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Westmont Parent Newsletter

Parents Support Net - October 2014

Dear Parents,

We are in the thick of the semester. While classes have only been in session for a month or so, we are feeling the pace of things picking up. Students are feeling the same as they tackle their first papers of the semester and complete an exam or two. There is a wonderful energy on campus too as chapels have been full and the D.C. is abuzz with students grabbing a meal and meeting with friends. Students are frequenting the library (be assured, they are studying) and the residence hall teams are excited about how the year has started.

Teri Bradford Rouse Our office has been wearing its "alumni" hat of late as we just hosted about 400 alumni back to campus for Homecoming, Oct 17-19! We were pleased to offer some fun activities involving students this year so your son or daughter got a glimpse into the joy and privilege of being an alum.

We hope to see some of you at First-Year Parent’s Weekend, Nov. 14-15, a low-key time for you to spend time with your son or daughter. We will be sending out more information in an upcoming email, or please check our website for details.

Grateful to be a part of Westmont with you,

Teri Bradford Rouse '77
Senior Director Alumni & Parent Relations

Meet the Alumni & Parent Relations Staff

The Art of Saying “No”

We think you will be interested in hearing some keen insights about saying “no,” shared by Angela D’Amour, director of campus life:

Angela D'AmourI have the privilege of working with Westmont student organization leaders in my role as the director of campus life. One of the first things I learned when I started in this role seven years ago is that our students have a difficult time saying no. Just to clarify, they tend to say no quite well to value laden decisions when they can objectively see that an outcome has the potential to harm them. However, when they are invited to participate in good and worthwhile opportunities, it can be difficult to say no.

This barrier impacts their well-being. For example, more than 90 percent of our students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do within the last 12 months and close to half of our students regularly felt overwhelmed (NCHA survey, Spring 2014). While this is not unusual for college students, our students are particularly prone to feeling overwhelmed due to the small, community-oriented nature of Westmont.
... Students care for one another and when fellow members of the community invite them to participate in positive opportunities such as class research projects, social outings, and campus clubs they naturally don’t want to disappoint one another. However, I remind our students that our “no’s” are not intended to be negative “no’s,” but rather positive ones that protect our current commitments, our priorities and the possibility of our very best work.

Every fall, I offer our student organization leaders a few tools to help them say no in ways that enable them to uphold their current commitments without damaging their relationships. One of these tools is to never say yes on the spot. By carving out time to consider a request, we can weigh our current commitments and evaluate the potential impact of adding a new commitment. Creating space also eliminates the temptation to say yes simply to please others. I also recommend that students ask clarifying questions prior to adding a new commitment. Often times, students find themselves signed up for commitments that are far more time consuming than they anticipated.

Another helpful strategy is to offer to help the person in a way that is more feasible for them. They may be able to contribute in a way that does not require quite so much of them. Sometimes students are asked to devote a whole day to serving a local cause, but they may be able to assist for only an hour or two and still serve effectively.

Finally, I suggest that students say no politely, but directly and firmly and to begin their response in the affirmative. “That sounds like a great program. Thank you for asking. I really wish I could help, but I simply have too many commitments on my plate already.” Students begin to realize that their no’s need to come out of their yes’s and this knowledge alone is empowering.

Every year I give this talk, I am reminded of these principles for myself. I remember that I need to model this behavior so that I can stay well and whole and healthy. And if your student tends to hesitate to get involved, ignore everything I just said and encourage them to say YES!

As students begin the new academic year, you may wish to include their class verse in your prayers for them.

Parents Council Profiles

In a number of issues, we will be highlighting our Parents Council members so you will get to know them better. You can also refer to archived issues on the website to learn about current members that were highlighted in January thru April issues. This academic year we will begin with Susie and Jim Rhodes. Read about them below:

Susie and Jim Rhodes Three years ago, we moved our youngest daughter Avery into Page Hall. That day we met a lot of nice people that answered our questions, guided us through the early stages of college life and even helped us with the move. We were thrilled when we became a part of the Parents Council the following year and enjoy helping other parents as they joined the Westmont family.

