Madison Family Newsletter: February 2023

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.

A Letter from Dr. Tim Miller

Hello JMU families,

Thank you all for the outpouring of support for our students, staff, faculty and each other as we are affected by the tragic loss of our students Josh, Luke and Nick and continue to be concerned about Baird and Campbell. In the coming days and weeks, please continue to reach out to your student and encourage them to check on their friends and classmates.

One way anyone can reach out to us if they are concerned about a student is through Madison Cares. We’ll then follow up on the referral and provide support as needed. Please know that we are focused on helping every student through this challenging time and appreciate your partnership in this effort.

I also want to share some other insights and advice for the coming weeks as well. Now that we’re into the second month of the Spring semester, here are some other conversation starters for you and your student.

Conversations to have with your student:

  • Ask about stress or stressors in their life.
    • Everyone manages stressful times differently and the start of the semester can be a challenging time for some students even under the best circumstances. It’s a big transition after being away for about a month. The weather doesn’t always help either so asking your students about any stressors in their life is a good conversation to have.
    • If they share that they are struggling to manage stress you can recommend they try the Oasis or the Studio in the Counseling Center, the new Student Life space in EnGeo with its three massage chairs (I did a quality test on them this week, they are very nice), Core and Connect is an amazing new program in UREC that I love, and students can always come to our office in Alumnae Hall 106 and have a seat in front of the fire and relax for a few minutes or hours. Our new partnership with TimelyCare continues to be an important and valuable resource for students that we recommend them trying as well. This counseling and psychiatry resource is free for all students so I hope they will give it a try.
  • Ask your student about how classes are going.
    • I recommend doing a Zoom call or Facetime so you can look at Canvas together and see how they are progressing so far in the semester. There is often a “helicopter parent” reaction when I give this advice, but I would share that from my perspective, engaging in their academic journey and helping them stay on track and successful is a normal act of parenting.
    • We heard from lots of families over Winter Break about some surprises they received when they found out that their student hadn’t done well academically, and they had no idea they were struggling. The best way to eliminate surprises is to do this check-in every 3-4 weeks where they can show you how they are doing. This will help them, and when they are doing well, they will be excited to show you their progress. When they aren’t, you can help them connect to campus Learning Strategies and Rebound are two options that I always recommend.


  • JMU is partnering with Healthy Minds for a study to help us understand student mental health and related issues. This month, a random sampling of students will get an email asking them to take a survey. Please ask your Duke to check their email; their responses will help us make JMU a better place.
  • The Orientation and Transition Office is recruiting for First yeaR Orientation Guides (FROGs). The deadline to apply is March 7. If your student wants to welcome the Class of 2027 this Fall, this is their chance. FROGs make a huge difference in the lives of new students, and this is an incredible learning and leadership opportunity for everyone involved.
  • Reaching New Heights – this year’s giving campaign for JMU – is Feb. 19-24. Last year many of you graciously donated to many key areas here, including the Counseling Center, JMU Valor, CMSS, SOGIE and many others. One of the reasons we were able to create programs like Rebound and bring TimelyCare to campus was because of generous gifts from JMU parents. You can check the full list and see if there are areas you would like to support this year.

Upcoming Events

As I mentioned in my email to students last month, I’ve been attending as many events as possible this semester to hear about their JMU experience. Last week we hosted an open forum in D-Hall and we will host another soon. And I will be showing up at Starbucks and Dunkin’ soon to buy some coffee and learn more about how we can make their experience here even better. Thanks for everything you do to partner with us and please take care.

Dr. Tim Miller
Vice President for Student Affairs

Save the Date for Sibs & Kids Day!

Save the Date for Sibs and Kids Day on April 22, 2023! This event provides an opportunity for JMU students to invite their 12 to 17-year-old sibling(s) or family friends to campus and show them what it’s like to be a Duke. Dining vouchers, a scavenger hunt, free t-shirts and a variety of activities are included in this awesome experience for future Dukes. Registration is required and will open in March. The full schedule of events will post soon, so check the website often for updates.

Learn More

Study Abroad Week: Feb 6-10

Submitted by: Erin Smith, Study Abroad Outreach & Partnerships Coordinator, Center for Global Engagement

Students are invited to celebrate all things study abroad with a week full of food, events, workshops, and more! Whether your student is in the initial stages of considering studying abroad, is preparing for an upcoming trip, or has recently returned to campus, Study Abroad Week has something for everyone!

