Monday Was a Zoo Around Here—Literally

Want to draw a crowd on campus? Bring out the bunnies. And don’t forget the alpacas, miniature donkeys and baby pigs.

That’s what the College of Business and Economics did this past Monday as a treat for students at this busy time of year—and they loved it!

The petting zoo sponsored by the College of Business and Economics was enjoyed by all students.

With the addition of some temporary fencing, the grassy area between Lancaster Hall and the Upchurch University Center was transformed into a petting zoo from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. I heard laughter and squeals of pure delight as your Lancers crowded around the enclosures to look a spotted alpaca in the eye or to pick up and cuddle a fluffy chicken.

Many students pulled up handfuls of grass to offer to the animals, who found it much more enticing than the grass within their own fenced areas. (Maybe the grass really is greener on the other side.)

Miniature donkeys enjoyed munching on the “greener grass” from the other side of their enclosure that was happily provided by students.

Patti Carey, director of student engagement and special initiatives in the business school, said the event took shape when she was tossing around ideas recently with a student advisory group. “When we said petting zoo, they just about come up out of their chairs,” she said, adding that the goal was to do something for everyone—not just business students.

“November is one of the busiest months in the school year, and animals decrease stress. I’ve seen so many smiles today,” Carey said.

There’s no doubt that the event was a hit, with the petting zoo staying full of visitors for the entire four hours.

“I just fed an alpaca, and I’ve never been so happy,” said Delaney Pietrantoni ’23, an elementary education major. “They’re so majestic. I love them.”

Interacting with the animals produced a lot of smiles.

Chuck Stevens ’21 also spent some time with the alpacas along with his friend Kyla McMakin ’23, a computer science major.

“College students love animals. This is a great stress reliever,” he said.

Tori Bronson ’22, also an elementary education major, agreed. “They make me feel calm. They’re just so cute,” she said as she was petting a brown-and-white goat who’d thrust his head through the fence to eat some grass from her hand.

—Sabrina Brown

P.S. Look for information about Thanksgiving break in next week’s blog. Housing information can be found here: http://www.longwood.edu/housing/about/news/articles/thanksgiving-break-register-to-stay-.php 

It’s All Greek: Information about Fraternities and Sororities at Longwood

New members are invited to join fraternities during Walk.

Whether or not to join a sorority or fraternity is one of the many decisions college students face. Your student may want to talk this over with you, so I thought it might be helpful to provide you with some basic information. In the following Q&A, Meagan Earls Byrnes, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Longwood, sheds some light on Greek life Longwood-style.

Megan Earls Byrnes is director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Longwood.

What should parents do if their student is considering joining a fraternity or sorority?
Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions as they meet people and organizations through the recruitment process. Encourage your student to keep an open mind. Encourage your student to find the chapter where they feel most comfortable and where the chapter’s values resonate with them. Fraternity/sorority members will be more than happy to tell them (and you) about their organization. Once your student is a member, become involved in the parent and family activities.

What are the recognized fraternities and sororities at Longwood?
There are 23 recognized fraternities and sororities at Longwood.

The College Panhellenic Council (CPC; sororities) comprises Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Tau, Zeta Tau Alpha, Kappa Delta, Sigma Kappa, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Alpha Beta Psi.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC; fraternities)comprises Alpha Sigma Phi, Gamma Psi, Pi Kappa Phi, Phi Kappa Tau, Phi Mu Delta and Sigma Nu and Theta Chi.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC; historically African-American sororities and fraternities that accept prospective students from all ethnicities) comprises Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

A new addition to the community is Gamma Rho Lambda, an all-inclusive multicultural and LGBTQ inclusive sorority.

What does it mean to be a recognized Greek organization?
The Student Government Association (SGA) of Longwood University has a defined process for students wishing to create a student organization to apply for official recognition. This process is detailed in the Student Handbook. Recognized student organizations (RSOs) benefit from multiple levels of support from the university. For many groups, this includes access to professional staff/faculty members and university resources and facilities. In most cases, RSOs housed under the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life are supported by the university as well as by an inter/national entity.

