Missouri State University
Family Connection

First-Generation Students Assisting Other First-Generation Students By Serving as Peer Leaders

For many first-generation students, getting involved on campus becomes secondary to focusing upon academics.  The desire to master this unknown collegiate culture simply takes precedence.  However, many first-generation students, particularly after their initial semester at college, tend to become interested in student organizations and leadership opportunities.  By joining a student organization or serving in a leadership role first-generation students form a type of transition community (Bruffee, 1999); transition communities are described as a group “in which people construct knowledge as they talk together and reach consensus” (p. 14).  Working alongside other first-generation students can prove to be a useful learning and reacculturation (Bruffee, 1999) strategy.

One such leadership opportunity that involves first-generation students assisting other first-generation students to become successful at Missouri State is serving as a first-year seminar (GEP 101) Peer Leader.  GEP 101 is a course that is required for all incoming students with fewer than 24 hours post high school who are not part of the Honors College, so the majority of first-semester freshmen take this course as part of their fall curriculum.  Though this first-year seminar course focuses upon academic skill building, public affairs engagement, and campus resource awareness, specialized sections have been specifically created for first-generation students.  Serving as a Peer Leader for a specialized GEP 101 section is a unique way to assist incoming students with their transition to university life.

Peer Leaders work closely not only with their first-year seminar instructor to provide input to daily course content and facilitate classroom discussion but also to serve as a role model and resource to new students.  Further, Peer Leaders show students how to become successful, both in and out of the classroom by sharing strategies for academic and co-curricular success.   In addition, Peer Leaders attend a Peer Leadership class, at no cost, to improve their leadership skills and to share their experiences with other Peer Leaders.

The requirements to become a Peer Leader include a 3.0 GPA, minimum of 30 credit hours, and completed application including two reference forms from faculty and staff.  Peer Leader applicants will participate in a fun and engaging selection process, called Peer Leader Carousel.  To learn more, please go to the First-Year Programs website or contact firstyearprograms@missouristate.edu.

Bruffee, K. A. (1999). Collaborative learning: Higher education, interdependence, and  the authority of knowledge (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

(submitted by Dr. Tracey Glaessgen, Assistant Director – First-Year Programs)

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Zoë Says…”What’s the Weather Like?”

I love Missouri. I’ve lived here for 18ish years so it has grown on me. However, there are a few tweaks I would love to make if I had the power. The drastically changing unpredictable weather being at the top of my list. It is not uncommon to have a 60 degree, beautiful day squeezed next to a day with below 30 degrees with a winter weather advisory all day long. It is days like those that make me chuckle when people say to pack in seasons for the school year. Granted, you don’t need ALL of your clothes year round, but it is smart to have a sprinkling of off-season clothing in your closet for a typical Missouri week.   article-2519364-19E2E67E00000578-391_634x431

Sort of on the same note, those extra clothes are not helpful unless you utilize them properly. I know us college students think we know everything, but we forget that Mother Nature is free to do whatever she wants whenever she wants. I make it a point look at the weather every morning before getting ready. Even if I look the night before, I still double check before leaving the house. And let me tell you, it doesn’t do good to just look at the current temperature. I recommend looking up an hourly report to get an idea of what the whole day will look like. Sure, you might feel goofy walking around campus with an umbrella in the morning when the sun is shining, but everyone will be very jealous when the rain starts pouring in the afternoon and you’re the only one prepared.

So moral of the story is, be smart with the weather. Put a light jacket, some gloves and even a small umbrella in your backpack when on campus. They won’t add that much weight and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Practice being #PreparedBears y’all!

~ Zoë
Family Orientation Assistant

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It’s time to think about housing for the 2017-2018 academic year!

It’s that time to be thinking about next year’s plans. If your student hasn’t already signed up to live with us in either our campus Apartments or a Living-Learning Community, February is the time to get signed up to live on campus for next year. Our application process is open and students can fill out a housing application by going to their my.missouristate.edu and selecting ‘Apply for Housing’ on the blue housing channel. If your student is exploring their options, students have until April 1 to cancel their housing application with no penalty. Check out our Re-Application website for more details: http://reslife.missouristate.edu/Reapplication.htm If your student is wanting to find a roommate, check out roommate finder in the MSU New Student Community Facebook App.  909100aaa21ba1ce9fefa1cec85df7e61b7e43fb_original

Does your student want to move rooms for this semester? We will open our online room change process on January 24 at noon. Residents can go online to see what spaces are available. This can also be found on my.missouristate.edu by selecting ‘Room Change’ on the blue housing channel.

