Madison Family Newsletter: February 2024

Madison Family Newsletter: February 2024

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.

A Letter from Dr. Tim Miller

Hello JMU families,

As predicted, we’ve had our share of interesting weather already this semester. We went from snow one week to 71 degrees the next. As much as I enjoyed the snowball fight on the Quad, it was nice to walk around without a jacket and see everyone hanging out outside again. If you’re wondering how inclement weather decisions are made, this policy (see 6. Procedures) provides helpful information.


Jones Miller emergency fund

I wanted to provide some more information about the Jones Miller Student Emergency Fund that I mentioned last month. The goal of this fund is to help students with small expenses that come up unexpectedly, making it difficult for them to focus on their classes and other responsibilities. While we may eventually have enough in the endowment to help with larger expenses, this fund isn’t designed to address costs like tuition as there are already many scholarships available to support those needs. 

We found that for many students, the final financial straw that forces them to leave JMU is less than $100. Our goal with this fund is to help with those moments and guide students toward other resources that can help them. Our gift is to an endowment fund that will begin paying out in July of 2024 to support students in need this Fall. We appreciate the interest this fund is already receiving and the donations that many of you have made.

Connecting with our team or me in times of need

I wanted to provide some guidance as families are reaching out for help and support. In times of emergency, I want to remind everyone to please contact the police directly. We have had several instances lately where family members have either reached out to me on Facebook or Instagram for help in emergencies, and these are not the fastest or most appropriate ways to get quick attention in these moments. While it may seem like I am always online, I check in randomly throughout the day, so I may not see these concerns in a timely manner. 

In general, I want to encourage you to email our office at vpstudentaffairs@jmu.edu or call us at (540) 568-3685 when you need support because we have several staff members checking that email and answering that phone number, and often you will get a response even faster than if you email me directly. I would also share that many of the inquiries we get aren’t things we work with in Student Affairs like course availability, parking, etc. so we will often refer you to another office for support. 

We have recently received a number of questions related to Academic Affairs, so we wanted to provide some guidance on how to generally address most of these when they arise. Students with questions about a class should first talk to their instructor. Every class operates slightly differently, and students will get the best results by working directly with their faculty member. If they still need help, they can go to the Academic Unit Head for that particular course. After that, if they still need assistance, they can connect with the Associate Dean or Dean of the relevant college. Finally, if the student’s need doesn’t seem to fit this path or they can’t find a resolution to a general academic-related question, then your Duke can reach out to Student Academic Success for support. We are all here to help, and it’s important that you help your Duke work through these processes and remember that not getting the answer they wanted isn’t the same as not getting an answer. 


Academic support is available

Students often wait longer than they should to ask for help. It’s natural to think that they’ll do better on the next test or paper, or that they have plenty of time to pull up a grade that wasn’t so great. By checking in to discuss how classes are going each month, and even looking at their grades with them, you can encourage them to reach out for help if needed. Also, if you haven’t already, set some shared goals and expectations for your Duke’s academic achievement this semester. It’s hard for them to meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are and they don’t have goals themselves. Here are two great places to get support:

The Learning Centers

Learning Success Strategies

Health and well-being

It's always important for students to take care of themselves physically and mentally. The Student gateway has a section dedicated to ways for students to care for their health and well-being. Encourage them to check it out and please remind them to download the TimelyCare app as well.

Serving in the local community

One great way for students to get involved, meet people and gain new perspective is to volunteer through the Community Engagement & Volunteer Center. We partner with over 100 organizations locally, nationally and globally so there are a wide variety of opportunities.

Planning for jobs and internships

The University Career Center can help with resume reviews, headshots, career and internship fairs, mock interviews and other important resources. Their services are for all class years, so encourage your student to check out what they have to offer.


The semester is in full swing so there are many things to do! Here are a few examples and ways to find out what’s happening:

Tuesday Night Trivia | Tuesdays 8 – 10 p.m. | TDU Stage

Karaoke with UPB | Feb. 23 | 7 – 9 p.m. | TDU Stage

Counseling Center workshops

Dukes Weekly

Event Calendar

JMU Athletics

Questions to ask your student

Do you know what to do if you’re sick?

Tip: The University Health Center is the best place for them to start. They have self-care guides, online appointment scheduling, and Ask A Nurse for students who aren’t sure what they should do.

What do you do between classes?

Tip: This can give you some insight into their everyday life on campus. Do they go to their room and go back to sleep? Do they find a spot somewhere and scroll on their phones? Often students miss out on an hour here and there that could be used for studying, writing papers or doing something more valuable. I find very few students are effective at studying late at night, but after they have spent much of the day on their phones, they have painted themselves into a corner with lots of work left to do. 

Scheduling out their day can remove some of the stress of choices and make their day more manageable. Many of our students wake up and are immediately overwhelmed by the day ahead because they have to make too many choices with their time. If they schedule their week out fully, the only real choices they have are simple things like a bagel or cereal for breakfast. Learning Success Strategies can help with this if they are struggling with the paradox of choice and a regular old planner can be the key to these struggles. 

I hope the semester is off to a good start for them and for you. February is a short month, so it will be Spring Break before we know it!

Take care, and Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller
Vice President for Student Affairs

It’s Career Fair Month!

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

The University Career Fair is open to all JMU students across all majors and class years, as over 100 employers from multiple industries are coming to campus to recruit JMU talent from all academic programs for different jobs, internships, and career opportunities.

We encourage students to attend the fair for at least 30 minutes and speak to at least 5 organizations so they can gain confidence networking with employers. They may even be offered an interview that day!