It just doesn’t get much better than Bid Day for Longwood’s Pan-Hellenic Council sororities.

What are the unrecognized fraternities and sororities at Longwood?
Current unrecognized organizations are: Delta Tau Chi (also known as Delta, DTX), Zeta Chi Alpha (also known as ZXA) and Sigma Phi Epsilon (also known as SPE).

What does it mean to be unrecognized?
In some instances, an unrecognized organization may exist off campus and therefore have no affiliation with Longwood. Unrecognized organizations are typically former fraternities or sororities that have lost their recognition from Longwood and/or their inter/national headquarters due to disciplinary action. Unrecognized organizations are not advised by the university, are unable to utilize campus resources, and cannot participate in Fraternity and Sorority Life events.

Groups operating in this capacity are not regulated under university policies and regulations, which could result in undesirable consequences for both individual members and the group, as they are not mandated to follow the same standards and policies that our recognized fraternities and sororities follow. Longwood students are strongly encouraged to associate with recognized student organizations.

What percentage of Longwood undergraduate students are members of recognized Greek organizations?
24 percent

A student once said, “You don’t have friends at Longwood. You have family.” Greek life plays a big part in creating that feeling.

How is Greek life at Longwood different from Greek life at a larger school?
The way fraternities and sororities were meant to be is more like the way they are at Longwood. What’s most important here are the mission and values of the organization. In a lot of ways, larger schools offer a different type of membership experience compared with a place like Longwood. For example, Greek students here get to know one another across all of the chapters rather than only getting to know their fellow chapter members.

How does a student join a fraternity or sorority?
The process is different for each umbrella Greek life council mentioned earlier, but there are some commonalities here at Longwood.

Students must have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA and at least 12 Longwood credit hours. Transfer students who enter Longwood with at least 12 or more credit hours earned after high school graduation are eligible to participate in membership recruitment for fraternities and sororities beginning the semester they enroll. Prospective students are encouraged to remain open-minded and look at all of their membership options within the 23 chapters.

More information about each group’s recruitment process can be found below or on the Fraternity and Sorority Life website at http://www.longwood.edu/greek/.

College Panhellenic Council (CPC; sororities): Students who wish to join a Panhellenic sorority in this organization go through a process called Formal Recruitment. It begins with sign up, which is open through midnight on Jan. 5, 2020, and requires a $50 fee. Then there is a series of recruitment events beginning on Jan. 9, which culminates with Bid Day/CPC Walk on Jan. 12, where the sororities extend invitations to new members.
Interfraternity Council (IFC; fraternities): IFC recruitment is ongoing throughout the school year. Interested students should sign up (there is a $10 fee) after they have gotten to know some of the chapters and members. IFC Walk, where new members are announced and welcomed to their chapter, is held each semester. The next IFC Walk is scheduled for February 2020.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC; historically African-American sororities and fraternities that accept prospective students from all ethnicities): Prospective students join NPHC through their Membership Intake Process, which is ongoing throughout the school year. Students are encouraged to “do their research” on the various chapters on campus and then attend an informational/interest meeting, where they learn more about their chapter and membership criteria.

Raising money for worthy causes is an important part of membership in sororities and fraternities.

What costs are associated with applying and with membership?
Members of fraternities and sororities take on a financial responsibility both as new members and active members. New member dues tend to be higher than active membership dues because of some one-time fees that are included. The organization will determine the number of dues students will have to pay each semester. It’s important that prospective students and their families have a good understanding of all Greek-affiliated financial aspects to determine if joining a fraternity or sorority is affordable. A variety of payment plans is also typically available.

What other membership obligations have a financial cost?
Chapters are encouraged to include any financial costs with the described membership dues of each chapter. Fraternity and sorority members should be provided detailed budget information for how their chapter dues are being used. Chapters and/or members may choose to voluntarily take on extra costs, for example through buying T-shirts or big/little gifts. (Bigs/littles are new members paired with current members in a mentoring relationship.) Prospective students are encouraged to ask detailed questions regarding the financial commitment during their recruitment process.

