Parents and Families  

eNewsletter: January 2011

Say "AQ, I Love You" with Saints' Squad Apparel Housing Options for 2011-2012
The Winter Blues AQ Takes the Plunge for Special Olympics - Join us for a Dip!
AQ Diversity Digest Students First
St. Thomas Aquinas Week: Jan. 24-30, 2011 125th Anniversary
Say "AQ, I Love You" with Saints' Squad Apparel

By Heather Bloom Hall, Director of Student Activities & Orientation

Saints Squad Apparel

Looking for a quick pick-me-up for your Saint this February? Send them some Saints’ Squad gear so they can show their AQ spirit at our various campus events! Our Saints’ Squad interns are eager to organize a special Valentine’s Day delivery from you to your AQ student as a part of our “AQ, I Love You” event.


Go to the Saints Squad web page to see the many options in Saints’ Squad gear that you can order for your student. Instructions and an order form for the “AQ, I Love You” event is housed there along with information about our spirit campaign. Submit orders and payment by Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 at 5 p.m. and our committee will notify your student with a valentine notification on Feb. 14 that a gift awaits them at the Cook Carriage House. All of the apparel is under $20! 

We look forward to seeing your smiling Saint in their AQ Saints’ Squad Gear. Remember that these items are available for children as well as parents and families. This is the first year for the Saints’ Squad campaign and we appreciate your help in spreading our AQ spirit! 

The Winter Blues

By: Marissa Alsteens. Career and Counseling Services

There is nothing quite like feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, breathing in the scent of a beautiful day, and enjoying the rush of happy thoughts.  Unfortunately, these experiences most often occur on sunny summer days.  Needless to say, Grand Rapids Michigan is not well known for its many sunny days, especially during the winter months.  This doesn’t mean we can’t still experience happiness without the sun, it is simply more difficult.

At there is an informative web page explaining the ups and downs of sunlight and its affects. The article references some solid research related to this subject.

People actually get depressed, with symptoms like sadness, fatigue and hopelessness -- from a lack of sunlight. The form of depression most often associated with variations in sunlight is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The disorder runs in cycles of depression and wellness that follow the seasons -- more specifically, the availability of sunlight. Someone with SAD might feel perfectly fine in spring and summer, and then experience a severe downturn in mood when fall hits. They'll stay that way through the winter, until the sun comes out again in full force. SAD is particularly prevalent in parts of the world with little winter daylight and/or extended overcast periods, like Alaska or the U.S. Northwest.”

The majority of individuals who have mood swings during the darker winter months do not have Seasonal Affective disorder. It is quite natural to tolerate some down days throughout the year and especially when we get less sunlight. Here are a few ideas for shaking the winter blues.
Bundle up and get out! - The sun is still here during the winter months we just neglect to take advantage of it due to the cold and snow.  Have a snowball fight, go sledding, ski, or build a snowman.


  • Open the blinds - Natural light is sun light.  Opening the blinds in your home and uncovering any window will allow natural sunlight and help boost your mood.
  • Exercise and Nutrition - Yes, as always your body needs to get moving in order to recharge and wake-up.  Take a walk around the block just don’t forget your coat and scarf. Make sure to eat balanced meals rich in fruit and vegetables. 
  • Socialize - The winter months drive us inside and away from people.  Making time to spend time around other people can also improve your mood.   Sometimes just chatting with someone else about the long dark winter can boost your mood versus sitting alone at home enduring the winter.

Even with these strategies sometimes you just need to talk to someone. If you or your student is struggling with feelings of sadness or depression please seek help through counseling services.  Encourage your student to try out the free and confidential counseling services at Aquinas through the Career and Counseling Department. Counselors can be reached by calling (616) 632-2905 or by stopping in the lower level of the Donnelly Center. 

AQ Diversity Digest

By: Marnika Brown, Director of Diversity Initiatives

AQ Diversity Digest Martin Luther King Day is a United States federal holiday. It is observed on the third Monday of January every year. It celebrates the life and achievements of one of the United States most influential civil rights leaders. This year it is celebrated on January 17, 2011. In observance of this holiday, Aquinas College will be hosting events throughout day. 

