MARCH 2012

Important Numbers

Campus Security

Counseling Center

Dean of Students Office

Office of Residence Life

Office of Student Success

Registrar's Office


Important Reminder from Student Financial Services


IHSA Feb. 11-12 Competition Results


Teaching Acceptance of Those Who are Different


From the Counseling Center


Update from the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development


From the Dean's Desk Spring

It is springtime on campus and while the students are returning from a spring break spent visiting family, catching up on their studies, or taking a well-deserved break from college life, the University's staff were gearing up for the end of the semester and preparing for next fall.  Students will soon find themselves in the same frame of mind as their final projects, papers and exams come more quickly than expected.

Students who are returning to campus next year have a few pieces of business to attend to before the semester comes to a close.  Academic advising meetings should be scheduled in the next couple of weeks so students can make their course selections for the fall semester before they leave for summer break.  This is an important step to take in order to be assured enrollment in their preferred classes (and at their preferred times!).  It also helps for a smoother return to campus when the student knows that his or her class schedule is set.

In addition to registering for classes, all students have to fill out a housing intent form to let the residence life staff know whether they are graduating, planning to live on campus or would like to move off campus for fall 2012.  Students are eligible to move off campus after living on campus for six semesters or earning 90 credit hours (i.e. achieving senior status).  For those planning to live on campus, they’ll receive information after spring break that will guide them through the housing selection process.  Any questions about this process should be directed to their RA, building director or the residence life office.

Spring is also a time to acknowledge a year of achievements on campus. Over the next few weeks, the University will hold awards banquets to recognize the achievements of our students in academics, campus leadership and athletics. These banquets are special moments for us at the University as we share in the successes of our students.

Seniors will see their goal of graduation come to fruition on April 28 at the Grant Center during our spring Commencement Ceremony.  Of course, family and friends are invited and encouraged to attend this special day to celebrate with their students, as well as the faculty and staff who supported them during their time here.   For additional information about graduation please visit Averett's website.

To learn more about what’s happening on campus, click HERE!

And, as always, feel free to contact any of us at the University if you have any questions about your student's experience!

Wishing you the happiest of springs!

Bill Woodward
Dean of Students


Federal Student Aid: Time to Complete the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application students and parents should complete to apply for federal grants, work-study and/or student and parent education loans.  Due to the new IRS Data Retrieval step in the financial aid process, it is most beneficial to file your 2011 federal tax return electronically and to do so as soon as possible after January 1, 2012 before completing the FAFSA.   Filing electronically will allow this data retrieval step to pull your federal tax return information into the FAFSA system two weeks after filing.  If you file your taxes using the paper process, it will take four to six weeks to use the IRS Data Retrieval step.

Averett does not have a deadline date, but recommends that the FAFSA application be completed before April 1, 2012 in order to receive maximum consideration for financial aid.  Using the IRS Data Retrieval when completing the FAFSA will save you time and insure that your data is accurate, lessening the chances of being asked to provide additional IRS documents to the financial aid office.

Please contact the Student Financial Services office by email: or phone 434-791-5890 if you have any questions concerning financial aid.


IHSA Feb. 11-12 Competition Results

ihsaOn Saturday, Feb. 11, Averett's Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Team competed at Virginia Tech in its final competition.  The team finished out the season well. Heather Tharpe finished third over-fences and second on the flat in the novice division during Saturday's events.   Marina da Silva finished second on the flat in the intermediate division. Other great placements that helped the team were Hailey Brown winning her novice flat class and Nicki Conradt-Eberlin winning her advance walk/trot/canter class.

Virginia Tech hosted the IHSA Regional Championships on Sunday.  In order to compete at Regionals, riders have to accumulate 36 points in their division.

Representing Averett were da Silva in the intermediate over-fences division; Brown in both the novice over-fences and novice on the flat divisions; and Alicia Gentile and Dana Ellwanger in the advance walk/trot/canter division.

Da Silva was champion intermediate over-fences and Brown reserve champion novice over-fences and on the flat.  Gentile finished with a strong fifth place win and Ellwanger with a fourth place win.