What are the benefits of membership in a Greek organization?
Greek memberships offer a multifaceted student organization experience. Fraternity and sorority membership offers many opportunities, including leadership, service, networking, academic support, brotherhood/sisterhood/siblinghood, professional skills and interpersonal development. The values and rituals of each chapter are what make Greek organizations truly unique compared with other extracurricular involvements. Additionally, what differentiates these organizations from others is their lifetime membership. While the Greek experience is often focused on the college years, alumni members are essential to our organizations.

We want you!

What kinds of activities are part of belonging to sororities and fraternities?
Fraternities and sororities participate in a variety of activities including community service, philanthropy awareness/fundraising, educational programming, social events, academic study hours and workshops, professional meetings and leadership development programming.

What are the four national sororities that were founded at Longwood—and are they still active today?
Our Greek history started on October 23, 1897, with the founding of Kappa Delta sorority, then came Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority on April 20, 1898, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority followed on October 15, 1898, and last was Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority on November 15, 1901. All of the “Farmville Four” are active, recognized chapters today.

At the time of the founding, the university community welcomed the new organizations by immediately recognizing them and giving them permission to utilize university grounds to conduct secret meetings and rituals. The groups announced themselves to the university and community through the yearbook, where a page was devoted to information about each organization.

“Jumpers” is a fun tradition that comes from Longwood’s rich fraternal history. Active members of CPC sororities pass down dresses or outfits that members wear to show their support and pirit of their chapter. Each sorority has a different color and style of their jumper.

—Sabrina Brown

In Their Own Words: Freshmen Share What They Really Think About Longwood

As someone who works in marketing communications, I can tell you there’s not much that’s more valuable than knowing what your customers think about you—and that’s true not only for businesses but also for higher education. We know that students and parents are our primary customers.

As the parent of a recent college student, I looked for information that reflected what my daughter’s fellow students and their parents thought of their university.

As a journalist, I know that when you provide the complete picture of a situation, the positive parts of that picture have more credibility.

So, given all of that, I’m sharing with you a website where you can read authentic accounts of the experiences a group of freshmen are having during their first year at Longwood. There is a good cross-section of students in the group: They’re aspiring educators, law enforcement officers, communications professionals and psychologists. They love basketball and hockey, country music and playing the clarinet, Mexican food and pancakes—and a lot more.

Kara enjoyed a weekend visit from her dad.

I can’t tell you how much fun I have had getting to know these students and reading their posts, which are included in a blog you can find here: “My Life As A Freshman.” It’s not all sunshine and roses—because life isn’t like that. But the way they’re settling in, making friends and starting to love being at Longwood is truly heart-warming.

Andrea and her roommate both tried out for and made the Blue Heat dance team, which performs at basketball games.

Andrea writes, “I’ve now been at Longwood for more than a week, and I can truthfully say that I’ve never felt more at home. Ever since move-in day, everyone at Longwood has made me feel so welcome! Everyone’s always smiling here, and they made me feel like family.” And she’s not alone in feeling that way—though some students write about missing home and their favorite foods, and feeling a little overwhelmed by their new independence.

Phil (right) hangs out with a friend in his residence hall.

So I hope you have a few minutes to explore what these 10 freshmen are doing, thinking and feeling. You might enjoy just reading their bios, which will give you a sense of the kind of students that are sharing your Lancer’s classes, dinnertimes and extracurricular activities.

And, finally, Happy Halloween! May your day be full of Jack-o-lanterns, candy corn, and friendly ghosts and goblins.

—Sabrina Brown

So Much To Do, So Little Time!

Students in the Beyond the Numbers organization (both the photos above) serve as mentors for children at Parkview Gardens Apartments—but it’s not all about schoolwork. For example, they’re treating the kids to a Halloween Trunk or Treat this afternoon.

It’s going to be a busy few days for your Lancers. If you’re wondering what your students are up to—aside from studying, of course—here are a few ways they may be spending their time.

This afternoon, students will be treating children who live at at Parkview Gardens Apartments to an early Halloween Trunk or Treat. The event is organized and sponsored by Beyond the Numbers, a group of students who several years ago began working with children at the complex to provide extra help with homework, enrichment activities and a connection with a college student who encourages them to work hard at school.

