The President's Parent Partnership

Volume 15, Issue 7 -- February 22, 2017

Dear NMU Parents,

Happy WinterFest. The students are enjoying their week of winter celebration events, including volunteering for and cheering on the participants of the U.P. 200 Sled Dog Race, human sled dog races, an air band competition, a night of the game Clue, the Mr. and Miss WinterFest competition, open skating, discount skiing and snowboarding and more. The week ends with a home-and-home hockey series against U.P. rival Michigan Tech and a big NMU-MTU winter tailgate before Friday’s home hockey game. There may even be snow for the weekend as part of the festivities, which is hard to believe since today it is nearly 60 degrees and mostly sunny. Many of the students and I have been lamenting the warm weather’s impact on our skiing and snowboarding season. Not everyone agrees, but I say, "Let it snow."

DONOR SCHOLARSHIPS: The application process for NMU Foundation donor scholarships for next year was pushed back from what I mentioned in the January newsletter, beginning on Feb. 17 rather than Feb. 1. The deadline to apply is now March 1. To apply, students need to log into MyNMU (, go to the Student Services tab and then to the Financial Aid--Donor Scholarships link and fill out the online application. A search function is available to help students learn about the scholarships for which they may eligible. This application is for NMU Foundation scholarships only and does not apply to federal and state financial aid grants and awards (such as the Pell Grant) or those funded by the university (such as the Board of Trustees Scholarship). To receive federal, state or some university-funded grants and scholarships, students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (, preferably by March 1 to receive maximum aid consideration.

HOUSING AND DINING RATES: The NMU Board of Trustees met last week (Feb. 16-17) and set 2017-18 housing and dining rates. We traditionally set these rates at the May meeting, but with students signing up for rooms in first week of April and there being more room style choices now than ever before, we wanted students and parents to know what each type would cost. The rate of a standard double-occupancy room and the “gold constant meal pass” dining option in the established residence halls will be $5,039 per semester, an increase of $237. The cost of a double-occupancy shared suite and meal plan in the two new residential halls will be $5,432 per semester, a difference of less than $100 per month compared with the existing facilities. The cost increase for the existing residence halls will offset utility rate hikes and increasing costs for ongoing maintenance and renovation costs required for those buildings. The new residential units coming online this fall will have 400 beds. They feature three room styles: basic shared rooms about 30 percent larger than existing facilities with a partial wall divider between the sleeping areas; upgraded shared rooms offering private bedrooms with lockable doors; and single rooms with a private bath. The board also approved naming the new complex The Woods, which was the most popular of three options on a student survey.

LEGISLATIVE SEASON BEGINS: Gov. Rick Snyder’s executive budget recommendation released Feb. 8 calls for an overall 2.5 percent funding increase—$36.5 million—for higher education. NMU would receive $46.3 million in operations funding and $1 million in performance funding, a 2.3 percent increase. The tuition cap required for universities to qualify for performance funding is 3.8 percent or $475 per student, whichever is greater. Half of the increase in university operations funding is distributed across the board and half through the current performance formula based on six metrics. Northern’s annual testimony will take place March 9 before a joint hearing of Senate and House higher education appropriations subcommittees. After hearing all 15 public universities’ testimony, the Senate and House will then draft their own state budget proposals. Once all three proposals are completed, a conference committee will iron out the differences. The state budget is slated to be done by early June. Once funding is finalized, the NMU Board of Trustees will work on setting tuition and fee rates.

QUIZ BOWL: NMU’s Quiz Bowl team recorded its best-ever finish at sectionals with the B squad taking second place behind the University of Minnesota in Division II. Senior Annika Peterson finished second in individual scoring among all Division II players and senior Paul Flaminio was 8th among all Division I players. NMU's A squad competed in Division I, which is for players with previous national-level experience. The B and C squads competed in 14-team Division II category. Coach Michael Joy was excited to point out to me that all three NMU finished higher than our friendly U.P. rivals, Michigan Tech.

FOOD INSECURITY: ASNMU, Northern’s student government, is working with the Dean of Students office and the newly formed Food Insecurity Committee to investigate hunger on NMU's campus. Food insecurity, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is the condition when people do not have adequate resources to feed themselves, either nutritiously or at all. ASNMU and the Food Insecurity Committee sent out a short survey to the campus to gather information that will help us better understand the needs on campus so we can develop appropriate support, such as potentially starting an on-campus food bank. As the survey states, “No Wildcat should have to attend classes or go to bed at night with an empty stomach.”

LEARNING ABROAD: Environment and global connections are two of Northern’s core values. Both were demonstrated in a pair of recent study abroad opportunities taken by Northern students.  Thirteen students recently returned from an international service learning trip to New Zealand where they helped with measuring water quality, working on a community garden, conducting tourist surveys, clearing forest trails and building a lakeside walkway. The New Zealand partner in International Studies Abroad (ISA) just released this video of the Northern students’ experience in its country. Ten other NMU students were in Costa Rica to study that nation’s ecotourism and its impact on the local economy. The group spent several days studying at a research outpost and did work putting soil in bags to be used for planting tree seedlings and studying the area’s jungle. They also helped with a project to preserve eggs within a nesting area of the endangered leatherback sea turtle.