... We have a large family with four children.Avery, who is a senior at Westmont this year, is our youngest.She is a communications major with a minor in kinesiology.Avery is very active, having been a member of Westmont’s cheerleading team her first two years, and last year joining the polo team.She also keeps busy working as a lifeguard and in the training room. All that, and she somehow finds time to write a weekly article in Westmont’s student newspaper, the Horizon.

The Parents Council is a group of committed Christian parents with a heart for God and for Westmont College. Each member has at least one child attending Westmont and agrees to support the school by coming to campus during the year and volunteering.For Susie and me, it has been a great experience. We have had the opportunity to spend time with Westmont’s staff and faculty, as well as many of the students and their families. We have prayed for the college and have called prospective families of the incoming class during the spring admission cycle. We have traveled to Santa Barbara on many occasions and each time we have commented how much we appreciate being part of Westmont’s support system.

For us, Parents Council provides a network of committed parents who in turn, support Westmont’s community of students, faculty and families in a unique way. Susie and I are happy to support the college and look forward helping in the future.

Orientation Highlight

Westmont Orientation

While you may not be a first-year parent, we nonetheless thought you would enjoy this brief video of our recent Orientation where we welcomed the class of 2018 and their parents. Take a peek and be reminded of the many great moments shared by parents and students. View the video.


Two New Faces in the Residence Halls

Our resident directors play a vital role in the out-of-classroom experience at Westmont. They have a passion to help students navigate these transformational years and all the issues student face in college. They are dedicated to students and their Westmont experience and have chosen this arena to use their gifts and passions. You might be interested to know that they have master’s degrees, often in counseling, student development or higher education, and provide a rich, fun, challenging and nurturing environment for students living in the residence hall. Meet our two new resident directors this year: Melissa Lima and Rachel Fabian

Melissa Lima, Armington RD 

Melissa Lima This is a bit of a homecoming for Melissa as she is a native of California and still has lots of family in the Van Nuys area. She has spent most of her life outside of California, though, growing up on the East Coast and moving to Texas to attend LeTourneau University in Longview as an undergraduate. Melissa received a master’s degree in higher education from Taylor University, where her thesis topic was Latino Students’ Experiences in a Latin American Study Abroad Semester Program. She was a resident director at North Park University in Chicago before moving back to Texas where she has been a program director for Camp Tejas Ministries.

Melissa became aware of Westmont College during her graduate school experience. Through an encouragement of a close friend, a former Westmont employee, Melissa decided to apply. What attracted Melissa to Westmont is the focus on the holistic development of the student. Being at Westmont has been an opportunity for Melissa to live out her passion of living in community and investing in students' lives. You can contact her at mlima@westmont.edu.

Rachel Fabian, Clark RD

Rachel FabianRachel continues to move westward. The New Jersey native received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wheaton College in Illinois. She earned her B.A. in Christian education and ministry, and her M.A. in intercultural studies and TESOL. Prior to pursuing her master’s, Rachel held a variety of positions in church and para-church ministries. She worked with youth, women and volunteer teams at McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia for a few years before moving back to the Chicago area, where she worked as a mobilizer at International Teams. In the various roles she held during these years, she noticed she often interacted with college-age students and enjoyed opportunities to walk alongside them in their growth and development. This led her to return to her alma mater for graduate studies and to work in their Student Development department as a Graduate Resident Advisor.

Rachel’s interest in Westmont peaked after she spoke with an alum and saw pictures of beautiful Santa Barbara. As she began learning more about the institution, she realized Westmont’s mission echoed her passion to collaborate with others to develop students as whole persons, her call to mobilize them to engage globally in God’s Kingdom, and her own desire to develop as a result of being a part of the community. Rachel is thankful to serve in a role that provides opportunities for her to get to know the residents, and to support and challenge them so that they may be prepared for life during and beyond Westmont. You can contact her at rfabian@westmont.edu.

