Your College Student Still Needs You

by MORGAN STOLPA, CSU Communications Student Intern

College students need your support, advice and knowledge as they begin to take on adult responsibilities. It is vital that parents adapt to their new role as the resilient force in their student’s educational journey.

Supporting Your Student is Essential

After the first few weeks of class, students need several things from their parents. However, one of the most important things is support. Regardless of how well your student says college is going, there are always going to be bumps in the road. As a parent, it’s important to know the resources available for your student on-campus. Alert your student on the academic advising and health services available to them. Whether it be the the center for students with disabilities, the writing center, health services, the career center or many of the other services offered on-campus, encourage your student to utilize the numerous valuable campus resources. To locate these resources and more, consult the university’s website and find more information about them at: https://www.mnsu.edu/student/studentresources.

Plan to Visit Your Student

There’s nothing quite like seeing how your student is managing the college lifestyle. One way for parents to do this first-hand is by planning a visit. Whether it be for a football game or the traditional Family Weekend (Oct. 12-14). One of the benefits of Family Weekend is the opportunity to participate in many events happening on-campus. For a list of all the events happening over Family Weekend, visit the New Students and Family Programs page on university’s website and select register for Family Weekend.

Keep in Contact

Contacting your student can be done in a number of ways. Whether it be texting, emailing, calling, sending packages or facetiming. Remember that your student won’t always have time to respond to all of your contacts. However, they want to hear from you. Your student misses you and appreciates hearing from you. Be sure to let your student know you’re thinking of them.

Stay Informed

If you’re interested in staying up-to-date on events, important issues and dates in the university calendar. Visit the New Student and Family Programs page on the university website, scroll down and select subscribe to updates.

Minnesota State University, Mankato, Dean’s Office Hires Furry Advisor

Return to the inSIDER

By: Morgan Stolpa

Incoming and returning students are finding they can relieve stress on-campus in a way they never could have imagined. The therapists are the furry, four-legged kind that deliver a dose of kindness by just being dogs.

Among those canines making a difference on campus is Willow, part of a dedicated effort on campus to offer therapy dogs to students.

How Willow’s position began:

“We are always looking for new and creative ways to interact with students. Research shows animals can have a positive impact on reducing stress, anxiety etc. which are all things that come with the college experience,” said Student Relations Coordinator Gina Maahs-Zurbey.

“Academic advising can also be stressful and we understand a number of students leave a family pet at home when they go away to college,” she added. “Knowing what a great temperament Willow has, I pitched the idea to our Dean. He loved it, and I ran with it from there.”

How the idea got started:

Zurbey was working in the Dean’s Office as a Student Relations Coordinator when she came up with the idea to incorporate a therapy dog into the office regularly throughout the semester.

The process was long, but Zurbey worked hard to see her idea come to life.

“All in all, it was about a year and a half in the making. Everything from the training, testing and working with MSU Administration to get Willow Wednesdays approved,” said Zurbey.

About Willow:

Instead of advising students, Willow provides comfort to them. The 3-year-old Labradoodle receives visitors every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in her office located in Armstrong Hall, Room 226. She even has a plaque that says “Willow Room” right outside of her door.

There are no appointments required:

Anyone can simply as stop by the Dean’s Office in Armstrong Hall, room 226 and sign a liability waiver. After signing a waiver, students are encouraged to play, pet and even give Willow treats. If students ask nicely with please or pretty please she can perform a number of tricks from sit to speak.

Students are encouraged to visit Willow every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. If interested, students can contact Gina Maahs-Zurbey at gina.maahs-zurbey@mnsu.eduor drop by the advising office, Room 226 in Armstrong Hall to sign a liability waiver and meet Willow, the Labradoodle. For further questions, contact the Dean’s Office.

About Therapy Dogs on College Campuses:

Universities all across the United State use therapy dogs to encourage students to be more comfortable, healthy and stress free.

At Minnesota State Mankato, a permanent therapy dog holds weekly sessions to heal students and faculty both mentally and physically.

