Missouri State University
The Family Connection

Public Affairs Week

Global Perspective: Why It Matters

                                                                 Public Affairs Week PAWSidewalkRightpan

Sept. 16-20, 2013

Public Affairs Week is an annual, week-long event held in the fall semester. The event, coordinated by Missouri State students, consists of a series of presentations, panel discussions and special events that relate to the year’s public affairs theme.

As it is an event developed by and for students, Public Affairs Week has come to emphasize and encourage engagement with our public affairs mission in fun and innovative ways. This week of activities has a unique, student perspective, and it adds a facet to our community’s understanding of public affairs.



Global Sustainability Campaign

The Missouri State community will be encouraged to participate in sustainable lifestyle practices through information posted around campus. The campaign aims to help students understand the way in which their actions affect the global community.

Voter Registration Drive

Tents throughout campus will offer students the opportunity to register to vote or change their voter registration address to Missouri. In addition, information will be available voting, ballot issues and candidates running for office.

  • Outside Siceluff Hall,
  • Craig Hall
  • Meyer Library


Gideon v. Wainwright: Legal Issues and the Right to Counsel – a Global Perspective

3 p.m., PSU Theater       

David R. Mercer is currently the First Assistant Federal Defender for the Western District of Missouri.  He graduated from Drury University in 1984 with degrees in Biology and Philosophy.

After living in New Zealand for 4 months in 1986, he earned both a Masters Degree in Education from Drury University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. In law school, David was a published member of the Missouri Law Review and a member of the Order of the Barristers.

In the 1990s, David worked for Food for the Hungry as a journalist reporting on poverty, hunger and development in the Third World, spending time in Bolivia, Rwanda, Goma, Zaire, Uganda and Kenya. *Sponsored by the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association*

Cultural Awareness Table

5 p.m, Blair Shannon Dining Hall

Chartwells is sponsoring a Cultural Awareness table in the dining center that discusses cuisine of other cultures while giving out that cultural region’s food.


Beyond Springfield: Global Impact Fair

11 a.m. – 1 p.m., PSU Atrium

The Beyond Springfield: Global Impact Fair will provide students the opportunity to meet and learn about businesses and organizations in Springfield that participate in social entrepreneurship.


Hunger Banquet

5:30 – 7:30 p.m., PSU Grand Ballroom

The Hunger Banquet will offer students an interactive opportunity to learn about global hunger by engaging in a simulation that divides participants into social classes and provides a meal similar to what people of their social class eat daily around the world.

For more information about Public Affairs week please visit http://www.missouristate.edu/paw/. All events are free and open to the public.



*Information was taken from http://www.missouristate.edu/paw/

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Move-in and Welcome Weekend tips for parents

Moving in to Wells HouseMove-in at Missouri State begins at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16 for most students. If your student is in the Honors College or in a living-learning community, he or she can move in early on Thursday, Aug. 15.

This post describes the move-in process, provides a list of resources and highlights parent-specific events held during Welcome Weekend.

Stop, drop and roll

Missouri State will be using the stop, drop and roll system during move-in this year:

  1. Stop your car at the designated location for each residence hall
  2. Drop your items at the curb with the person designated to stay with your items
  3. Send your student to check in at their building to get his or her room keys
  4. Roll your car to your parking lot

Members of Bear Crew will be stationed outside of each residence hall to assist you in moving your items into your room. A wheeled cart or dolly may be a good investment if you have larger items.

Checking in at Blair-ShannonMove-in resources

The resources listed below will help make move-in a smooth process for both you and your student:

We also encourage you to try out one of our great dining centers. Parents eat free during move-in.

