Parent Newsletter RSS Feed en-us Parent Newsletter RSS Feed <![CDATA[How do I care for my student from a distance?]]> When your student returns to school, don’t be surprised if the frequency of their communication with family changes.  During the academic year, your student is involved in classes, extracurricular activities, social events and other activities.

Instead of sending an email, how about sending them a handwritten letter?  You will be surprised how excited students are to receive a note or package from their parents or grandparents.  It is an excellent way to make their day.

How about a short text message on their cell phone?  Wish them a great day, tell them good luck on an upcoming exam, or cheer them on during their extracurricular activities from a distance.

You could send them a care package filled with school supplies or favorite treats. Flowers and balloon bouquets on their birthday or any day are very popular.

One of the easiest gifts is final exam care packages that parents can sign up to send at the end of each semester.  You will receive a notification from the Residence Life office about giving your student a wonderful end-of-semester care package.  Nothing eases stress like love from home, even if it is not actually packed at home.

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:55:30 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[How can a parent get involved on campus?]]> Although it is essential to support your student from a distance, we also want you to get involved on campus yourself.  Southwestern College knows that parents are an important part of our campus community.  We welcome and encourage you to be an active participant in the life of the college.    Check out the SC website.  It is filled with all kinds of things to do and events to participate in.  

Discuss with your student a good time for a visit during the weekend or even during the week.  The college has plenty of activities in which you can participate.  Just go to the activities and events section of the website.  Also stay posted for the Family Day which is planned for Homecoming weekend (October 3 to October 5).  Along with alums and friends of the college, Homecoming weekend is a time for you to come to the campus in the fall.  But don’t wait for a special occasion, we welcome you to campus ANY TIME.

Other involvement options include:     

  • volunteer to speak on campus about your culture or faith,
  • provide a placement for student internships,
  • participate in our family programs for international students,
  • support athletic teams or co-curricular activities,
  • attend a concert or play

However you choose to engage in the campus, please know that we are always happy to see you.

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:54:33 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Why is my student struggling?]]> At Southwestern College, we are fortunate to have a wellness coordinator, Mary Ann Smith LMSW. (  She works with students who may struggle with their adjustment to college and experience anxiety during this time of independence and growth. She frequently advises parents to trust their own wisdom, experience and guidance in supporting your maturing young adult.

Here are some of the issues that your student might face:

  • Difficulty adjusting
  • Navigating the college campus and local community
  • Learning a different cultural community
  • Missing home (parents, siblings, smells, and comforts)
  • Dealing with academic pressures
  • Balancing academic, social, relationships and activities
  • Resisting peer pressures and social climate
  • Frustration with anticipation versus reality of college life
  • Living up to personal and parental expectations and values
  • Negotiating a new environment
  • Managing money and financial pressures

During this time, the best thing a parent can do is be supportive, reassuring and encouraging.  As parents, you may wonder what is going on. Please know this is a common concern.  In fact, facing issues like those above is an important part of your child’s maturing process.  If you have concerns about your young adult, don’t hesitate to contact college staff at any time.

Unfortunately, it might be difficult to always understand what is happening with your student.  They are not living with you and may not express or share the nature of what is going on.   According to MacKay and Ingram in Let the Journey Begin: A Parents’ Monthly Guide to the College Experience, here are some suggestions for helping your student.  

Communicate by asking questions such as “what happened today?” or “what has been doing on these last few days?”  Make sure that you encourage them to talk in-depth and not with surface responses.

Persuade them to work to their best ability and not overly stress themselves to over-exertion.  Encourage them to utilize the various campus resources such as counseling, academic support, advisors and student life staff.  This additional campus support can be essential to them dealing with rough times.   

Suggest that they attend the Fall Frenzy Events at the beginning of the year  It is a fun way to meet other students and participate in all the welcome week activities.   The Jinx Tale (daily campus email) and The Collegian (student newspaper) are excellent resources for campus events as well.  Find more information at

Recommend that they communicate with their resident student advisor (RA) or residence hall director (RD).  These in-hall residence staff members are there to support and encourage your student. If the issue is regarding their roommate or other hall issues, advise them to communication their concerns to their RA or RD.          

Advise that they meet their professor during their faculty hours and ask questions regarding academic concerns and challenges.  

Advocate that they seek a tutor or study group with other students.

The Financial Aid office can assist you with financing your student’s college degree. The counselors may show you options, strategies, and problem solving.

