Madison Family Newsletter: March 2023

Madison Family Newsletter: March 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,

I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying all the amazing pictures and videos coming out of Harrisonburg with our warm days, amazing sunsets, and students enjoying the Quad.  I love this place all the time but when you get to see our students outside with each other it’s like no other place on earth.  With a week until Spring Break we can expect lots more changes and personally I can’t wait to get into my garden and start planting for the Spring.    


It has been a busy few weeks on campus as students continue to find new organizations to join and plenty of activities for everyone. I have had the pleasure of attending a number of club sports events as well as the campus production of Chicago at the Forbes Center. I absolutely love watching our students in their element whether that’s on the playing field, in the pool, on stage or just hanging out with friends. If your Duke is still looking to get more involved, events, workshops, community service and more opportunities are listed on the Be Involved website. I encourage any student who is still trying to find their place to look into the groups listed or let us help them through Explore Madison. There is a place for everyone, and we are here to help.

Calendar Updates and a Favor

Spring Break is March 13-17. For students who live on campus, the residence halls close at 10 a.m. on March 11 and will reopen at 10 a.m. on March 19. If your Duke is coming home for this break, I want to ask you to make a suggestion to them. Go by their old high school or middle school and visit some of their favorite teachers or administrators. My mom spent her whole career as a 6th grade teacher in Prince William County and my brother, Chris Miller, currently teaches History and Social Studies at South County Middle School in Fairfax County. I can tell you from their experience that these visits mean the world to them, and I hope your Dukes will take a few minutes and stop by their old stomping grounds and thank those who helped them get to JMU. 

The Fall 2023 Academic Calendar was just released so I want to make sure all of you have these dates:

  • August 23 – First day of classes
  • September 29 – October 1 – Family Weekend
  • October 18-22 – Fall Break
  • October 27-29 – Homecoming
  • November 18-26 – Thanksgiving Break
  • December 9-15 – Final Exams

Questions to ask your student

We’re almost to the midpoint of the semester, so here are some conversation starters you may want to have with your Duke:

  1. Whether they live on or off campus you want to make sure they are prepared to leave Harrisonburg, travel safely and secure things until they return. I recommend talking them through their plans but first ask what their plans are to prepare to leave. You can fill in the blanks for them but it’s best if you can ask them what plans they have made first.


  • Secure their room, apartment or house before they leave as well as any valuables.
  • Throw away any food that will spoil and don’t leave any dishes in the sink, etc.
  • Share their travel plans with you.
  • Fully charge their phone and don’t forget their charger and maybe a backup battery.
  • Have a safety kit in their car that includes a phone charger, flashlight, first aid kit, basic tool kit, a lighter or matches, knife, jumper cables, a blanket and extra clothes.
  • Top off their gas tank.
  • Get plenty of rest before driving.
  • Be aware of their surroundings and travel in groups.
  1. This is the time to start talking about their summer plans if you haven’t already. You may get some pushback for asking but it’s important that they start thinking about this. If they are coming home for Spring Break this is a perfect time to go by old jobs and see if they are hiring, research internships at local businesses, and start making these plans.


  • Confirm if they are coming home or staying in Harrisonburg.
  • If they plan to take summer classes, registration starts March 27. I took May session classes during two summers and it was a great opportunity to focus on some harder classes for me with less distractions. I highly recommend this option for students who either want to get away, repeat a course for a higher grade, or take a subject that really interests them.
  • If they plan to have an internship or job, the Career Center website is a great place to start.

Some upcoming events

We always want to share a few events with you all so here are some great options for students to get engaged and involved on campus. There are a few here for graduating students so make sure they are getting ready for their big day in May!!

Money Matters for Graduating Students, March 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Union, Taylor 405

Stress and Anxiety workshop, March 8 and 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in SSC 3240

Disability Advocacy Week, March 20 – 24

Commencement Expo, March 21 and 22 from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Atlantic Union Back Center

Why do we procrastinate? workshop, March 23 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in SSC 3203

You can find more events on JMU’s Master Calendar.

I hope your Duke gets some time to relax over Spring Break. The rest of the semester will go quickly once they return and before we know it the school year will be over. I’m looking forward to an amazing rest of the year and the chance to spend more time with all our students. As always, please have them reach out to me using this form or emailing vpstudentaffairs@jmu.edu if they’d like to catch up.

Take care and Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller

Vice President for Student Affairs

Sibs & Kids Day on April 22

Your students can invite their younger sibling/relative/friend to campus for JMU Sibs & Kids Day! Hosted by the Parent Relations office, Sibs & Kids Day is a fun and informative day of activities and events for JMU students and their guests between the ages of 12-17, with the purpose of sharing their college experience in a meaningful way.

