Parents and Families  
 

eNewsletter: January 2010

 
Welcome Back and Happy New Year!
Academic & Learning Services: New Year, Fresh Start
Winter Wellness Tips
Your Winter Success Calendar
Time to Renew Your Financial Aid
Housing Information for Parents
AQ Community House: A Brand New Option for 2010-2011 Housing
AQ Athletics: Information for Parents
Major Spotlight: Sustainable Business
Viva la Rome!
What's New at AQ? Life Outside of the Classroom Offers Options for Families and Students
Got a Question? Get an Answer!
 
Welcome Back and Happy New Year!
By: Patricia Chase
Dr. Patricia Chase

I read somewhere that about 100 million Americans make New Year's resolutions every January. Unfortunately, most of these don't last very long. The truth is the majority of resolutions are unrealistic, overly ambitious, or simply unattainable. College students are likely to approach the new year with resolutions in mind as well. They view the new semester as an opportunity to regroup and make a fresh start. Although this is never a bad idea - they are more likely to achieve their resolutions when their goals are realistic.

 

You might be able to help your students' semester to get off to a good start by encouraging them to identify a few simple, attainable goals. A target of earning a 4.0 this semester may or may not be realistic for everyone but a goal of going to every class, getting more sleep, or developing a system to stay organized is something that every college student has the ability to do and would benefit from. A few more suggestions might be:

 
  • Spend less time watching TV, texting or playing video games
  • Go to the library at least once per week to study
  • Eliminate "all-nighters"
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Join a study group
  • Sit in the front row of class
  • Utilize the AQ Academic and Learning Services Writing Centers
The idea is that these goals are "doable." They are measurable and each small change should positively impact your students' academics, reduce their stress level, and possibly improve their self-esteem. Remember our job as parents and educators is not to set the goals for students but to be sounding boards and provide support when they need it. This, by the way, may be a realistic and "doable" resolution for us.
 
Academic & Learning Services: New Year, Fresh Start
A brand new year means a fresh start. Academic & Learning Services can show students how to organize their time, classes, and assignments so that they can be at the top of their academic game right from the beginning. We also provide one-on-one tutoring, campus wide study groups, and a drop-in writing center. So encourage your student to stop by and see us in the Academic Building, Room 1 for more information on how to get the semester off to a great start!
 
Winter Wellness Tips
By: Veronica Beitner, Aquinas College Coordinator of Wellness
Welcome students and parents to 2010! Wellness is defined as the proper balance of the physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and occupational health. We have watched and assisted students as they adapted to a new environment and schedule but just as you think the journey is complete, we start a new semester! Returning to school after a break that is filled with family, friends and a lack of schedules can be a stressor all by itself.
 
In the spirit of being proactive, I'd like to offer the following suggestions for helping your student transition back for the Spring, 2010 semester.
  • Diet - Proper nutrition will help ensure your student maintain a healthy immune system and keep them alert for the daily grind of being a student. Now is the time to focus on the basic food groups and keep portions in balance.
  • Exercise - Regular exercise is a great way for your student to relieve stress and increase a healthy body image. The Regina Fitness Center and St. Joseph weight room are free and open to all students. Encourage your student to refer to the Wellness website or Athletic website for availability as well as other fitness opportunities. Some programs require a HPER requirement; take advantage of gaining credit while exercising for better health in one of our conditioning classes!
  • Sleep - A rested mind is a healthy mind. The best way to ensure a restful night is to keep to a scheduled sleep pattern as much as possible. Encourage communication between roommates to maintain this schedule. If you like to nap, keep them short. Naps offer many benefits but if you sleep too long this will interrupt your regular pattern. Limit stimulation prior to bed. This includes caffeine, computer use and video games.
  • Health - Wash your hands and cover your cough! The flu season is still in session so please refer to the Health and Wellness website for continued updates and tips on staying healthy. Remember to drink lots of fluids and consider taking that multi-vitamin that was recommended.
  • Stress - Probably our toughest challenge. Shortened daylight hours can naturally make a person feel blue. To help keep yourself feeling good, try rearranging your dorm - new look for the New Year. Just because your student is back on campus doesn't mean they shouldn't keep in touch. Encourage your student to maintain relationships with family and friends. Now would be a good time to volunteer or get involved with a club or organization on campus to keep an individual from isolating themselves. As for the new set of classes - be realistic in goal settings, write things down and determine a new schedule and routine! If you know where you are supposed to be, how you are going to get there and what is expected of you when you do arrive, the rest is easy. Routine is important to keeping stress at a minimum. If your student finds themselves feeling uncertain, they can contact the Career and Counseling service or the Academic Achievement Center for tutoring assistance, time management and career development.
 
