Madison Family Newsletter: August 2021

Madison Family Newsletter: August 2021

Brought to you by the JMU Office of Parent Relations


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The Madison Family Newsletter is created each month by the Office of Parent Relations in partnership with many members of the JMU community. For more family resources, visit our website.

Dukes First Day Pictures

Let your Duke know about the opportunity to capture their first day of class picture! The Office of Parent Relations will be out on the Quad in front of Wilson Hall on August 25 from 10 AM - 2 PM. Pictures will be available for download after the event at jmu.edu/parents.

See past first day pictures!

A Letter from Dr. Tim Miller

Hello JMU Families,

We are already welcoming students back to campus and we are a few short days away from all students being back at JMU! We’ve spent a lot of time this summer planning for our students’ return and we are so excited to get the school year started.

I’ll be working all of the move-in days so I hope to get to meet many of you and reconnect with some of you who I haven’t seen in a while. You and your student will be filled with a range of emotions but I hope you all take the opportunity to enjoy and embrace the moment. Whether your student is a first year or senior or if your student is on or off campus, this is an important milestone for you and them.  Embrace this next step in your student’s life and know that we are all committed to their success.

As I’ve mentioned before, we have a lot of things planned for the first several weeks to involve this year’s incoming class, and many events that also include last year’s class. Encourage your student to download the Guidebook app so they know what’s happening (you can download it too if you’d like to live vicariously through your student!)  Many events are open to all students and we want to specifically invite all students who started at JMU last year to download the app and enjoy their own class welcome from President Alger and myself as well as many other events to help them re-acclimate to JMU!

I also have a couple of reminders. First, I hope you all saw the email from President Alger that was sent to students and parents on Aug. 9 regarding updated COVID-19 guidance. Please know that we are doing everything we can for our students to have a safe return to the classroom and to campus life. My top priority is to provide a safe, in-person, on-campus Fall semester and these decisions are designed to accomplish that goal. Please be sure your student is aware of these directions and has provided the information needed.

Next, we sent another email about COVID-19 documentation and other health information needed by the University Health Center. Please check with your student to see if their email has a green check or a red stop sign, which will let you know if more information is needed.  If you have questions, please start with their MyJMUChart and see what that tells them before calling or emailing the Health Center.

The start of the school year is an incredible time at JMU and I am excited for another amazing year full of new experiences, building friendships and making memories!

Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller

Vice President of Student Affairs



WOW - There's so much in store with CS-L!

Submitted by: Misty Newman, Associate Director, Community Service-Learning

Community Service-Learning (CS-L) is EXCITED to ensure campus feels like your student’s home away from home as we participate in Weeks of Welcome (WOW)! Your student can learn about the myriad of involvement opportunities that lead to more just and sustainable communities by joining us at our Open House on Wednesday, September 1 from 11am-1pm! We’ll have some yummy JMU favorites to nosh and your student will have chances to win swag and even a FREE DOMESTIC 2022 ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK (that can be an almost $300 value)! Encourage them to stop by our office (Student Success Center, suite 2100-near the Bistro) and learn more about the life-changing experiences they can join, lead, co-create and more…AND have a fun mid-day break while they’re at it!

Also, as part of your student’s 2021-22 JMU experience, they can also join us on our Alternative Fall Break (AFB)! Your student will meet fellow “Breakers,” connect with peer leaders, and embark on an impactful service experience for their academic break in October. What an incredible way to really anchor their JMU career! They can learn more about this at the Open House, but spaces are limited and online registration is open NOW until September 17 (or all spaces fill).

Alternative Breaks are one of JMU’s most popular national service programs. Each Break is facilitated by two trained student leaders. A faculty/staff Learning Partner also participates to enhance student learning and growth.

Highlights from a former participant:

“My alternative break was life-changing. Before I left, I was another freshman trying to find my way. When I returned, I was more sure of myself and my goals and becoming more aware of the world around me. ABP opened my eyes. I also left that break as a soon-to-declare Social Work major, which is a story involving me, one of my leaders, and late-night long conversations about our trip. Get ready, world! With the help of Alternative Breaks, I'm ready to take it on.”

Encourage your student to find more details and sign-up below for their Alternative Fall Break ASAP-space is going quickly-don’t delay (registration closes Friday, September 17).