In flat classes, the riders are all in the ring together and an announcer tells the riders when to walk, trot or canter.   The different classes are the different levels of riding skill.  For example, open-over-fences and flat are the highest level; and then there are intermediate fences and flat; and novice fences and flat.  The advance walk/trot/canter is just flat, and then there is beginner walk/trot/canter followed by the lowest level, which is walk/trot.


Teaching Acceptance of Those Who are Different

ihsaSince the late 1980s, members of Pi Kappa Phi, a national fraternity, have been riding across the country via bicycle raising awareness for people with disabilities.  This year, an Averett junior and Danville resident will join Push America's annual Journey of Hope.  Cody Shepherd, a double major in theatre and biology, knew from the moment he learned about the cross-country bike ride that he wanted to participate in and support the Journey of Hope.

"I feel that by participating in the Journey of Hope I can stand up as a leader and support a cause that I truly believe in," Shepherd said. "  I think that it is important to participate in events like this because you can go out and serve not only the people of local communities, but also people with disabilities on a national level as well.

"Push America's focus is to serve, fundraise and spread awareness for people with disabilities.  A person with a disability is the same as you or me – they just often live life somewhat differently than we do.

The trip will start in three different locations on the West Coast - San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle, Wash. – in late May or early June.  Shepherd is not sure which route he will be placed on, but is hopeful it will be the south route which will come through Danville on July 31.  The trek will end in early August with all three teams converging on the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.

The cyclists will travel 75 miles a day, and at each stop they will participate in activities that support people with disabilities like playing a game of wheelchair basketball or performing puppet shows to educate children on the abilities of people with disabilities.

Shepherd is serving as a member of the crew for one of the three teams. As a member of the crew, he will help provide full support to the cyclists, volunteers and community partners.  He gained a better picture of his full responsibilities at a training session during Averett's spring break.

Since he doesn't have to train for the ride, Shepherd is focused on fundraising for the trip.  His goal is to raise $3,000, and he has already raised more than $1,000.

"Surprisingly, that money was really easy to obtain," Shepherd said. "  I first reached out to Pi Kappa Phi alumni from Averett, and I did a lot of Facebook badgering.  Also, even though $3,000 if my goal, that doesn't mean that is a stopping point. I will fundraise until the second I head to the West Coast, and I probably won't even stop then."

In an effort to reach his goal, Shepherd is writing a letter to Averett faculty and staff for possible donations.  He is also going to organize a pocket change fundraiser to reach out to faculty, staff and students.

"I especially want to reach students through the pocket change fundraiser to show them that even though they are on restricted funds, they can still participate in fundraisers.  A lot of students have loose change laying around in drawers, buckets, car cup holders, etc., and that money can be used for a good cause."

If you are interested in helping Shepherd reach his goal visit his personal fundraising page.



From the Counseling Center - Meditation Helps Students

Research found in the journal of "American College Health" suggests that students who learn to meditate have less stress.  Stress has been identified as an obstacle to academic performance. As a result, the Counseling Center at Averett has implemented a stress relief program called "Zen Moments."  Included in this program are meditation techniques, diaphragmatic breathing, progressive relaxation, stretching and simple massage techniques.  Students initially receive a “biodot” that, by color, indicates students' stress levels.  Through the use of relaxation techniques, the goal is to change the color of the dot from black to a color representative of relaxation like blue (relaxed) or violet (very relaxed).  In addition, guided imagery and relaxation enhancing music help students reach deep levels of relaxation.  Finally, aromatherapy, a water fountain, yoga mats and pillows create an environment for students to let go of stress.  The program has been offered once a week for four weeks. It can also be used with individual students in the privacy of the counseling setting.



Update from the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development

Greetings from the office of student engagement and leadership development! Our office has been working hard to bring the campus community a wide range of activities so that students can become involved with campus life outside of the classroom as well as become more acclimated to the University.  This semester students have had the opportunity to hear comedians and concerts and attend off campus trips.

Additionally, we are providing students with many leadership opportunities.  On Saturday, March 24, student life will host a leadership conference that is open to students who are current leaders on campus and those who are interested in becoming campus leaders.  Please encourage your son or daughter to apply to be a part of this great leadership event!  Check out the details by going to Averett's website

Best wishes for a wonderful spring!

Lesley Villarose
Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development


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