Also this afternoon, students can hear about the everyday usefulness of math at a talk by a Virginia Credit Union representative and 2009 Longwood alum at the Mathematics and Computer Science Colloquium Series. The talk is aptly titled “I’ll Never Use This … .”

The Longwood Wind Symphony is performing tonight.

Tonight, Longwood’s Wind Symphony will present a campus concert featuring faculty and student soloists as well as Longwood’s Camerata and Chamber singers.

Tomorrow there’s a Pumpkin Fest put on by Lancer Productions that’s billed as “pumpkin-themed fun for everyone.” Lancer Productions is a student group that brings entertainment to campus.

Halloween fun is in store for your Lancers.

Saturday activities start early with “Breakfast at Ethel’s,” an open house for the Lambda Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority that includes breakfast. Longwood recognizes 23 national Greek-letter fraternities and sororities.

Later Saturday morning students can help out with cleaning up trash in the floodplain and forest located behind the Lancer Park residential complex. The event is sponsored by Clean Virginia Waterways, which is affiliated with Longwood.

On Saturday, students can volunteer to help clean up the area beyond the Environmental Education Center (right) at Lancer Park.

There’s also an Around the World 5K sponsored by Longwood Global Leaders. It’s not a competitive race but actually a cultural event that will give students the chance to learn about countries around the world at water stations along the trail.

Finally, on Saturday evening, the Longwood Honors Choir and other vocal ensembles will join with students from several area school districts to present a concert on campus.

So, if your student says there’s nothing to do, you’ll have some activities to suggest. Information about all the events above—and many more—is available in the weekly email that goes out to all students every Thursday.

—Sabrina Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Reasons for a Farmville Road Trip: Virginia Children’s Book Festival and Richmond Symphony Concert

The Richmond Symphony is coming to Longwood Sunday, Oct. 27.

It was fun to see students filtering back onto campus Tuesday afternoon and evening after fall break. It’s lonely here without them!

We got some much-needed, heavy rain throughout the day yesterday—just in time for the first round of kids who flock to campus each year to see their favorite authors and illustrators at the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, which has been held at Longwood since it began six years ago. I could see the children trooping down the sidewalks between Lancaster Hall and the Upchurch University Center with their colorful backpacks—but mostly without raincoats or umbrellas—seemingly unconcerned by, or even enjoying, the drenching they were getting.

Did you know that the Virginia Children’s Book Festival is the largest children’s book festival on the East Coast? Did you know that the festival brings the “rock stars” of children’s and young adult literature to campus? This includes Todd Parr (The I Love You Book and many others), Victoria Kann (of Pinkalicious fame) and Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved) and numerous Newbery and Caldecott medal winners.

Children can buy books by their favorite authors during the Virginia Children’s Book Festival. Often they get the books signed by the author while they’re on campus.

This year we’re expecting 10,000 elementary, middle- and high-school students—many of them on school field trips and traveling from quite a distance away—to attend. Longwood is the lead sponsor of the festival, which has grown into a nationally recognized event, drawing the attention of the Washington Post as well as regional newspapers and television stations.

And it’s all free.

For your students—especially those who are preparing to be teachers—it’s a great opportunity to see how authors and illustrators relate to their readers. Longwood students can attend any of the presentations, workshops and other activities.

Students also can get involved in the festival by volunteering. This year, more than 90 Longwood students are helping out at the festival. That’s about 75 percent of the total volunteer “workforce”—and another example of citizen leadership at work.

You can read more about the festival in this piece by Longwood Vice President and Chief of Staff Justin Pope in the Richmond Times-Dispatch titled “How Farmville Became a Mecca for Children’s Literature”.

If you’re looking for a reason to come to campus—and you still love children’s literature—consider a road trip. The festival continues through tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 18. You can find a schedule of Friday’s events here.

The Richmond Symphony is coming to Longwood Sunday, Oct. 27.

Here’s another event that might entice you to visit campus this month.