All events and activities are free. Highlights include:

- UREC x Study Abroad Adventure Challenge (2/7) - students can take on study-abroad-themed, challenge-by-choice activities at the pool and climbing walls.

-Taste of Study Abroad (2/8) -- students can sample international small plates, explore programs, and chat with program directors and peer advisors.

-“Where in the World?” Returnee Team Trivia (2/9) --study abroad alums can reconnect with friends from their program and test their knowledge of history, geography, and international pop culture.

-Picture Perfect: Tips on Content Creation and Travel Photography (2/10) --a student-led workshop highlighting tips and tricks for content creation on Instagram and TikTok.

See the full event calendar on our website.

Learn More

Madison Vision Series: February 21

Submitted by: Michael Davis, Chief of Staff

The Madison Vision Series is a lecture series honoring James Madison's conviction that cultivating an informed and educated citizenry is essential to the health of our republican democracy. The series brings scholars, thinkers and leaders of all kinds to campus for lively explorations of issues facing our society. This event is free and open to the public.

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Reaching New Heights: Choose YOUR day to Give

Submitted by: Jennifer Dehoff, Assistant Director, Advancement Marketing

Reaching New Heights is a weeklong celebration applauding JMU's astounding rise in national prominence. Watch your inbox Feb. 19-24 to celebrate with us! And join the party by giving to your favorite campus program. Faculty and student initiatives need your support!

Learn More

Career Fairs: Jobs & Internships for all JMU Students

Submitted by: Tiffany Corbin, Communications Coordinator, University Career Center

Spring 2023 Career Fairs & Major Events for JMU students: 

 JMU University Career Fair: Tuesday 2/28 & Wed. 3/1, 11am-3pm on both days, Festival Ballroom 
A total of more than 100 employers and organizations across many industries are expected to come to campus to recruit JMU talent! All JMU students across all majors and class years are invited to join and directly connect with employers to find jobs/internships. 

Students can prepare for the fair at UCC’s: Career Closet (offering free business attire), Weekly Free Headshot Sessions, Resume Review Events, and more.

 Teacher Recruitment Day: Wednesday 3/2, 10am-12pm (fair) and 12-4pm (interviews), Festival Ballroom 
Almost 70 employers: public and private schools as well as educational organizations and institutions, are coming to campus to recruit JMU’s future teachers and educators! 

To best support and help all JMU students prepare for these career fairs, the University Career Center team offers weekly career workshops, programs, and resources that cover many important skills and aspects, such as: Writing Resumes and Cover Letters, Practicing for Interviews, Networking, Starting or Improving the Job/Internship Search, and Using Handshake to Apply for Jobs/Internships. 

About Handshake
Handshake is the #1 platform that college students find jobs and internships (2,000+ new jobs/internships for JMU students are posted on a weekly basis). Handshake is widely used by colleges and universities across the U.S. Handshake is also where students can register for the career fairs listed above, sign up for career workshops, and make career advising appointments with our office. 

Remind your JMU student to:

  • Activate their Handshake account and keep their profile up to date
  • Take note of the important career fairs’ dates above
  • Make a career advising appointment to check in with a JMU Career Advisor to become #CareerReady. 

Thank you for always being the supportive advocate for our office’s mission of taking care of our JMU students and empowering all Dukes with the necessary tools and skills to pursue their career paths.

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Business Ambitions are Anything but Minor to This Entrepreneur

Submitted by: David Doremus, Content Manager, Office of Marketing and Communications, College of Business

The entrepreneurship minor can provide your student with the knowledge and skills needed for the successful launch of a new business venture. It can be combined with any major on campus except management, which has its own innovation-and-entrepreneurship track.

Robert Curtis is an example of a student who’s unlocking the business potential of a marriage between an entrepreneurship minor and a non-business major.

Applications for the minor are being accepted March 2-20.

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Wilderness Therapy Program

Submitted by: Nina H. Critz, LPC, Associate Director for Administration, Counseling Center

Encourage your student to participate in this year's Wilderness Therapy Program offered by the JMU Counseling Center and UREC!

The 2023 general program is a five day, four night therapeutic adventure program in the George Washington National Forest during the week of spring break (March 13-17th). Over the course of this trip, students will backpack through the wilderness and experience outdoor education sessions and therapy process groups. Activities include but are not limited to learning proper shelter and camp building techniques, Leave No Trace Education, and proper water filtration techniques as well as process groups, intra- and inter-personal skill building, natural interventions, and self-reflection. The purpose of this program is to use adventure as a platform to improve relational skills, build self-confidence and self-efficacy, and increase healthy coping skills.