Sexual Assault Prevention and the Clery Report

USA Seal You may have been hearing a lot in the news lately about college campuses, sexual assault and prevention and the Clery report (mandated crime statistics on college campuses). These issues can be unsettling for parents of college coeds, especially when we hear what is happening at large universities across the country.

While we always want students to be aware of their surroundings and make wise choices, we thought you would be reassured by reading our crime statistics report and also hearing about our sexual assault prevention strategies from student life. Click HERE for the link to that information.

... Sexual Assault Prevention at Westmont

While our sexual assault prevention strategies are on-going in the residence halls, we started the year by mentioning sexual assault prevention at the men’s and women’s only programs during Orientation and we continued the work by offering a Warrior Wise session for all new students in early September that offered the following information:

  • A statement that the institution prohibits the offenses prohibited in VAWA, i.e., rape, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking.
  • The definition of those offenses at Westmont.
  • Some stats and figures that raise student awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault and sensitize students to signs of abusive behavior.
  • A lengthy discussion on consent and on the "myth of miscommunication" where we emphasize that a clear and convincing yes is the only way forward.
  • A discussion on bystander intervention and an invitation to sign a pledge to eliminate assault in the Westmont community.

Students Hit the Road over the four-day break!

JuntosFor the October four-day break our students have the opportunity to engage in some wonderful service trips designed to give them a window into lives and cultures different from their own. Two such opportunities are:

Juntos, an annual fall break trip to Ensenada, Mexico, where students work alongside our long-term partners there. We have construction, medical, soccer, VBS, worship, kitchen, photography and mobile salon teams that our students participate in. We have had 38 years of history in building the Kingdom of God "juntos" (together) and your student may be a part of continuing this great tradition.www.westmont.edu/_current_students/

FBA - Fall Break Away in San Francisco /Urban Initiative

Fall Breakaway Urban Initiative is dedicated to developing a Christ-centered heart for urban engagement at Westmont by raising awareness about urban issues and mobilizing students in thoughtful response.

The fourth annual fall break trip to San Francisco's Tenderloin works alongside organizations like City Team SF, SF Mission Outpost, and City Crossroads. Students also get a sneak peek at Westmont in San Francisco, see the diversity of San Francisco’s ethnic neighborhoods, worship among friends without homes at the Homeless Church, and more!www.westmont.edu/_current_students/

Did You Know?

Did you know that we have a Parents Weekend specifically tailored to first year parents?

Parents Weeekend If you’re a first year parent, be sure to join us for a glimpse into the new journey your student experiences each day. Save the date for First-Year Parents Weekend on November 14-15. Here is a schedule of events. This weekend is very different than orientation in that there are very few “official” events planned. The main goal is for you to be able to spend as much time as possible with your son or daughter. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to the Parent Relations Office at parents@westmont.edu or feel free to call 805-565-6056 with any questions. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus to visit your student! Grandparents are welcome as well!

Important Dates

Mid-term: October 22

First-Year Parents Weekend: November 14-15

Thanksgiving Holiday: November 26-28

Final Exams: December 16-19

Winter Recess: December 20 - January 11

Parents Weekend and Spring Sing: March 20-21

Important Links

Parents and Families – Find information specifically for YOU!

First-Year Parents Weekend – Be sure to plan on joining us if your student is NEW to Westmont this fall. Grandparents are also welcome.

Student Life - Find information for all student life offices, such as the Counseling and Health Centers, Office of Life Planning, and more

Campus Life - Find information about student-run organizations, clubs and ministries

Westmont Athletics – See Warrior Sports calendars and subscribe to the Warrior Update

Westmont Bookstore - Shop for gifts online

iTunes U - Access the archive of Westmont chapels, lectures and events at itunesu.westmont.edu