus Life offices. Encourage your commuter to join our Commuter Club Course Connect webpage where they will be able to meet other commuters and receive additional updates from the Commuter Club. If you have specific questions about this program, please send an e-mail to commuters@aquinas.edu.
 
If we can be of any assistance to you or your student throughout the upcoming year, please do not hesitate to contact the Residence Life Office at (616) 632-2944 or reslife@aquinas.edu.
 
When Your Son/Daughter Leaves for College...
By: Sharon Smith, Director of Career and Counseling Services
When Your Son/Daughter Leaves for College...

This is an exciting day. It’s one your student has been planning and anticipating for a long time.  Show your confidence in them by resisting giving them too much advice and too many reminders. They can and will find their way around the residence halls and our campus.  In advance of this day, talk to them about how often they want to be called and when they’ll come home next. Encourage them to participate in Orientation and other start of school programs.

 

In the meantime check out our website where we have a myriad of resources to answer your questions and assist your son or daughter as they navigate their Aquinas experience.

 
Safety First: An Introduction to the Department of Campus Safety

The Department of Campus Safety is looking forward to welcoming your student this fall. Our department is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and employs over 25 staff and student employees. We are centrally located on campus on the west side of the Wege Student Center parking lot by the Academic Building. The Department can be accessed at any time on a walk in basis or by telephone.

 

Department officers work closely in cooperation with the Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids Police Departments to maintain campus security. All officers receive crisis intervention and first aid training and are radio-equipped for quick responses. While touring campus, you may see our officers patrolling on foot or in department vehicles. Officers also provide many college and student support services including campus escorts, parking enforcement and automobile assistance.

Safety First
 
The Department of Campus Safety serves as the first responder to all campus emergencies and maintains fire prevention, burglary, and panic alarm systems and equipment on campus.
 
In 2009, a campus-wide emergency broadcasting system (WEBS) was installed throughout all buildings and in three outside emergency towers on campus. This system allows the department to rapidly notify individuals on campus of emergency situations. Also in 2009, the College performed a major upgrade and addition to our security camera and building card access programs. The department operates an Alert Notification System through cell phone text messaging that provides emergency updates to registered individuals. Clearly marked emergency phones are located throughout campus allowing our students and staff to quickly request assistance.
 
This fall, please join our staff in encouraging your student to become familiar with our services and to contact us at any time for assistance. Our department is committed to providing a safe and secure campus for your student this year. If you have any questions about our services or need assistance, please visit our department in person or contact us any time at (616) 632-2462.
 
A Student Perspective: Kati Rogers
By: Kati Rogers, AQ sophomore
Kati Rogers

My name is Kati Rogers and I am returning to Aquinas for my sophomore year. Looking back on my first year here, I can honestly say it was an amazing experience. I had several opportunities placed my way, and I always had an extremely good time. My experience on campus has been great and I've really gotten to know people through clubs and organizations.

 

Coming into Aquinas, I had a good set of friends already existing because I am on the Women's Lacrosse team. Right away, we were getting to know each other at team meetings and practices. I had an amazing experience with my time on the lacrosse field and I can't wait to get started on this coming season.

 
My time off the field was also very busy. I really enjoyed getting involved with on campus organizations, including AQ Programming Board (AQPB) and the Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB). AQPB, in particular, was a great group to be a part of because it really comprises every activity happening on campus and is open to the whole student body. I really enjoyed being part of the planning process for what was going to happen.
 
When I wasn't having fun and getting to know more people, I also needed to focus on school work. Aquinas truly allows a student to broaden their potential for their future. Through my classes and professors I have discovered things I don't want to do and things I'm becoming more interested in that I may want to explore. I am looking forward to my next few years at AQ and I can't wait to see what other opportunities come my way.
 
Aquinas College is a place that you can make as large and as small as you want. You can get very involved with what is going on around you, or you may choose to sit back and stay out of the crowd. Whatever you choose, the sky's the limit and Aquinas is here to help with that. I hope your student enjoys their time here on campus and I hope to see each of you around our wonderful, tree-filled oasis. Go Saints!