James Madison University Office of Residence Life is a featured program.
The Office of Residence Life at James Madison University realizes that sending students to college is a time of tremendous transition for families. All students go through an adjustment period and experience many ups and downs while living away from home.
While JMU welcomes parent and family input and questions, our goal is to deal directly with the student. JMU residence life staff strives to connect parents to the resources they need so the common goal can be reached-helping the students to help themselves.
It is important that students have support and encouragement from home while being allowed to mature through their own experiences. The JMU ORL encourages families to be there for their students as a sounding board, but also encourages the family to let the students manage their own problems as much as possible. Student success is dependent upon their ability to function independently.
To encourage this student evolution JMU ORL provides numerous links on the ORL web page that provides families/parents with useful information including information to the Department of Parent Relations, FERPA, care packages and most important, links to the monthly Family Newsletter created by the department to provide essential information on a variety of topics.
The Family Newsletter
The Family Newsletter (on line) is coordinated by the Associate Director of Residence Life and each month there is a well defined section about student issues that could be occurring at that time.
Here is a brief review of some of the topics reviewed:
July – what to bring to campus, managing separation anxiety, helping siblings deal with transition, developing a sense of belonging
August – how to handle the first month, roommate success, campus safety tips, benefits of naps, student loan management
September – fire safety, spreading your wings, academic success strategies, preparing for Family/Parent weekend
November – campus involvement, managing roommate concerns, prepping for Thanksgiving break
February – what lies ahead, FAFSA deadlines and info, healthy relationships
May – welcoming the student home, end of year assessment questions, making connections through networking, ethical development
Other Communication Strategies: Facebook
Additionally, the Office of Residential Life at JMU utilizes Facebook quite effectively to keep students and families up to date with news that could impact their sons and daughters. The JMU ORL Facebook page provides tips, lists events in the halls and on campus, cites weekend updates and offers each week a column entitled Tuesday Tips. Families and parents seem to be increasing their use of the Facebook page to keep connected and updated as evidenced by the number of visits- 6,191 times by 4,598 unique users from September 30, 2014 to September 30 2015.
Submitted by Pam Steele, Area Director, James Madison University