Whatever the issue and the manner in which you deal with the issue, it is important to show patience with their change in behavior.  In addition, continue to communicate with them and monitor their behavior.   Most likely, your student can work through their problem.  But occasionally, they might need help.  The college has abundant resources to assist you.  You should feel free to communication with the college about your concerns and let us help you and your student.

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:49:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[What is FERPA? What parents can expect?]]> FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  It establishes students as the owner of their educational records and gives parents no rights to access their student's records without the student's consent. FERPA does give the college the right to share certain information if the parent provides a federal document that denotes the student as a tax-dependent.

The college works to help students become responsible for their own learning process through demonstrating their accountabilities as adults.   As a result, we direct most of our communication to the student regarding academic, social, and activities.   We then encourage them to share this information with you as parents.

We are aware that there are circumstances where parents have legitimate concerns regarding their students.  In these incidences, we consider not only our legal responsibilities, but also the philosophy of the college and the circumstances regarding the particular incident   Parents are informed about the conduct of their students if they are placed on disciplinary probation, residential suspension, disciplinary suspension or disciplinary expulsion. They are also informed of academic progress, if their student is placed on very serious academic warning, suspension or dismissal.

If you want additional information, please read the college’s website:

or the US Department of Education Web site:

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:43:53 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[End of the Year]]> As the year draws to a close, there are important things that you need to be aware of:


If your student lives on campus, the day for moving out of the residence halls is fast approaching.   Students will be notified by Residential Life in preparation for that closing. As a general rule, students who are not graduating are expected to be out of their room within 24 hours after their last exam. Many students underestimate the time it will take to clear out their rooms, so you may want to encourage your student to begin packing their belongings at least a few days in advance of moving out. Southwestern does not provide storage, however several storage options are available in Winfield.


The last day of spring classes will take place on Friday, April 25.  The week of final exams is from April 28 through May 2. For exam times, students should check with their professor or view the final exam schedule.  Final grades will be posted as soon as they are received from professors.


Seniors should have already participated in Grad Finale which helps finalize the graduation process. If your senior who missed Grad Finale, they  can visit the commencement website for more information about graduation; including ordering announcements and cap and gown. They should also take time out of their busy schedule to returning library books, close out their accounts, and make sure the college has an updated permanent address on file.


Returning students who are eligible for financial aid have been receiving notification of their financial aid packages.  It is important to stay up to date on all deadlines.   Students can monitor their financial aid status on Self-Service related to securing their financial aid before the fall bill is released on July 16. First payments are  due August 7. Counselors are available to help you in through the Office of Financial Aid should you have additional questions.  Click for contact information and office hours.


For parents of returning students (sophomore to senior), the most common question we receive is "when can students move back into the residence halls?" For Fall 2014, the residence halls open on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. Classes begin Monday, August 18.

Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:38:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Parent Survey]]> Before you think about the end-of-year festivities, though, would you take a minute and tell us your opinions? Steve Wilke, vice president of planning at Southwestern College, would like your opinion as the college makes decisions for the future. This is what Steve says: 

“Over the last 25 years that I have been working here at Southwestern, I have seen a remarkable number of changes and improvements. Continuous improvement is a lifestyle at SC, and one of the ways we plan is through input from a wide range of persons and perspectives. You can help us to make the strategic choices we need to make in the days ahead by taking a moment and filling out two questions on our online survey. Thank you for helping us to build a better Southwestern!”

You’ll find the survey at
—it’s only two questions long, so please take a moment and fill it out today.

Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:36:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Winterize Your Student]]> As it shifts into the dark winter months, it is important that your students take care of themselves. This time of year, it is important to get plenty of rest, eat right, and get plenty of exercise. Student Life staff ask for your help to encourage your student to follow good health habits for illness prevention. It is vital to the ability to make it through the intensity of college life.

  1. Have they had a flu vaccination? These are available through most doctor offices and health departments. If you need help finding a resource, please contact Student Life at 620-229-6391. 
  2. Do they have a medical care professional? Make sure to contact them at the first sign that they are not feeling well. Also take precautions when his/her roommate or friends become sick.
  3. What happens if they feel down? Have them contact the on-campus Counseling Services located on the first floor of Sutton. The service is free and confidential.
Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:29:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Fall Grades and Spring Classes]]> Check your student’s grades for fall semester classes. In addition, make sure that they are registered for spring semester classes. If not, they will need to make an appointment with his/her advisor.  Other things to consider that your student needs to consider during this time of year, and that you could be a helpful sounding board for:

  1. Make sure his/her account is paid in full or handled through a monthly payment plan in order for the student to return for spring semester.
  2. Think of meeting with an advisor if they want to changing his/her major or adjust his/her minor.
  3. A degree path to graduation can be evaluated through the registrar’s office. They need to make sure they are on pace to fulfill requirements toward graduation.
Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:27:26 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Personalized Web-based Information Resource]]> Self-Service ScreenshotSelf-Service is an excellent resource for students. This allows your student access to academic and financial aid information. It is a web-based service to view class schedules, grades, and unofficial transcripts; to select courses online; and to check status of financial aid and specific information on student loans. They may also order official transcripts, print off enrollment certificates, establish a payment plan, and make a payment through e-payment. Your student can provide you with a guest username and password through “share access” or they may choose to share his/her own password with you. Self-service can be accessed at


Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:26:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Financial Aid]]> CalculatorThe college works diligently to make sure that parents have access to all the resources that they need in order to work with the college to make his/her student successful. Part of this initiative is making sure that you are informed regarding all the financial resources that will help in some difficult conversation. Financial aid office has provided resources that could be helpful as you make decisions regarding the future, and those resources include the following information and deadlines. If you have any questions regarding financial aid, please feel free to call or e-mail us.

Here is the information that you should know:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 2014-2015 is the financial aid application form required to apply for federal and state student grants, work-study and loans. The most effective method for completing the application is at To guarantee institutional financial aid including academic and activity scholarship, returning students must complete his/her entire financial aid files by April 1, 2014. This means that you have completed the FAFSA process and filed a student data form with Southwestern College.

Make sure your student checks his/her web-based account to monitor 2014-2015 financial aid file. Remember that state and private aid have his/her own specific deadlines. It is important to make sure returning students understand and meet these requirements. These resources are invaluable to helping students and families offset the educational cost. 

If you miss the deadline, it means your institutional aid could possibly be reduced.  In addition, if you miss the April deadline and live in Kansas, you will also not be eligible for Kansas Comprehensive Grant. Fortunately, Southwestern works diligently to replace a portion of this grant by institutional need-based funds or federal loans.

If you are not interested in federal student aid, the process is much quicker. You will only need to complete the 2014-2015 student information form, located on the financial aid website The FAFSA requirement will be waived and you will receive your financial aid award immediately!  Watch your e-mail for more information from financial aid. If you have detailed questions, please contact Aimee Campbell, financial aid counselor at (620) 229-6233 or


Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:25:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Prospective Students]]> Friends and family members of SC are the best referrals we have for prospective students. As you interact with parents of college-bound children, I hope you encourage them to check out Southwestern College. The admission staff, activity directors, professors, and athletic coaches spend the year visiting high schools, hosting Explore More events, and recruiting talented young people. If you have a name of a high school student who you think would be a great fit for SC, please have them complete the information at the following link:

Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:23:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Spring Semester Calendar]]> CalendarYour student has many opportunities to get involved on campus during the spring semester. The campus life aspect of Southwestern has a wealth of opportunities including academic lectures, athletic events, theatre and music performances, community services, career planning events, and campus organizations, traditions along with weekly college planned activities. Check out:

  1. The official Southwestern calendar, which can be accessed by your student with his/her intranet sign-in.
  2. Campus life website:
  3. Student media website,
  4. Also access sctv, the SC Collegian, KSWC radio, the jinx, Buildersports Twitter, SC news live on qik.
Residence Hall closing and reopening

All residence halls closed for winter holiday break on Friday, Dec. 13. They will reopen on Sunday, Jan. 5. No student will be permitted to enter the residence halls unless prior authorization is received by the Student Life Office. If you have any questions, please contact Residence Life (620-229 6392) immediately.


Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:22:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[First College Semester Stress Points]]> Are you wondering where the stress points are during rest of the first semester? Here’s a handy list.

First College Semester
“The ebb and flow”


  • Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 12
  • Midterms are due Oct. 11
  • Fall Break Oct. 21 and 22
  • This is stressful for students!  Midterms are the same week as Homecoming, which means papers, tests, etc., at the same time they’re working on floats and other entries.
  • Roommates may start to stress your student out!
  • Please be patient and encourage your student to hang in there and work through issues and stress.
  • Ask them about their lifestyles: Are they taking care of themselves?  Eating and sleeping properly?  How is their time management?
  • Encourage communication with roommates, professors, and coaches.


  • Fall sports are starting to wind down.
  • Winter sports are now in full motion.
  • Your student may have more/less time to study.
  • Thanksgiving Break begins after classes Nov. 26 and continues until classes resume Dec. 2. 


  • Prepare for finals, Dec. 9-12!


Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:50:16 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[It’s the People and the Connections: A Parent’s Perspective on the College Search]]> Another tall coffee and an early start to a long road trip.  It seemed almost “academic” to be visiting other schools.  Certainly Daniel realized he was destined to be a Builder.  But having the opportunity to spend a couple of days with one of my sons exploring colleges he had selected to visit had its own rewards…even if the best choice was just a short drive south of Wichita.  Maybe he needed me to tell him this?

Parent Perspective:  Daniel ReffnerThere would be several of these overnight junkets and day trips—Daniel must have visited close to a dozen colleges.  He was bound and determined to make an informed decision.  And for the majority of his senior year the front runner was a Christian university located nine hours from home that sported a mascot that I could never quite pronounce correctly.  Maybe it was time for me to step in and do the right thing: I needed to tell my budding college student exactly where I thought he should land in August 2013.  I didn’t.  I wanted to…but I didn’t.  The decision was all his.

What a wonderful day when Daniel told us he had made his choice, and that choice was Southwestern.  We were anxious to know why.  What exactly was it about Southwestern College that set it apart from the others?  Well he likes the campus.  He likes Winfield.  The curriculum and course offerings are exactly what he is looking for…and what a spectacular view from the 77.  And the dorms are…well they are the dorms.
But the real reason? What really sealed the deal  are the people and the connections Daniel feels here.  It is the professors who took as much time as Daniel needed to discuss their programs and classes and never made us feel we were imposing or keeping them from something more important.  It is in the joy and enthusiasm that the students shared with us when we visited and toured and asked questions. And most importantly the encouragement and support from Ashlee Alley, Ben Hanne, Larry and Melanie Greenwood, Amanda Baker, Rodney Worsham and so many others who helped Daniel make his informed decision.

Yep….the choice changes everything!

- Kevin & Stephanie Reffner (parents of Daniel Reffner)


Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:46:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[A Letter to Parents, from Their Campus Minister]]> It’s perfectly normal for you to see a lot of changes in your child during the first semester at college—the campus minister knows!

Ashlee AlleyDear parents of SC Moundbuilders,


Congratulations!  For many of you parents, you’ve just begun a milestone year!  Some of you have sent your child off to college for the first time.  Others of you have done this a time or two, but perhaps you are sending your child into their senior year, signifying the last time they will likely have your address as their “permanent” address.  College is a significant time of life, both for students and for their families.  In these four or five years, your kids take big steps toward adulthood.  Some meet the person who they are going to marry.  They all find ways to explore potential vocational paths, maybe with or without looking for your endorsement of that path.  In other words, they are becoming much more independent than they’ve ever been before.  It’s a milestone year for me, too.  This is the year where I have now spent more than half of my life either being a college student or working with college students.  In the nearly two decades since being or walking alongside college students, I’ve seen a couple of things that I’d like to tell you about.

First of all, families, your baby is growing up.  I sometimes see parents who think that they’re going to get the same kid home at Christmas break that they sent to school in August.  Often the child bears a striking resemblance, but often they have a bit more…independence…in December than they did in August.  On this side of maturity, I can remember that I had more “attitude” when my parents asked me where I was going and when I would be home when I returned home for the first time.  I tried to let them know with my limited communication skills that I didn’t always know when I would be home.  Unfortunately, our “conversation” would often turn into a conflict as I reminded my parents that I didn’t have to answer those questions when I was away at college.  We had to renegotiate what it meant for me to live in their house, even for a short time, when I was used to independence.  College is a time where your kids are learning to take care of themselves and how to negotiate decisions and consequences for those decisions.  Don’t short-circuit those decisions by making them for your kids.  Trust that how you’ve raised them will carry them through their own times of uncertainty.  It will be worth it when they learn to make decisions because they know they’ve done the right thing.

Secondly, families, your baby isn’t done growing up.  Sometimes when I talk to parents of college students, they express regret about things done or not done, or even fear about what their child is facing.  I hear you…it’s not easy to see this child whom you’ve nurtured, kissed boo-boos, and supported through the awkward (and annoying) teen years make choices that aren’t the ones that you would make for them. I just want to remind you that while your son or daughter is starting to view themselves like an adult, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still want to hear advice (which they may choose to reject) from mom or dad.  Be there for them when they’re confused.  Be willing for your relationship with them to change.  Enjoy the person that your child is becoming, not just who you know them to be.