These tips and more can be found in a great online Health and Wellness resource: Student Health 101. This is a free monthly resource for your student as well as yourself sponsored by our own Student Senate.
Student Health 101 - Parent Perspective Student Health 101
For AQ Parents For AQ Students
 
Your Winter Success Calendar
January
  • See your advisor if your grade point average has fallen below a 2.0.
  • If fall semester didn't bring the grade point average you hoped for now is the time to get on track and make some changes.
  • Reassess your commitments. Determine if with a new class schedule you will still have time for some of the same outside activities.
  • Tell yourself you are going to meet a few new students that you didn't know first semester.
  • Dress for the weather. Hats, gloves, boots and a warm coat can be your saving grace in Michigan during the winter.
  • With cold and flu season in full swing make sure to get plenty of rest, exercise and good nutrition.
Winter snow
 
February
  • Manage the winter blahs by keeping busy. Enjoy the winter beauty on campus.
  • Attend a campus wide sporting event and support our Saints.
  • If you are beginning to think the "grass may be greener on the other side of the fence" remember what it was about Aquinas you fell in love with and why. Re-discover your school.
  • Check out the calendar and attend a college sponsored activity you didn't make time for first semester.
  • Continue to study in the library. More students tend to hole up in the residence halls during the winter months which can cause increased distractions.
  • Give up Facebook for Lent.
  • File the FAFSA for the following academic year.
  • Get plenty of rest, exercise and good nutrition.
 
March
  • Mid-term progress reports will be sent to all students. Students receiving a Marginal or Unsatisfactory should see both their advisor and faculty member immediately.
  • Use Spring break to get caught up.
  • Beware of the temptation to slack off in the remaining months of the year. Stay focused and finish strong.
  • Pay attention to required coursework to achieve a degree in an effort to stay on track. Have your faculty advisor do an audit of what you need to take in your sophomore year and any important prerequisites.
  • Participate in the room selection process.
  • Use spring break to get summer job applications in.
  • Pack up clothing that you won't need when you return after spring break.
  • Watch out for spring fever. Enjoy breaking weather in balance with everything else.
 
Time to Renew Your Financial Aid
To renew your financial aid for the 2010-2011 academic year, you will want to log back in to www.fafsa.ed.gov after January 1, 2010 and indicate that this application is a renewal. All information that doesn't change from year to year (social security number, date of birth, etc.) will already be completed for you. You will need to update income information and several other items to renew your aid. You will need your PIN for both the student and the parent to sign the form.
 
You'll want to make every effort to have it completed by March 1, 2010.
 
Questions, contact the AQ Financial Aid Office at (616) 632-2893 or financialaid@aquinas.edu.
 