The Richmond Symphony will be giving a concert beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27. Longwood students get in free with their ID, and tickets for the general public are $20. The program includes works by Tchaikovsky, Barber and Rachmaninoff.

It’s a great opportunity to share some of Virginia’s finest classical music with your student. Plus your ticket is worth $2 off a tasting at The Virginia Tasting Cellar (valid Oct. 25-27) in Farmville. For more information and to buy tickets, go to: go.longwood.edu/symphony.

—Sabrina Brown

It’s Fall, Y’all: Fall Break Info, Involvement Fair and Coping Skills

Fall Break “Register to Stay” Deadline is Tonight

If your student plans to stay in Longwood-managed housing (including apartments) during fall break—or even if they just think they might want to—they need to “register to stay” before midnight tonight (Thursday, Oct. 10).

Fall break is officially from 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, until noon Tuesday, Oct. 15. Longwood-managed housing will be inaccessible during that time period unless your student has registered to stay. Here’s the form (but your student has to fill it out): https://rms.longwood.edu:446/page/studenthousinggateway/

I apologize for mentioning this again this week, but it’s no fun to be locked out of your room/apartment!

How Do You Know It’s Fall on a College Campus?

It got a little chilly last night in Farmville, and the high today is supposed to reach only 72. The sky is blue, and there’s a light, cool breeze. From my office window, I can see a few leaves turning gold.

But there’s an even more telling sign that it’s fall: The hoodies and sweatshirts are out in full force. The majority of students were wearing them when I walked down Brock Commons yesterday. I even saw one young woman in a pair of knee-high boots. So, if your student is home for fall break, be prepared for them to pull out some warmer clothes to bring back to campus.

Your Students Are Joining the Clubs

Faculty and staff at Longwood are constantly telling students that getting involved on campus is critical to having a happy and successful college experience. Judging from the crowd that turned out for this fall’s Involvement Fair, the message is getting through.

Students flocked to Brock Commons for this fall’s Involvement Fair to learn about student organizations.

During the fair, representatives of many of Longwood’s 175+ student organizations actively recruit new members. It’s a great way for other students to find out a lot in a short amount of time—and all in one place.

When you think of wild life at college, it’s usually not deer, birds and other critters. Not so for the Longwood Wildlife club.

Maybe you’ll see your student in one of the photos here. But even if you don’t, you can ask them if they attended the fair and if they saw any organizations they’re interested in. Who knows? They could take up a new sport, join the Longwood Company of Belly Dance or help Operation Smile give children with cleft conditions something to smile about.

Operation Smile provides surgery for children with cleft lip and cleft palate.
Rugby anyone?

Coping with Challenges at College

Sometimes college life—and just life in general—can be challenging. And sometimes you need help dealing with those challenges.

Have you noticed that your student seems more stressed out than usual? Have they told you they’re having a hard time making friends? Do they seem to be getting more homesick instead of less? Or something else may not seem quite right to you. If so, there is a place your student can go for help on campus.

This semester CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) is offering a rotating series of skill-building workshops, three weekly therapeutic groups and a weekly Ally Hour. With the exception of Ally Hour, each student will first meet with a psychologist or counselor for a 30-minute initial consultation. At the end of the consultation, a referral to the workshops or group will be made if therapeutically warranted.

Your student can find out more about these services and workshops on the CAPS website: http://www.longwood.edu/caps/.

Here’s a quick synopsis:

Counseling Workshops
The Counseling Workshops are a rotating series of three skill-building sessions that cover mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance, teaching students how to become more aware of their inner thought processes, improve their relationships with others, manage changing emotional states and cope when emotions are high.
Stress and Anxiety Management Group (two groups)
This weekly group is for students who have symptoms related to stress and anxiety and are seeking support and strategies to cope more effectively. In the group, students can gain support and constructive feedback from other students who struggle with problems related to stress/anxiety.
Advocacy Communication Transition (ACT) Group
This weekly support group, a longstanding collaboration between CAPS and the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), is open to any student who has registered with ODR. Students can openly share concerns, discuss issues, gain specific skills and strategies to meet personal goals, and receive support and encouragement.
Ally Hour
Ally Hour provides a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students to learn about CAPS services and offers an ongoing discussion about resources available at Longwood and in the community.

