February eParent Newsletter
In this issue:
- IWU Wins Its First-Ever Lacrosse Game
- From Parent to Career Coach
- Planning for Study Abroad
- Alternative Spring Break
- Weather Alert: How are Weather Decisions Made at IWU?
- IWU Parent Fund
The Illinois Wesleyan men’s lacrosse team won its first-ever game on Feb. 22 and the women’s team will begin play in 2015. Both teams will compete in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin in 2015.
According to a recent NCAA report, lacrosse saw the highest growth of any sport in 2012-13 as 40 women's programs and 26 men's programs were added across all three divisions. A total of 207 Division III men's programs and 240 Division III women's programs competed in 2012-13.
Zach Iannucci was hired in November 2012 as the men’s coach and his inaugural team features 39 players representing 14 states. Iannucci takes pride in his new players for taking a chance on him when he was recruiting them last year. "As a new program, I had nothing tangible to sell these players - no jerseys, no gloves, no wins, nothing. I could only sell them on what I believed this program could be. They all took a big chance on me and I'll never forget that," he said. "They all knew how much work it would take to build the program I sold them on last spring and to their credit, they accepted that challenge. If they continue to work as hard as they did in the fall, I truly believe we will be well on our way to building a championship caliber program."
The new head coach says that there has been great chemistry with the team. "There is something special about this group - they all play hard for each other and they all get along great on and off the field," he said. "This is a great group of young men that I'm proud to have represent Illinois Wesleyan men's lacrosse."
As for what to expect from a competitive standpoint, Iannucci feels the Titans will field a very balanced team this first season. "We have talent all over the field and every day there is great competition in practice," he said. "As a coach, it is a great feeling to know that when you need a big save or stop, you have a defense and goalie to make it and when you need a goal, you have players that have ability to score."
Iannucci came to IWU from being an assistant at Oberlin College. A 2010 graduate of Saint Joseph’s (Pa.), Iannucci was a varsity player as a senior and competed in club lacrosse for three seasons. At Lenape Regional High School in New Jersey, he was nominated for high school All-American as a junior and was a three-time all-conference player, two-time team captain and the school’s first four-year lacrosse letterman. Zach and his wife are the parents of a son, Zachary Matthew Iannucci (born 2013).
Hired as the women’s lacrosse coach in June 2013, Lindsey Rosecrans is working diligently at recruiting players for her first team, which begins in spring 2015, and reports that the recruiting process is going well. "We have been generating a lot of interest in our women's lacrosse program not only from the surrounding states in the Midwest, but from the East and West Coasts as well," she said.
Rosecrans has attended tournaments and visited high schools ranging from the Midwest to the Northeast, down to Florida and as far west as California. "The athletes and families I have been in contact with find the thought of being a part of new program to be very appealing," she said. "Knowing that they will be the 'pioneers' of a Division III athletics program, with an opportunity to create a culture and legacy that will serve as the foundation of IWU women's lacrosse, is extremely exciting."
Rosecrans is a 2009 graduate of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., where she spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach. As a player, she was the program's all-time leader in points (153), goals (120) and draw controls (111). As a senior, she was named to the first team of the all-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference squads after breaking the school's single-season record with 65 points.
The most valuable things parents can do to help a student with career planning are:
- Be open to ideas
- Help your student find information
Here are some additional things you can do to help:
1) Encourage your student to visit the Hart Career Center. Many students use their first semester to "settle into" college life, and so the spring semester of the first year is the optimal time to start using career center services. It’s important to emphasize to your student that he/she should have a multi-year relationship with the career center and this relationship should involve frequent visits.
- Some of the services that are not to be pushed back to senior year include:
- Practice interviews
- Alumni network contacts willing to talk about their jobs and careers
- Workshops on a variety of career-related topics
- Recruitment activities
- Individual advising/counseling/coaching about choice of major, career options within specific majors, and related concerns
- Assistance in preparing resumes, cover letters, and other application tool
2) Emphasize the importance of internships
The Career Center will not "place" your student in a job at graduation. Colleges grant degrees, but not job guarantees, so relevant experience in this competitive job market is critical. With competition keen, one internship may no longer be enough today. By starting with local internships, students often prepare themselves for more competitive internships
Why an internship?
- Employers are interested in communication, problem-solving and administrative skills, which can be developed though internships.
- Employers look for experience on a student’s resume and often hire from within their own internship programs.
- Having a high GPA, while certainly something to strive for, is not enough.
