Madison Family Newsletter: October 2021

Madison Family Newsletter: October 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.

Thanks for a great Family Weekend!

We're so grateful for everyone who was able to join us for Family Weekend and missed those who weren't able to attend! Thousands of families joined their students on campus for a sold out football game, on-campus dining events, hiking with UREC, and more! Each year during halftime of the Family Weekend football game, the JMU community recognizes an outstanding parent or parents based on student nominations. This year, 110+ students nominated their parent(s) for this award! We’re pleased to present the 2021 Parents of the Year Award to Kin and Courtney Headley, who were nominated by their children, LeAnna '22 and Caid '25. Visit our website for more Family Weekend information, photobooth photos, and more.

A Letter from Dr. Tim Miller

Hello everyone,

I hope many of you were able to visit campus for Family Weekend and spend some time with your Duke. If you weren’t able to join us, please plan to visit soon as the Fall is such a beautiful time here in the Shenandoah Valley. If you can’t make it here you can always check out the Quad on the Quad Cam and maybe even arrange a time for your student to stop and wave to you.

We are all getting excited about Fall break which is Oct. 21-24. This will give our students a chance to rest and recharge as they prepare for the last stretch of the semester. For students who may be traveling, we will have free take-home COVID testing kits available. These tests are self-administered and come two to a pack so they can use one before they leave and one before they return. Students will have to pre-register for these kits and we’ll be sending instructions to them next week.  We will provide the same service for Thanksgiving break.

I also want to remind you all to talk with your students about Spring class registration which will begin Nov. 8. Their registration appointment is based on their earned credits so they need to look up their appointment time and prep for this process ahead of time.  I wanted to share a few suggestions to make this process easier for them and you.

  • First, please remind your student to check MyMadison to be sure there are no fines or holds that may affect their ability to register.
    • Holds can occur because of parking tickets, unpaid fines, missing health information or missed COVID regular screening appointments.
    • It’s important for students to take care of this before registration so it doesn’t impact their ability to register for next semester’s classes and create unnecessary stress for you and them.
  • Second, students need to develop multiple options for their schedules and realize that they may not get the section, professor, time or date that they want for every class.

Finally, many of your children have joined student organizations this Fall and we are excited that they have found their home at JMU. While this can be really exciting, I want to also offer a note of caution and a request. While we have worked hard to remove it from our community, hazing can be a part of some students’ experiences in student organizations at JMU, and not just in our fraternities and sororities. I would ask that you talk with your children about this and ask how their experience has been as they join new organizations. Here are a few warning signs I want you to look for in your conversations:

  • Your student is often tired or talks about limits to their sleep schedule.
  • They talk about having to run errands, do chores, give rides or spend their own money on behalf of current members.
  • They talk about use of alcohol that does not seem normal or acceptable to them or you.
  • You hear about or see pictures of them dressed up either formally on a regular basis, dress in costumes that are demeaning or ridiculous, and/or carry, do or wear something abnormal at all times.
  • They are assigned a certain task to complete like being the “weather pledge”, “safety pledge”, etc.

While many of these may seem simple or innocent, they can mask larger issues and concerns so I would ask that you talk with your student about their own safety and well-being. We do not tolerate these activities and will hold our organizations accountable if they engage in these types of activities. If you want to learn more about hazing policies at JMU or report a concern please go to this site: https://www.jmu.edu/osl/fsl/current-members/index.shtml.

Just think, after Fall break there are just four weeks until Thanksgiving break, then just two weeks of classes and a week of finals. Your Duke will be home for Winter break before you know it. Until then, I hope they are meeting new people, having new experiences and enjoying all JMU has to offer.

Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller

Vice President for Student Affairs

Madison Advising Peers Offer Academic Advising Assistance


Submitted by: Aimee Stright, Assistant Director for University Advising/Coordinate Madison Advising Peers

The Madison Advising Peers (MAPs) are JMU undergraduate students who care about their fellow Dukes and have been specially trained by University Advising to assist with general academic advising questions. MAPs work in conjunction with advisors around campus by providing supplemental academic advising information and assisting JMU undergraduate students who have questions, but don’t know where to go.