Finally, since I’m the Campus Minister, let me share an observation that I have about the spiritual lives of college students.  While in many cases, involvement in an organized expression of religion is often inconsistent, much of what students are doing has inherent spiritual significance.  What will I do with my life?  Who will I love?  How will I treat others?  What kind of character do I cultivate?  These are at their core spiritual questions.  And many of your kids are asking these questions in some version.  You will do well to help them articulate the questions and listen to their answers.  Don’t be afraid to tell them how you’ve answered the questions…they’re now able to understand you in a way that they’ve never been able to do before.  There are many ways in which they can engage spiritually on campus.  And they just might listen to your encouragement to do so.

It’s exciting to watch your kids figuring out who they are and who they want to become.  And they need, and want, your support.  Give them space to figure out what they are most passionate about.  Listen to the stories that they tell about the people that they’re meeting in college.  My guess is that the stories that they tell will give you (and them) insight into how they understand the person that they’re becoming.  And trust the guides that are walking alongside your kids in this journey.  Southwestern has invested in some incredible staff, faculty, and administration and we do our best to be a strong presence in your child’s life.   I think I speak for so many of my colleagues when I say that your children give us so much hope and encouragement about the future!  However, there are times when your kid may be struggling.  When that happens, encourage them to reach out to someone on campus.  You can even feel free to send them to the Campus Minister’s office and I’ll remind them to watch their “attitude” when they go home for breaks. (You can thank me later!) 

Even as this year starts, it’s safe to say that there will be many more milestones.  Learning to find your way through this one will help both you and your child in the next one.  The bottom line is that your child still needs you and you still want to be there to pick them up when they fall.  You’ll both have to learn how and when exactly to do that as they become adults.  And it will be worth the renegotiating.


Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:44:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Your Student and Their Health]]> Of course, we all hope your student never has a health problem at Southwestern, but odds are that your son or daughter will be under the weather at least a time or two. Besides reminding him/her of frequent handwashing and common germ avoidance (they’re probably in closer quarters than they were at home), here are some ideas to consider when helping your student through health issues at Southwestern College.

  • Communicate—Students must communicate that they are not feeling well.  Whether he/she talks to parents, coaches, professors, or residence life staff, it is important to make sure someone else knows your child isn’t feeling well.
  • Action Plan—Because of the complexity of insurance, students need to work with their parents on how to handle an illness.  Please, use the list provided and consider the options available for treatment.  If students have questions, residence life and student life staff, coaches, or athletic training staff can also be a resource for advice.
  • Information—It is important that students carry an insurance card and understand their medical history.  It would be a good idea to contact your insurance company for a list of covered providers in the Winfield area.

Student Life Office

Student Life has compiled a list of potential providers in the area.  The student will need to contact these providers directly for appointments.  Please understand this list is provided for informational purposes only.  You and your student will need to contact the provider directly to determine if they are seeing patients.  The staff in Student Life is available to assist students with any issues in communicating with area health care providers.

The main number to the Student Life office is (620) 229-6391.  Please do not hesitate to contact that number with questions or concerns.

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:39:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[SC Dining Services]]> Southwestern College Dining Services

At Southwestern College, dining services are provided by Sodexo. The general manager, Chris Stettnisch, can be reached at  Chris can work with students and help them with any allergy issues or special dietary needs.  Please feel free to contact him with any concerns.

Information ranging from dining hall hours to options in the various eating spaces is found online at

There are three dining options for students, all located in the Roy L. Smith Student Center.

The Dining Hall

There are three meal plan options for students—10 meals a week, 14 meals a week, and 17 meals a week.  Students use their meal credits in the cafeteria.  Meal credits do roll over from week to week, but they do not roll over each semester.

The food options include a hot line, sandwiches, grilled items, daily specials, pizza, and a large salad bar.  There is no limit as to how much students are allowed to eat during each session.  Students can also order “to go” meals.

Monday – Friday Saturday – Sunday

Breakfast 7:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Lunch  11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Dinner  5:15 p.m. –  7 p.m.
Friday Dinner 5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Brunch 11:15 am – 1 p.m.

Java Jinx Snack Bar

This option provides students with grilled items later in the evening.  The Java Jinx also sells bottled beverages, coffee, snacks, and fountain drinks.  Students use their flex dollars that are included in the meal plan.  Flex dollars are equivalent to real money.  Flex dollars also roll over if not used from the fall to the spring semester.

Students initially start out with these amounts, but more can be added throughout the year:

  • 10 meal plans= $50 flex dollars
  • 14 meal plans= $75 flex dollars
  • 17 meal plans= 1 flex dollars

Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m..

