Madison Family Newsletter: October 2023

Madison Family Newsletter: October 2023

Brought to you by the JMU Office of Family Engagement


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

Thanks for a Great Family Weekend!

We are 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 winning football game, on-campus dining events, Friday Night Flights, and more! Each year during halftime of the Family Weekend football game, the JMU community recognizes an outstanding parent or family member based on student nominations. We were pleased to present the 2023 Family Member of the Year Award to Dana Riley '98, who was nominated by her son, Shane '27. Visit our website for more Family Weekend information, photo booth photos, and more.

A Letter from Dr. Tim Miller

Hello JMU families,

Fall at JMU is one of my favorite seasons. The changing leaves and temperatures make the Quad, Festival Lawn, arboretum and the whole area perfect for hanging out, studying and relaxing. I was able to meet so many of you over Family Weekend, and this is always my favorite weekend every year. There is something special about you and your Dukes coming together and enjoying their new lives here. I am proud to be a small part of their experience and to see you all have so much fun together. 

I know not all of you joined us this weekend, but I hope we will see you on campus soon.



Many of your students have already started taking tests, quizzes and submitting papers. I want to first help shift the mindset around “midterms” since it’s not an accurate description. Every class is different, and few only have two exams, and many have 3 to 4 and they are spread throughout the semester. That’s why we hear from students that midterms start at the end of September and go through November. There is no real “midterm” season at JMU, and it’s just all part of the experience.   

Academic Check-In

For some of your students, this may be stressful, and for others, it will be business as usual. Please share this link to the student gateway – the first two sections under Resources for Students are Academic Resources and Care for your health and well-being. These are valuable resources that all students can benefit from using. This is also a time when students who have been overly social may have a rude awakening. If you haven’t started doing a monthly check in where they share their Canvas page with you on FaceTime or a Zoom call, I strongly recommend you do that soon. It’s not too late for them to catch up or rebound if they are having problems. In my experience, this is about when some students start to get overwhelmed academically, but they can still turn it around with the right intervention. 

New Campus Spaces

We’ve recently added some new spaces for students to use including the Living Room, Serenity Center and East Campus Student Services space. There are also Zen booths in several locations around campus. These are for students who need a quiet place to take a call, take an online test or have a virtual meeting. 

Welcome New Dukes

The Orientation Office is looking for students to serve incoming first-years, their families, and the JMU community as an Orientation Peer Adviser (OPA). The application is live and closes Nov. 1. Orientation strongly encourages applicants of all backgrounds, identities, programs of study, leadership experiences, involvement and interests. If you attended orientation, you know what a great job these students do!


Fall Break

Fall break is Oct. 18-22, there will be no classes on those days, but campus is open, so students are not required to leave. Dining hours will be different, so please have your Duke plan ahead for meals if they are staying on campus.

Housing Next Year

I know I’ve said this before, but I’m again recommending that students not rush into a decision regarding housing for next year. There are so many options, it’s best to take the time to do research and be sure they know who they want to live with next year. That’s often more important than where they live, and it’s likely too soon to know.

Questions to ask your student

Are you prepared to sign up for your spring classes?

Tip: Class registration begins Nov. 6 (not everyone will enroll that day, it starts with those with the most credits). It’s important that they check MyMadison to be sure they don’t have any holds that will keep them from registering.

What are your plans for Fall Break?

It might seem a little late to have this conversation, but if you haven’t yet, there is still time.  Make sure you feel good about their plans and that they have covered their bases for travel, housing, etc.

Do you know what to do if you get sick?

Tip: They can check out these self-care resources, and if they need to see a medical provider, they can schedule an appointment with the University Health Center.

Upcoming events

Green Dot Action Day Oct. 9, Warner Commons

Flu shot clinic Oct. 10 and 11, UREC

Halftime on the Quad Oct. 11, 5-6:30 p.m., The Quad

Leasing 101 Oct. 12, 5-6 p.m., The Union, Taylor 306

Social Media and Other Digital Technology: Friend, Foe or Both? Workshop Oct. 24, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., SSC 3240

Nightmare at UREC Oct. 26, 9 – 11:30 p.m., UREC

Homecoming Week Oct. 23-29

We are about halfway through the semester, and I hope your Duke is getting their feet under them and finding their flow and place on campus. We all know that there will be peaks and valleys to navigate, and we are here to help you and them find their way.

Take care and Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller

Vice President for Student Affairs

Spring 2024 Enrollment

Submitted by: Arin HawseAssociate RegistrarOffice of the Registrar

Your student is getting ready to begin enrollment for Winter and Spring 2024 classes on November 6, 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. 

Learn More

Tip: Keep up with important dates and deadlines by bookmarking the Academic Calendar

2024-25 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

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

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is normally available on October 1st; however, the 2024-25 FAFSA will not be available until December 2023 (exact date is unknown at this time). When the FAFSA is released, it will be available at www.studentaid.gov. Beginning in December, please plan to check this website as well as our website for more information.

To ensure you receive priority consideration for all types of financial assistance, the federal government must receive your 2024-25 FAFSA by March 1, 2024. 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.

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

More information about the FAFSA, including videos, can be found on our website.

Learn More

Counseling Center: Specialized Workshop Series

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

The Counseling Center offers specialized workshops to assist JMU students with a variety of goals, including: reducing anxiety symptoms, increasing coping strategies, managing stress, and improving self-care. These include a 3-part program (Anxiety Toolbox) and 1-part program (Cope 60).

These free drop-in workshops offer numerous evidence-based strategies and interventions and are one of the quickest ways to reduce symptoms.