If your student will be taking Summer School Classes and would like to live on campus, our Summer School Housing Application will be available starting January 23.

Still determining what meal plan is right for your student? Students have until February 3 to lower their meal plan. This can be done online, through our office in Hammons House 104, or through the Dining Services.

If you have questions, contact Residence Life at 417 836-5536.

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Missouri State Dining Services Recognized Nationally

Here at Missouri State, we know our Dining Services is A+! Now the country knows. Recently, Missouri State Dining Services was recognized nationally by Chartwells – Higher Education for their outstanding service. They were recognized with the following awards:

  • National Account of the Year- Selected out of 270 Chartwells accounts as the Account of the Year.  account-of-the-year
  • Compass in the Community Bronze award- Dining Services was awarded the bronze award out of 9,000 Compass accounts (Compass is the mother company of Chartwells) for their work in the community including raising over $20,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.

“Missouri State Dining Services in Partnership with Chartwells was honored to be selected as the Account of the Year, out of over 270 accounts,” says Tony Hein, resident district manager.  “The selection criteria was based on several criteria including our customer survey results and feedback, our involvement in several local charities and our continuing commitment to diversity and inclusion through sponsoring events such as Autism Awareness Week.”

Congratulations Missouri State Dining Services! We are #BearProud!

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Looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for your student? We have a suggestion…Baseball Tickets

Valentine’s Day is a little over a month away and you are wracking your brain, trying to find the perfect gift for your student. Why not give them a gift that is fun, tradition-worthy and affordable…season tickets for Missouri State Baseball. 163469330e3e5ae3b0c0d224186acb50

For the low price of $20, your student gets a ticket to 23 home games plus a special gift. Less than $1 a ticket. You can’t beat that! They get to cheer on our Baseball Bears at Hammons Field while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Great study break.

To purchase tickets for your student, download the form here.  Fill the form out and mail it to the address listed.  You can also email it to: DuaneMiller@missouristate.edu.

Questions? Contact Duane Miller at (417) 836-8899.

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Mark your calendar – Looking ahead at the 2017 Spring Semester

Happy New Year! I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around 2017! Wow, time really does fly when you’re having fun!  For my office, the spring semester always seems to speed by. I wanted to share some important dates with you. You can in turn share these dates with your student.  spring-family-day-2017

January 14th – Residence Halls open for the spring semester
January 17th
– First day of classes
January 17th21st – Free week of BearFit classes at the Rec Center
January 17th27th – Winter Week hosted by the Student Activities Council. SAC has planned many activities to kick-off the new semester in style. From Rock-n-Bowl to the Transfer Student Fair to the Winter Concert,  there is something for everyone. You student can stay up-to-date on all the activities by following @MoStateSAC on Twitter.
January 19th – Rave in the Cave – Rave in the Cave is the pep rally held to cheer on our men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Sugar Bears, Pride Pep Band and coaches of both teams are just a few of the highlights of the evening. There are also some cool giveaways!
January 19th – Transfer Student Fair – PSU Ballroom – 11am – 2pm.  Check out the Transfer Student blog here.
January 20th – Missouri State Chorale performs at the Inauguration
January 31st – February 3rd – Winter Organization Fest – Your student can learn more about the organizations and visit with representatives.
February 1st – Missouri State priority date for turning in the FAFSA – For more information, visit the Office of Financial Aid website. NOTE: In order to receive financial aid, your must student must fill out the FAFSA EACH year.
February 16th – Mock Interview Day hosted by the Career Center
February 20th – President’s Day holiday – Missouri State closed
February 28th – Career Expo 2017 hosted by the Career Center
March 1stScholarship applications due to Financial Aid office
March 11th19th – Spring Break
March 25th – April 1stGreek Week hosted by Fraternity & Sorority Life
March 29th – Education Day 2017 hosted by the Career Center
April 4th – April 7th – Public Affairs Conference – Theme – “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – Perspectives on Self-Government” – Open to the public.
April 13th – 14th – Spring Holiday
April 20th – 21stCollaborative Diversity Conference  – Theme – “Practice what you preach in diversity and inclusion” – Open to the public.
April 22nd – Spring Family Day at Hammons Field – Make plans to join us for a great day of baseball as our Bears take on “Wichita is NOT a State” University. Tickets will go on sale in late January. Find out more here.
May 10th – May Day hosted by the Student Activities Council. One of the oldest traditions on campus, May Day is the celebration of the end of the semester. SAC takes over the North Mall with inflatables, games, a petting zoo and so much more. Your student doesn’t want to miss this fun event.
May 12th – Study Day
May 13th – 18th – Final Exams
May 19th – Spring Commencement
May 20th – Residence Halls close for the semester
May 24th – 27th – MVC Baseball Championship – Hammons Field