—Sabrina Brown

The Run-up to Fall Break: Oktoberfest, Elwood Tryouts and More

Fall break is set for Oct. 14-15 and, judging from everything that’s happening between now and then, your student is going to need it. (Be sure to see the important information about housing over the break at the end of this post.)

Here are a few details about some of the upcoming activities.

OKTOBERFEST
The biggest fall student event, Oktoberfest got started this past Sunday with Longwood’s traditional bonfire (see photo above), where students learn about the history of the university. But there’s plenty more in store through Saturday—and it’s definitely not to be missed.

Here are some of the highlights:
*Alzheimer’s Walk (Thursday). Students walk to raise awareness and money for research.
*Color Wars (Friday). The freshmen and juniors, armed with green paint, team up against the sophomores and seniors, armed with red paint, to see how much “color” they can throw on each other. Most people wear a white T-shirt to the event so they’ll have a paint-soaked keepsake. Here’s a glimpse of the typical action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AzRUt0EB6k (Look for President W. Taylor Reveley IV at the 1:27 mark.)

Freshmen and juniors team up against seniors and sophomores for paint-hurling bragging rights.
Colors Wars gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “paint party.”
Paint-soaked T-shirts are a cherished keepsake from Color Wars.

*Black Student Association Ball (Friday). Students enjoy a night of food, fun and dancing. Proceeds go to local charities.
*Oktoberfest Celebration (Saturday). This is the main event, which starts with a picnic lunch and goes into the night. Time-honored activities include the Klown performance and dancers dressed in lederhosen.

It just wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without students in lederhosen.

There are also student organization and novelty booths; student performances by musical  ensembles, the Longwood Company of Belly Dancers and more; and lots and lots of bands playing on a large outdoor stage.

Student organizations set up booths to raise awareness and money at Oktoberfest.

ELWOOD TRYOUTS
Everybody loves Elwood, Longwood’s mascot, and each year a few talented students are chosen to bring Elwood to life.

Basketball games wouldn’t be the same without Elwood.
Everybody loves Elwood.

This year’s tryouts are scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Willett Hall dance studio. The identities of the students who are selected are closely guarded until their graduation day, where they are revealed and celebrated.

MAJORS AND MINORS FAIR
Is your student still in the process of deciding on a major? Or maybe they’d like to add a minor or a second major? This is the place to get information about all the options. It’s set for 3:30-5 p.m. Oct. 8 in Blackwell Ballroom.

JOB, INTERNSHIP AND GRADUATE SCHOOL FAIR
The title of this event, scheduled for noon-4 p.m. Oct. 9 in Blackwell Ballroom,  just about says it all. More than 30 companies and organizations and more than 15 graduate programs are expected to be at the fair to talk to students. Currently signed up to recruit employees and/or interns are the National Ground Intelligence Center, MassMutual Commonwealth,  the cities of Richmond and Roanoke, Cetera Financial Group and Charlotte County Public Schools. Graduate programs to be represented include the University of Virginia, ODU, George Mason, James Madison and Drexel.  Students should bring copies of their resumes and be prepared to work the room.

The Job, Internship and Graduate School Fair brings employers and university representatives to campus.

FALL BREAK AND HOUSING 
No undergraduate classes will be held on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15. For housing, fall break is considered to be from 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, to noon Tuesday, Oct. 15. Longwood-managed housing will be inaccessible during that time period unless your student has registered to stay.

Students who live in Longwood-managed housing, including apartments, and want to have access to their housing over fall break must register to stay. Even if your student isn’t sure about their plans, they should register to stay. Here’s the form (but your student has to fill it out): https://rms.longwood.edu:446/page/studenthousinggateway/

The deadline to register to stay on campus during fall break is one week from today: 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. 

Whether your student comes home to be with you over the break or decides to stay in Farmville, these days off are a great opportunity for them to relax and recharge—or maybe to get caught up on assignments and prepare for upcoming tests. Mid-term grades should be posted no later than the end of October.