Housing Information for Parents
By: Terry M. Keller, Woodward Area Coordinator
Your student has now likely established their Aquinas routine and is making friends with fellow residents in their residence hall. I wanted to take a moment to remind you of the residency requirement at Aquinas College and some important points to be aware of.
  • As outlined in the Housing Contract, your student is required to reside in college housing during their first two years on our campus. Encourage your student to utilize the help of the Residence Life staff in managing the sign up process, we are glad to address any and all types of questions via our email address or by phone.
  • Soon, the off campus apartment search and lease signing for the 2010-2011 academic year will begin. As a result, first year students consider signing year-long legal leases with friends they have only known for a few months. I would discourage your student from doing this.
  • As stated above, your student is required to live in college housing for their second year on our campus. Failure to comply with this policy will result in the loss of the housing deposit and a reduction in financial aid.
Ravine On Campus Apartments
  • We believe that learning does not begin and end in the classroom, but is a continuous process that extends into other areas of college life. As a residential community, we are committed to fostering the intellectual, ethical, professional and leadership development of our students and to supporting students as they create community and maintain balance in their lives.
  • One of the more functional benefits from living on campus is easier access to class. Because of the late-night college lifestyle, it can be difficult to get up in the morning and get to class on time. Students who live off-campus must add travel time to their morning routine, which can make attending early class a great challenge.
  • The biggest benefit to living on-campus is the overall retention of the students. Studies have shown that students who live on-campus finish their education. The reason is that the student is more prone to become "connected" to the campus, for the reasons listed in prior statements. It is this "connection" that makes the student more prone to persist, as they have made a stronger investment in classes, activities and relationships.
Parents continue to play a very important role in keeping the lines of communication open between the students and various offices on campus. Please bookmark our website, http://www.aquinas.edu/reslife/, for more information about the housing sign up process and available options for your student.
 
AQ Community House: A Brand New Option for 2010-2011 Housing!

To strengthen Aquinas College's relationship with its neighbors in the Eastown Neighborhood the College has created an exciting new housing option: The AQ Community House program. The program combines opportunities for community leadership and service learning (for college credit), while giving students real-world responsibilities in a residential environment.

 

 
AQ Athletics: Information for Parents
By: Terry Bocian, Athletic Director, Baseball Coach Emeritus, Associate Professor of Health, Physical Education & Recreation
On behalf of our over 400 student-athletes, coaches and staff I would like to wish you a blessed holiday season and hopes that 2010 offers you all of the blessings that a new year brings and enough challenges to keep you motivated.

Here are a few informational bits about our program that I thought you would find interesting:
  • AQ student-athletes are treated like all other students in regards to entrance requirements, registration for classes, counseling, lodging accommodations, judicial hearings, and other campus privileges. They are, indeed, like all AQ students with the exception of participating in a varsity sport. Most work part time jobs during the year as well as maintain a full load of classes.
  • AQ offers 21 sports opportunities for our students with 12 of these for females (basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track, lacrosse, outdoor track, tennis, soccer, softball, volleyball, cheerleading, and dance team) and 9 of these for men(baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track, lacrosse, outdoor track, tennis, and soccer).
  • College resources for these sports are distributed equally (e.g. basketball budgets for both men and women are equal).
  • Aquinas College has won 10 of the past conference (WHAC) All Sports Championships, and currently are leading in points for 2009-10 after conclusion of the fall sports.
  • Last year the NAIA honored 38 of our student-athletes with All American or Academic All American honors. This brings our total of honorees to a cumulative of over 200.
  • AQ has won more WHAC conference championships than any other conference school.
  • Aquinas was a charter member of the NAIA's Championship of Character program, an honor it has held for the past 11 years. Championship of Character principles are integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and service learning.
  • Aquinas teams are represented on the SAAB committee (student athlete advisory board) which conducts campus wide service learning projects. Each AQ team participates in at least one service learning project to benefit the community.
We encourage you to attend the athletic events. Your support is always welcomed. Have a great 2010 and remember "It's Great To Be A Saint."
 
Major Spotlight: Sustainable Business
By: Matt Tueth, Steelcase Foundation Professor of Sustainable Business
John Ebers '04

Like other sectors of the Michigan economy, many problems and challenges now face private institutions of higher education. But there are problems and then there are problems. From the chairman of the Sustainable Business (SB) Department's perspective, a nearly 300% enrollment increase in the 2009-10 SB major from the previous school year was unexpected and has provided a number of logistical challenges for the College. Consistent increases in the 10%-15% range had been the rule the previous five years, and similar rises in demand were expected this school year.

