Parents and Families  
 

eNewsletter: October 2010

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The Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center Set to Open Oct. 25
Introducing the Saint's Squad
This I Believe, Aquinas Freshman Common Reading Experience
Financial Fitness
Proactive Safety Changes for the Aquinas Community
Career & Counseling Services for Your AQ Student
Save the Date!
 
The Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center Set To Open October 25
By: Doug Greenslate, Director of Physical Services
Maintenance punch lists and bleacher installation are being completed, as staff and faculty prepare to move into the new Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center. When students return from fall break, they'll be wowed by the transformation of this spectacular facility. The new building features a competition arena for basketball and volleyball with seating for 2,000, main floor locker rooms, a new fitness center, three classrooms, a conference room, hospitality room, and offices for both faculty and staff.
 
In addition, the new training area will provide facility requirements necessary for recertification of the College's Athletic Training Education program. Students can now access the building from the new entrance at the south end of the facility, while guests and spectators will enter at the north end, where they'll be impressed by a massive lobby and hallway outside of the arena. The lobby features high tech video displays and kiosks honoring Aquinas College Hall of Fame inductees and Athletic All Americans.
 
Inside the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center
 
Phase One of the renovation project was fully funded and completed within a year. The College now sets its sights on Phase Two, which will add a 69,690 square foot multipurpose center to the west side of the existing building. The expansion will include a 200-meter NCAA certified track; off season practice areas for baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse; courts for intramural basketball, volleyball, cheerleading and dance, and spectator seating for 300. >>More
 
Introducing the Saints Squad
By Linda Nash, Associate Athletics Director for Women's Sports

As we kicked off the 2010-11 school year, there have been some exciting initiatives taking place on the campus of Aquinas College. Never has there been a doubt in anyone's mind, that we have a great supportive student network at our athletic contests. This year, the "Saints' Squad" was developed to take that level of school pride to a new and exciting level. Enthusiasm on campus is running high with the Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center about to become home to the Saint's men's and women's basketball, and volleyball teams.

 

During orientation, our freshman class received their official "Saints' Squad" T-shirts. These shirts are to be worn to our "White Out" events on campus. The "Saints' Squad" motto is simple: make all athletic contests that Aquinas College competes in, the place to be on campus. We want to be loud, have fun and to create an environment that takes our opponent's out of their game.

Saints' Squad!
 
The "Saints' Squad" was developed by the Spirit Committee, comprised of individuals from various areas on campus to enhance school spirit. Show your AQ Spirit by attending our athletic contests and cheering on your Saints. Saints Squad apparel will be available for purchase in the Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center during all athletic events. A pep band will be introduced this school year and of course our mascot Nelson will be on hand to welcome fans and their families. Also, welcome the newest member of the Aquinas Saints Squad, Gus, President Balog's Saint Bernard. He is known to already to be bringing good luck to our teams. Go Saints!
 
This I Believe, Aquinas Freshman Common Reading Experience
By: Dr. Jennifer Dawson, Associate Professor of English
Over the past summer, your son or daughter was invited to take the first step toward becoming a successful college student by reading and thinking about our Common Reading Experience selection for 2010, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman. The summer reading component is, however, only the first step in a larger program intended to help your student make meaningful transition to College. During Orientation week, students took the second step: they enthusiastically translated their independent reading into lively discussion sessions with their Orientation Leaders. The third step is being taken in GE 101: Inquiry and Expression classes as students write and share their own "This I Believe" essays and work to develop their essay writing skills. Building on the success of these activities, the next stage is to expand our activities beyond the classroom.
 
In the coming weeks, we will be honoring these efforts and bringing "This I Believe" to the entire campus and local community. On Wednesday, November 3 at 7:30 pm in our newly renovated Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center, Dan Gediman, former NPR reporter and long-time radio producer, will be speaking about the "This I Believe" project and his determination to foster writing about sharing ideas as a way to start a national conversation about belief. “Liberals might find out that conservatives have important ideas beneath the standard issue rants and vice versa. Those of conflicting religious convictions might find common ground" Gediman explains, "It is possible but we will never know in our current conversational climate where dialogue is designed to create more heat than light.” Students will be encouraged to attend, have an opportunity to ask questions, and have their book signed. >>More on this event
 
Moreover, in preparation for the "big" event, student leaders have organized a "read-in," a community reading of belief statements, on October 28, for students, faculty and staff. Four readers, who submit written copies of their "This I Believe" essays, will be selected to be Mr. Gediman's opening act and have the opportunity to share their ideas with an even larger audience.
 