What Assistance Can a MAP Provide? Here is a partial list of academic advising topics MAPs assist students with:

  • Changing majors or declaring a minor
  • Understanding General Education, degree and major requirements
  • Class registration
  • Utilizing MyMadison to track progress towards degree completion
  • Developing an academic plan towards graduation
  • Transferring in academic credit
  • Preparing for an advising session with a faculty advisor

We invite any student to stop to talk with a MAP- we are here to help! Many MAP offices offer in person drop-ins in addition to virtual appointments. Learn more by visiting our MAPs page. As you will see, there are a variety of different MAP offices for students to choose from that have services and resources tailored by major. Don’t see a MAP office for your student's major? Visit the General MAPs who can assist any student. Questions? Email madisonadvisingpeers@jmu.edu. Want timely advising updates and key information? Follow University Advising @jmuadvising on Instagram and Facebook!

21st Birthday Program

Submitted by: Paige Hawkins, Prevention Specialist, UREC

Twenty-one!! The day many students look forward to. A time for celebration, and perhaps, an additional opportunity to continue talking with your student about the expectations they have for their celebration. Alcohol may or may not be part of your student’s celebration.

Each 21st birthday is unique. Our hope is to empower students to have the best possible experience. Like you, we want your student to thrive! That’s why the 21st Birthday Program began.

Two weeks before turning 21, students receive an email invitation to take part in the JMU 21st Birthday program. Students are encouraged to consider the expectations they have for themselves as well as the expectations friends may have for their celebration during a brief, one-on-one, peer led conversation. Realistic protective strategies and resources to minimize the risk of drinking may also be discussed.

As a thank you for participating, students receive a coupon book from community business partners. When your student is about to turn 21, consider reminding them to take advantage of the 21st Birthday Program and its fabulous benefits!

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2022-23 FAFSA Available Now!

Submitted by: Jessica Hopkins, Assistant Director of Compliance, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

The 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available now. To ensure you receive priority consideration for all types of financial assistance, the federal government must receive your 2022-23 FAFSA by March 1, 2022. This is JMU’s priority filing date. In some cases, filing later can reduce your chances of receiving certain types of financial aid, including state grants.

Please note that meeting the priority filing date does not guarantee that you will receive university or state grant dollars. The number of eligible students and the size of our annual funding allocations are significant factors in determining whether sufficient funds are available to award all those who qualify.

If you filed a FAFSA before, make sure it includes your current email address. Otherwise, you may not receive important information from the Department of Education regarding your ability to submit a renewal FAFSA for the 2022-23 school year. Since the renewal FAFSA includes many of the answers that you provided on your prior year application, you will have fewer questions to answer.

Submitting a FAFSA comes with no strings attached. The application is free and available online at www.fafsa.gov.

Learn More

New Look to Madison Money Manager

Submitted by: Brandon Cline-Taskey, Interim Director, University Business Office

We’re excited to announce that Madison Money Manager (M3) is getting a new look. The new site is mobile-friendly with a menu on the left for accessing account details, payment options, statements and more. When viewing M3 on a phone or other small screen, the navigation bar will collapse into three horizontal bars at the top left. The summary at the top of the page will show any outstanding charges. Keep in mind that some or all outstanding charges may be covered by pending financial aid. As always, feel free to contact the University Business Office if you have any questions about the balance due. As an Authorized User, your username and password will stay the same. If you aren’t an authorized user, now is a great time to have your student set you up. They can set you up through M3. Have them contact the University Business Office if they need assistance. Our number is 540-568-6505 or they can come by our window on the 5th floor of the Student Success Center.

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A Service Year: Insights and Opportunities

Submitted by: Lindsey Richards, Admin & Ops Assistant, Community Service-Learning

Community Service-Learning (CS-L) creates transformative learning opportunities for students by cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships between students, faculty, and community organizations that address community-identified priorities. By increasing the capacity of local non-profit organizations in Harrisonburg these organizations can do more to achieve their mission and also create unique learning opportunities for students. One of the ways we do this is through the VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program where recent college graduates dedicate a year of full-time service to bolster organizations’ anti-poverty efforts. VISTAs bring their talent and passion to CS-L’s community collaborations to meet community priorities. CS-L has brought 6 VISTAs to the local community in the last several years including two in 2021-22.