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Welcome back to campus – Important information for the start of the semester

We are excited to welcome our Bears back to campus for the spring semester in just a few days. The residence halls open on Saturday, January 14, 8:00 a.m.   Students can move in any time after 8am. However, students are not ‘required’ to be here by a certain time.  The local weather stations are predicting the possibility of icy weather this upcoming weekend. Your student’s safety is very important to us so we recommend students checking with MDOT and other outlets (news stations, friends in the Springfield area) to ensure the roads are safe for travel. Classes do not start until Tuesday, January, 17th so your student does have time to arrive back in Springfield safely without rushing to get back this upcoming weekend. Follow local news stations (@ky3, @kolr10kozl, @Fox5KRBK, @ksmu), and  @missouristate, @MoState_ResLife and @BearsFamilies to stay up-to-date.  family-association-logo

If you have any questions, contract Priscilla Childress at (417) 836-3060 or pchildress@missouristate.edu.


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Tradition of the Month – Rave in the Cave

This month’s Tradition of the Month is Rave in the Cave! Taking place on January 19th at JQH Arena, Rave in the Cave is an annual pep rally hosted by the Traditions Council in support of the men’s and women’s basketball team.  logos-bearup

Featuring the Missouri State Pride Pep Band, the Sugar Bears and the MSU Cheerleaders along with both basketball teams and coaches, plus a few surprises along the way, this fun, loud, spirit-filled pep rally kicks off the second semester with a loud #BearUp and Go Bears!

All Hail Maroon & White!

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Meet Max Wagner – Parent & Family Program Specialist

We are very excited to welcome Max Wagner, MSU 2016 graduate, to New Student & Family Programs. Max, our Parent & Family Program Specialist, will be assisting this semester with Parent & Family Programs, the Ursa Experience and SOAR. Take a minute to get to know Max! He is #BearUp!

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Do you have siblings? Where did you go to High School?  I was born in Kansas City, MO and grew up in Overland Park, KS and I have 4 younger siblings (2 on each side of my family). My high school was Shawnee Mission South which had a little over 1600 students. We were the smallest high school in my district at the time, believe it or not. Additionally, I was the only one from my graduating class of over 350 to come to MO State for college. I graduated this past December with a degree in Administrative management and a minor in History. This coming summer, I will begin my next academic journey in the Student Affairs in Higher Education Master’s program here at MO State.  img_4648

You graduated in December 2016. How did it feel to graduate from Missouri State? Was it bittersweet? Graduation was a huge day for me. I had a very rough time my first semester. At that time, I was strongly considering leaving Missouri State because I really felt like Missouri State wasn’t the right place for me. However, my family and best friend pushed me to stay one more semester before I made my final decision. I went into my second semester with very low expectations, but I was really going to try to make the best out of it. That February 1st, I started dating my amazing partner Amanda, later that month I accepted a job as a Resident Assistant (RA) in Blair-Shannon House, and in April I got appointed to the Cabinet of Student Government Association (SGA). The rest is history after that. Today I can’t fathom how I believed that MO State was the wrong choice back then. To me, walking across that stage was symbolic of my journey from almost transferring to becoming a proud alum and my first big steps toward my future.

Why are you interested in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program? What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?  I want to make a positive, lifelong impact on college students and help develop them into our future leaders. Student Affairs is the vehicle with which I can achieve this life mission. Being a Student Affairs practitioner will give me the ability to facilitate student development, collaborate cross-functionally to continuously improve student life and higher education, and assist emerging leaders in finding their purpose beyond academics. My leadership experiences inspired my interest in Student Affairs and have given me vast, diverse experiences and professional connections in the field already.

My professional goals are fourfold. First is constantly broadening my knowledge, skills, and experience to be the best contributor to the field I can be. Second is to have a career in which I will interact with students on a daily basis and help create student leadership and mentorship programs. Third is to be involved in professional student affairs organizations such as ACPA, NASPA, and NODA and be able to attend and present at one or multiple their respective conferences. Lastly is to become a Vice President of Student Affairs or equivalent position who also teaches classes. I want to be able to lead a higher education administration someday and inspire the next generation of Student Affairs professionals.

In 2022, I see myself after my first few years of my career as a Student Affairs professional. I see myself in at a 4-year university in a full-time position that is somewhere within a department similar to New Student & Family Programs. In my position I hope I can interact with students every day, develop student leadership and resource programs, and work on, or create, a program similar to Ursa. Ursa is an incredible program and I really hope that I can continue to work on extended orientation programs like it in the future.