 

On the other hand, this drastic enrollment increase does provide further supporting evidence that our first-in-the-nation cutting-edge program is on very firm footing and that we would do well to learn from this year’s enrollment surge and strategically plan for similar increases during the coming years. We welcome this kind of problem at our institution.

Above: John Ebers, '04 AQ Sustainable Business Graduate, is now a Sustainable Business Officer for Metro Health
 
Sustainable business majors enjoy their studies more each year they are in the program. The deeper they immerse themselves in this new phenomenon, the more they understand their career opportunity of "doing well by doing good." As they move through the program, they come to understand their professional challenge will be to increase the profitability and market share of their organization while at the same time to eliminate the concept of harmful waste, to add value to the natural world, and to improve the human community that surrounds the organization. Innovating situational-appropriate transition strategies come next in the program, and our students have certainly been up to the task.
 
Before sustainable business majors are turned loose to transform industry, each student completes a semester internship with an organization that has already begun sustainability initiatives. Students then learn how to apply the theory they have acquired in previous semesters to real-life business situations.
 
A common and understandable question from parents of sustainable business students is how will my son or daughter be able to use this degree in their professional career. Upon graduation, our sustainable business graduates have already taken their unique skill set and have landed attractive positions within health care, government, manufacturing, consulting, banking, education, and non-profit organizations. Some of our graduates have had new position titles and job descriptions created for them, and we expect this trend to continue. Although a career in sustainable business is not as predictable as more traditional career tracks, such as nursing, the upside for this new and exciting profession is nearly limitless.
 
As companies like Google, Steelcase, and Herman Miller, as well as numerous smaller locally owned businesses, blaze the trail of "doing well by doing good," the sustainable business major at Aquinas College is taking the position of leadership in this Second Industrial Revolution. We hope your son or daughter is along for the ride.
 
Viva la Roma!
By: Brianna Boedeker, AQ Student
Italy

The Colosseum. St. Peter’s Basilica. The Trevi Fountain. Aquinas students. Aquinas students?

In Fall 2010, there will be something new to see in Italy with as many as 10 of Aquinas’ own studying within Rome’s borders.

In 2007, Dr. John Pinheiro, Director of Catholic Studies and Associate Professor of History, was the advisor for the Ireland study abroad program.

 

He and a group of students spent their spring break traveling through Europe which included Rome. During this trip, Pinheiro had an epiphany.

 
“I thought I can’t believe we don’t have a Rome program," said Pinheiro. "I’m going to go home and make that program.”
 
And he did. Pinheiro had contacts through the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts that hosts students from various Catholic schools throughout the United States and inquired if having Aquinas students would be a possibility, and it was.
 
Then last year, he talked with Provost Chad Gunnoe and Joelle Baldwin, Director of International Programs, about sending students to Rome through the Thomas More program.
 
Though the original intent was to solely send Catholic Studies students to Rome, they all agreed that the program should be open to everyone.
 
"Prospective and current students have expressed an increasing interest in studying abroad in Italy," stated Baldwin. "The student response to the addition of this program has been very enthusiastic, further validating the need for this opportunity."
 
Sophomore Rachel Bartels knew Italy was her study abroad location of choice for years. "When Aquinas announced that they had a new program in Rome, I didn't think twice about applying," commented Bartels. "Studying abroad would be the pinnacle experience of my multifaceted education. I am studying business and communication and would love to work for an Italian company one day. Having that deep cultural knowledge and language skills would be vital to being hired."
 
While studying in Rome, students will have opportunities to earn credits in the following fields of study:
  • Theology- a journey will be taken through St. Paul’s writing to find the deeper meaning of salvation.
  • Humanities-students will study authors and works of art through a variety of time periods to deepen their understanding of the European culture.
  • Writing- students will explore a thorough examination of how poetry has deepened the understanding of nature and language.
  • Art- students will extensively visit sites in Rome, Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany as an introduction to ancient and Christian art and architecture.
  • Participants will have the option of taking Italian or Latin language workshops as well.
“With the recent addition of the Catholic Studies program, the focus narrowed to establishing a program in Rome that would be beneficial to Catholic Studies minors as well as the general Aquinas student population,” said Baldwin.
 