This event is scheduled for Saturday, April 22, 2023, from Noon until 8 p.m. Registration is free for students, and $30 for guests. Attendees receive access to various campus activities, dining tickets, a Sibs & Kids Day t-shirt and a JMU bag with goodies.

A full schedule of activities is planned for your student and their guests providing many opportunities for exploring campus and sharing the college experience. Events include an adventurous rope course session, free time at the University Recreation Center, meals in both dining halls, spring football game, campus scavenger hunt and much more. Check out the full schedule on the JMU Sibs & Kids website. Please note that students are required to accompany their guest at all times.

Make sure to sign up before the April 3, registration deadline. For more information, view the schedule of events and register.

Learn More

Summer/Fall Enrollment

Submitted by: Arin HawseAssociate Registrar, Office of the Registrar

Your student is getting ready to begin enrollment for Summer 2023 classes on March 27, 2023. Enrollment for Fall 2023 classes will begin April 10, 2023. We understand that enrollment can be stressful for some students.

Here are some things that we have found helpful when talking about enrollment with students:

  • We recommend that students log into MyMadison a few days before enrollment begins. This allows them to ensure that their MyMadison password is up to date. At this time, they need to check for holds that prevent enrollment and rectify any holds as quickly as possible. These are two of the most common, preventable, issues students face with enrollment.
  • Students should identify the classes needed to make progress toward their degree and meet or make contact with their advisor(s), if necessary.
  • Students should verify that they meet all the requisites for the classes so they will not have trouble enrolling. This can be done by looking at the class information in the class search.
  • Students need to anticipate a certain amount of flexibility with their schedules. There is an ideal schedule that every student might want… no 8:00 AM classes, all classes finished by 2:30pm, etc.

Unfortunately, that is not always possible. We encourage students to prepare several options for their schedule so they can easily pivot if their previous choice is now full.

Your student’s advisor(s) is the best resource for discussing class options to meet requirements within their major. If your student is not able to schedule an appointment with their advisor, the Madison Advising Peers (MAPs) are a great resource as well. Information about the MAPs can be found on their website.

Learn More

Student Engagement Symposium

Submitted by: Jett Sable, Presidential Engagement Fellow, Strategic Planning and Engagement

The inaugural Student Engagement Symposium (SES), sponsored by the Office of the President, will be hosted in the Hall of Presidents on March 29th, 5-7pm. This event will serve as an opportunity for all students (undergraduate or graduate) to showcase their efforts to better the community, environment, institution, and more in a professional setting. Projects will be represented in the form of a poster and can relate to one or more of the three facets of student engagement: community engagement, civic engagement, and engaged learning. Benefits of this event include but are not limited to networking, resume bolstering, gaining new perspectives and knowledge, and reflection on their work.

Encourage your student to register to present at this fun and enriching event! Applications are accepted through March 10th (exceptions may be made for unique circumstances).

Learn More

Register Your Student TODAY for the Student Duke Club, the Official Student Fan Section of JMU Athletics!


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

All JMU students are invited and encouraged to join the Student Duke Club (SDC), the official student fan section of JMU Athletics that provides students the opportunity to grow the “We Bleed Purple” culture together!

SDC is a philanthropic student membership group, with a $25 annual commitment, that grants members exclusive benefits including: SDC apparel, exclusive seating at JMU athletic events, early access to premier athletic events, and invites to members-only events throughout the year.

Learn more about the Student Duke Club and get your student registered today.

Parents and families can also join the fun this fall by becoming members of the Duke Club. 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 is now available, including the dates for Family Weekend and Homecoming.

Learn More

Summer 2023 Financial Aid

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

Students who enroll at least half-time (UG-6 credits and GR-5 credits) for summer 2023 in an approved program of study may qualify for summer financial aid.

To receive consideration, students must complete these two applications:

1.  2023-24 FAFSA

  • If you are only interested in private loan options, a FAFSA does not need to be submitted

2.  Summer Aid Application

  • Available on our website when summer registration begins on March 27th. We will use the information from both forms to determine eligibility for these types of funding during the summer:
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and/or Parent PLUS)
  • Private Educational Loan (FAFSA is not needed for students only wanting to borrow a private loan)

If students anticipate receiving the Federal Pell Grant, they should complete the summer aid application regardless of enrollment level. Receiving a Pell Grant in the summer will not reduce the award amounts for fall and spring. (The only exception to this if a student reaches their lifetime limit for receiving Pell)

Conversely, borrowing a Direct Student Loan during the summer will reduce the loan eligibility for the following fall and spring terms.