Learn More

Financial Aid Disbursements and Eligible Hours

Submitted by: Brad Barnett, Financial Aid Director, Financial Aid & Scholarships

Fall Financial Aid Disbursements: Financial aid disbursements generally occur during the first week of each semester if all paperwork has been submitted in a timely fashion and the student is registered for the amount of hours used to determine financial aid eligibility. If you want to learn more about the disbursement process, timeframe, and financial aid refunds, you can read Section 8: Financial Aid, Disbursements, Your Bill, and Refunds of the Financial Aid: Terms and Conditions – Consumer Information document on our website at www.jmu.edu/financialaid.

Financial Aid Eligible Hours: The number of financial aid eligible (FA Hours) a student is registered for during the enrollment period plays a major factor in determining eligibility for financial aid. Not being enrolled in the correct number of FA Hours when it’s time to disburse funds will lead to delays, as we cannot disburse financial aid if a student is registered for fewer FA Hours than what was used to develop the financial aid package.

For example, if a student is registered for a total of 12 credit hours in a term and only 9 of them are listed with a Yes” under the “Eligible for Financial Aid” Column in “My Class Schedule” in MyMadison, then for financial aid purposes, the student is considered enrolled in 9 hours. However, the financial aid package was developed based on 12 hours.

You can find more information about this in Section 23: Classes and Program of Study Applicability of the Financial Aid: Terms and Conditions – Consumer Information document on our website at www.jmu.edu/financialaid.

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Peace Corps Prep Certificate Program

Undergraduates may apply by October 15 for JMU PC Prep Certificate Program to prepare for future Peace Corps service and other international development careers.

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Be Well, Stay Well, Do Well

Submitted by: Angela Ritchie, Associate Director of Communications and Marketing, Student Affairs

Welcome to a new school year!  While no one wants to think about being sick (especially away from home), here are some tips to share with your student when they’re not feeling well:

  1. Go to the Health Center website and check out the self-care guides. You may be able to get better without even needing a visit.
  2. If you feel you need more than the self-care guides, call our “Talk to a Nurse” line to speak with a registered nurse. After discussing your symptoms we will advise you of what type of appointment or treatment you should have.
  3. If you need more than the self-care guides, make an appointment online with one of our doctors, physician assistants or nurse practitioners through MyJMUChart. Appointments are also available for the Allergy Clinic (allergy shots), Nurse Clinic (STI testing, vaccinations), Women’s Health Clinic (contraception and other women’s health issues), the “Talk to a Nurse” line and for labwork.
  4. There is no charge for most visits to the UHC. When there is a charge, it is minimal.
  5. The UHC pharmacy fills prescriptions written on campus but also has a variety of over-the-counter items also like ibuprofen, cough syrup, vitamins, allergy medicine, thermometers and masks.
  6. Our Urgent Care Center is available for more urgent needs like stiches, sprains, minor fractures or allergic reactions. Students are encouraged to call first when possible.

Being sick is no fun, but the University Health Center is here to help them feel better soon.

And just one more reminder regarding vaccines: please confirm with your student that they provided their COVID-19 vaccine documentation or Student Assumption of Risk waiver. For incoming students, please be sure all of their health information (immunization form, COVID-19 documentation, TB screening and health history) has been submitted and they have received confirmation. This can all be confirmed through MyJMUChart.

Learn More

JMU Libraries working to make textbooks more affordable

Submitted by: Emily Blake, Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Libraries


At JMU Libraries, free and equitable access to information is at the core of what we do. Here are three ways we are working to make textbooks and other academic resources more freely available for your Duke:

  1. We encourage faculty to reserve texts for their students: Using our Course Reserves program, instructors can reserve items from our collection for use by students enrolled in their courses. By placing a shorter checkout window on these items, instructors make it possible for students to share texts that they would otherwise need to purchase.
  2. We help Dukes to get books from other libraries: Almost any item that is not in our collection can be borrowed from another library for free using Interlibrary Loan. While this option cannot replace purchasing a text in many cases because of limits on checkout times, highlighting/marking, and availability of texts that are in high demand, it can meet a need in specific circumstances.
  3. We promote open textbooks and other free course materials: We have a dedicated Open Education Librarian who works to educate faculty on free and open-source options for textbooks and other Open Educational Resources (OER).