Moundbuilder Market

This option is for the student on the go.  Items include bottled beverages, salads and snacks. In addition to food, the Market sells Southwestern College apparel such as shirts, jackets, hats and other items.

Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monday - Thursday: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Moundbuilder Market accepts flex dollars for food items and cash, checks or Visa for SC items.

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:29:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Getting a Plan]]> When a potential employer quickly scans a resume, your student’s major and grade point average are only a phrase or two on the paper.  Experience is what counts.  Employment experience and internships are excellent ways for a student to augment his or her classroom learning with real world experience, connect with would-be employers and, possibly, make some money. In this tough job market, an internship is not simply “nice.”  It’s an essential part of your student’s plan for post-college success.

Here are some tips on ways to help connect your student with employment and internship opportunities:

The value of networking in PERSON:  With so much time spent texting, blogging, and Facebooking, students frequently may not understand that having a busy world in social media is not the same as a career network.  It is essential that students learned to build relationships based on face to face contact.  As a parent, you can help them understand that real connections need to happen in person.  They can use their home communities, professional organizations, or local chambers of commerce to network with potential employees who might be looking for a summer employee or a college student intern.

Who do YOU know?  Spend a few minutes and write down all the people you know that might be helpful to your student’s networking possibilities.  Consider family, friends, work, church, and your local civic community.  Sometimes you discover that you know more people than you realize.  These leads might be helpful for networking and internship connections.  Besides, it is easier for your son or daughter to start their outreach with supportive connections rather than total strangers.  So, look through those Outlook contacts or YOUR Facebook connections.

Professional Networking Sites.  We all know that college students understand how to connect with friends and strangers through social media.  If they have the ability to master that, they can move to the next level.  Sites like LinkedIn ( allow students to use social media as a recruitment tool for employment, internships, and possible post-college jobs.  There are also sites like Branch Out ( and Career Amp ( to expand their networking capabilities.

Your Student’s Secret Weapon.  It’s easy for college students to feel a little “outgunned” as they seek summer employment and internships.  After all, in a rough economy, they may be competing with people who are older, have more work experience, and have college degrees.  What does a lowly college student have that can compete with that?  One great and powerful thing:  freedom.  Freedom to move, freedom to work for very little, freedom from encumbering obligations.  When you have a car payment, a spouse, kids, and a mortgage you can’t just drop everything and take an entry-level position halfway around the world.  When you’re 19, that’s exactly what you can do and that’s exactly what you need to be ready to do.  It’s the secret weapon of college students:  freedom to move toward opportunity.

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:05:41 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Backpack to Briefcase]]> We just concluded our annual Backpack to Briefcase week.  It is an annual event organized by the Office of Campus Life and Student Foundation.  This year’s programming feature three events.

The first was Career Athletes Power 301.  Because of the large number of student-athletes, this program showed the participants how to utilize their power as athletes in the career-seeking process.  The Career Athletes representatives spoke with over 200 student athletes about personal career development, preparation, networking skills, and summer jobs and internships.

The second event was a Resume Workshop conducted by Autumn Worten, Southwestern College graduate and current Executive Recruiter at Switchgear Search and Recruiting.  Over the lunch hour, Worten gave students the inside scoop on how to secure post-graduation jobs. Students learned how to tailor their resumes and how to take advantage of LinkedIn as a networking tool. 

The last event was an Etiquette Dinner & Alumni Panel held at the Winfield Country Club.  The students learned how to conduct themselves at a meal with a potential employee.  Ronnie Jenkins, major gifts officer at Southwestern, guided students through proper etiquette and how to avoid social faux pas.  Students also heard from a stellar panel of SC graduates who shared encouragement and tips on how to approach the current job market and be successful after graduation. 

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:04:05 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Internship Examples]]> Michael Morales – Senior, accounting major, has an internship with a local Farm Bureau Insurance agent. The business owner is showing Michael all aspects of running an insurance business as well as the basics of home and auto insurance, investment products, and life and health insurance.

Misty Teague – Senior, business management major. Misty is doing her internship with INTRUST bank as a personal banker. She is working 30 to 35 hours a week helping customers with trust, estate, and business LLC accounts. The most interesting aspect of her internship is coordinating investment referrals with the Wealth Management Officer.

Anastasia Prokopis – Senior, business marketing major. As a marketing /sales intern Anastasia works for, a company that provides products to the robot industry. She works 12 hours a week managing new and existing customer profiles and customer communications and she takes part in competitive pricing meetings that include her supervisor as well as the founder of the business.