3) Encourage extracurricular involvement
Extra-curricular involvement helps students develop interpersonal and leadership skills, qualities valued by employers. It is these so-called soft skills or transferable skills that employers often cite as deficits when they are seeking talent for their organizations. It is assumed that candidates will likely have the knowledge-based skills required for the position, but many fall short when it comes to effective communication, work ethic, adaptability/flexibility, and others.
4) Encourage your student to engage in networking. Share contacts from your personal and professional networks. Students can also tap into their academic networks. It’s a wonderful way to gain first-hand knowledge of a field and establish contacts that can assist you over time. IWU alumni have proven to be outstanding mentors and have expressed surprise that more students don’t avail themselves of this opportunity.
I often speak of "Parents as Partners" and strongly believe in this relationship. We want your students to be independent thinkers, able to make decisions. With the cost of a college education, students should take advantage of the support services designed to assist them. Parents can play an important role in encouraging students to engage early and often.
"I was made different by my time abroad. I didn't know quite how to describe it then, and I still don't today. All I can say is somewhere between August and December I was changed, and it was for the better."
-- Joseph O’Brien ’15
Each semester, President Wilson hosts a reception for returning study abroad students, and at that event, student after student talks about how their time abroad has affected them. Like Joe O’Brien, they might struggle to pinpoint the changes they have experienced, but they all agree that they have grown—intellectually, emotionally, and personally.
The first step each of these students took was deciding to study abroad. But that decision can be daunting, both for students and for their families, and choosing to study abroad—and choosing the right kind of overseas experience—is an important decision that students need to make in cooperation with their families.
So, as you and your student begin to plan this amazing journey, here are some questions to consider (along with additional information about study abroad at IWU):
- Where do you want to go? Why do you want to go there? (IWU has programs in over 70 countries and on six continents.)
- What do you want or need to study while abroad? Do you need to earn credits toward a major, a minor, or General Education while abroad? (All credit from approved study abroad will count toward graduation and, with approval, can fulfill major, minor, and General Education requirements.)
- What length of study abroad experience do you want? (IWU offers a variety of program lengths, from three-week travel courses to full-year programs at partner universities overseas.)
- Do you want to study with a group of IWU students and a faculty member, or do you want to break out of "the IWU bubble"? (We also offer a variety of program types, allowing students to study with a cohort of IWU students or to immerse themselves more in the host community.)
- Is improving your language skills one of your primary goals? If so, are your foreign language skills strong enough to take all or most of your classes in a second language? Do you need a program that offers intensive language coursework? (Most of our programs are open to students with little or no foreign language skills, but we also have a wide range of programs suitable for students at an advanced level of language study.)
- How much will a study abroad experience cost? (With so many programs in so many locations available, we can help students find options to fit most budgets. We also work with students to identify additional scholarship options.)
Staff in the International and May Term Offices are available to help you and your student at any time. Please contact us!
Elyse Nelson Winger
Greetings from Evelyn Chapel! As University Chaplain, some of my favorite work on campus includes planning and facilitating Alternative Breaks with IWU students, faculty, and staff. These are service-packed and experience-intense days that allow eclectic groups of students—spanning all class years, majors, and backgrounds—to see a new part of our community or country. In particular, IWU’s Alternative Fall Break (AFB) and Alternative Spring Break (ASB) programs provide opportunities for local and national service that particularly align with the University’s commitment to diversity, social justice, and environmental sustainability. This Fall, staff leaders of the Action Research Center coordinated a second annual Local AFB weekend where a dozen or so students took up residence at Western Ave. Community Center on the west side of Bloomington, and did a number of service projects that introduced them to the many non-profit and community organizations in town, many of them within walking and biking distance from campus. That same weekend, I led a group of 22 students and staff, representing a variety of faith and non-faith traditions, on an Interfaith Engagement and Service Trip to Chicago. Visits to five houses of worship and three service sites provided a rich context for intellectual exploration, reflection on religious belief and practice, as well as the place of belief and service in our larger society.
This spring, a group of 30 students, faculty and staff will participate in Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge in Albany, Ga. This is the fourth year in a row that the ASB program has partnered with IWU’s Habitat for Humanity Registered Student Organization (RSO) to participate in this service opportunity for college students from all around the country. In addition to a week of service, the group meets for team-building and learning in order to place service work in the context of local issues, social justice and ethics. For example, this year’s team is exploring the issue of housing as a human right in preparation for service work in Albany. A second group of 15 students, accompanied by Professor of Anthropology Rebecca Gearhart and me, will spend Spring Break at Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota with Tree of Life Ministry, a relief agency sponsored by the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church. During this week, we will serve with and learn from this community, as well as explore our own cultural and spiritual traditions. We are excited for this inaugural trip north for ASB and are hoping that warmer weather greets us all by mid-March!