Additionally, the University hosts several events on-campus with therapy dogs, “Kanine Kisses and Hound Hugs,” which are held every third Thursday of the month in the Centennial Student Union in the Lincoln Lounge. There are several  sessions held during both spring and fall final’s weeks on-campus.

College students experience an overwhelming amount of stress during the school year. Whether it be volunteering, working, studying, or missing the comforts of home. Students need a heathy outlet to relieve their stress. 

Struggling? Check These Places Out!

By: Alejandro Reyes Vega, CSU PR Intern

Students often deal with issues that vary from feeling too much pressure, stress and lack of sleep to depression, anxiety or family problems. The counseling center is here for all those needs and many more.

They are confidential! Anything shared will stay confidential within the patient and the therapist. No one has access to it including, parents, coaches, and teachers.

Students get up to ten confidential individual sessions per year. The center also offers group counseling and couples therapy and these do not count towards a student’s ten free sessions.

The counseling center also has a great series of psycho-educational workshops called Discovering Yourself. These take about fifty minutes and the topics range from procrastination, test anxiety, getting good sleep and other useful topics aimed at improving college life.

They also offer consultation services to parents, faculty, and staff and they have information on Outreach and Educational programming.

For more information on the Counseling Center CLICK HERE.

Other places to consider where they always welcome other students include:

The LGBT Center is a safe space for all individuals. It is our mission to provide support, advocacy, and a sense of community to LGBT* students. Through education, programming, and activism, we heighten campus and community awareness of LGBT* concerns and strive to ensure every individual has equal opportunity to learn, work, and grow in a supportive and safe environment.  Stop on in anytime for a free cup of tea and learn more about our community!

LGBT Center

Laura Schultz is one of the people in charge of the Violence Awareness and Response Program. The program offers confidential advocacy to students who are victims, survivors and intimate partner violence.

Legal options are available as well as, reporting on campus, support for emotional struggle and no matter what students are looking to achieve, the center can help them get in touch with the appropriate resources.

Women’s Center

 

 

Therapy Dog Sessions Return Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Health 101 Students Can Attend To Fill Class Requirement

The dogs are back!

Hound Hugs and Kanine Kisses, the monthly therapy dog session hosted by the Centennial Student Union, will be Thursday, Sept. 20 in the CSU Lincoln Lounge.

This year’s sessions will have minor changes from last year’s popular event said Lenny Koupal, CSU communications coordinator.

“The new time will be 6:30 to 8 p.m.,” said Koupal, who coordinates the CSU Program. “The group is now known as Paws for Friendship. It will be the same volunteers and their wonderful dogs. They just go by a different name.”

For several years, the CSU has offered therapy dog sessions – first as a Finals Week StressBuster event.

“We added monthly therapy dog sessions after students requested more frequent therapy dog visits. We’ve designated the third Thursday of each month throughout the academic year as Hound Hugs and Kanine Kisses night.” Koupal added.

The event is free. Visitors need only to sign University’s liability waiver.

Koupal said the event remains among the most popular activities in the CSU.

“In last spring’s CSU student survey, students ranked the therapy dog sessions as the third most popular reason for coming to the CSU behind Career Fairs and Stomper’s Cinema,” Koupal said. “These sessions are both welcome and needed as students move through their academic year.”

Dr. Mary Kramer, faculty member with the department of health science, said students enrolled in the Health 101 are encouraged to attend therapy dog sessions as part of three required wellness activities. Students then share their experiences as part of their assignment.

“The reflections are phenomenal,” Kramer said. Some share personal reflections. Others observe the impact the dogs have on other students.

“For some, it reminds them of home and their dog,” Kramer added. “It helps them forget about high anxiety issues in their lives.”

Kramer said the health science department is working on a survey on the impact of therapy dog sessions on college students.

“We are interested to learn more about therapy dogs and students.There’s so much research on the benefits, yet there’s almost nothing out there on (the impact on) college students. ,” Kramer said. “There’s just something we don’t understand on the power of the dog – just putting a hand on a dog – that energy transfer between the person and the dog. It’s magical.”

Food and Other Basic Need Resources

by: Afure Adah

There are a lot of cool services that are offered to students here at MSU and a lot of students don’t know about them. Here are some cool services that I recently found out about that are super helpful. As students we are sometimes reluctant to seek out service, but hopefully if we know about them it won’t be as hard to anymore.