Welcome Weekend

The office of student engagement partners with other groups across campus to host a series of events Aug. 16-18 that welcome students and their families to campus. Parents and family members are invited to attend the following events:

  • Parent and Family Welcome at 3 or 4 p.m. in the Plaster Student Union Theater
  • The Parent/Student Aloha Brunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in all dining centers
  • New Student Convocation, featuring honorary doctorate recipient John Goodman, at 2 p.m. in JQH Arena or online via Livestream

Also, encourage your student to take advantage of all of the great student-specific Welcome Weekend events. These events are great opportunities to meet new people and to build connections on campus.

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Learn more. Learn online.

Student studying onlineCollege is not just for 18 year olds!  Come back to school and set the example for your student that learning is a lifelong adventure.

Never before in the history of higher education has it been so easy and convenient to earn a degree.  Currently, one of the most popular options in alternative learning is online education.  In 2013 the proportion of all students taking at least one online course is at an all-time high of 32.0%.

Missouri State University is a leading online education provider for adult learning in our region.  Missouri State Online offers six undergraduate bachelor degrees, twelve graduate degrees and eight graduate certificates for adult learners.

Becoming a life-long learner is as easy as calling or emailing Missouri State Outreach!  Call 417-836-6929 now, or visit our website at online.missouristate.edu!

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So, your student is returning home for the summer…

*Summer requires an adjustment for everyone involved, whether your students is moving home after being away at school or she’s just going to be around more when classes end. Consider talking about a few things upfront to make the transition smoother.

Expectations. Students often return home after experiencing a year of independence and self-responsibility. So, be sure to discuss everyone’s expectations for behavior, curfews and more right off the bat. Don’t talk “at” your student, instead, talk with her as you come to a mutual understanding about how the summer will go.

Finances. Does your student have a clear understanding regarding how much money he needs to save up this summer? Have you discussed things like spending money, work expectations and more? Having this proactive discussion in May is much better than reacting poorly in August.

Family Responsibilities. Incorporating your student back into the everyday flow of your family’s life may involve some growing pains. What chores will she pick up? What obligations are in place that she should plan for (i.e. the July family reunion, the June graduation party)?

Shared Space. Living under the same roof for the summer can be a wonderful time of connection. Yet, it’ll take some work and, likely, some compromise. What does this mean when it comes to stuff, laundry, meals, noise and more? Talk about it now.

 Having your student home for the summer can be a wonderful thing, as long as you work out some possible kinks before they grow into big problems. So, gather around the kitchen table to talk through this transition now and make it a pleasant summer for all.

 Visitors. Students get used to making their own decisions about who will come to visit and how long they can stay. Yet, when living with the family again, these decisions need to be made collectively, so as not to disrupt anyone. Let your student know that you welcome visits from her friends, as long as you have advanced warning. Discuss parameters while also encouraging her to keep up those important college friend connections.


*All information was taken from The Campus Link: A Newsletter for Parents and Families (May 2013), p. 1

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Staying Safe During Spring Break

Eager to take a break from tests and winter weather, many Missouri State students are busy making plans for their Spring Break vacations.

This year, Spring Break will take place from Monday, March 9th to Sunday, March 17th and Spring Holiday will occur from March 28- March 31.  University offices will remain open to conduct business; however, residence halls (except for Hammons, Hutchens, Sunvilla, and Scholars Houses) will be closed for Spring Break.

While we want students to have a fun and relaxing time during their Spring Break, we also want them to remain healthy and safe.  As parents of our students, we hope that you will share with them some tips that can help them do so.

Road Trips

  • If your student is traveling in their own vehicle, make sure it has been serviced by a mechanic to ensure it can make a long trip safely.
  • Have your student plan a route primarily based on heavily-traveled highways and interstates, and make sure they are familiar with the route before departure.  Being lost decreases a person’s vigilance and increases the possibility that he or she could become the victim of a crime.
  • Ask your student to inform you of when he or she is leaving, when he or she will return, and the route he or she is traveling.  You may also want to know if they will be at different locations during the week (for example, in Orlando, Florida Monday through Wednesday, and Daytona Beach Thursday through Saturday).
  • Have your student complete a checklist of things to bring with them or pack in the car.  This list might include a health insurance card, a cellular phone, tools, a first aid kit, a flashlight, an AAA card, fire extinguisher, water and snacks.
  • Emphasize that students should be alert and aware of situations and people they encounter.  They should not pick up hitchhikers, and they should be extremely cautious should they decide to stop for anyone on the side of the road.