Learn More

Oct 15th: Spring Break/Winter Session Study Abroad Deadline

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

Is your student interested in studying abroad this winter session or during spring break? Encourage them to submit their application by Oct 15th! Students can learn about the 13 programs offering trips to the Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Ireland, Mexico, Panama, Ghana, South Africa, and more by exploring the web pages linked below.

Learn More

Deadline to Apply for the Entrepreneurship Minor is Fast Approaching

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

Time is running out for students who want to learn what it takes to be successful in the launch of a new business. They have until October 18 to apply for admission to the Entrepreneurship minor, which provides enrollees — regardless of their background — with the knowledge, skills and mindset needed to get a fledgling venture off the ground.

The minor is open to JMU students in any major except Business Management (which offers its own track in innovation and entrepreneurship). Exposure to the tools and methods offered through the ENT minor will enable them to recognize entrepreneurship as a viable career path in its own right, and to identify the specific opportunities that best fit them. They learn how to compose a clear and concise written plan that can serve as the blueprint for their proposed venture, and to craft a pitch capable of attracting support from investors, suppliers, customers or potential employees.

With their newly acquired skills, students are in a position to take full advantage of the many enrichment opportunities offered to them by the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship, rounding out their introduction to the business-formation discipline.

Learn More

JMU Dining Options For Fall Break

Submitted by: Jennifer (Maroney) Gray, Director of Student Engagement, JMU Dining

JMU Dining will be open with limited service from Wednesday, October 18 - Sunday, October 22nd. Locations open with abbreviated hours will include D-Hall, Chick-fil-A, Panera, and Mr. Chips. For a complete list, visit our website.

Important Guidelines for Fall Break:

  1. No Punches will be accepted Wednesday 10/18 - Sunday 10/22 at Brunch
  2. Punches will resume on Sunday 10/22 at Dinner
  3. Only Dining Dollars, Flex, Credit/Debit, and Cash, where accepted
  4. D-Hall will offer a discounted door rate of $12.00 during Fall Break

Learn More

Celebrating Education, Leadership, and Community with the Community Engagement & Volunteer Center

Submitted by: Lindsey Richards, Assistant Director, Engagement, Communication and Innovation, Community Engagement & Volunteer Center

We've got some awesome news about your student's latest adventures on campus and in the community!

Community Champions:

JMU Dukes’ commitment to our community is truly commendable. This fall, approximately 1,200 students are enrolled in Service-Learning courses across 22 disciples. This high-impact practice seamlessly integrates academic exploration with real-world community engagement. The mutually beneficial partnerships that are established between faculty, students, and local organizations address community-identified needs and enhance student learning. Our students’ dedication to this endeavor is both inspiring and invaluable. If your Duke is interested in enrolling in a Service-Learning course, we can help with that. They can reach us at cevc@jmu.edu or 540-568-6366.

Alternative Spring Break Leader in the Making:

Is your Duke passionate about creating meaningful change and building lasting connections? They should apply to be an Alternative Spring Break Leader! They can lead a group of fellow Dukes who will work alongside community organizations in 10 domestic and international locations to address pressing social issues. This experience also enhances leadership skills while facilitating a life-changing journey for others.

Dates: March 9-16, 2024
Apply by: October 31 Online Application

Alternative Spring Break Participant Registration Opens:

If your Duke isn’t quite ready to lead an Alternative Spring Break, they can still register to be a participant! Registration opens October 23. It's the ultimate spring break adventure, filled with volunteering, new friends, meaningful learning, and unforgettable experiences. For more information on registration and breaks, they can visit the Alternative Break page, email us at cevc@jmu.edu or call 540-568-6366.

Learn More

October is Campus Sustainability Month

Submitted by: Amanda Bodle, Program Manager, Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World

October is Campus Sustainability Month, which is an annual international celebration of sustainability in higher education. If you plan to be on campus visiting your student during the month of October, we hope you will discover some of the many environmental sustainability learning opportunities available for every JMU student.

-Experience a captivating program at Science On a Sphere, a spherical display used to explore environmental problems, on October 13 at 10am or October 30 at 2pm.

-Visit the A Better World Together exhibit in the King Hall and EnGeo Building hallways featuring the Sustainable Development Goals and JMU faculty and student sustainability-focused research.

-Take the self-guided Environmental Stewardship Tour and explore campus sites that demonstrate environmental sustainability and support learning and applied research. Sites include green buildings, pollinator habitats, rain gardens, naturalized landscapes, and more.

Learn More

Save the Date for Diggin'Dukes!


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

How much do you dig your Dukes?! Get ready to show your love for your favorite JMU sport programs during Diggin'Dukes 2023 — scheduled for Giving Tuesday, November 28 — the first-ever JMU Athletics exclusive online giving campaign.

This limited-time giving campaign is a special opportunity for the JMU Athletics community to come together to support JMU student-athletes with gifts to individual sport program funds.

Start making your plans TODAY to MAKE YOUR IMPACT, celebrate the depth and breadth of JMU Athletics’ history, and help build our future by making a gift to the Dukes’ team(s) of your choice. 

Learn More

Get Your 2024 JMU Wall Calendar

Submitted by: Liz Fravel, Associate Director, Office of Annual Giving

Filled with gorgeous campus photos taken by JMU alumni, students, family and friends, each month celebrates your connection with JMU. You will receive one calendar for each contribution of at least $25 to the Parents and Families Fund.

Learn More

Join 9,000+ fellow JMU parents and guardians in the official Facebook group! This group was created by the Office of Family Engagement in an effort to provide a safe online environment for parents & family members to engage with one another. Request to join the group here »


Connect with the JMU Family!

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Published: Thursday, October 5, 2023

Last Updated: Monday, April 22, 2024

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