The cost is only $25 and students do not have to be a current client of the Counseling Center to participate. Please see our website for additional information!

Learn More

Submit the 2023-24 FAFSA Before March 1st

Submitted by: Jessica HopkinsAssistant Director of ComplianceOffice of Financial Aid and Scholarships

The 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available now. To ensure your student receives priority consideration for all types of financial assistance, the federal government must receive his/her 2023-24 FAFSA by March 1, 2023. This is JMU’s priority filing date. In some cases, filing later can reduce the chances of receiving certain types of financial aid, including state grants.

Please note that meeting the priority filing date does not guarantee that a student 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.

Submitting a FAFSA comes with no strings attached. The application is free and can be completed online at studentaid.gov.

Take a moment to view our video on the FAFSA and Priority Filing.

For more information, visit the “Apply” section of our website which includes more videos (one with FAFSA tips specifically for parents), Net Price Calculators, Cost of Attendance figures and information about the different types of aid available at JMU.

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The Reddix Center Opens to Support First-Gen Students at JMU

Submitted by: Alison Trocchia, Program Coordinator, Valley Scholars

The Fall 2022 semester saw the opening of the Reddix Center for First Generation Students at JMU. Currently, about 12% of the JMU undergraduate population is considered first-generation, which JMU defines as a student whose parent(s) or guardian(s) did not graduate from a four-year institution. However, the Reddix Center welcomes any student with limited prior exposure to or knowledge of the college experience.

The Reddix Center, located on the second floor of the Student Success Center, provides a comfortable place to study, meet with classmates and mentors, and relax between classes. Additionally, refrigerators, microwaves, and color printers are available for student use. Already, a sense of community is building among student visitors to the Center.

Reddix Center hours are Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00-3:00 p.m. The Reddix Center can be reserved by students on weekday evenings for small groups, community events, and meetings.

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2023 JMU Football Season Tickets On Sale Now!

Submitted by: Melissa Wyant, Assistant A.D. for Creative Services & Fan Engagement, Athletics

Plan ahead to join us at Bridgeforth Stadium next fall - 2023 JMU Football Season Tickets are now on sale! The Dukes are set to take on Bucknell (Sept. 2) and UConn (Nov. 11) in non-conference action and App State, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and South Alabama in Sun Belt Conference play.

All remaining dates will be released by the Sun Belt Conference in early March and game times will not be announced until 12 days prior to kickoff.

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Enhance Your Game Day Experience by Joining the JMU Duke Club!

Submitted by: Kate Burke, Director of Internal Development, Duke Club, Athletics

JMU Football season tickets are now on sale and NOW IS THE TIME to take advantage of exclusive new benefits available for 2023 Duke Club members!

Visit jmudukeclub.com to learn more about how you can access coveted game day parking lots, receive 10% off your fan gear at the JMU Bookstore, and gain access to away game and post season tickets.

Join the Duke Club before May 15 to take full advantage of football benefits.

Note: The full football schedule will be announced in March, including the dates for Family Weekend and Homecoming.

Learn More

Do Something Good

Submitted by: Lindsey Richards, Assistant Director, Engagement, Communication and Innovation, Community Service-Learning

Serving others can be an act of self-care and a positive step toward improving one’s personal well-being and mental health. Volunteering reduces stress, increases happiness, develops confidence, and helps give a sense of purpose. It is also a great way to meet new people and build healthy relationships. It also helps build a solid support base for those by keeping in contact with other volunteers and community members. 

Looking for ways to help your student connect? The Community Service-Learning office provides opportunities to explore new communities and connect with other students through the Alternative Break Program. Students can also sign up for local volunteer opportunities on Volunteer NOW. Make an impact on the lives of others by donating or volunteering with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. They help provide nourishing food to our neighbors facing hunger. Every $1 donated helps provide 4 meals. 

If you or your student have questions about connecting to these opportunities or nonprofits, please contact us at csl@jmu.edu or 540.568.6366. 

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Arts and Letters Review Issue 2

Submitted by: Sian White, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Letters

The Arts and Letters Review January Issue 2 is now available!

Learn about students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the JMU College of Arts and Letters.

Sign up to receive future issues by email.

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Published: Monday, February 6, 2023

Last Updated: Monday, April 22, 2024

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