While students can still expect to purchase textbooks for most of their classes, we are always looking for more ways to make academic resources more affordable and accessible for all students at JMU.

9/11 at 20: Views From JMU Alum Who Served in the War on Terror


Submitted by: Dr. Carah Ong Whaley, Associate Director, JMU Civic

2021 marks the 20th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The attacks and the U.S. response to them have had profound consequences for American domestic and foreign policy, as well as for international relations and global security.

JMU Civic and JMU X-Labs have partnered to gather and share the stories of James Madison University alumni who have served and continue to serve in the military. JMU Civic is also interviewing other experts and individuals on the consequences and impacts. If you have a story to contribute for our 9/11 at 20 series, please email civic@jmu.edu.

Visit our website

Student Employment

Submitted by: Amber Shifflett, Student Employment Manager, Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships/Student Employment

JMU JobLink is the best place for your student to find the most-up to-date information about job openings at JMU. Each posting identifies the hiring department and provides a detailed description of job responsibilities, qualifications, hourly rate or pay range and a list of additional documents (i.e., cover letter, resume, etc.) students will need to attach to their application.

The Student Employment office recommends that students searching for an on-campus position apply for as many jobs as they are interested in and feel qualified to fill. All on-campus positions are competitive so make sure your student has a quality resume, cover letter and references before beginning the application process. It’s easy to apply! Once your student has identified the position(s) of interest, they must create a profile and complete the Student Application. These are saved for future use and can be edited at any time. Students must submit this application each time they apply for a student employment position at JMU.

Selected applicants will complete an interview process with the department. Make sure your student knows how to “dress to impress” with appropriate interview attire and is prepared to make a good impression.

The most-qualified candidate will be offered the position by the department. If your student accepts a job offer, the hiring department will need to complete paperwork to meet institutional, state and federal guidelines and ensure prompt payment of wages. Students must provide their hiring department with a copy of their Social Security card and, for direct deposit purposes, a voided check, deposit slip or a bank statement showing the full account and routing numbers.

In addition, federal regulations require JMU to confirm all new employees are eligible to work in the United States through completion of Form I-9. Your student will complete Section 1 of this form with the hiring department or on their own electronically. Section 2 will be completed either with the hiring department or with the Student Employment office. To complete section 2 of the Form I9, your student must provide documentation that both verifies identity and work authorization. You can see a full list of acceptable documents on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. All documents must be original and unexpired. The hiring department or Student Employment must examine the documents your student presents and record the information electronically on Form I-9.

Your student is now on their way to gaining priceless experience and a good, old-fashioned pay check! For Student Employment questions or concerns send an email to studentjobs@jmu.edu or call (540) 568-3269.

Learn more

1787 Weeks of Welcome

Submitted by: Mollie Zenz, Marketing and Web Coordinator, Orientation

Orientation is excited to welcome students back on campus for the fall semester and has planned a variety of academic and social events for new students. No matter the day your student moves to Harrisonburg, there will be opportunities to meet other new students, get acclimated to campus and connect with faculty and staff. A schedule of events will be available via Guidebook, available through mobile app stores. We can't wait to see you all later this month! Learn more »

Loaner Computer Program

Submitted by: Greg Hackbarth, Director, IT Computing Support

JMU announces a new Loaner Computer Program brought to you through a collaboration between the JMU Libraries and Information Technology. The program allows current JMU faculty, staff, and students to check out or borrow a Windows laptop for up to one month to support academic needs.

Please contact the JMU Libraries for information about the checkout process, additional restrictions, or answers to other questions at loaner@jmu.edu.

JMU Alumni Association

Submitted by: JMU Alumni Relations

At JMU, we believe we are all “Dukes From Day One, Alumni For Life,” a notion the JMU Alumni Association celebrates each year with one of our favorite Madison Traditions: the JMU fight-song t-shirt giveaway. This event, known fondly as Dukes From Day One, will take place Friday, September 3 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the JMU Alumni Association Centennial Park for first-year and transfer students. It’s never too early for your student to get involved with the JMUAA and start making connections for their future. Current students who are interested in planning events that foster school pride, such as Homecoming, and representing the student voice in strategic planning can volunteer to serve on the JMUAA Student Committee. Save the date for Homecoming 2021 on November 6 & 7 to see all their hard work come together! Visit https://www.jmu.edu/alumni for more information on all the JMUAA has to offer our students, their families, and the JMU community!