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. It is an annual celebration of the achievements by black Americans and a time to recognize their central role in U.S. history. The Pulitzer Prize winning theater production "Driving Miss Daisy" comes to the stage at AQ. Daisy Werthan will be performed by actress, theater owner and director Janae K. Dean and the part of Hoke Coleburn, will be played by her husband Wayburn Dean, former

lead singer of the Grammy nominated contemporary Christian group Acappella. The show will be on stage two nights back to back. Every Tuesday in February information will be available on The Moose online posting board about an influential contemporary black American.


Students will also have the opportunity to travel to Detroit to visit the Charles Wright Museum of African American History on Saturday, February 19. On February 27 in the Donnelly Center Diversity Initiatives and VIBE will be sponsoring Soul Food Sunday. This is a very popular event at AQ. It provides the AQ community with the opportunity to have an authentic soul food dinner, learn about its history and enjoy African musical entertainment.   

St. Thomas Aquinas Week: Jan. 24- 30, 2011

By: Mary Clark Kaiser, Director of Campus Ministry

Annual AQ Family Photo during St. Thomas Aquinas Week

In the midst of a cold, dreary January, our annual St. Thomas Aquinas Week, held each year during the last week of January, celebrates our patron saint with a wide variety of festivities rooted in our four Dominican Charisms: Prayer, Study, Community and Service.  There is always something for everyone in which to get involved. The week culminates in Jr. Saints Weekend during which Aquinas students host their jr. saints on campus.  Residential students may house their guest on campus per the guidelines in Residence Life. 


>Complete schedule for St. Thomas Aquinas Week and Jr. Saints Weekend


Here  are a few highlights:

Prayer: On Wednesday at 4:30p.m., the Dominican Heritage Mass honors the Dominican sisters, priests and brothers who have served the Aquinas community as well as colleagues on campus. Sr. Katrina Hartman, Jeff McKelvey and Pamela Dail Whiting, who have served the college for 25 years will be honored this year.  The week culminates in the St. Thomas Aquinas Patronal Mass on Sunday, January 30 at 10:30am, in Bukowski Chapel with music by the College Choir.  Those who want a quiet meditation are invited to Wege Ballroom to walk the labyrinth on a 36 foot diameter replica of the floor labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral.


Study: The Catholic Studies Program will hold the 20th Annual St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture "Evangelizing the Culture" presented by Dr. Eduardo J. Echeverria on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 12:15 p.m. in the Wege Ballroom. Dr. Echeverria is a professor at the Graduate School of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. On Thursday evening at 7:00pm in Kretschmer Auditorium, Campus Ministry and the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center present a one woman performance "Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light". International soprano Linn Maxwell portrays the extraordinary life of Hildegard of Bingen a 12th century visionary, healer, mystic and composer.


Community: St. Thomas Aquinas Week begins on Monday with everyone sharing in birthday cake available at multiple sites on campus. Some are known to go from department to department to get their fill of cake.  Then many Aquinas students, faculty and staff brave the cold and stand on the steps of the Academic Building on Tuesday for the Annual Family Photo. On Wednesday the Saints Squad encourages everyone to go to the women's basketball game against Northwest Ohio at 7:30 in the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center. Jr. Saints Weekend starts on Friday and is filled with fun activities for jr. saints and their Aquinas students. Some highlights of the week include:  the Medieval Dinner Theater where you can see sword fighting and juggling and eat with your hands; the 10th Annual Monty Python and the Holy Grail Party with lots of interactive fun; Bingo; Improv; life sized Candy Land; a magician; men's basketball vs. Cornerstone, A Night in Nelson's Dog House in the Wege Ballroom, VIBE Pajama Jam and more.


Service: Aquinas students volunteer as hosts for Dominican sisters at the annual St. Thomas Aquinas Birthday Dinner in Wege Cafeteria on Thursday night. The sisters and the students enjoy this annual festivity.