Since 1988 the U.S. government has worked with a local non-profit, CWS (Church World Service) Harrisonburg, to help resettle individuals and families who have been granted refugee status. CWS focuses on helping newcomers be self-sufficient by providing a wide array of programs and services. In July 2021 Madison Reese, began serving as the CWS VISTA. Originally from Harrisonburg area and a graduate of Bridgewater College, Madison organizes health services for members of the resettled community and provides volunteer management and community outreach. Madison describes her experience “As a dream come true. I loved the idea of welcoming refugees into my own community that I love and appreciate.”

Build United (BU) makes homes more accessible, safer, and affordable for people with low-incomes. By building ramps, remodeling for wheelchair accessibility, installing grab bars, improving weatherization, and repairing windows, floors and doors, individuals can stay in homes that would otherwise not be sustainable. Charlie Eichelman, a JMU alum who majored in International Affairs, serves as the BU VISTA. Charlie reflected on his choice to pursue a VISTA role after graduation: “This turned out to be the best decision for my career path. I was given the opportunity to work for a local nonprofit, United Way, while partnering with JMU. During my VISTA service year, I have learned what it means to be part of a community and the skills needed to lead.”

Encourage your student to visit our office in the Student Success Center (Suite 2100) or email us at csl@jmu.edu as they consider a VISTA position or other service-year opportunities, like Peace Corps, once they graduate.

Learn More

Ask the Library


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

Whether your Duke comes to you with every problem or tries to do everything on their own, don't worry--we're here to support your Duke! At JMU Libraries, we offer a live chat service to help them with research, finding sources for assignments, and other questions.

Support the Parents & Families Fund and Reserve Your 2022 Calendar!

Submitted by: Nora Sutton, Assistant Director, Annual Giving Campaigns, Office of Annual Giving

With one gift of $25 or more to the Parents & Families Fund, you can support JMU all year long and receive this unique piece of Purple Pride. Gift one to your Duke (or keep it for yourself!) to hang in the kitchen or office as a reminder to pause and reflect on cherished family memories at JMU. And to help you keep track of important dates and special events, the Office of Parent Relations is sponsoring a custom sheet of stickers to go with the calendar exclusively for JMU parents. Available only until October 31 - make your gift and reserve your calendar today!

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TDU - The place to be!

Submitted by: Mira Dover, Student Writer, Student Affairs Communications and Marketing - University Unions

JMU has several fantastic hang-out spaces, but the most popular is the lowest level of The Union, known as Taylor Down Under (TDU). Voted “best campus hang-out,” TDU offers some of the most diverse options for relaxation, study and entertainment.

Relaxing in TDU is made possible by the varied seating offered. There are tables and chairs, sofa seats and lounge chairs. Music plays around the clock, and many students consider TDU a place to meet up with friends and chat. Pool tables and other games are available to students as well. Many of the walls are part of a student gallery exhibit that changes every month. Students can submit their photography on The Union Gallery website.

For those who can study in louder environments, TDU is a great place to eat, chat and work. There are even computers available for students who need to use them. Another opportunity within TDU is the food pantry, which is open to all students, no questions asked. This project is generously funded by donations from alumni and community friends.

TDU, equipped with a stage, sound system and lights is often a busy place in the evenings. On-campus organizations can book parts of TDU to use for their programming. The University Program Board is just one of many organizations that host events in TDU, from small concerts to crafts to classes. TDU’s TVs often advertise these events, hiring opportunities and events—let your student know to keep their eyes peeled and to check out events both in TDU and across campus.

With all of these opportunities available, it’s no wonder JMU’s newspaper, The Breeze, describes TDU as “a student sandbox.” Share this great resource with your student and suggest they make a visit to TDU!

Learn More

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Published: Monday, October 18, 2021

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2023

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