Missouri State University
The Family Connection

Missouri State Dining Services – Ready for Finals Week

As the semester starts winding down and students  start the study crunch, Missouri State Dining Services is here to help students make it through finals.  We are now offering study packs containing  smart water, Monster Juice energy blends, a candy bar and healthy snacks like a granola bar available for purchase with BoomerMeals, cash or credit card.  S1JYnft

As a special treat for students,  the week of finals we will be fresh rolling Sushi in Blair-Shannon Dining center.  On Monday December 7th, a fun finals tradition continues.   The Presidents Finals breakfast, free to all students, will be held in Blair-Shannon dining center.  This is a great opportunity for students to relax, re-energize, be served a meal by their instructors and try out their dancing skills for prizes.

It’s been a pleasure serving your students this semester and we look forward to getting them back in the spring.

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BearWear Family Photo Contest Celebrating Thanksgiving

Calling all Bear family members! Show off your favorite BearWear family photo from the Thanksgiving holiday and be entered to win a holiday sweatshirt for your student from the Missouri State Bookstore.  Pilgrim_Boomer-01

Any family member of a current MSU student is eligible to submit an entry for the photo contest!

 Photos MUST BE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY in high-quality digital format (J-PEGs please)

 Showcase your family in a photo that exemplifies your family’s MSU spirit. Humorous, serious, multi-generational…

Attach the photo in an email to familyassociation@missouristate.edu. Include in your email:

    • Students name
    • Students M#
    • Contact name
    • Contact email & phone number
    • A caption with a description of how the photo represents your family. (Please limit your caption to 100 words or less.)

Deadline to submit an entry is Wednesday, December 2nd, 11:59pm. The winner will be announced on Friday, December 4th.

1.)    MSU student(s) MUST be in the photo. (If there are other students in the photo, you must have their written permission to submit the photo).

2.)    Photos with inappropriate content will NOT be accepted.

5.)    Photos submitted after the deadline of December 2nd, 11:59pm will not be included in the contest.

6.)    Photo content must be “true to life” (no photoshopping objects/ppl in or out of photos).

Disclaimer: If you submit a photo, you automatically allow Parent & Family Programs to reprint and use the photo in Missouri State University Family Association promotional materials. You also agree to allow us to screen the photo and display it on our Facebook and Twitter page. You still own the rights to your photograph and can use it for your own personal use or submit to another contest, but we reserve the right to use submitted photos in our materials as well.

If you have any questions, contact Priscilla Childress, coordinator of Parent & Family Programs at pchildress@missouristate.edu or (417) 836-3060.

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Derell Says….Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Though Springfield is not your average college town, it does give you the feeling of being in one. Like many college towns the businesses and restaurants tend to rely heavily on college students. This means these businesses must do something to get the students to come in. One of the easiest ways to do that is to save students money. Whether it’s a coupon on a discount, students will jump at the opportunity to  save money.  derell

There are many businesses and restaurants that will give student discounts. The important thing to remember is that they don’t always advertise these discounts so you must ask. One tip I have learned is that the closer to campus the more likely they offer a student discount, but that doesn’t mean places future away from campus don’t offer them. You just have to ask. I would encourage students to always have their IDs on them. You never know when it can save you some money.


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Zoë’s Bucket List Item…Order Insomnia!

The winter months are looming upon us making the sun go to bed earlier, but that doesn’t mean anything for college students. The night comes sooner which just means that homework and projects have to be done with desk lamps.  IMG_9833

But what happens if you get hungry? When it was warmer out, pausing studying for a snack wasn’t too bad. It would require a quick drive or walk to whichever food place you were craving. Now each trek outside the warmth of your building seems like an impossible frozen endeavor, especially when the sun goes down.

This can be troublesome for many students like me who enjoy a good snack in the evening during prime studying hours. Luckily, Springfield has a solution and it is called Insomnia Cookies. This neat little business was started by two male college students who were just trying to make a quick buck. They started with the simple idea that everybody likes cookies and people want cookies available at all times. So Insomnia makes all kinds of delicious cookie treats, ranging in flavors and size, and they are open until 3am everyday!

But that’s not even the best part. Even though they are located conveniently close to campus, they deliver during their open hours, which means you don’t have to change out of your pajamas to enjoy a delicious treat.

College can be a hard and stressful time, so I encourage all of you to treat yourselves sometime with an insomnia cookie of your choice. Insomnia opens at 11am everyday which means if families come to visit, they could also enjoy a one of a kind Insomnia cookie.



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Ask Priscilla! Have you heard about the MSU Phone Campaign?