What were you involved with at Missouri State? Why is out-of-class involvement important for college students?  I was very involved during my undergraduate life in a variety of organizations such as Freddy House Hall Council, Residence Hall Association, the Blair-Shannon House RA staff, Student Government Association (SGA), Advocates, Traditions Council, and the Ursa Experience. I served in leadership positions in many of these organizations. Most notably, I served on the Cabinet of SGA for 3 consecutive years and as an Ursa Major for the first 2 years of the program. Additionally, I served on 10 university-level committees in a variety of areas.

It’s critical for students to find their purpose beyond academics. I’m a strong believer of the phrase “It is what you make of it”. Getting involved, even in just one thing, can fundamentally transform your college experience and the person you are. Furthermore, involvement gives you another dimension of education. Involvement expands your worldview, connects you to others and something greater than yourself, and gives you hands-on experience to develop skills in leadership, communication, collaboration, organization, time management, and so much more. I truly believe I am a much more educated person as a result of my wide involvement on campus. Everyone can find something to get involved in on campus that they will love. It really can change your life.

For the last two years, you were a facilitator (a Major) for the Ursa Experience. Why is the Ursa Experience an important program for incoming freshmen? What did you learn from being a Major?  Ursa is important because it inspires passion for our university and gives the tools for incoming students to excel in the classroom, as leaders, and beyond. It achieves this in the following ways. First, Ursa allows incoming students to make connections with each other and our university before they are put into the full swing of their first semester. As a result of Ursa, they are able to make friends, connect to important resources, and develop wide knowledge of our university and traditions. This preparation allows them to be confident transitioning into college. Second, Ursa inspires the next generation of bears to become leaders on campus and in their communities. What they learn in Ursa helps them begin to find their larger purpose outside the classroom and gives them direction on how to start their journey once school begins. Lastly, this gives the students a great foundation going into their first semester that they will build upon during their college life and inspires their pride to be bears.

I was fortunate to serve as both a large group leader my first year and small group leader my second year. Leading large group activities as a large group leader challenged me to make the sessions as impactful as possible while managing time well. Being a small group leader was a greater challenge for me as I was responsible for ensuring that my group of 10 incoming students and the other Ursa minors I interacted with were being benefitted from the Ursa Experience and making connections with each other and Missouri State University. Overall, the three biggest things I learned as an Ursa Major were how to break out of my shell as a person, how to effectively lead different groups of people, and how I can make an impact on individual people.

What advice do you have for Missouri State students?  First, find something to get involved in. As I discussed previously, it is probably the most important thing you can do to get the most out of your college experience. You’d be amazed to see the great experiences you can have by getting involved. Second, never be afraid to change your major. If you aren’t happy with what you are studying, you need to change it. I changed my major 5 times as an undergrad so I was very academically indecisive. It’s ok to be indecisive for a while. You’ll find the right program eventually after you explore your interests. It’s better to stay in school longer to get the degree you want than graduate with a degree you hate and be stuck with it then have to start over again. Lastly, always look for opportunities to grow. Every step you take in your college journey will open doors for you. Keep your eyes open for those opportunities and capitalize on them. Like I said before, you can be amazed where things can take you.

What is your favorite Missouri State tradition? Why? My favorite tradition is Fountain Day in the Spring. The fountain is one of the most iconic parts of our campus and it is really exciting to see it on display. In the past, a small celebration was done for the day it gets turned back on. However, last year Traditions Council made Fountain Day a huge campus event and it was very successful. As a result of their work, Fountain Day has immensely improved as a tradition and it has became my favorite tradition.

What is the last movie you saw? Would you recommend it to others? Why or why not?  The Big Lebowski. My stepdad and I watch it every Christmas as a tradition. I strongly recommend this movie because it one of the top cult classic movies ever. It is directed by the legendary Coen brothers and has a star studded cast of Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, and, of course, MO State grad John Goodman. It’s a hilarious, wacky, and thrilling movie and it never stops being funny.

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Quick Reminder from Taylor Health and Wellness – It’s not too late to get a flu shot!

It’s not too late for your student to get their flu shot!  It would be wise for non-vaccinated students to come by Taylor Health as soon as possible to get their flu vaccination.  The number of cases of the flu exploded in Greene County during December.  Taylor Health has an ample supply of flu vaccine left and hopes many students will avail themselves of this important preventive.  flu-shot

Also, a few mumps cases were seen at MSU in December. All students should make certain they have had two of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccinations.  Taylor Health also has an ample supply of MMR vaccine.

Find out more here!

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