Dear NMU Community Connection Members,
I wanted to make time to get a quick update to you as we are already just a little more than a month away from completing the fall semester.
New Wildcats Come to Town: This past Saturday (Nov. 2) we hold our first of two Wildcat Weekends, the other one being March 22. On Saturday, we had about 300 students registered to attend, along with nearly 450 guests – so about 750 attendees. This week (Nov. 3-4) and next Sunday and Monday (Nov. 10-11), we are holding the Presidential Scholars Competition, which bring some of the highest academic-achieving students in the region to our campus. We anticipate about 350 competitors between the two sessions, a significant increase over the past several years. Thank you for the welcome you may be providing our visitors.
ROTC Program: Obviously we were surprised and disappointed when we received the letter stating the U.S. Army had chosen 13 ROTC programs nationwide to close down, including NMU’s. We had no previous warning that this might happen. In fact, several times since 2005, our program and our cadets have been recognized as being among the best in the nation. The primary reason we’ve been given for being identified for closure is that NMU’s program has not consistently commissioned 15 officers per year. Last year we commissioned 13 officers. This year we anticipate commissioning 10 and next year 14. Right now, we have 65 cadets in our program. All of the 13 programs identified are rural schools, which impacts officer class size. The closure is slated for May 2015, which allows juniors and seniors to finish their officer training. We’ve asked those freshmen and sophomore cadets thinking of transferring if they would bear with us for a while as we continue to try to reverse this decision. We’ve been contacting Army representatives, as well as our Washington, D.C., legislators. I want to thank Congressman Dan Benishek and Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, all of whom have expressed an interest in the issue. One of the points we’ve been trying to emphasize in all of our talks is that the Army can train an officer for a lot less at NMU, due to our affordable tuition, than nearly any other program in the nation.
Tobacco-free Campus: NMU is considering becoming a tobacco-free campus. There are more than 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States that are either 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free, including 27 in Michigan. In the Upper Peninsula, Bay College, Finlandia and Michigan Tech are tobacco-free. Last week (on Oct. 30), Central Michigan announced it will go tobacco-free as of July 1 and Western Michigan is tentatively scheduled to do the same next summer. NMU has sent out a survey to students, faculty and staff to get a measure on the level of support for this proposed change. If the recommendation is approved for implementation, the start date would tentatively be Aug. 1, 2014. The ban would include all of the NMU campus except for personal vehicles parked on campus with closed windows, the NMU Golf Course and city-owned sidewalks that border the campus.
Branding Study: Northern continues to work on the rebranding efforts with our consulting firm Genesis, an international marketing company. While considerable progress has been made on the project, we’re a long way from a finished campaign. Genesis representatives have been on campus multiple times since last spring, holding focus groups to discuss preliminary ideas for brand taglines and university brand and marketing pieces. During focus group testing last summer, the tagline that seemed to get the most traction among all types of stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, alumni) was “Fearless Minds.” Our goal in changing the NMU tagline is to broaden what we started with, “Northern. Naturally,” so that it speaks to even more potential students, especially millennial, graduate and international students. Right now, Genesis is working on conceptual pieces so people can see “Fearless Minds” with stories and images, and show how they can still bring in NMU’s strong tie to our unique location. There is an NMU branding work group made up of students, faculty and staff that is assisting Genesis in making sure that what is created looks, feels and sounds like Northern. You’ll see and hear a lot more about this toward the start of the new calendar year.
Facilities Update: The construction workers on the new Jamrich Hall are trying to complete all of the exterior work – brick siding and windows – before we start to see measurable snowfall. That particular work seems to give the building a new look every day. You can watch the progress on the NMU webcam. What can’t be seen by the webcam are the interior partitions, wall studs, drywall installation and – believe it or not – paint in select locations. The project is on schedule and progressing well. We’ve also completed the Waino Wahtera multi-use pavilion next to Lee Hall. The pavilion, which will seat about 200, was funded through a bequest from Mr. Wahtera, an alumnus who was a chemist and environmental engineer. (Photo taken by alumnus Tony Williams)
Trucks on Campus: I am pleased that there is progress being made in the discussions about finding an alternative route to Sugarloaf Avenue and Wright Street for the mining trucks that would be hauling ore from the Lundin Mine in Big Bay. The university’s stance from the beginning on the trucking issue is that we support whatever will not increase truck traffic at the Sugarloaf-Wright intersection, where hundreds of students cross the street throughout the day and evening, and next to where about 2,400 students live in the residence halls. Our students’ safety and the ability to retain a high quality of life for residence hall students have been and remain our two primary concerns. With that in mind, we hope the positive discussions continue for an alternative trucking route through Marquette City and Marquette Township.
Dress for Success: ASNMU, Northern's student government, is seeking donations of gently used professional clothing, shoes and accessories for its new “Seconds to Success” program. The goal is to give all NMU students the opportunity to make a good first impression at interviews, career fairs and presentations. Under the Seconds to Success program, every student will have the opportunity to use her or his ID once per semester to obtain a career ensemble of choice from the racks of pre-owned clothing. Can you help? Local pickup or drop-off services are available by appointment. To schedule one, email email@example.com or call 227-2452.
Happy Thanksgiving: We’ve got a few weeks before the holiday, but let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Here at NMU, we are very grateful to have community members who are strong supporters of the university. To those of you who are hunters, good luck and be safe during the hunting seasons.
David S. Haynes, President