I’ve gotten this question several times lately. Yes, the MSU Phone Campaign is a program originating in the Missouri State Foundation.  The Missouri State Foundation has a phone campaign that calls MSU alumni, families and friends  to fund raise for important resources on campus that support our students.  For example, some of the money raised helps to ensure the library has plenty of online resources our students can access without ever leaving their residence hall or home!  For more information on the library you can visit the Meyer Library’s websiteAmenities

Are the people calling really students? Yes, the callers are MSU students just like your student!  In fact, your student can apply to be a part of the Phone Campaign staff at the Missouri State University Foundation by visiting the Foundation’s website.   The Phone Campaign offers flexible hours for students and builds extensive skills for resumes. Answer the call today!

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What does Student Affairs mean to you? A conversation with Dr. Dee Siscoe

Derell DeRamus, Family Orientation Coordinator, sat down with Dr. Dee Siscoe, Vice President of Student Affairs to ask the question “What does Student Affairs mean to you?” (Third in a series of articles about the Division of Student Affairs at Missouri State.)

What is your position with the University and what are your daily duties or responsibilities?
I am the Vice President of Student Affairs which means I oversee 25 departments on campus. My job is to advocate for both unit and student success. I also do my best to get to know students so that I can advocate best for them and their needs.  SiscoeDenita3233v

What made you decide to go into Student Affairs?
I was very active when I was an undergrad at Missouri State University, but I never knew that you could get a career in Student Affairs. When I graduated I did some traveling and working with Sigma Kappa national headquarters. That was when I realized that I wanted to work to students forever.

What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing a degree in Student Affairs?
Do it! This is an amazing career and if you love working with students and being a Champion for Student Success, then student affairs is for you.

If you had to explain Student Affairs to a family member how would you?
Student Affairs is a series of units and departments here to support students and what they are learning in the classroom. We are here to provide whatever it is that students need to stay at Missouri State University and to graduate.

What keeps you in Student Affairs?
I enjoy the energy and excitement that comes with working with students. I never know what my day will consist of and for me that’s exciting. I also enjoy that fact that this isn’t just a “sit behind the desk job”, I get to go out and interact with students on a regular. This job is very relationship based and I love it.

What is your favorite tradition at MSU?
My favorite tradition would have to be Bear Bash and Fan Fest. It’s really exciting to welcome all of the new students to campus as well as welcoming the older students back to campus. The weekend is just filled with excitement and I love it.

Derell DeRamus, a junior, is President of the Sigma Theta –  Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Family Orientation Coordinator, Yell Like Hell/ Pep Rally Coordinator – Homecoming 2015 and V.P. Membership Development for the Student Activities Council.

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Ask Priscilla! It’s the Holidays…

The Thanksgiving break is just a few days away. Students will start their trek home on November 20th! You are excited right? You’ve missed your student! A weekend visit here and there has been good but the thought of spending lots more time with your student and catching up makes you very happy! Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

While you have been anticipating the wonderful interaction and quality time you will spend together, your student probably hasn’t given the holidays a lot of thought due to studying for finals (start on December 5th), worrying about grades, or contemplating changing majors. In short, they have a lot on their mind.

Family members and students tend to view the holiday break in completely different ways. I asked some students to fill in the blank of this statement, “When I go home for the holidays, I wish my family would…” Here are some of the answers:

“When I go home for the holidays, I wish my family would remember that I have been living on my own for the last five months and still need to have my space at home.” ~Blake Shepheard, junior

“I wish my family would remember that while I am coming home to spend time with them, I haven’t seen my closest friends for a long period of time as well. I do want to spend time with my family but at the same time I want to be able to enjoy the rare time I get with others that are a part of my life.” ~Justin Roberts, senior

“When I go home for the holidays, I wish my family would avoid making a lot of plans to go places with me. When I come home from school I am tired of running from one thing to another. Most of the time I just want to sit down and relax.” ~Brandon Dick, junior

 “I wish my family would take time from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to just be with me and hang out with me, instead of worrying about what needs to be done. “ ~Mickie Plummer, junior

 “When I go home for the holidays I wish my family would wait for me to put up Christmas decorations and cook my favorite meal.” ~Jordan Ewing, sophomore

Did you see yourself in some of the students’ answers? I did! When my oldest daughter came home for Thanksgiving her first year in college, I had ever minute of her time planned. Not my best idea. She wanted to sleep (which led me to ask “aren’t you getting enough sleep”?), she wanted to watch movies with her sister, spend time with friends and hangout with the family. Let me tell you, we clashed! But once we had a conversation about the holidays and the expectations, everything was much better. It’s all about communication!

Here are some tips to help you avoid a holiday clash with your college student.

Prepare yourself for surprises. Ask yourself “What if?” What if he wants to stay out all night? What if she spends all her time at her friend’s house? What if his friends hang out here until 4 in the morning?

Acknowledge their growing independence and their accomplishments. Acknowledge these changes in your conversations by changing “demands” to “choices” when negotiating new boundaries.