—Sabrina Brown

Seniors Get Serious—and Silly—at Convocation

The beginning of senior year is cause for celebration and reflection. At Longwood, a longtime tradition known as Convocation marks this rite of passage. There’s a lot that’s serious about Convocation, but it ends with a lot of laughter and silliness.

First the serious side. The academic regalia the students and faculty wear as they process into Willett Hall indicates that this is an auspicious occasion.

Faculty process to Convocation in full academic regalia.

“Today we honor two groups,” President W. Taylor Reveley IV said at this year’s ceremony earlier this month. “First our seniors … the great class of 2020. Second we honor those who have guided our seniors from their arrival at Longwood to this point: Our remarkable faculty, whose commitment to their students is, I believe, our institution’s most valuable resource.”

Softball Coach Kathy Riley, who has inspired hundreds of students to greatness during her 22 years at Longwood, was the keynote speaker.

Softball Coach Kathy Riley, who has inspired hundreds of student-athletes to greatness during her 22 years at Longwood, aimed her motivational prowess at the seniors and other students in attendance. Her message was one of self-actualization, self-confidence and a reminder of the responsibility every member of the Longwood community has to better the world around them.

She pushed Longwood’s students to pursue social justice and equality. And she encouraged them to fight. “Fight for your self-worth and everything that is important.”

Then it was time for the caps—those towering, nostalgic, silly, intensely personal caps.

Ready, set, CAP! You can feel the love behind every custom-made cap.

Custom-made by someone close to the senior—a friend or sometimes a family member—and placed on the senior’s head by that person, the caps are a visual representation of who the senior is, where they’ve been and where they’re going. They’re history, hopes and dreams.

She’s got the whole world on her cap! It can be a challenge to keep the gravity-defying creations balanced.

You can feel the love in every fluttering strand of photographs, every tiara, every bow tie, every set of cardboard Greek letters and every crown of No. 2 pencils (think future teacher). Bottom line: The capping ceremony is a massive amount of fun.

Family are welcome to attend Convocation, so if you’re interested and your student will be a senior next year, try to wrangle an invitation. I’ve worked at several universities, and I’ve never seen anything like it.

—Sabrina Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funding Available for Life-Changing Experiences: Undergraduate Research

“Studies show that undergraduate research is one of the most meaningful and high-impact experiences a student can have, profoundly shaping their learning, their work habits and sometimes even their lives.”

The person who said this knows what she’s talking about. Dr. Larissa Smith is Longwood’s provost and vice president for academic affairs as well as a longtime history professor.

But Longwood does more than just talk about the transformative power of undergraduate research—we put some serious cash behind it. And your student could be on the receiving end of those funds—and the life-changing experiences they support.

There are two opportunities your student can look into:
—PRISM, Longwood’s summer research program
—Fall and spring disbursement of research funds based on proposals submitted by students

For this fall, funding will be distributed in two rounds. The deadline to apply for the first round of funding is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Applications for the second round of funding are due at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1. Projects from all disciplines are eligible for funding consideration—everything from theatre and art to business and the sciences. Students can work individually, or they can collaborate in groups of two or three.

One full day each semester is devoted to student research. This past spring, students made 374 poster presentations and 85 oral presentations representing more than 25 academic disciplines.

Awards for successful proposals can be as much as $500 per student.

That “pot of gold” lies at the end of an application process that includes detailing a well-thought-out project and getting a recommendation from a faculty member. It also includes submitting a project budget of eligible expenses (this is a learning experience in and of itself) that can include things such as lab equipment, art supplies, software and travel.

So, if your student is interested, tell them to get going on that application. It’s available at http://www.longwood.edu/office-of-student-research/news/articles/student-research-and-travel-funding-fall-2019.php

Also coming up in early November (exact date TBA) is the deadline to submit an application for Longwood’s eight-week summer research program, PRISM, which stands for Perspectives on Research In Science and Mathematics. With a focus on intense research and tangible results, PRISM puts students at the center of the research process, working alongside a faculty member.