Annjelina Robinson – Senior, accounting major. Annjelina is doing her internship with an agri-business, Valley COOP Inc., in the accounts payable/receivable department. The position is responsible for keeping records of all financial transactions as well as all cash deposits and cash balances.

Not all internship involve business, of course.  Last summer students had internships at the University of California-Riverside, the Girl Scouts Council in Wichita, the Oxford Mississippi Shakespeare Theatre Festival, the Oklahoma City Aquarium, and Das Studio in Nashville, Tenn.


Your student can get started on career planning and internship seeking by contacting:

His or her academic advisor or the division chair of the division in which he or she is majoring. The divisions are Natural Sciences, Nursing, Teacher Education, Social Sciences, Performing Arts, and Communication, Computer Science and Digital Arts.

Dan Falk, dean of students

James McEwen, internship coordinator in the Division of Business

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:02:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Cody Davis: A Student Story]]> The return of summer will be a welcome relief from the biting cold of the Chicago winter I am experiencing for the first time. For many it will mean more time outside, more swimming in Lake Michigan, and (for some) a break from the school year. While I fully intend to bike more and experience the lake front this summer, the return of summer represents something a little different for me; summer theatre.

As a professional actor, I am constantly going to audition after audition in hopes of having a performance job for the next couple of months and I have already found myself in one! But with summer approaching, I will have the availability of auditions that represent involvement with several shows over the course of an entire summer repertory season. During these auditions, my interactions with actors and the creative environment make me fully aware of the effects of my education and the mark of SC in my life.

On a technical level, my time at SC provided me with a tremendous number of experiences on- and off-stage that have proved invaluable in my professional life. The availability of so many ways to connect with SC Theatre and its inner workings trained me to be a valuable part of any production team and helped me to hone my skills as a performer.

There’s more to being a professional actor than the list of accomplishments on your resume or portfolio however, and I see the mark of SC in yet another aspect of my life. No matter your talent as an actor or your inherent theatrical skills, a life as a professional performer is so much less attainable without a base of people to support you, love you, and help you to grow. I am not a performer today because I am ‘just that talented’ or because of anything I did alone. I am a professional performer today because of the unfailing support of my friends and family and the indescribable investment of time, energy, and dedication I experienced from my SC family. I developed a greater understanding of what it means to love and support others through the actions of the SC community and its investment in me.

So, this summer, though I will likely be continuing to audition to be a part of a summer theatre program, no matter what I am doing, I know that Southwestern’s impact on my life will be present. Whether I am using the skills SC gave me on stage or using them to inform my relationships with my friends and coworkers, I know I will see SC’s mark on my life.

"Southwestern College trained me for the opportunities here, gave me invaluable on-stage and backstage experience, surrounded me with unfailing support often even greater than I had for myself, connected me with an incredible network (one you would never expect from a small school in Kansas!), and shaped my spiritual perspectives and how I relate to others."

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 14:57:54 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Conversation Over the Holidays]]> By the time you receive this newsletter, we will have completed over 80 % of the fall semester.  WOW!  It has flown by.  Over the last 3 months, there have been HUGE things happening in the lives of our students.  Between daily living, relationships, classes/exams, and a myriad of commitments and activities, your student has been through a lot. 

When they are home for the holidays make sure to celebrate their successes with academics, promising relationships, evolving theories of life, or co-curricular achievement.  It is so vital to encourage their growth, maturity, and leadership. 

Be aware, too, that your child may be struggling with various parts of this college life.  Take note of changes in personality or behavior.  Has he or she lost or gained weight?  Does he or she appear unfocused or not achieving up to their normal standards?  Do you know something is different, but not sure what?   

This newsletter contains some helpful tips on how to talk with your student about his or her experience at the college.  In addition, there are two personal reflections from parents on their students’ experience at Southwestern.


You might hear the following words from your new freshman, your mid pointer and even your graduating savvy senior.   We have provided some suggestions and things to keep in mind.

I think I made the wrong choice, because ...

YOUR REPLY:  Well, maybe we should talk about this. 

REMEMBER: Challenges come in all shapes and sizes.  Academic courses, majors, intended careers, roommates, and relationships are things your student is constantly evaluating.  If the issue is academically related, make sure your student is speaking to his or her professor and academic advisor.  Tutoring help is available at the Student Success Center.  The Career Planning program can help your son or daughter get a plan for life after Southwestern that may help life at Southwestern more valuable.  If the issue concerns roommates, adjustment to college life, a relationship, etc., the Student Life staff can help.  The campus is filled with people eager to help.  