Become a good listener. Your student may want to discuss changing majors, new living arrangements, or personal relationships. Try to really understand what you student is saying and ask open-ended questions. Say, for example, “Tell me more about that,” or “How did you feel when that happened?”

Address specific topics you need to discuss. Some of these may include:

Family time and expectations
Social events
Updates on majors and academic life
Time management issues

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Students may be drained and running on empty. Give them time to refuel. This may mean biting your tongue if they sleep until 2 p.m. or their rooms look like the aftermath of a cyclone.

With a little preparation, you can avoid conflict and enjoy the holidays with your student.


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How to Help Your Student Minimize Exam Stress

It can be difficult for a parent to stand by and watch their student go through the rigors of exams, whether in high school or college. Exams are tough on students – many of whom don’t take care of their bodies with late (or all-night) night cram sessions, unhealthy eating habits, over-doses of caffeine, not to mention extremely high levels of anxiety and stress. 16298831029_880b3d1e0c_z

You begin to wonder: What’s my role here? As a parent, where should I step in?

While you can’t take the exams for them (yes, we know you’ve thought about it) you can help ease their exam anxieties in other ways.

The following suggestions detail ways that parents can help minimize exam stress for students of all ages:

Help Avoid Procrastination

Touch base with your student regarding his or her assignments and exams, asking whether or not he or she feels prepared and has studied.

You certainly do not need to become a micro-manager but you can encourage preparedness and readiness as much as possible.

If you’re bringing it up, he or she will become more aware of the timeline and get down to brass tacks.

Encourage Healthy Study and Lifestyle Habits

Try to encourage your student to make healthier lifestyle and, in turn, study, habits. If they’re not at home, you could send a care package with healthy alternatives (see suggestions below) to help motivate your student in making healthier decisions.

Better habits will lead to your student feeling better, staying more focusing in class and while studying and, ultimately, improved grades.

Think about the following lifestyle aspects and helping your student find healthier alternatives, whether it’s via a discussion or by sending a care package to show your support:


Find a healthy snack you think your student may enjoy while studying.

Think snacks that last and travel well in totes and backpacks like trail mix, nuts, whole wheat pretzels and sunflower seeds.


Talk to your student about how important it is to get the right amount of sleep.


Inquire whether your student is taking any time off from studying to relax and have fun. It’s not healthy to study all day, every day because he or she is likely get burnt out eventually. If you’re concerned that no time is being set aside to relax, suggest he or she do so. If you feel this won’t work, you could try a couple of other options:

1. If you’re close enough to visit your student or live with your student, surprise them with an afternoon at the movies or somewhere else they enjoy. Note: make sure you let them know you’ll be taking them a couple days in advance so they don’t freak out the day of the trip.

Also, make sure it’s on a weekend, so they won’t be missing class and ensure that it’s not the day before a big exam or project. The goal is to treat them to something they enjoy – there’s no need to make it a big, expensive trip, just something out of the ordinary to help them relax.

2. If you’re not close by, contact your student’s closest friend and offer to pay for the two of them to go to the movies or somewhere else they’d enjoy for the afternoon. Again, it does not need to be somewhere expensive or elaborate, just a change of pace.

Another fun idea may be to check sites/apps like Groupon and LivingSocial for any activities within your student’s local area that you think he or she may enjoy and email your student the voucher, which he or she can use when ready. Just make she they have enough time to redeem it!


Encourage your student to develop musical tastes that enhance their study skills – at least while they’re studying.


Encourage your student to develop regular exercise habits. In addition to being healthy in general, it will help to get out any built up stress and anxieties he or she may be harboring.

While you could send a yoga or exercise DVD, there are plenty of free websites dedicated to fitness and exercise as well. Why not send an email or e-card letting your student know you’re thinking of them, you know they’re stressed and you have a solution, along with a link?

Offer Support – Before and After the Exam

Remind your student of your love and support – no matter the outcome of their exams. Let them know that you’re aware of their hard work and efforts and that you’re extremely proud of them regardless of the grade they receive on their exams.

Take time to remind them that their entire future does not depend on one particular exam and you know that they worked to achieve the best possible grade and it’s not the end of the world if their score isn’t what they hoped for.

Your support will likely go further than you think in terms of eases their stresses, as a lot of students put a lot of pressure on themselves to please their parents, whether the parents know it or not.

(by Elizabeth Hoyt, reprinted from www.fastweb.com)

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Zoë’s Bucket List – Rock-n-Bowl

There should never be a time at college when you feel like there is nothing to do. Missouri State is constantly hopping with events and activities for students to participate in. One of the most reliable events is Rock-n-Bowl, which occurs every Friday night from 7-10pm located in the Plaster Student Union Level One Game Center.  IMG_0960(1)

This event is hosted by Student Activities Council, also known as SAC. This organization is known for planning various events throughout the year that are paid for with student fees. This means that admission into these events are “free” to the students because they are already paid for. Rock-n-Bowl is a great place to go bowl (obviously), play games, enjoy snacks and socialize with other Missouri State Bears! There are also occasionally Rock-n-Bowl themed nights in which there will be decorations and extra activities focused around themes like Halloween, Hawaiian, Red, White & Blue and many others.