GIFT OF LIFE: A group of Northern students and the NMU Volunteer Center are coordinating this year’s Gift of Life Challenge, an organ and tissue donor drive among 14 state colleges and universities. At last check, Northern was in third place for both number of donor registrations and percent of registration to student body size. Northern won the latter category a few years ago. You can follow the results at

TREE HAMMOCKS: City of Marquette officials have asked the university to alert students to the fact that significant damage is being done to trees in public city areas, such as Presque Isle Park, because of tree hammocks.  Screwing in hammocks puts pressure on the trees that can cause breakage and disease. Also, people using these public areas last year were breaking off branches and cutting down small trees in order to hang hammocks – all of which is against the City Code. This year, City of Marquette public safety officers will be increasing their enforcement of the City Code Ordinance Section 22-135, “Abuse or mutilation of public trees.”  This ordinance prohibits “attachment of any rope, wire, nails, advertising posters, or other contrivance to any tree.”  If ticketed, the fine is a municipal civil infraction ($25) that increases with each day of violation. We have sent this information to students so they are aware of the increased enforcement. This city ordinance does not apply to NMU campus property.

WILDCATS ROAR: What a couple of weeks for the Wildcat athletic teams. Our new women’s lacrosse team played its inaugural game and won 18-1 over Northland last Saturday. The men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams won both the NCAA Central Regional and Central Collegiate Ski Association titles over the past two weeks. Additionally, Adam Martin finished 15th in the men’s 30K skiathlon at the Under-23 World Championships. The women’s basketball team has earned a berth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament for a sixth consecutive year and is battling for a home playoff spot. The No. 9 nationally ranked men’s and No. 12 women’s swimming teams finished third at the GLIAC Championships.  Lajos Budai and Rachel Helm were named GLIAC Freshmen of the Year and Budai was also named the men’s Swimmer of the Year. The ‘Cats captured 12 individual titles at the GLIAC meet. The hockey team went unbeaten for nine games (7-0-2) before last weekend’s pair of losses. The streak included five shutouts for goalie Atte Tolvanen, which tied a men’s NCAA record. His shutout minutes now ranks second in NCAA history. Senior Brock Maschmeyer is one of 10 finalists for college hockey’s Senior CLASS Award, given for achievements in the community, classroom, character and competition. NMU Olympic Training Site Greco-Roman wrestlers captured three silver and two bronze medals at the Dave Schultz Memorial Invitational.

UPCOMING DATES:  Here are some dates to note for the remainder of the semester. Spring break begins at 5 p.m. Friday, March 4; classes resume Monday, March 13. Registration for summer courses begins Monday, March 20 and for fall 2017 courses begins Friday, March 24. Summer course registration is an open registration; there are no designated times. Fall registration is scheduled by class status and students can find the date when their registration period begins at MyNMU under the Student Services tab (listed at Registration Status – date/time to register). The Winter Semester Job Fair is 1-4 p.m., Wednesday, March 22, in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center. All students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic adviser before registering for courses; freshmen are required to meet with their adviser. Returning residence hall students will begin signing up for 2017-18 rooms and apartments in the first week of April.  The Leadership Banquet, one of NMU’s largest student events of the year, is Thursday, April 20.  The banquet will be streamed live for parents interested in attending virtually. Final exam week is Monday through Saturday, May 1-6.  Friday and Saturday are mostly backup dates in case classes are canceled due to inclement weather during the week. Commencement takes place Saturday, May 6. A final reminder that if you are planning to come up to Marquette during final exam week or for commencement and need lodging, please do not delay in making reservations. It is nearly impossible to find a hotel/motel room anywhere close to campus during commencement weekend. Summer courses begin May 22.

I hope your NMU student is having a great semester. As this newsletter indicates, our Northern students are busy both in and out of the classroom. In the next issue, I will share information on some new initiatives that are just getting underway at Northern as well as highlight some recent student and alumni accomplishments. Until then, I hope this information helps you help your Northern student. I also hope your Northern experience as an NMU parent is going well. Our Dean of Students Office is looking to update the parents’ website with some new photos and has asked me to pass along a request that if you have photos you’d be willing to share related to your NMU parent experience, we’d like to consider them for the site.  Email them to John Frick at John said photos of you and your Wildcat at NMU, your travel to and from Marquette, your favorite places to eat or stop along the way, shots from a visit to campus and Marquette, or any other photo subject you think would aid prospective parents in understanding the NMU parent experience.  Be sure to include your contact information so that if John has questions about the photo, he can reach you. Thank you for all you do for Northern.

Fritz Erickson, President