If your student has participated, or is participating, in one of these trips this year, you know how remarkable these experiences can be. If your student hasn’t yet participated, I encourage you to think about this possibility for next year! We strive to make these trips affordable for students willing to devote precious break time to service and social justice and hope to continue to expand our offerings in coming semesters. In the meantime, please contact me with questions, concerns, or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 309-556-3179.
Karla C. Carney-Hall
This has been a particular difficult winter across the Midwest. As a residential University, weather-related closures are extremely rare, because most students live on campus or within a 4 to 5 block radius. However, our primary concern is the safety of students, faculty and staff, especially those who are traveling to and from campus. We respect that each individual has his/her own unique circumstances and must make personal decisions about his/her safety during extreme conditions. If your student does not feel he/she can attend class safely, your student should contact his/her professors, who will do their best to be supportive. Essential services personnel (like Security, grounds crew, food service employees, and many more) often make significant contributions to campus life by continuing to keep the campus running during major storms and University closures. We appreciate their tremendous support.
While we do share information with other schools and businesses in the area, our decisions are made independently. The timing of our announcement is largely dependent on when we feel we will have the best information possible to inform our decision.
When the University is closed, we will have limited personnel on campus. Students should expect that food service will be provided in at least one location and that the grounds will be maintained, as permitted by the elements, to allow for reasonable travel around campus. However, most academic buildings and offices, including The Ames Library, will be closed. Because each situation is unique, we will do our best to post online what facilities will be open and when. For health concerns when the University is closed, students should plan to go to a local prompt care or to the emergency room, if needed.
We appreciate that all students, faculty and staff are making responsible decisions about their safety during winter weather conditions. Please remind your student that snow parking route parking is prohibited once the snowfall reaches two inches or more.
Thanks for your patience as we make difficult weather-related decisions for the University.
Jeff Mavros '98
As you might recall, I wrote to you in the fall about Illinois Wesleyan’s Parent Fund, a source of financial support for IWU students who lose a breadwinning parent to death or permanent disability. The fund helps allow these students to complete their education when they might otherwise be forced to leave the University for financial reasons.
For students in these tragic circumstances, facing the prospect of leaving school and putting their dreams on hold, possibly forever, the Parent Fund is nothing short of life changing. And because we never know how many students in a given year will depend upon these critical funds, I ask that every Illinois Wesleyan family support the Parent Fund at whatever level possible.
This fall alone, six Illinois Wesleyan students lost their parents. And while not every parent death significantly changes a family’s financial picture, this amount of loss within a short time among members of our small community underscores the importance of the Parent Fund. In fact, over the 50+ years that the fund has been in existence, caring members of the Titan family—people like you—have helped to keep more than 300 IWU students in school. These Parent Fund recipients are now accomplished leaders in various fields. Those I’ve known personally have gone on to become doctors, teachers, dentists, engineers and journalists. They are forever grateful and are among the first to pay forward this generosity as alumni donors to the University and to the Parent Fund.
And Illinois Wesleyan is very proud of this long tradition of support. Not every school has a program like ours, and of those who have anything similar, very few have been doing it as long as we have. You are part of a community of caring students and families…and at its core, the Parent Fund is nothing more than families taking care of families. Our families have been supporting the Parent Fund for each other since 1960, and this heritage is part of what makes IWU great.
I hope your student will never be put in this most difficult of situations, but doesn’t it make you feel good to know that a safety net exists if the worst happened? That’s why I’m asking you—and all IWU families—to contribute, regardless of amount. Every gift makes a difference, and they all add up. To this point in the year, we have raised $33,789 for the Parent Fund from 417 gifts. While I greatly appreciate the support of those who have already made a commitment, we are a little short of where we need to be to reach our goal of $100,000 by yearend. As you might imagine, the average need of a Parent Fund recipient is greater than that of a typical IWU student, and since we don’t know how many students will need assistance, even our goal amount may not be enough to meet the needs of these students. Therefore, I thank you sincerely for any contribution.
If you have any questions, please contact me directly at email@example.com. I am pleased to share information about the Parent Fund or talk about how you might assist those in need. Thank you and I hope your student is enjoying a happy and productive spring semester!
- The last day to drop a class is Friday, February 28.
- Mid-semester grades were due Friday, February 21.
Parent Portal Reminder
Each parent/guardian of an IWU student will have access to the Parent Portal. The Parent Portal provides you with access to news and events of interest to IWU parents. If your son or daughter authorizes your access, you can view their secure information such as grades, financial aid, class schedules, etc. IWU mails parents information about this service in October each year. If you did not receive this information, please contact the Dean of Students Office at (309) 556-3111.