Foreign Travel

  • Students should research their destination country carefully for information on safety, law enforcement, entry/exit requirements, food/water safety, etc. The U.S. Department of State maintains Consular Information Sheets that provide extensive details about travel in other countries. Travel warnings can also be found on the U.S. Department of State web site.
  • In addition to researching your destination, take special care to research your tour group, hotel, side trip companies, and car/recreational equipment companies. If your student is working with a travel agent, have the agent provide your student recommendations on legitimate, safe options.
  • Special medical care, special vaccinations or medications to prevent common local diseases, may be needed before traveling to another country.  The Center for Disease Control provides comprehensive health and vaccination information by country of destination. The Taylor Health and Wellness Center on campus may be able to provide these services.
  • Encourage your student to make copies of all of their identification and plane tickets and store them in the hotel safe, not his or her room safe.
  • Make sure you know about your student’s travel itinerary. You might want to know hotel information and transportation information, and you might also want copies of all of his or her important documents (passport, visa, driver’s license, plane tickets, etc.).

Fun and Sun

  • Students should wear sunscreen with a “sun protection factor” (SPF) of at least 15 (higher if you burn easily or are taking medications that increase risk of sunburn).  Remind them to reapply the sunscreen after swimming, sweating, and after the recommended time on the bottle.
  • Sun damage and sunburns can occur even if you are not at the beach.  Students should wear sunscreen even if it is cloudy or they are doing any activity around water or snow (skiing, snowboarding, etc.) since they both reflect light.
  • They should wear sunglasses that block out harmful UVA and UVB rays, as well as protective clothing and hats.
  • Avoiding the mid-day sun is important.  The sun’s rays are most intense between 10:00am and 3:00pm.
  • Students should also drink lots of water to avoid dehydration if they are in the sun.

Assorted Tips

  • Students should make sure their name and address are not highly visible on their luggage so that people who know that you are away from home will not know where you live.
  • While traveling, students can put their foot through the strap of a bag or purse to prevent leaving it behind or having it stolen.
  • Students should be aware that pickpockets prey on people in crowds. They usually get close and bump into people without them noticing. Pickpockets also work in groups. One will distract while the other slips away with valuables.

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Housing Concerns (Even After the First Year)

As the housing application/re-application process for the 2013-14 school year begins, your student may be feeling the pressure of finding the “perfect” place to live next year.   Here at Missouri State University we offer a variety of community living styles for students to choose from.  Here’s a primer that includes phrases you might hear your student mention and some bits of information about each type of housing so you can help him or her make the best choice.

Living-Learning Communities** – this approach to living offers unique living environments that build community among students with similar interests.  Beginning in the fall of 2013, Missouri State will offer seven of these communities, which include:

  • Bear Business Community
  • First-Year Experience
  • Deciding Students
  • Sophomore-Year Experience
  • Future Health Care Professionals
  • Fit and Well
  • Physical Science, Math, and Engineering

For more information about Living-Learning Communities (LLC) please visit the Residence Life LLC website.

Traditional Residence Halls** – Missouri State also offers several traditional residence halls which feature a variety of amenities and living styles.  These residence halls include:

  • Blair-Shannon House
  • Freudenberger House
  • Hammons House
  • Hutchens House
  • Kentwood Hall
  • Monroe Apartments
  • Scholars House
  • Sunvilla Tower
  • Wells House
  • Woods House

*Greek Housing – students who are members of fraternities or sororities that have housing may also choose to live there.  This offers students a way to connect with the fraternal brothers and sisters and build a sense of camaraderie while living together.  However, this style of housing is not managed by Residence Life.