Sarah Elsakr’s PRISM research project this past summer could have been ripped from an episode of the forensic crime drama television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Elsakr (foreground), a rising senior, worked with Dr. Sarah Porter, associate professor of analytical chemistry, testing burned carpet samples to determine which petroleum product was used as the ignitor. The goal was to research alternative testing methods for use in arson investigations, as well as other areas of forensic and environmental chemistry. PRISM provides a $3,500 stipend plus free room and board for students selected to participate.

Students who are chosen to participate receive a $3,500 stipend plus free room and board. Funding is also provided for equipment, supplies and travel. Your student can keep an eye out for the summer 2020 application on the Office of Student Research website: http://www.longwood.edu/studentresearch/

So many Longwood students have said that doing research was a defining experience that set them on a life/career path they wouldn’t otherwise have known existed. Maybe your student would be just as profoundly affected.

—Sabrina Brown

 

Sound Bites: New Rankings Yield Impressive Talking Points for Longwood

So you’re hanging out with some friends whose children also are in college, and the conversation winds its way around to a comparison of the universities your sons and daughters are attending.

Here are some new talking points about Longwood you can have ready to drop into that conversation, just out from U.S. News & World Report and RNCareers.org.

In the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings:
*Longwood ranks No. 6 among the Best Public Universities, South Region, moving up two spots from last year. This continues a steady climb from Longwood’s No. 12 spot in 2013.
*In the South, Longwood is recognized as the “Best Value” among Virginia public universities.
*Longwood ranks No. 13 in Best Universities, South Region (a list including all public and private institutions)—up from No. 25 last year.
*Longwood is included in the ranking of Best Undergraduate Teaching, South Region.

In the national ranking of nursing programs by RNCareers.org:
*Longwood ranks No. 1 in Virginia and among the best in the country. This achievement is thanks to Longwood’s 100 percent licensure pass rate for the last three years—an accomplishment few other schools in the country can claim.

Longwood’s nursing simulation lab gives students practical experience in a controlled setting. Longwood’s nursing program was named the top program in Virginia and among the best in the nation by RNCareers.org.

Here’s how Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley puts the rankings into context:

“Rankings can fluctuate year to year, and they aren’t the focus of our goals at Longwood. But when an institution rises over time, it’s because of a rise in underlying numbers that do matter. Those include survey results on how others view our academic reputation, our success in helping students graduate and continuing to add full-time faculty to keep classes small at a time when most institutions are doing the opposite. All those things count in the formula but they aren’t just numbers—they shape the college experiences and lives of our students.

“I’m especially proud to see the excellent value of a Longwood education recognized,” Reveley said. “We know that our work in recent years to have among the very lowest annual tuition increases in the state—including a freeze this year—makes a real difference to students and families.”

Among the factors that account for Longwood’s sustained rise in the rankings: a graduation rate that exceeds expectations and a strong freshman retention rate—the number of students who return for their sophomore year. Both were points of emphasis in Longwood’s 2015 Strategic Plan.

Also, Longwood continues to invest heavily in full-time, tenure-track faculty— offering students smaller classes taught by professors who are making their career at the institution. Since 2012, Longwood’s ranks of tenured and tenure-track faculty have increased by 43 faculty members, amounting to growth of 25 percent.

That comes as universities across the country have scaled back full-time faculty hiring, relying more on adjuncts, graduate assistants and part-time staff to teach classes. Longwood has capped Civitae core curriculum classes—the general education requirements that make up the foundations of citizen leadership—at 25 students, a far cry from the 100+-seat lecture halls that are common on college campuses.

In its rise in the rankings, Longwood has moved ahead of several well-respected institutions, including the Converse College and University of Mary Washington. On the list of regional public universities in the South, the top three Virginia schools included are James Madison, Christopher Newport and Longwood.

The Best Value ranking system compares overall ranking with total cost, factoring in the amount of need-based aid and the average discount given. Longwood is the only public university ranked in that category this year.

So you can be proud of the university your child selected (with help from you, of course), and you can feel confident that the investment you’re making in your child’s education is a good value.

—Sabrina Brown