The President's Parent Partnership

Volume 15, Issue 5 -- December 2, 2016

Dear NMU Parents,

The semester has quickly drawn to a close. As you can imagine, the student (and faculty and staff) stress level increases dramatically at this point in the year. I often find myself reminding students I come in contact with to breathe, sleep and eat.  Final exams begin Monday, Dec. 5, and commencement is Saturday, Dec. 10. One last reminder to make lodging reservations if you are coming up next week and have not already arranged for accommodations. Below are some other items that can help you and your NMU student prepare for the semester break.

PANCAKES WITH THE PRESIDENT: The NMU vice presidents, other top administrators and I serve pancakes in the Marketplace on Sunday evening, Dec. 11, from 9-11 p.m.  This is a free event open to all Northern students, not just those who live in the residence halls.  We always have a great turnout.  I’d like to think it’s because of my outstanding flapjack flipping abilities, but I’m pretty sure the students come primarily because they need a study break. Encourage your NMU Wildcat to join us.

SNOW IS COMING:  While we were nearly snowless in November, forecasters are predicting some for next week.  It’s still too early to tell just how much.  In the event of a “big snowmaker,” we do have contingency plans for weather closures during final exams. Students are informed to be prepared for the possibility of in-class exams being postponed and held later in the week if the university closes. Monday through Thursday exams impacted by inclement weather closures would be moved to Friday. If the university were closed a second day, the second day exams would be moved to Saturday afternoon. Exams scheduled to be taken online are not impacted by weather-related closures and are administered on the originally scheduled date. Again, nobody has predicted a big storm, but I thought you might be interested in our final exam week inclement weather plans – just in case.  Hopefully, your NMU student will keep an eye on the weather reports if they are traveling and adjust their travel as needed.

RESIDENCE HALLS: Northern’s residence halls close at noon Sunday, Dec. 11. All resident students must have checked out with their residence adviser (RA) by this time.  Information was provided earlier this semester to students about options for those who need housing over the semester break. Residence halls reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 12.  If you want to keep tabs on the progress of the new residence hall complex project, go to and choose the “new student housing” link.

LATE NIGHT STUDYING: The Lydia Olson Library hours most days of the final exam period are 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. The full schedule can be found here. A very popular library event each final exam prep period is “dog night” where students and area residents bring their dogs (and sometimes mini-horses) to Olson Library for students to cuddle with as a stress relief during study breaks. There is a second dog night this semester on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 6-9 p.m.  Another place for late night studying is Jamrich Hall, which has lounge areas that are open 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 5 p.m. - midnight Saturday and 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 5-6, Marquette’s Peter White Library will be open until 1 a.m. to accommodate the heaviest study nights of the Northern exam week.

UNIVERSITY HOLIDAY HOURS: Speaking of open hours, while there will be no classes after Saturday, Dec. 10, Northern remains open for business operations through Friday, Dec. 23. The university is then closed Saturday, Dec. 24, through Tuesday, Jan. 3.  If you have a university-related emergency during the closure, contact NMU Public Safety and Police Services, 906-227-2151, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Northern reopens for business Wednesday, Jan. 4. The first day of the winter semester is Monday, Jan. 15, although that is designated as a day of service in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and there are no classes. Classes officially being Tuesday, Jan. 16.

MLK DAY: Northern’s Multicultural Center is looking for students who have a poem, song, short essay or rap to share about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy for a program that will be held Monday, Jan. 16. The MLK program will immediately follow a peace march through campus. A student can submit their name for the MLK program by emailing Shirley Brozzo at

GRADE MATTERS: Final grades from faculty are required to be recorded by Tuesday, Dec. 13. Students can view their grades from their MyNMU student account (, log-in required). If you are a new college parent, you may be interested in learning how grade point averages are calculated, what various grades mean (i.e. Grade I, R and W) and what are the qualifications to make the Dean’s List.  Northern also has a handy GPA calculator on its website. The dean’s list is sent by Northern to hometown newspapers about six weeks after grades are completed. This period gives the university time to address any grade disputes. The dean’s list announcement is sent to the newspaper(s) that covers the zip code that is given on a student’s permanent address. So, if a student lists their Marquette address as both their local and permanent address, their dean’s list announcement would go to the Marquette area media.  You can check to see when the dean’s list has been sent to media here. When you select “Fall 2016” from the drop-down boxes and names appear, the list has been officially released.

THREE POLICIES: Three policies that Northern parents should be aware of at this time of the year are the city’s winter parking ban, the campus parking policy and Northern’s policy regarding flying drones on university property. We know that many of our students have the new, cool drones on their holiday wish list. If they receive one as a gift and bring it to campus, they need to be aware of where they can and cannot fly it so as not to have it confiscated. Drones are covered as part of NMU’s uncrewed aircraft policy. With snow somewhere in our near future, students must adhere to the City of Marquette’s winter parking ban, which requires all vehicles be off city streets between 1-6 a.m. from Nov. 1 through April 1 or whenever the city has stopped winter plowing. Although the ban has been in effect since Nov. 1, city officials become more diligent about tickets when the snow starts to fall and the plows are out. Tickets for violations start at $75. Northern also has a parking policy that requires all vehicles to be out of academic and service area parking lots (not residential hall and apartment lots) between 2-7 a.m. (Motor Vehicle Ordinances, Section 7 – Parking Regulations, Regulations B & H). This allows us to plow as well.

NEXT SEMESTER’S CAREER FAIRS: Talk to your Northern student about attending the Summer Employment Fair and/or Winter Semester Job Fair if they are in need of a job. The Summer Employment Fair will be held Feb. 8 and the Winter Semester Job Fair on March 22, both in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center.  The Summer Employment Fair is an opportunity for companies and organizations to discuss summer jobs, internships and part-time jobs with students. The Winter Semester Job Fair brings together students and employers from the Midwest to explore today's job market. Many employers will be interviewing students for positions with their organizations. There is no cost for students and alumni to attend either event.

FINANCIAL AID: If you have not filled out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for 2017-18, please remember that you can. New this year is the opportunity to complete the FAFSA before Jan. 1 and using last year’s 2015 tax information. The earlier your student turns in their financial aid request information, the sooner we can review it and address any questions or issues that need attention. Financial aid award packages for returning students will be distributed following the close of the winter semester.  I encourage everyone to fill out a FAFSA to see what aid they may be eligible to receive. To do so, go to Early next semester, your NMU student will be getting information on how to apply for NMU Foundation scholarships for 2017-18. There are more than 150 donor-funded scholarships created by generous NMU supporters to assist students in their educational endeavor. The application is done online and the application period is Feb. 6-17.

GIFT GIVING: If you’re still gift shopping for you Northern student, check out the current deals at the Barnes and Noble at NMU website or the meal plan options for non-residence hall students through Dining Services. Other ideas include a membership to Marquette’s Peter White Library if you NMU student lives near that facility and would use its services; a ski/snowboard pass to Marquette Mountain or the Noquemanon Trail Network; or a gift card or online purchase from one of the many Marquette area retail stores and restaurants who participate in ASNMU’s (student government) Wildcat Wallet program, offering discounts to NMU students.

Finally, on behalf of the students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni of Northern Michigan University, I wish you warm season’s greetings.  I hope you have a joyful, relaxing holiday period with family and friends, and that your 2017 gets off to a great start. Thank you for your continuing support of NMU.

Happy Holidays,
Fritz Erickson, NMU President