Off-Campus Housing* – this style of living is available to students who have completed the Missouri State Housing requirement (typically upper-classmen or those who have an approved housing waiver).  Talk with your student about the off-campus option. You might want to help him make a list of the pros and cons and then make your decision together.  Living on –campus assures parents that maintenance concerns will be addressed in a timely manner, security is in place in the form of fire alarm systems and campus security patrols, and there is a staff person available 24 hours a day in case of emergency.

  • When moving off-campus your student will want to consider the following:
  • Is the landlord local? If not, is there someone on-call in case of an emergency?
  • What is the rent? How is that collected?
  • Are there city policies that limit the number of people who can live in an apartment?
  • How will the costs for rent, food, and transportation compare with those related to living on campus?
  • What safety features does the apartment include? Deadbolts? Smoke detectors? Fire escapes? Audible carbon monoxide detectors?

For more details regarding campus housing and the application/re-application process, please visit the Residence Life website.  Also, feel free to stop by the Off-Campus Housing information page to find some helpful resources about local housing opportunities.


*Tips taken from Parent Pages, 2007

**Taken from the Residence Life website

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Supporting Your Student during Finals

As the last day of classes for the fall semester comes to a close, one thing is certain — finals  week will start soon.  For many students finals week can be a stressful period of college, and as parents and families we can help our students get through the week by offering our support.  Here are a few tips that you can use as you support your student during his or her finals.

  • Finalize Travel Plans— having a concrete end to finals week, in which you can expect to see each other, may relieve stress for you and your student.
  • Try to be flexible – especially if you or your student is driving home. Time management can often be hard for students, particularly if they are leaving right after their last final, so try to “roll with the punches.”  Remember that your role is to support your students as he or she learns how to handle independence.
  • Send a gift certificate— is there a local restaurant or pizza place that your student loves to frequent?  Think about sending him or her a gift certificate as a way of showing your support from afar.  It also provides a way for you to ensure that your student is staying nourished during, what can be, a stressful time.
  • Try to avoid excessive calling— your student is probably busy with group study sessions, writing papers, and catching up on course readings, so he may be mentally exhausted after a challenging day of work.  However, that does not mean you should stop calling your student during finals week.  Stay in contact with him or her by “scheduling” phone conversations.  Let your child know when you will call next so that he can work it into his schedule.  Plus, he can use it as a “break” from studying!
  • Send an e-card—while your student is responding to emails for group projects, seeing a card from you may be the pick-me-up that he needs.  (The following sites are great resources for free e-cards:  www.hallmark.com, www.123greetings.com, or www.bluemountain.com)
  • Send a text before a really big test to encourage your student and remind him or her that you are there to offer your support.
  • Send a care package – you can either put one together or order one through MSU Residence Hall Association (using the information included below).


Finals Care Packages

As families, we are always looking for ways to support our students. MSU’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) has provided a way for you to send support to your student, especially during Finals Week. You can choose from a variety of packages and have it sent directly to your student. For more information, including details and pricing please visit the Care Package website.


Tips taken from usnews.com and The College Parent Handbook

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Staying Prepared in Case of a Natural Disaster

Following all of the discussion regarding Hurricane Sandy, it’s important that our students understand what to do in the case of a natural disaster. Especially if your student resides off-campus, it is essential that he/she knows what to do in case of an emergency.  Here are a few tips for how you can help your student be prepared if a natural disaster struck the Springfield area:

  1. Be prepared. Help your student create an emergency plan for whether he is at home, at work, or driving in his car.  Also, encourage him to assemble a disaster supply kit for his home and car. Preparation is the key to staying safe and calm when a disaster strikes. It’s important that you and your student know what to do in the case of an emergency.  The following link contains a detailed explanation of what an emergency plan and disaster supply kit should look like: http://www.redcrossillinois.org/tornado-safety-tips
  2. Understand the warning signs.  Due to Springfield’s geographical proximity, the most likely natural disaster that we face is a tornado. Make sure your student knows the difference between a Tornado Watch (in which tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area) and a Tornado Warning (in which a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar). Be sure your student is prepared to react and to implement his emergency plan.
  3. Know which resources are available. If your student is living in an off-campus dwelling without a basement, urge him to find out where his nearest storm shelter is located. Encourage your student to ask about the apartment complex’s disaster preparedness plan. Also, help your student develop his own plan, including phone numbers and organizations that he can use as resources if a disaster were to happen. Students can also sign up to receive Missouri State emergency alert messages through text, email, or a phone call. The link is located in your student’s my.missouristate account, under the “Other Information” portion of the “Profile” tab. If your student is living on-campus encourage him to read over the “Safety and Security” section of Missouri State University’s 2012-2013 Guide to Residence Hall Living (pp. 25-27).  Missouri State has gone to great lengths to ensure that our students living in the residence halls feel safe and secure in their places of residence.

Although we don’t like to think it can happen to us, it is important that we are prepared for any of life’s challenges.  If you or your family is in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, our thoughts are with you. We hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and dry and, that you and your student are able to use these tips in order to be prepared in case of a possible natural disaster in the future.


Tips taken from http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/tornado

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How to Land the Job

As your student begins to search for a summer internship or a post-graduation job he will also embark on the interviewing process.  And, although he may look great on paper, it is crucial that he is able to impress his future employer during an interview.  Below, we have included ten tips that you can use to help your student stand out as the right candidate for the job:

  1. Show up on time. Remind your student to anticipate traffic delays and to give himself extra time to relax and freshen up before checking in for the appointment.
  2. Turn off the cell phone and keep it out of site. Your student’s cell phone may be a distraction to the interviewer (even if it is on vibrate), and may indicate that she is unable to focus on her work.  Remind her that she needs to focus all of her attention on the interview to ensure that she is putting her best foot forward.
  3. When in doubt of what to wear on an interview, always overdress. It is better to look more professional rather than not professional enough. Your student should dress for the job he would like to obtain, and his external appearance may help him make a strong first impression during an interview.
  4. Don’t forget about personal hygiene. It is important to not only have a positive external appearance, but to look and smell fresh as well. Encourage your student to pop a breath mint before an interview or to take a shower the morning of the interview rather than at night. Also, remind her to take it easy on the cologne and fragrances as to not distract the interviewer.
  5. Maintain professional distance. Although interviewers often try to create a casual environment, remind your student that now’s not the time to act like the interviewer is her new best friend. Encourage your student to think about how she will perceived through the answers/conversation she has.
  6. Stand tall and be proud. Encourage your student to walk/sit tall, with his shoulders back, and his head up.  A firm handshake shows that he is confident; your student won’t want the interviewer to think that he is meek or timid.
  7. Remember that no one is entitled to anything. Talk with your student about being an advocate for himself, but to maintain some humility too.
  8. Keep in mind body language. Remind your student to maintain an open posture and avoid crossing her arms. In an interview non-verbal cues are just as important as verbal cues. Encourage your student to avoid over-the-top hand gestures that indicate she is bored or nervous, such as twirling her hair, tapping her foot, or looking at a clock.
  9.  Relax and be yourself. Remind your student that potential employers use interviews as a way to get to know the real person.  Employers want to get a glimpse of what it will be like to work with that person, so it is okay for your student to let his personality shine. Encourage your student to smile often and have a positive attitude.
  10. Send a thank you note. Encourage your student to send a note via “snail mail” rather than email, promptly after her interview.  A thank you note demonstrates her professionalism and attention to detail. Also, it is important that your student thanks the interviewer by name and adds a comment she may not have mentioned during the interview. This is one more chance for her to demonstrate her interest in the position and to leave a positive impression.


Tips take from Parent & Family Issues 2012: Programs Topics and Solutions

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