We are eagerly anticipating this opportunity to bring together our campus community for an interesting and engaging evening. Focusing on sharing belief as part of a vital national dialogue, Mr. Gediman's speech will be free and open to the public. We hope you will consider joining us for this special culminating event.
 
Financial Fitness
By: Veronica Beitner, Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives
This past August, Aquinas College welcomed our latest Saints to campus. As part of their Orientation, they had the opportunity to spend a day exploring how to achieve a Healthy Lifestyle. One area that was reviewed was Financial Fitness. Huntington Bank customized this presentation for our students that explored financial issues from balancing a checkbook to credit scores and even offered a budgeting worksheet to keep downloaded on their computers! This presentation was very well received and we would like to share with you in part their discussion.
 
The Credit Card Party for Students is Over!
After years of snapping up credit cards with ease, the Credit CARD Act of 2009 will make it much more difficult for anyone under the age of 21 to qualify for a credit card.
 
Under the new law, which takes effect in February 2010, no one under the age of 21 will be approved for a credit card offer unless a parent or guardian or spouse is willing to co-sign, or the young adult shows proof of sufficient income to cover the credit obligation.
 
So come February, unless you have a job or a co-signer or you've celebrated that all-important 21st birthday, you won't be able to open a credit card account in your very own name. The new law also requires credit card companies to significantly cut back on their marketing efforts to college students.
 
If you're under 21, prescreened credit card offers may not be mailed to you unless you've opted in with the credit reporting agencies to receive such offers. So, no avalanche of credit card offers will be jamming the mailbox in your dorm unless you give the OK. And you can forget about snapping up a bunch of free gifts from credit card companies as you stroll across campus. Credit card companies will no longer be able to use T-shirts or free pizza or any other tangible gifts to entice students to apply for credit cards on or near campus or at university-sponsored events.
 
Undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances. The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, the highest in the years the study has been conducted. Median debt grew from 2004’s $946 to $1,645. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates had balances of between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study. (Source: Sallie Mae, "How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards," April 2009)
 
Managing Debt – What Do I Do Now?
  • Stop using credit – use for emergency only. Build up emergency savings fund. Buying a home is acceptable but limit to 15 years and payoff early.
  • Pay off debt. Start with smaller balances, work up to higher balances, and keep paying the same amount until all debt paid off. DON’T PAY THE MINIMUM!
  • Increase your income – be proud of any legitimate source of income!
  • Start a savings plan, short, medium, and long term savings.
  • Pay what you owe – don’t ask for settlements or reduced balance – it can hurt your credit rating.
  • Building credit history – ask parent to be added to credit card as authorized user but no access to the account. This builds credit history.
  • Student loans don’t count until out of deferment – start paying ASAP! Don’t wait for the call or the notice – Take control of you own destiny
Banking Solutions
  • Build a relationship with a financial institution. Get to know your banker!
  • Consolidate all of the financial services you need at one institution to get the best deal. Packages are cheaper than individual products.
  • Balance your checkbook - daily!
  • Get overdraft protection
  • Don’t use primary account to buy online!
  • Leverage technology to protect your money: Debit Card, Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Online Bill Payment
 
Proactive Safety Changes for the Aquinas Community
By: Lt. Mark McCann

In today's difficult economic times, what is important to people has to be asked when changes are implemented. Safety is always a vital part of a thriving community and our Aquinas Community is no different. Students, Staff and Faculty come to campus each day and it is Campus Safety's intent that each individual will feel safe and secure. Campus Safety is making every effort to provide that feeling of safety by using every dollar wisely with today and the future in mind.

 

Campus Safety looks to improve upon security each and every day. We review what is necessary to keep ahead of possible problems on campus. From lighting to parking to customer service, Campus Safety tries to see potential hazards and to correct problems before they can harm any individual. Each officer is trained to report any hazard to the correct department on campus. Slippery walks are immediately reported to the Grounds staff and either they or an officer will spread salt. If a window is broken or a door is damaged the problem will be reported to the Maintenance staff. If it is after hours on-call staff will be called in to solve the problem.

 
One specific change that has occurred at Aquinas regarding safety is the changing of locks on the door handles in each of the classrooms on campus. The change allows professors to lock the door from the inside of the classroom during an emergency or possible lockdown. This advantage may stop a criminal from injuring a higher number of subjects during an assault.
 
Campus Safety has taken the lead in implementing an emergency response plan throughout the college that includes the integration of security speakers in all buildings along with three outdoor speakers. The speakers allow for communications during an emergency. The Campus Safety dispatcher can give very specific instructions using these speakers to individual buildings or the entire campus.
 