“Additionally, this program does not have an Italian language prerequisite so the Rome Program expands the international opportunities available to Aquinas students who are not majoring or minoring in a foreign language.”
 
Also, students will be given the opportunity to complete an internship with Vatican media centers like Vatican Radio, Zenit News Agency, Inside the Vatican magazine and H2O news. Through these internships, participants will help to create broadcasts and literature about Church news that will be sent around the world.
 
"The opportunity for internships at the Vatican, a place so linked to Aquinas' own Catholic traditions, excites me because it could open doors for me," Bartels stated.
 

Credit approval for an internship must be coordinated with the Aquinas College Career Development Center before the student leaves for Rome.

The students will be staying at the Villa Serenella study center, only five miles from Vatican City, on the grounds of the Monastery of Saint Isaia.

 

“The villa boasts an amazing location with easy access to the city center of Rome,” said Baldwin. “Students will have access to the center’s 13 acres of olive groves, walking paths, soccer field, fountains and on-site chapel.”

Italy
 
Applicants have embraced the location of the study center. Rachel Dubie, a junior who is applying for the 2010 Rome Program, commented, "It would be a great way to continue to deepen my faith by living in the heart of a profoundly spiritual community. I (hope) to experience a different culture, living it every day for three months, and waking up in every morning knowing that the city of Rome is my classroom for the day."
 
Students participating in the Fall 2010 Rome Program will still be responsible for paying the semester of tuition to Aquinas in addition to the $8,000 program fee.
 
Though this fee may be higher than other study abroad trips, it includes housing, basic travel and medical insurance, board which includes three meals per day, and class excursions.
 
All financial aid is applicable to this program. Participants are also suggested to bring at least $2,500 to cover flights, passports, books and personal excursions.
 
In the words of Dr. Pinheiro, “What better place to study humanities, art and philosophy than Rome?”
 
What’s New at AQ? Life Outside of the Classroom Offers Options for Families and Students
By: Heather Bloom Hall, Director of Student Activities and Orientation
The Class of 2013 smashed all attendance records at campus events this fall! The increase in participation in campus activities from the first year community as well as our upperclassmen prompted us to take a look at more entertainment and educational programming options for future semesters.
 
This winter, the Campus Life office with the support of the Division of Student Affairs and the Retention committee, introduces a new AQ Weekends program. This initiative, aimed at keeping students around at AQ and in Grand Rapids/West Michigan on the weekends, offers free or low-cost options Friday and Saturday afternoons and evenings. The program, run by a core group of student interns and supervised by Campus Life, promises a myriad of options to meet any interest and involves the participation and sponsorship of local businesses and on-campus student organizations. There is also an opportunity to showcase the talents of our own faculty, staff, and students.
 
Most of the activities will take place in The Moose Café in the Cook Carriage House where students are now able to purchase hot food items as well as the faire offered in a traditional coffee shop. The Moose Café staff is an incredible partner with our programming team in offering discounts, specials, etc to coordinate with any program on hand. >>More information on how to connect with meal plans and flex dollars.
 
From late night laughs to discounted or free athletic events, service projects , crafts, food specials, live music and more…it’s all provided by students for students at our new AQ Weekend program. Students will receive information electronically about these activities when they return in the spring semester.
 
