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FAMILY Connections READY, SET, GRADUATE! As you read this, your student is immersed in all of the excitement and demands of the spring term here at Robert Morris University (RMU). Whether your student is a senior getting ready to graduate or a first-year student who has settled into his or her academic life at RMU, the start of the New Year is the perfect time for your undergraduate student to focus on RMU’s Engaged Learning graduation requirement. In addition to successfully completing course work and all requirements for his or her major, each undergraduate student must also complete the requirements for RMU’s Student Engagement Transcript (SET) program. The SET program involves students in a wide range of growth and learning opportunities outside of the classroom, which can help to strengthen their graduate school and job applications upon graduation from RMU. The start of the New Year is a great time for first-year students to be sure that they have a full understanding of the SET program and a plan in place to complete its requirements. It is

also essential that seniors planning to graduate anytime in 2018 be sure that they have completed their SET activities and had them properly reported well in advance of their graduation date. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help your student fully understand and participate in the SET program well in advance of his or her graduation date. RMU’s Office of Engaged Learning and Community Involvement (ELCI) oversees the SET program. Friendly and knowledgeable ELCI staff can work one-on-one with your student to help him or her understand the SET graduation requirement and develop a workable plan for its completion. Please encourage your student to contact the ELCI by stopping by the main Student Life office in Nicholson Center, Room 266, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Students can also find detailed information posted on the ELCI website at

Family Connections is a publication designed for the parents and families of Robert Morris University students. It is compiled by the Office of Student Life and printed in cooperation with the Office of Public Relations and Marketing. Editions are printed in the fall, winter, and spring of each academic year. We are interested in your feedback about this publication. Email your comments and suggestions to



HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR As we welcome a new year, it is a great time to take charge of your health. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends adding these six easy tips to your resolution list! 1. CHECKUPS. Keep current with routine medical, dental and vision appointments. Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better. By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help increase your chances for living a longer, healthier life. 2. HAND WASHING. It’s like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, and Dry. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It's quick, it's simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.


3. HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES. A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or healthy eating plan. So how do you choose a healthy eating plan? Let’s begin by defining what a healthy eating plan is. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, a healthy eating plan: • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugar • Stays within your daily calorie needs Healthy eating is all about balance. You can still enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while, and balancing them out with healthier foods and more physical activity. 4. GET ACTIVE. Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. 10 minutes at a time is fine! We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it's not. That's 2 hours and 30 minutes, about the same amount of time you might spend watching a movie. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don't have to do it all at once. It's about what works best for you, as long as you're doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.


5. BE SMOKE FREE. 6. SLEEP. Adults (18-60 years) require seven hours or more of sleep. Here are some important habits that can improve your sleep health: • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends. • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature. • Remove (or turn off) electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom.

• Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. • Avoid tobacco/nicotine. • Exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night. Here at the UPMC-MyHealth@School-RMU clinic we not only see you for your acute illnesses, but wellness too! Please stop in our office in Jefferson Center for any questions or advice for making you a healthier you in 2018!

PARENTS CAN HELP BUILD COMMUNITY College is an exciting time in your student’s life that will be full of positive experiences and provide numerous rewards for his or her future. It also presents new challenges that will help your student grow. As a parent, you play an important role in supporting your child and helping their campus experience feel as comfortable as home. To help bridge the distance between home and campus, The Office of Residence Life provides the “Care Package” Program. Through this program parents are able to give their student a gift box


filled with a variety of RMU personalized items and several treats that your child is sure to love. As an added surprise, your personal handwritten note comes with each care package. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact Ashley Haney at You can also learn more about the care package program at


HELPING YOUR STUDENT ESTABLISH A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR ROOMMATE You are a very important part of your student’s support system and essential for their success as they earn their degree. You probably talk with your student often and they probably talk to you about their hopes, worries, and frustrations. Last semester may have been difficult when it comes to your student’s relationship with their roommate. We would like to give some tips to help you with your student’s return to the residence halls in the new semester. If they are starting with a new roommate, or reestablishing their relationship with their fall roommate here are five things they should remember to do this right now: • Set honest expectations: Revisit your roommate agreement and pull in the CA if need be. This is a way to cover all bases and re-assess if ideals have changed. It is better to be on the same page with each other than deal with new conflicts right off. • R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Now that you have both talked about new expectations or gone over previous ones again, be disciplined about living up to those expectations. If you have set new expectations, this may take some work. • Stay organized: If you have made a plan to do things on a timetable (ex: clean the room thoroughly every two weeks) create a calendar or chore chart to help you remember whose turn it is or when the activity needs to take place.


• Patience is a virtue: We all have temporary lapses in judgement, especially if changes to expectations have been made. If it is important bring it up in gently and then let it go! If you have brought an issue up and you both have dealt with it, it should not come back up in future disagreements (unless if the same issue is recurring). • Have fun: “You do not have to be best friends with your roommate, but it is good to establish a good relationship with them. Find an activity that you both enjoy to help create this bond. Small gestures go a long way. Every so often do something spontaneous like buying a shared item for you both or post a photo of each other in your room”. Pullman, Elizabeth (2014, Jan 25). Secrets of successful roommate relationships. Retrieved from If issues do arise, encourage your son/daughter to do the following: • Talk to each other in person: Do not write a letter, email, post grievances on social media outlets, or send text messages about the issue that has come up. Your roommate can not see your body language, facial expressions or hear your voice inflection to understand the delivery of what you are saying. If you need to send a text message to initiate a conversation, ask them simply “When is a good time for you and I to sit down and talk?”