The biggest safety improvement is the use of ID cards by students, staff and faculty for entrance into buildings. The first step is for each of these three entities to receive an ID from Campus Safety. This allows for our department to meet each individual. The next step is to grant access for only those who are allowed into those secure areas. We call this long term access (LTA). The last step is education for all so each person knows how they gain access to a building or classroom and how each person grants LTA.
 
Campus Safety wants to ensure safety and we continue to look for ways to improve to stay ahead of the problems facing our students. If you ever have a concern please contact us at cso@aquinas.edu or by phone at (616) 632-2462.
 
Career & Counseling Services for Your AQ Student
By: Sharon Smith, Director of Career and Counseling Services
Determining A Career Path
How will my son or daughter know if the major/career path chosen is the right one for him or her? What will my child really be able to do with a particular degree upon graduating from Aquinas College?
At Career & Counseling Services, we know that these are just a couple of the questions you are asking yourself as parents when you choose to invest in your child's education. Our goal is to help enhance your son or daughter academically, personally, and professionally by providing career and counseling services in our office. We strive to be good stewards of the investment you have made in your son or daughter's education, and we are honored that you have entrusted us to serve your student. Look over our checkpoints that will help you to gauge your student’s career preparation progress for each year! >>Checkpoints and More Information
 
Counseling Services, Your Student's Harbor
Fall break is nearly upon us, which means that your son or daughter has made it through half of his or her first semester of college! During this time of year, it is not uncommon for students to experience stress, anxiety, and/or depression in response to growing academic demands. As the parent of a new student you can help by keeping up communication with your child, asking how he or she is doing, and listening while avoiding giving too much advice. Career and Counseling Services at Aquinas College is available to help your son or daughter with concerns that they may encounter while at college. >>More Information
 
Save the Date!
By Heather Hall, Director of Student Activities & Orientation
Involvement on campus is at an all time high! Not only are the programs offered by our clubs and organizations more diverse than ever, but our entire student population of active residents and commuters are engaging in arts, athletics, service, and social activities more so than previous years.
 
AQ Soccer Games Polar Plunge 2010
 
As we look forward to spring semester 2011, Campus Life would like to highlight some activities that are currently on the calendar for our students up until Spring Break. The following list of events is current as of this writing, but an active and complete list can be accessed on the Campus Life website. These activities are free to our students and are also available for families to join and attend. So tell your student to put down that game controller and record their favorite television shows - it's time to get out there and maximize their experience!
 
For your 2011 calendar:
  • January 18, 29, 20: Clubs & Orgs Info Nights in Cook Carriage House. Interested in learning more about specific student groups? Meet their leadership at a series of info sessions!
  • January 24-30: St. Thomas Aquinas Week – a week organized by Campus Ministry and their cosponsors offers a chance to honor the college's namesake and to celebrate the Dominican Charisms. The week culminates with our Junior Saints Weekend (January 28-30, 2011) sponsored by AQ Programming Board, Campus Life, Resident Housing Association, and Residence Life. A registration process is offered for the siblings program. Registration materials are available after Thanksgiving online and the deadline to register is January 14, 2011.
  • February 6: Annual St. Joe's Superbowl Party – this annual tradition is so big that we had to move out of St. Joes and into Wege Ballroom! Join many student groups and the Siena Area council for a celebration of the gridiron.
  • February 18: WAKE UP PEOPLE. This annual late night event takes over the Cook Carriage House with free food from local restaurants, live entertainment, and tons of giveaways! Wake up People was designed by Campus Life to offer a break from the winter blues and boy does it deliver! Wake Up People is also home to the final round of AQ Idol where the finalists from two rounds of performances compete for a cash award and a year-long reign as THE voice on campus.
  • February 19: Polar Bear Plunge at Reed's Lake. Aquinas College will defend its title as the College Bracket Champion at this year's Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics. Each year, AQPB offers students the chance to dress up to support the theme for the plunge. Faculty, staff, and students participate. Anyone up for a family dip to support a group cause?
  • February 27: Soul Food Sunday. Organized in celebration of Black History Month, Diversity Initiatives, Campus Life and VIBE offer campus an evening of great music and amazing Soul Food. The event is free to campus and provides a history of the cuisine through lecture, music, and fellowship.
These are just a taste of the events that are happening on or near campus. Please check out the AQ Theatre productions, Music & Art department programs, and various Athletic activities offered throughout the semester! Our Saints' Squad is in full effect… so join us in the stands donning your gear and AQ spirit! There is something here for everyone both during the week and throughout the weekends. Encourage your student to get out there and do something! Go Saints!
 
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