Housing Options for 2011-2012

By: Randall S. MacGeorge; Director of Campus Housing

Regina Hall Lounge

The spring semester has just begun, but already, students are considering their living options for the upcoming academic year.  Aquinas is blessed with many options to choose from, including various residence hall, apartment, and house settings on campus, as well as apartments and rental homes in neighborhoods close to campus.  Although the Residence Life department provides a great deal of information and support to students throughout this process, parents still play an important role in helping their son or daughter make this important decision, which can greatly impact his/her academic and personal success. 


Currently, students are applying for leadership positions on campus as Resident Assistants and Apartment Managers for next year.  All interested students must complete the on-line application form

by January 19, 2011, and after an extensive interview and review process, positions will be offered in mid-February.

The “big day” for most campus residents is Wednesday, March 16. Room draw occurs that afternoon for current first-year students, along with approximately 80 upper-classmen. Resident students have already been sent an e-mail with a link to our information page. More news and tips will be sent next month via e-mail and campus memos, as well as postings on The Moose student webpage.

Aquinas College has a two-year residency policy. Freshmen students currently living in the residence halls are required to return next year. In specific situations (verified financial hardship or a documented medical problem directly affected by a residence hall condition) a student can petition to be released from his or her residence hall contract. If this pertains to your student, please be sure to submit your request by our February 15, 2011 deadline. Please note that it does take some time to acquire the necessary information to file this request, and that the information and application forms are available at the Residence Life Office.

If your student has any physical or other conditions (mobility challenges, severe allergies, etc.) that require specific placement accommodations, the deadline for requesting such considerations is also February 15. Encourage him/her to contact Ms. Sarah Cox, Disability Services Coordinator, before that date.

AQ Takes the Plunge for Special Olympics Michigan - Join us for a Dip!

By Heather Bloom Hall, Director of Student Activities & Orientation

Polar Plunge

Think you have what it takes to take the plunge for Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI)? WE DO!  Students, faculty and staff are gearing up to defend our title as the College Division Champions of the Polar Bear Plunge at Reed’s Lake in East Grand Rapids on Saturday, February 19, 2011.


Last year, the AQ community contributed $1,000 to Special Olympics Michigan and beat out area institutions to win the college title. We are ready and eager to return with more money raised and more people!  If you or your AQ student are interested in learning more about the event or even going as a spectator, please visit the Programming Board website to learn more.

The Aquinas College Programming Board traditionally offered a Polar Plunge on campus but decided in 2010 to join the local efforts and serve the Special Olympics. The Plunge is a second highlight of Wake Up People weekend. A huge event in the Cook Carriage House scheduled for Friday, February 18 (the evening before the Plunge), Wake Up People offers free live music, free food from local vendors, prizes and giveaways from Pepsi. Our annual AQ Idol competition anchors the Friday night event.

The Polar Plunge was made possible by the Law Enforcement Torch Run, a group of police officers and corrections personnel committed to raising funds and awareness for SOMI.

Proceeds from the Polar Plunge support the year-round sports training and athletic competition for more than 17,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who live in Michigan.  

For more information on the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge or Special Olympics Michigan call (800) 644-6404. To speak directly to an AQPB member regarding AQ’s involvement in Special Olympics, please contact or call Whitney Fitzgerald, President of AQPB at (616) 632-2460.


Note: Some information in this article obtained from the Special Olympics Michigan Website.
Students First!

By: Leah Kicinski '11

MyAQ Orientation Leader

When I first came to Aquinas, I had no idea where my four years would take me. As I look forward to graduation in May, I cannot believe what I have become. But one thing I do know is that I have gained the most strength not only from my faith in God, but also from the challenges and new opportunities I have been a part of. Not to mention the support from my parents and family. I hope that every student takes the opportunity to join a club or organization and to make that club something that they love to be a part of. Students need to remember that as much fun as it is to become part of something they love, they cannot lose sight of the real reason we chose Aquinas: to be a student first.