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MYMOM Persists Through Global Pandemic

Submitted by: Michael McCleve, Associate Director for Leadership Student Leadership Center, Student Life

JMU is full of vibrant communities. We pride ourselves on the fact that there truly is a place for every student on our campus. Perhaps no other organization has committed themselves to building a tight-knit community more than Make Your Mark on Madison (MYMOM).

MYMOM is an eight-week involvement experience that emphasizes individual growth. This individual growth is created from weekly presentations delivered by esteemed JMU faculty on different aspects of self-awareness, belonging, and identity. After these sessions, a team of trained Leadership Counselors (LCs) guide participants through intimate small-group conversations on topics ranging anywhere from personal values to diversity and equity. These conversations allow for an understanding of differing worldviews, allowing participants to look inward and reflect. This deep reflection breeds the eye-opening growth associated with MYMOM.

For an involvement experience built on community and personal growth, the pandemic created a wealth of unique challenges to MYMOM’s operations. In the middle of their Spring 2020 session, MYMOM student co-directors Megan Moore and Sarah Welsch had to find their footing, quickly shifting to a virtual model for the session’s remaining weeks.

“Such an integral part of MYMOM is that meeting in-person, that face-to-face interaction because it really fosters vulnerability and connection,” said Megan when asked about the virtual shift. “It’s so important to be in that physical space, reading non-verbals, feeling each other's presence. It’s so hard to do that over Zoom.”

Addressing this digital wall proved difficult, but Megan and Sarah were able to foster a strong sense of community. They did this by adding a long headspace check to the beginning of virtual meetings with the LCs. During these checks, all attendees were able to share about their mental state, their wins, and their struggles. Regardless of how long this headspace check took, it was crucial to allowing for mutual understanding of each other, mimicking the intimate vulnerability that in-person sessions created. In addition, they planned weekly virtual hangouts on Saturday nights (called MYDADs), where the group could get together to play games or simply just talk. This laid-back setting further connected these people, creating friendships along the way.

“The mission of MYMOM is to bring folks together, give them a better perspective on the world and help them enact their leadership ability. We still did that,” said Megan. The program is backed by tons of devoted individuals who work hard to deliver to their participants, and the pandemic could not stop them from doing so.

Looking forward to the Fall 2021 semester, MYMOM will use what was learned while using the hybrid model for participation to improve and build upon the past success. More information about the program, the individual speakers and topics, as well as other details can be found here.

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Friday Night Flights

Submitted by: McKenna Kendrick, Director of Special Events & Donor Stewardship, Duke Club

JMU Nation, the Duke Club's premier event of the fall is right around the corner! Join us for Friday Night Flights on the field under the lights of Bridgeforth Stadium. You are invited to a beer and wine tasting on Friday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person. Each ticket includes one full-pour drink ticket, five tasting tickets, heavy o'dourves, live music, games, and more! Additional drink tickets are available for purchase at the event. Must be 21 or older to attend. Advanced registration is required. There are discounted tickets for Young Alumni and Designated Drivers (no alcohol). If you have any questions, call the Athletic Ticket Office at (540) 568-3853.

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Getting Home for Breaks

Submitted by: Amy Sfaelos, President, CollegeTransit LTD

Soon you’ll be packing the car with clothes, tiny refrigerators, crates and your student to head to JMU. Before you say your goodbyes, remember Thanksgiving and Winter Break will be here faster than you expect! It’s time to start thinking about how your child will get home for the holidays. CollegeTransit can transport your students directly from the JMU campus to strategic areas in PA, NJ and NY.

Over 25 years ago CollegeTransit was founded (on the 4th floor of Eagle Hall) and ever since it has been transporting JMUers home for the holidays. Our buses do sell out quickly so be sure to visit CollegeTransit.com for more information and to make your reservations today.

Welcome to the JMU family! Amy (‘98) & Jason (‘96), CollegeTransit LTD

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Join 5,100+ fellow JMU parents and guardians in the official Facebook group! This group was created by the Office of Parent Relations in an effort to provide a safe online environment for parents to engage with one another. Request to join the group here »


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Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2023

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