• Do not yell: Yelling puts your roommate on the defensive. It is very difficult to have a productive conversation if someone is feeling defensive. • Start and end the conversation affirming that you care about your roommate: It is important to set the conversation up in a way that says, “I do not like what is happening but you are my friend and I want to keep it that way”. • Be open to the idea that you made a mistake even if you are sure you did not: Many times we offend people and do not even know that we did. Keep an open mind and step into their shoes. • Do not speak in generalities of another person’s behavior, give direct examples and instances of action/inaction: (Example) Instead of “I do not like it when the room is a mess,” say “I feel claustrophobic when there are large piles of things stacked around the room.” • Be the first to apologize: The purpose of talking about issues is to come to an agreement and fix the problem, not to gain the upper hand. • Focus on trying to discover what is right not who is right: “Remove yourself from the situation and evaluate what is right and wrong based on the actions that took place”. • Do not swear: Using expletives escalates the argument instead of contributing to the solution. • No name calling: This also escalates the argument instead of contributing to the solution.


• Remind yourself that your roommate also cares about reconciling the relationship: One of the fundamental causes of many disagreements is feeling hurt that the other person is no longer considering your perspective, but if they did not care about a resolution with you they would not be fighting for one”. • Be realistic about your relationship: You do not have to be best friends with your roommate, but it is good to establish a good relationship with them. Find an activity that you both can enjoy to help create this bond. Vaden, Rory (2012, Jul 11). How to fight: 10 rules of relationship conflict resolution. Retrieved from If these tips do not help your student, the Office of Residence Life has highly trained student staff members and professional staff members who are ready and willing to assist in mediating conversations or navigating a conversation for changing the roommate agreement (this is a contract that your student and their roommates should have completed together and turned into their Community Advisor or CA). Their CA will listen and take account of the issues at hand, will most likely talk to your student’s roommate to gain their side of the story and then sit with them both to mediate the conflict between them. Once the disagreement is mediated, your student should give it some time to work. It may take having secondary conversations with their roommate to solidify these changes discussed during the mediation conversation.


If this does not have positive results, the next thing we suggest to do is to have your student talk with their Area Coordinator in the Office of Residence Life in Washington Hall. The Area Coordinators will listen to their concerns and consult with the CA as to what steps have been taken. If the Area Coordinator feels that the mediation process has been exhausted, they will assist in facilitating a room change. This usually means that the student who is addressing the issues will be the one to make the move. The Area Coordinator will provide a list of open spaces for your student to assess. It would be the student’s job to meet these prospective new roommates and inform the Area Coordinator of their decision on the room change. It is great to be involved in your student’s lives. We are happy to talk with you about issues they are having however, we are unable to discuss confidential information about the student and their specific circumstances. We will suggest that you have your student come meet with us so that we can talk with them directly. We also understand that there are circumstances where a change needs to be made but you do no not want us to tell your student that you called us about it. Unfortunately we are put in a bind if you tell us that you do not want your student to know that you talked to us about their situation. Our options become extremely limited because of that, so it is better that you tell your student that we talked and will be reaching out to them to help solve their roommate dilemma.


Our goal is to make this a great and successful year for your student. We are here to help in any way that we can. HELPFUL CONTACT INFORMATION Charles Forrester Senior Area Coordinator for Yorktown and Braddock 412-397-5951 or Elizabeth Holt Senior Area Coordinator for Hamilton, Ross, Madison, and Monroe 412-397-5234 or Holly Nedley Area Coordinator for Concord, Lexington and Salem 412-397-5239 or Lauren McCarthy Advisor for Marshall and Washington 412-397-5237 or Kouryn Stromsky Advisor for Adams, Hancock and Gallatin 412-397-5252 or


RESIDENCE LIFE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES RESIDENCE HALL ASSOCIATION The Residence Hall Association (RHA) is pleased to offer students access to some of the largest programs on campus. RHA also offers students multiple leadership positions, even for first year students. Our organization meets weekly on Wednesday nights at 9:15pm in the Salem Hall Classroom and we welcome all residential students to attend. RHA has many exciting programs in the works for the spring 2018 semester. RHA will host the annual Siblings Weekend where resident students are encouraged to bring their sibling or other relative to campus for a weekend of fun! This year’s theme is Outer Space and will take place February 23rd-25th. More information has been emailed to parents about registering for this event. In addition to Siblings Weekend, RHA will host a variety of other programs throughout the semester. These events include service opportunities and the annual End of the Year Cookout.