In all of the leadership opportunities I have been involved in I have constantly been reminded that being a student is our number one job. Personally what I have found is that the more involved I am, the

better I became at time management and my job as a student has become easier and more productive for me. In the spring, students are given several of these great opportunities to take on roles where our supervisors uphold that we are students first and foster our leadership opportunities around this. Here are some of the ways that students can get involved and will be constantly reminded of what we are really here to do:


  • Resident Assistant: RAs are assigned to residence halls and in addition to supporting students; they also plan programs and events and attend regularly scheduled meetings and seminars. Applications are available now, and are due January 19 at noon. >More information and the application
  • Orientation Leader: My AQ Orientation Leaders are selected to assist the first-year community in their transition to college life. They assist with all aspects of orientation weekend in August and their job extends into the year as support for the new students. >Online Application
  • Student Senate: Student Senate represents the voice of Aquinas, as a group where students can go to have their voice be heard. There are opportunities to be a senator, who represents a club, or they can be a part of the executive board or cabinet members. >More information
Celebrating the Past. Building the Future. Aquinas College Celebrates 125 Years: 1886-2011

By: Gary Eberle, Professor of English

Celebrating AQ

This August, Aquinas College will kick off a year's worth of festivities celebrating its 125 years of Catholic Dominican post-secondary education in Michigan. The celebration of the college's quasquicentennial (125th anniversary) will be highlighted by four Signature Events that will shine a spotlight on the values that have guided the college throughout its history: prayer, study, service, and community.


In August, students will be welcomed back to a campus festooned with celebratory banners. Talks on the history of the college will be included in freshman orientation and in the orientation of new staff and faculty.  In early September, the value the college places on prayer will be highlighted with a formal liturgical rededication of campus. A procession of students, faculty, staff, alumni, Marywood

sisters, and friends of the college will converge on a redesigned Wege plaza for a rededication ceremony which will be followed by a short refreshment break and a Mass. 


On November 1, All Saints Day, Aquinas will hold up its long tradition of service with a worldwide service day on which all members of the community, including alumni, will be asked to perform a community service wherever they live and pass Aquinas's ethic of service on to others with a special commemorative token.


In the week after spring break, the campus will revive an old custom known as Academic Day with presentations by faculty on their areas of academic specialty and a special academic awards program. Then, on March 14, best-selling author and lawyer Scott Turow (One L, Presumed Innocent) will make an appearance on campus for a writing workshop with students and a special dinner to benefit the Contemporary Writers Series which is celebrating its 15th anniversary next year.


Finally, the pillar of community will be celebrated with a special 125th birthday version of Campus Life's annual "Wake-up People!" party sponsored by Pepsi, and modeled on the popular "Viva Balog" celebration that was held to honor President Edward Balog's inauguration. A special celebration of Aquinas's history for donors and benefactors will be held in late April with a 1920's-themed Evening of Elegance in the newly remodeled Holmdene manor and Carriage House historic buildings.


In addition to these four signature events, there will be smaller celebrations and memorials through the year. Special signage on campus will call attention to the college's heritage, and scrolling historic photos on the college web page and new computer kiosks will highlight our rich past. In addition a history of Aquinas College, written by English professor Gary Eberle, will make the story of Aquinas available in book form to alumni and friends of the College.


Eberle, who also serves as Master of the Revels, overseeing the celebration, said, "The history of Aquinas College is a fascinating story of growth, risk-taking, innovation and survival in the face of tough times. This coming year will be an opportunity to celebrate that past and to work on major fundraising initiatives to ensure the college's existence for at least the next 125 years."


The spirit of festivity should abound as the college takes justifiable pride in what it has accomplished from its humble beginnings more than a century ago. "Aquinas loves a party," Eberle said, "and this coming year will be festive in the best sense of the word, a time to stop, reflect, give thanks, and enjoy the gift we have been given by those who came before us, and to pass on to the future the wonderful tradition that is Aquinas College."

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