Campus Kitchen

During the school year, Campus Kitchen collects food from local restaurants (like Panera and Olive Garden among plenty of other restaurants) and makes it into meals for people facing food insecurity. Campus Kitchen (CK) rents space at the Crossroads Lutheran Campus Ministry, 331 Dillon Avenue, so that is where you can find it.

CK also hosts a bread cart and mini-fridge that is stocked with food in the entry of Crossroads where you can pick up some food if Crossroads is open but Campus Cupboard isn’t.

Campus Cupboard

Campus Cupboard is a food pantry in Crossroads where MSU students can come once a week with their MavCards, and grab one of each food items to put in their shopping bag. The food ranges from canned food, cereal and ramen, to refrigerated foods like carrots and eggs. There are also drinks like LaCroix.

Campus Cupboard is open every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., so definitely check it out!

Crossroads Ministries also hosts $1 lunches every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. I personally have been to this and the food was so good and the fact that it was only $1 made it even better.

For more information on the wide range of resources and services available visit Camps Kitchen at our school’s Facebook page.

Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

by: Brett Marshall

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior and, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, affects one out of every 59 children in the United States. 

 This means at Minnesota State, which has an enrollment of around 15,000 students, about 250 students are affected by autism spectrum disorder. 

How does autism impact students? 

Autism impacts each individual person differently, so in order to understand each person, it’s important to understand the autism spectrum. The graphic below shows how autism varies from person to person with the most severe on the left and most mild on the right. 

Image courtesy of Harkla.co

 

 Information provided by MSU’s Accessibility Resources notes that most college student tend to be on the right side of the spectrum and have High Functioning Autism, Asperger’s or pervasive developmental disorder (PPD).  These students tend to excel in certain academic areas, notably art, math and science. Though these students may be academically gifted, their autism may hinder them in other areas like social interaction, impulse control, rigid thinking and time management. 

What can you do as a student to help your peers who have autism? 

One of the best ways to be understanding of a peer with autism is to just be patient – understand that they may process things differently than you.  In addition, make sure when working on a group project that you clearly map out their role and expectations and be sure to follow up with them to make sure they understand everything they’re supposed to do. 

What resources can autistic students receive from campus? 

Students with autism spectrum disorder can find support and resources by visiting Accessibility Resources in the Memorial Library, Room 132, or by phone at 507-389-2825. Students can also visit the Counseling Center, located in Centennial Student Union 285 and by phone at 507-389-1455. For safety concerns or help with disruptive incidents, students can contact Campus Security at 507-389-2111.

Stuttering Support Group Aids ‘Misunderstood Challenge’

by: Brett Marshall

“If you stutter, you are not alone.” That’s the slogan of the National Stuttering Association (NSA), an organization that has a presence at Minnesota State and wants to help students and community members who have a stutter.

“Stuttering is a complex and often misunderstood challenge that can effect a person’s ability to say what they say and when they want to say it,” Jeff Glessing, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Speech, Hearing, & Rehabilitation Services, said.

The NSA campus group consists of a combination of adults in the Mankato community and MSU students that have a stutter. It’s estimated that about one percent of the adult population has a stutter, which translates to there being about 150 students at the University being affected by stuttering.

Image result for national stuttering association

Glessing says that stuttering “can hamper a person’s ability to participate in classroom activities, form relationships with peers and hinder networking for personal and professional growth.” He hopes the University’s NSA chapter can be a resource for students who are scared to confront their stutter.

“Talking with others who have experienced stutter can be valuable to taking steps to lessen the challenge stuttering often presents,” Glessing said. “As a person who stutters myself, I remember one of the hardest things was to open up about my stuttering with others. Doing so changed my life immensely.”

The support group meets once a month on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 and discusses issues relating to life as a person who stutters. He encourages anyone who stutters to consider attending an NSA meeting.

To get involved with the NSA chapter at the University, you can contact Jeff Glessing by email jeffrey.glessing@mnsu.edu or by phone 507-272-2752. Additional information about the chapter can be obtained from the Minnesota State Center for Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinic at 507-389-5224.  You can find additional information about the NSA by visiting their website www.westutter.org.