When: 2/27 & 2/28 from 11am – 3pm
Where: Festival Ballroom
Students can prepare by:

  • Scheduling an appointment with the University Career Center (UCC) to have their resume reviewed and come up with talking points for interacting with recruiters
  • Coming to a UCC Headshot Session
    - Every Friday in February from 12:30-1:30pm at the Skybridge
    - Free professional photos to use on their profiles
  • Attending UCC prep events, like: Clothes, Cookies, & Resumes
    2/20 & 2/21 | 1 – 4pm | SSC 3250
    Get a free headshot; have their resume reviewed; browse our Career Closet of FREE professional clothing, shoes, and accessories; and enjoy light snacks

Is your Duke in the nursing, teaching, hospitality, engineering, or related programs? We also have four major-specific fairs filled with employers looking to hire students in these areas.

Learn More

Give Like a Duke for Giving Day 2024: Become an Ambassador

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

Our JMU community will unite online for 24 hours on Thursday, Feb. 22 to raise funds to celebrate the university we love. Giving Day is a time to rally for the causes closest to our hearts. We're asking parents, family, alumni, faculty, staff and friends to GIVE LIKE A DUKE.

Sign up today to inspire others to give using your personal link and earn cool JMU swag. Become a Giving Day Ambassador.

Learn More

UREC is Hiring!


Submitted by: Anaelle Sure, Assistant Director of Communications and Engagement, University Recreation

UREC is looking for students who value community, inclusion and student wellbeing to join our dynamic team of over 600 JMU students who are committed to Motivating Madison into Motion!

We invite all students, from all majors and backgrounds to learn more and apply for UREC’s open positions below. There are a wide range of entry level student positions available with no previous experience required. UREC also hires for specialized positions that have pre-requisite certifications or training. All student employees undergo comprehensive training and are provided opportunities for professional development and advancement.

Learn More

Save the Date for Sibs & Kids Day: April 20!

Save the Date for Sibs and Kids Day on April 20, 2024! 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

Submit the 2024-25 FAFSA Before March 1st

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

The new 2024-25 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 their 2024-25 FAFSA by March 1, 2024. 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. For more information on the new FAFSA changes, visit this portion of our website.

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.

Learn More

Study Abroad Deadline: March 1

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

Is your student interested in studying abroad on a JMU program this summer? Encourage them to submit their application no later than March 1st. The Center for Global Engagement is currently accepting applicants on a rolling basis for both summer and select semester programs. Students should apply early before spots fill.

Learn More

Upperclass Student Housing Information Update

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

Upperclass Student Housing/Live On Again! Contracts have been on an application basis and an offer is only made if space becomes available. At this time, waitlist numbers are high and if your student currently does not have a contract, it is highly recommended to connect with Off Campus Life.

Learn More

Spring Break Closing

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

Residence Halls will close for Spring Break on Saturday, Mar. 9, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. and reopen on Sunday, Mar. 17, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. If your student needs to stay on campus over break, they must fill out the Break Housing Form; please note that space is limited for Spring Break.

Learn More

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

Out of State Student Travel Home: Spring Break

Submitted by: Amy Sfaelos '98, President, CollegeTransit

It’s hard to believe we’re already close to having students return home for spring break. As of this submission, our Northeast route to Allentown, Morris Plains, Teterboro and Huntington has 17 seats remaining. It is unlikely we will add a 2nd bus so these will be the only seats we offer.

As a reminder since we do get the question often - CollegeTransit does NOT overbook our seats. See you next month!

Learn More

Commencement Expo is Coming Soon!

Submitted by: Layne Rexrode, Associate Director, University Events

Commencement Expo is your students' one-stop-shop for all things related to Commencement including regalia, professional headshots, and class rings. They only need to attend one out of the two days. This is also an opportunity to get all ticketing and general graduation questions answered. Please make sure your student is aware of and planning to attend this event on March 26 & 27, 2pm-6pm, at the Atlantic Union Bank Center.

Learn More

JMU Wins Best Campus Dining

Submitted by: Jenna Gray, Director of Student Engagement, JMU Dining

Once again, ranked at the top of the list for best food by Princeton Review & Niche, JMU Dining serves up an award-winning program. It confirms your student’s desire for delicious food, made by an award-winning culinary team. Make sure your Duke isn't missing out because FOMO is real! There’s still time to sign up for a spring meal plan. With built-in value and more than 30 locations, we have something for everyone! At JMU Dining, we make meal plans easy.

Here's How

The Schools of the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Food Fight

Submitted by: Evan Dribbon, AmeriCorps Volunteer In Service To America at JMU

You can support the JMU food pantries and show your school pride by helping us win the inaugural Schools of the SBC Food Fight. This competition between universities in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) awards points for donations made in February to fight food insecurity. Each dollar donated counts as two points, high-demand food items and hygiene products earn four points, and all other food items contribute one point. The university with the most points at the end of the competition will be the winner and will have bragging rights all year. More importantly, you’ll be helping us fight food insecurity here on JMU’s campus.

Learn More

Check Out the Latest JMU Libraries Magazine

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

We’re excited to share the second issue of the JMU Libraries Magazine, with stories about our work and successes in 2022 and 2023. This biennial magazine celebrates the students, scholars, staff, supporters, and faculty who collaborate with us and help the Libraries thrive.

Check out the latest issue to read about:

  • behind-the-scenes Carrier renovation stories
  • a JMU student who made his shoe design a reality in The Makery
  • a JMU faculty member who created an open course in medical Spanish with our support
  • 4 new Shenandoah Valley history collections
  • 80 years of JMU music performance recordings available to stream online - and much more!

Take a look and see what we’ve been up to!

Learn More


Join 10,000+ 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 »


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Published: Thursday, February 8, 2024

Last Updated: Monday, February 5, 2024

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