I highly encourage students to check out Rock-n-Bowl on any given Friday night to experience the fun and relaxed atmosphere. If families are in town on a Friday night, feel free to have your student show you this cool recurring event as well!


Zoë Pixler, a sophomore majoring in Photography and Art Education, is a Family Orientation Coordinator, helping with special projects and family orientation.  She is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma where she is the Goals and Resource Coordinator.

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What Does Student Affairs Mean to You? A Conversation with Dr. TaJuan Wilson, Ed.D.

Zoë Pixler, Family Orientation Coordinator, sat down with Dr. TaJuan Wilson, Ed.D., Executive Director, TRIO Programs and Multi Student Retention to ask the question “What does Student Affairs mean to you?” (Second in a series of articles about the Division of Student Affairs at Missouri State.)   TaJuan_web

What is your official title and what are your daily duties?
I am the executive director of TRIO Programs and Multicultural Student Retention. I oversee programming for TRIO students’ support services, upward bound and a plethora of other programs. I would say that my main component would be TRIO. This program is for students who are underrepresented, including those who are first generation, disabled or low income. The main goal is to get our students to graduation. I am also involved in student support services-collegiate programming, in which we cater to 190 undergraduate students with tutoring, mentoring advising. Upward Bound is a pre-college program where we work with three high schools and focus on getting students to high school graduation then to college. All these programs are funded by the College of Education through grants.

What made you decide to go into Student Affairs?
I actually initially wanted to be a dentist, but took the FOCUS test and it told me to work with students. So basically my path went from pre-med to education to political science. I was a TRIO student myself and didn’t think law school was possible. I ended up getting accepted into Harvard, Yale, Princeton and many others, but could not afford them. I accepted a position in Oklahoma City and worked on my public administration and counseling masters. Then someone approached me about working in education in a high school and my career took off from there.

How would you explain Student Affairs to a family member?
We are, as Dr. Siscoe loves to say “Champions for Student Success.” Our entire goal to work with students and get them to graduation. We are not faculty members, but we are the ones students come to with challenges.

What keeps you in Student Affairs?
The students. I love the direct contact with students. I can’t imagine doing anything else now. So much so, that I went back and completed a doctorate in education. Now this guy who used to have no background in education has a wealth of knowledge. My goal is to be a university president.

What do you think are the most important factors for student success?
I think retention is the biggest component of student success. If you are retained at the university, you will graduate at some point. The students who are actively involved and engaged on campus are the ones who are going to be tremendously successful.  Making time for studying is huge as well. I also think it is important for students to equip themselves for life after college. They should be asking themselves “what kind of internships am I doing?” “How am I getting involved in the community?”

What do you think first year students need from Student Affairs?
I think support is so important for first year students. They are making that awkward transition from home and are now completely free and able to do essentially whatever they would like to do within reason. They need people who are understanding and who have their backs. People that will say that they are not trying to hover but if you need me, I am here. I am a resource. Utilize me.

What do you think is the best way to reach out to first year students?
I think the best way to reach out to first year students is to build relationships with those students. This is big and takes time. Our program is unique because students are drawn to our office and the work that we do. We constantly have a wait-list of over 100 students at any given time. This is pretty significant and a testament to the time we take to get to know them and their families. Plus providing financial assistance always attracts students.

How do you think first year students typically respond to Student Affairs?
I think that sometimes students are initially terrified to get involved, especially with things like student engagement. I think one of the big things within student affairs that attracts a lot of students is Fraternity & Sorority Life. I think that is an awesome connection to get students involved.  From there it becomes about community service and giving back and all those other things that streams into the work that all of us do here in student affairs.

How would one get more info on TRIO?
We are here as a resource for first generation, disabled and low income students. If someone is looking to join the program, they can reach out to me directly, stop by the office and fill out an application, or complete one online. All information is on our website: trio.missouristate.edu.  We do have a wait-list right now but if there is a special circumstance or special situation, I will certainly try to get those students in the program.

What is your favorite tradition at Missouri State?
That’s a tough one! I would have to say New Student Convocation would be my favorite. I absolutely love it, it’s favorite time of the year. It is tremendous how it sets tone and imagery for the entire academic year. I like that, it reminds me why I went into this in the first place.

Zoë Pixler, a sophomore majoring in Photography and Art Education, is a Family Orientation Coordinator, helping with special projects and family orientation.  She is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma where she is the Goals and Resource Coordinator.

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