University Policies and Protocols

By CYDNEY COFFEY, CSU Communication Graduate Assistant

For incoming students keep in mind that there are various consequences for drug and alcohol offenses. The general consequences for students for drug and alcohol are as follows through Residential Life:

  • First offense:
    • Probation for up to a semester
    • Completing an online course that covers being under the influence of marijuana or alcohol depending on the students’ offense
  • Second offense:
    • Probation for up to a year
    • Completing an online course that covers risk reduction and involves talking with other students
  • Third offense:
    • The students housing contract is terminated

The more a student racks up offenses the longer their probation will be, the disciplinary sanctions will become more serious and the educational sanctions will become more expensive as well. Dr. Mary Dowd, Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct stated “We try and make it an educational process.”

A couple of important things to keep in mind for incoming students:

  • The police provide the University with weekly lists of names of students who are cited for drug and alcohol uses off campus. This includes DUIs as well as students who were transported to detox.
  • Police are out in MASSES on campus during the first 8 weeks of school. Take into consideration that there have been situations where a student has been arrested 3 times in just one week!

Dr. Mary Dowd, stated “Bottom line, it’s all about safety.”

The University strives at having the student’s best interest at heart.

FOR ALL SAFETY MATTERS, INCLUDING CONCERNS ABOUT A STUDENT’S MENTAL HEALTH – CALL UNIVERSITY SECURITY 24/7 (507) 389-2111; or DIAL 911 IN AN EMERGENCY.

 

Types of Drugs and their Consequences

By ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU PR Student Assistant

The possession of Schedule Drugs has different consequences:

First Offense: Imprisonment of no more than 1 year and a minimum fine of $1000

1 previous drug/narcotic/chemical conviction will result in Imprisonment of 15 days-2 years, and a minimum fine of $2,500

2+ previous drug/narcotic/chemical conviction will result in imprisonment of 90 days-3 years, and a minimum fine of $5,000.

 

They are all illegal:

Drugs are illegal in the state of Minnesota. The only exception is medically prescribed marijuana; however, it is against University policy for students to possess any type pf drug including medically prescribed Marijuana.

The possession and use of Marijuana is a violation of federal law and since the University belongs to the State and accepts federal dollars for financial aid it must follow the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act.

There is no exception on the use of drugs and they are classified in five Schedules.

 

According to the DEA, these are the different schedules and drugs:

Schedule I.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals are not currently accepted in any medical use and have a high potential for abuse.

Ex: Heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote.

 

Schedule II.

These include drugs, substances, or chemical that have a high potential for abuse potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence and are considered dangerous.

Ex: Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, dilaudid, Demerol, oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall, and Ritalin.

 

Schedule III.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.

Ex: Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.

 

Schedule IV.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Schedule III drugs have a higher risk of abuse.

Ex. Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Ambien, Tramadol.

 

Schedule V.

These include drugs, substances, or chemicals with a lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consists of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes.

Ex. Lyrica, Parepectolin, Motofen, Lomotil.

 

The previously named drugs are just some examples, this is not by any means a full list of drugs that are considered illegal.

 

 

 

Alcohol and its Effects

by: Afure Adah

People often drink alcohol to celebrate, socialize or relax. But alcohol can often have strong effects. These effects vary from person to person and they depend on many different factors, including:

  • How much you drink
  • How often you drink
  • Age
  • Health status
  • Family history

The effects of alcohol can appear in about 10 minutes and as you continue to drink, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, increases. The higher your BAC, the more impaired you become. These effects include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Motor impairment
  • Confusion
  • Concentration problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Coma
  • Death

Some other risks can include:

  • Accidents and car crashes
  • Violent and risky behavior
  • Suicide and homicide

Long-term effects can include:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Health problems
  • Increased risk for certain cancers

REMEMBER: The legal minimum drinking age in the United States of America is age 21. In Minnesota, it is a misdemeanor violation punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail.  The penalty typically starts out with a fine that is increased each time you get caught. Stay safe and make good choices!