  • For example…juniors can borrow up to $7,500 for the Academic Year, so if $4,000 is used during the summer, that would leave $3,500 to split between fall and spring.

You can learn more by:

Learn More

Senior Candle Lighting

Submitted by: Colleen McNulty, Alumni Relations Coordinator, Alumni Relations

Parent of a senior? Encourage them to join the JMU Alumni Association (JMUAA) on Friday, April 21, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Festival Lawn to take part in JMU's oldest Madison Tradition, Senior Candle Lighting and Toast. During the event, members from the Class of 2023 will be officially inducted into the JMU Alumni Association during a brief candle lighting and pinning ceremony. Following the program, the JMUAA will welcome the newest members of the alumni family with a champagne toast.

This event takes place as part of JMU's reunion weekend and members of the Class of 1973, Madison's 50th Reunion Class, will be in attendance to help welcome the newest graduates. Heavy hors d'oeuvres and champagne toast included. The first 400 to register will also receive a FREE gift!

The JMU Basic Needs Advisory Board and Student Support Hub

Submitted by: Shae Powell, Basic Needs Advisory Board Member

The JMU Basic Needs Advisory Board (BNAB) includes faculty, staff, students, and community partners who research, create, and advocate for resources and policy changes to better support students facing financial hardship. BNAB provides resources at the Student Support Hub website. One resource to help serve students is The Pantry at JMU which opened in spring 2020. The Pantry provides food and basic hygiene items to students, and is available to all students, no questions asked. From a JMU survey done in 2019, nearly 40% of students experience moderate to high rates of food insecurity, comparable to national estimates. The Pantry currently serves about 100 students a week, and over 25,000 pounds of food was distributed in fall 2022.

People can donate money to The Pantry or “sponsor a shelf” and provide a recurring donation of a specific item. Currently, the highest Pantry needs are for monetary donations, and basic hygiene items. The Student Support Hub is a central place for information on different resources such as The Pantry, cap/gown loans, and the Career Closet providing work place/interview attire.

Learn More

JMU Alumni Association Student Committee

Submitted by: Colleen McNulty, Alumni Relations Coordinator, Alumni Relations

With more than 150,000 James Madison University (JMU) alumni worldwide and over 30 regional alumni chapters, the JMU Alumni Association (JMUAA) engages alumni and cultivates involvement with fellow Dukes. Encourage your student to activate their Madison Network, by using alumni as a resource to find summer internships and gain valuable career mentorship and insight. JMUAA serves as the tradition keepers for the university and also has a Student Committee comprised of current students who help plan events that celebrate the Madison Experience. Homecoming, the Fight Song T-Shirt Giveaway, Rose & Resumes, and Senior Candle Lighting are just some of the annual events sponsored by the JMUAA and the Student Committee. Students have a great opportunity to get in on the excitement, form relationships that last far beyond four years. For more information about the JMUAA Student Committee, email them.

JMU Libraries is 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 four ways we are working to make textbooks and other academic resources more freely available for JMU students:

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 purchase online copies of textbooks: We purchase digital copies of some books required for JMU classes and notify faculty when they are available so that students can access these books for free.

4. Our Open Education Librarian, Liz Thompson, works behind the scenes to help with textbook affordability at JMU by collaborating with faculty and administrators and spreading the word to students about affordable alternatives to expensive textbooks. Read a Q&A with Liz about her work to learn more, or contact Liz if you have ideas for promoting affordable textbooks at JMU.

While students can still expect to purchase textbooks for most of their classes, we are working hard to make academic resources more affordable and accessible for all students at JMU. Check out tips for students who are struggling with the cost of textbooks or visit our website to learn more about how we promote Open Educational Resources at JMU.

Learn More

Community Service-Learning is Hiring!

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

Is your student looking to work with an awesome team while maintaining a flexible schedule and having fun? At Community Service-Learning, we are passionate about the community, giving back, and student well-being. We are committed to helping our student employees grow personally and professionally. We also understand that student employees are students first, so we offer flexible scheduling and a fun, creative environment.

We will be hiring multiple positions for the ‘23-’24 academic year. Positions will be posted in mid-late March. If you have questions, contact us at csl@jmu.edu or 540.568.6366.

Learn More

ResLife & Conference Service Jobs

Submitted by: Sydney Wood, Social Media and Marketing Manger, Residence Life

Is your student looking for a job? We have a variety: temporary, wage, salary, part-time and more! Looking for just work in the summer? We have that! Looking for work for next academic year? We have that too!

Learn More

Join 5,600+ 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: Monday, March 6, 2023

Last Updated: Monday, April 22, 2024

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