If you have any questions about RHA please feel free to contact one of the advisors, Holly Nedley at or Lauren McCarthy at NATIONAL RESIDENCE HALL HONORARY The National Residence Hall Honorary is pleased to provide leadership opportunities for first year students as well as upperclassmen. This is a group that focuses on providing service projects and recognizing amazing events/programs, academic excellence and the exceptional students, staff and faculty here at RMU. The National Residence Hall Honorary meets in the Salem Lower Lobby Activity Room. Meeting information is posted on Revolution. If you have questions regarding the National Residence Hall Honorary please email advisors Liz Holt at or Kouryn Stromsky at

ROOM SELECTION INFORMATION FOR 2018–19 It is that time of year again to start preparing your student’s housing for the 2018-2019 Academic Year. Housing contracts are available online now. Students should have housing contracts completed and $250 deposits paid online or to Student Financial Services by Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in order to participate in the room selection process.


Submission of the contract and deposit does not guarantee a student a particular space on campus. Students will participate in the selection process to select their space. All students must be registered for classes to receive a housing assignment. For any questions or concerns, contact our office at 412-397-5252 or email us at We look forward to your student joining us for another year.


NEW SERVICES AVAILABLE IN COUNSELING CENTER Mental health services come in many different packages and the RMU Counseling Center is excited to offer a variety of services to students this semester. While individual therapy will still be available, other services have been added. Some new options are: • Group Therapy: Group therapy is an effective way to learn skills for many challenges that bring a student to counseling. The RMU Counseling Center will be offering groups focused on anxiety, interpersonal skills, building your coping toolbox, and staying well. • Online Educational Support: Students will be able to access interactive, engaging modules to learn therapy skills online. Skills to manage anxiety, work through emotions and gain coping skills that can be applied to various situations will be incorporated into these modules. • Wisdom Wednesdays: Wisdom Wednesdays are weekly workshops held in the Colonial Café on Wednesdays at noon. The Counseling Center’s Thrive Leaders, students trained to be advocates and peer to peer resources around mental health, will be holding lunchtime chats on topics relevant to students. Upcoming workshops will focus on FOMO (fear of missing out), the impact of social media on mental health, stress management for college students and many other exciting topics!


• Supportive Sessions: Sometimes we all just need someone to talk it through with. Adjustments like break-ups, roommate conflicts, homesickness or learning how to balance school and a social life sometimes don’t require ongoing therapy, but a counselor can help! Up to three supportive sessions per semester will be offered to students not engaged in ongoing therapy. • Referral to Community Resources: The RMU Counseling Center offers general mental health support, but sometimes more specialized treatment can be the most appropriate service. We can help students to connect to community resources in these circumstances. In order to access any of these services, students must first schedule a triage appointment at the RMU Counseling Center to discuss what may be the most appropriate treatment option. Crisis walk-ins are available to any student without first having a triage appointment. Call us at 412-3975900 or email us at to schedule an appointment. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates and important information.




INTERNSHIP SEMINAR Wednesday, February 21, 4 – 5 p.m. CPDC – Benjamin Rush Center

PERC March 28 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monroeville Convention Center

SPRING CAREER FAIR Tuesday, February 27, 12 – 3 p.m. Yorktown Hall


CREATIVITY AT WORK CONFERENCE Thursday, March 22, 8:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Yorktown Hall PERC INFORMATION SESSION/RESUME REVIEWS Thursday, March 22, 4:30 p.m. CPDC – Benjamin Rush Center

FAFSA DEADLINE – MAY 1 Please remember to complete the 2018-19 FAFSA at The Pennsylvania State filing deadline is May 1. Don't hesitate to reach out to the Financial Aid Office for assistance at 412-397-6250 or


Robert Morris University 6001 University Boulevard Moon Township, PA 15108


FAMILY Connections CALENDAR OF EVENTS Visit for the university’s full calendar of events. FEBRUARY BLACK HISTORY MONTH



Pittsburgh Speakers Series presents Rick Steves, 8 p.m., Heinz Hall


Senior Salute, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Franklin Center


Colonial Theatre presents 45 Plays for 45 Presidents


Rent, 7:30 p.m., Heinz Hall. Discounted tickets available in Student Life

7:30 p.m., Massey Theater


Spring Holiday. No classes in session. University offices closed.


Little Sibs Weekend (various events)


Colonial Theatre presents 45 Plays for 45 Presidents


2 p.m., Massey Theater





Undergraduate Spring Break (View our online academic calendar


Carnegie Museum Trip, Noon – 4 p.m., $20



Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk 10:30 a.m., Nicholson Center lawn

Sign up Student Life (transportation provided) 20

Drug Prevention Awareness Week: NATURAL HIGH WEEK! (various events scheduled)

for detailed calendar and course information)

Global Karnival, 4:30 – 7 p.m., Yorktown Hall.


Spring Blood Drive, 10 a.m., John Jay Gym

Sponsored by the Center for Global Engagement


Pittsburgh Speakers Series presents Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords


Greek Week (various events scheduled)

8 p.m., Heinz Hall

Pittsburgh Speakers Series presents Newt Gingrich, 8 p.m., Heinz Hall

Family Connections - February 2018  
Family Connections - February 2018