Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009

NMU Offers Interest-Free Loans for Promise Scholarships

NMU today announced it will offer interest-free loans to students who were supposed to receive the Michigan Promise Scholarship until the legislature pulled the funding from the state budget. More than 1,200 NMU students were counting on $1.5 million through the program. To assist with the unbudgeted expense, NMU will offer interest-free loans to cover the value of each student’s anticipated award, worth up to $2,000. Those who elect not to take the loan will see the amount of their Michigan Promise Scholarships included in their billing statements for the winter semester.

“Northern remains committed to access and affordability,” said NMU President Les Wong. “The university had already allocated an additional $1.2 million in financial aid for the neediest students this year, but we knew we needed to act again on behalf of Michigan students expecting the scholarship. By not delivering on its promise, the state put an added hardship on Michigan families—many of whom are already struggling—and shifted the burden to universities to try to fill the void so late in the academic year.”

The interest-free payments can be spread over 20 months, with a minimum payment of $50 and the first installment due in June 2010. The NMU loan program applies only to the 2009-10 academic year.

Pictured Rocks Research Completed

Researchers from the NMU geography department recently completed a three-year project at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore that uncovered 23 new archaeological sites and reconstructed the Nipissing shoreline as it looked about 4,500 years ago. John Anderton (Geography, pictured right with a student) said the National Park Service supported the effort to locate cultural resources so they remain protected in future plans for road improvements and other developments. Full Story

Magnaghi Course Tied to PBS Documentary

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is mentioned in the final episode of Ken Burns' PBS documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Based on a request from the lakeshore superintendent, Russ Magnaghi (History) developed a fall-semester online course that is built primarily around the six-part series.

Full Story

Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Commencement

Erna Blitzer Gorman triumphed over her traumatic childhood as a Holocaust survivor and now shares her experiences and message of tolerance with worldwide audiences. The Bloomfield Hills resident will deliver the keynote address at Northern's mid-year commencement on Saturday, Dec. 12. She will also receive an honorary doctor of education degree. The ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the NMU Superior Dome.

Gorman was born in Metz, France, in 1935. Her family of four was in Poland attending her aunt’s wedding when World War II started. Unable to return to France, they moved to what is now Ukraine to live with relatives. Full Story

Employee's Energy-Saving Idea Implemented

An NMU electrician’s idea to reduce exterior lighting levels on campus during low-traffic periods will save about $9,000 per year in energy costs. Tom Olson (Plant Operations) noticed that two parking lots serving the residence halls—lot 20 west of the Armory and 46 north of Wright Street—remained vacant over the summer, yet were fully illuminated each evening.

He wondered if it might be possible to reduce their lighting levels from May through August to save money without compromising safety. The idea soon expanded to other areas of campus and overnight hours year-round. Full Story


Students Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Ten NMU nursing students held six weekly meetings with youth ages 10-13 at K.I. Sawyer Elementary to promote healthy lifestyles. All kids were issued pedometers and spent the first 15-20 minutes walking the halls trying to increase the number of steps they took. This was followed by a health-related lesson on topics ranging from nutrition and personal hygiene to self-esteem and positive decision-making, a healthy snack and a sports activity such as dodgeball. Participants also visited campus one Saturday to eat lunch and attend a Wildcat football game. The program was funded by a Michigan Campus Compact grant.“The nursing students did a terrific job of planning  and implementing the project," said Eileen Smit (Nursing). "Both the nursing students and the youth from KI Sawyer had fun while learning from one another."


BourgaultWorld AIDS Week Event Honors Bourgault

A World AIDS Week performance event celebrating the life and work of the late Louise Bourgault (pictured) will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in the Black Box Theatre (McClintock 105). There is no charge to attend. The dance performance service learning project, under the direction of Maria Formolo (HPER), will share portions of "One World, Many Drums, Many Voices." The piece was developed around the theme of HIV/AIDS stigma. Other dance, music, theater and poetry will be performed by members of the NMU community. There will also be community drummers and an opportunity for audience members to join in a free dance at the end of the show.

Formolo said it is appropriate to honor Bourgault during World AIDS Week because of her African AIDS-related media work and her efforts to promote internationalization at NMU. She wrote "Playing for Life: Performance in Africa in the Age of AIDS." She also helped to establish the international studies major, chaired the Internationalization Task Force, was interim director of the international office at NMU and developed the International Performing Arts Series. Bourgault also brought many scholars and performers from around the world to NMU.

Canathon Building Contest Begins

A contest to see which building's occupants donate the most food to the TV-6 Canathon will continue through Dec. 3.

Muriel Kangas (Education) said drop boxes are now in position and technical office professionals have stepped up to coordinate the collection in their respective buildings. Students from the NMU Volunteer Center will weigh the food and send a campus-wide announcement with the totals. In addition to contributing to a cause that feeds hungry neighbors, the winning building will be able to display a traveling plaque that originated in 1997. 


For 26 years, Joe Cherette’s (Plant Operations) work as a painter has helped to keep Northern Michigan University’s colors fresh and bright. One example of his work is in the women's volleyball locker room, where he painted the 45-degree angled green and gold graphic. Full Story


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Updated: November 19, 2009

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