Marquee Weekends Continue
Just as we are raising the bar on student programming on the weekend, we continue to invite you back for some key weekends this semester. You are welcome to check out any activities each weekend, but the Marquee Weekends are designed with you in mind. Please save the dates for the following and join us if you are able:
 
Junior Saints Weekend: January 29-31, 2010
Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey Anchoring the end of our traditional Saint Thomas Aquinas Week (January 25-29) , Junior Saints Weekend provides a structured program for siblings (or those whom they love as siblings) to visit Aquinas College. Guests stay with their AQ student (please review the website for housing guidelines by gender, etc) and Resident Housing Association and the AQ Programming Board provide tons of activities for the entire weekend. This year, we are providing a student organization carnival, discounted tickets for Hockey Day in Michigan at the Grand Rapids Griffins, and more! Registration materials will arrive at home shortly. For complete information and a downloadable registration form, please visit the Junior Saints Web page.
 
During this weekend, we have arranged for activities and discounts for YOU as parents and families. So, if you are looking for some great hotel deals, opportunities to see a great show in Grand Rapids, or just want to check out the local flare, this weekend is for you! A complete schedule is found on the Junior Saints Web page. We look forward to seeing you there!
 
Wake up People and 2010 Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics of Michigan: February 19 & 20, 2010
Wake Up People! Wake up People is a traditional Campus Life Event that offers students an opportunity to “wake up” from the winter doldrums and experience some great entertainment. With the help of Pepsi Bottling Company, the event provides live entertainment through our AQ Idol competition, as well as free food from local businesses and tons of prizes. The event is always a huge hit and you are welcome to attend on Friday, February 19, 2010.
 
This year, AQ Programming Board, is teaming up with the Special Olympics of Michigan, to participate in the Polar Plunge at Reed’s Lake in East Grand Rapids. The event begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 20, 2010 with registration at East Grand Rapids High School. Take the plunge yourself or help support an AQ student/faculty/staff who are taking a plunge for a great cause. 2010 Polar Plunge
 
Exam Cram and Sophomore Pinning: April 30 and May 1, 2010
Exam Cram

Exam Cram is a series of academic and social programs that assist students in preparation for finals. From prizes to free massages, the late night exam breakfast, coffee and snacks in the Grace Hauenstein Library, Yoga, Stress Free Stations, etc…. the students are provided ways to find balance as they head into the final stretch! Various programs will be offered on Friday April 30, 2010 to support their academic preparation and/or to offer a social opportunity on campus or in the city. Join us and give them a study break!

 

On Saturday, May 1, the Student Senate sponsors its second annual Sophomore Pinning Ceremony. This event celebrates the milestone of a sophomore’s official declaration of their academic major. Families are invited to attend to hear some words from the Vice-Chair of the Student Senate, Annie Bishop, as well as to interact with the faculty , staff, and administration who will support their AQ student through the rest of their college career at AQ. Refreshments are provided. Invitations are sent to sophomore families in mid-Spring with all of the details.

 
While these events are just a few highlighted here on campus, there are SO many other things happening on campus and in the community on those Marquee Weekends. We will provide a full schedule on the website as well as the Aquinas Calendar.
 
Our Regular Schedule
Our student organizations and campus departments will also continue to provide regular campus activities and traditions throughout the course of the semester. Be on the lookout for information about the annual Spring Formal (called “The Evening”) our Spring Fest and Earth Day Programs, cultural events celebrating Black History and Women’s History Months, our Health and Wellness Initiatives including an entire week dedicated to positive body image, service learning trips, spring break opportunities, and, of course, our regularly scheduled films, comedians, game nights, live music, etc!
 
So, there is a lot happening, your student just needs to watch their email, check out the bulletin boards and talk to the people in their classes. Information and invitations are everywhere for them to maximize their college experience. We hope to see them, and you, at an upcoming activity!
 
Got a Question? Get an Answer!
By: Paula Meehan, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Paula Meehan, Vice President for Enrollment Management As the year progresses, parents invariably have questions that may not have been addressed in orientation, AQ visit days or in our quarterly e-newsletters. Not to worry. It's never too late to ask a question and get an answer or a referral to campus personnel.

Just e-mail Paula Meehan, Vice President for Enrollment Management at meehapau@aquinas.edu or pick up the phone and call directly at (616) 632-2852 or 1 (800) 678-9593. You will receive a reply within 24 hours.