I need a fresh start at another school ...

YOUR REPLY:  Transferring may not be the answer.  And dropping out of college probably isn’t the answer.  It’s likely that some of the things that aren't quite right are going to be packed up and taken with your child to your next school or brought back home.

REMEMBER:  Don’t assume the answer is for your student to just to drop out of school and come home.  Young people in their late teens and early 20s face real difficulties.  Overcoming them is essential to their development and their self-confidence.  If they are having trouble, ask how you can help.  Do they need coping tips, an action plan, an intervention, or someone to just listen?

My coach/activity director doesn't value my potential and the contribution I could make...

YOUR REPLY:  Have you talked with your coach or the faculty member who leads your activity?  Often, communication will clear the air.  Your student may also need to be patient, work harder, and wait for his or her break.  There are many talented students at the college.  It takes extra effort to stand out.

REMEMBER:  Don’t take control.  Allow your student to navigate his or her way through the issue.  Be supportive, but allow your child to explore options and find the right solution. 

It costs too much.

YOUR REPLY:   Students are very aware of the financial burdens their parents are shouldering to make college possible.  If students are borrowing money to go to college, they know the burden of repaying their debt is real.  Usually, when a student says “it costs too much,” what they are really saying is “to me, it’s not worth it."  Ask your student what things are making Southwestern “not worth it” and talk about what changes would improve things. 

REMEMBER:   If the issue is truly financial, encourage your student to speak with someone in the financial aid office about their situation.  If they feel uncomfortable doing that, they can also share their concerns with their resident advisor, hall director, coach, activity director, or a member of the Student Life staff.    

It's too hard.

YOUR REPLY:  I know it seems that way, but you need to get used to it.  Here’s the truth:  Life gets harder and more complicated from now on.  Think of SC as a place where you can gradually build some muscle and grow confidence in your work ethic, study habits, social skills, and knowledge.  Out in the job market, employers are interested in people that work hard and persevere in difficult situations. 

REMEMBER:   If there are signals of concern, don’t panic, and don’t overdo it providing help.   As your student deals with personal or academic difficulties, he or she will develop strong skills for dealing with the challenges in life.  The goal is to develop college graduates who are independent and strong leaders as adults. 

I hope this holiday season is a joyous and restful.    I know you will be excited to see your student, make sure to love them and give them plenty of TLC to face the rest of the semester AND finals.

Blessings.  Dawn Pleas-Bailey

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 10:36:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Parents Perspective: Maggie Collett]]> Parents Perspective:  Maggie Collett

Hi – We are Randy and Rachel Collett.  Our daughter Maggie is a junior this year at Southwestern.  Maggie picked Southwestern because she was attracted to its small, personal size in a small town.  She felt comfortable there and we felt comfortable sending her there.

When she arrived home for Christmas break her freshman year, she wasn’t so sure of her decision.  Everyone else had a “niche” and she hadn’t found hers yet.  But we have always told our children that once you make a decision, you follow through on it.  So we insisted that she stay until the end of the year.  We encouraged her to give it a chance.  We felt in our hearts that this was the place for Maggie and it was worth the sacrifices we would make to send her there.

Maggie has since joined the Leadership team where she takes an active role in their activities both on campus and in the community.  She has also become an orientation leader for Builder Camp at the beginning of each school year.  She feels this is her way to help other incoming freshman see the beauty of a small school such as Southwestern.

She doesn’t want anyone to feel like they don’t have a friend on campus.  Maggie is a student ambassador who gives campus tours to visitors and she works several jobs on campus in the campus life office and the public relations office.  She has now found her “niche” and is happy with her decision. 

What we notice when we visit Maggie on campus is that she seems to know everyone there! Lots of people (both students and faculty) smile and say hello wherever you go.  It is that small, family-type atmosphere that we love about Southwestern.

It may take your student more than a semester to become comfortable with the decision to attend Southwestern.  The answer is not to switch schools - that only means starting the whole process over again.  So encourage them to find a “niche” on campus and hopefully they will see the beauty of Southwestern like Maggie did!

---Randy and Rachel Collett, parents of Maggie Collett

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 10:32:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Parents Perspective: Paul Mata]]> Parents Perspective:  Paul Mata

When our son called us to say he had been offered a partial football scholarship, we were happy for him. When he told us it was at Southwestern College, our first reaction was "Where?"

Of course we were skeptical of Paul's choice of colleges. He'd already been accepted to a well-known state school, where we hoped he could continue to play football as a walk-on. Since Paul was a well-rounded student in high school, our other concern was that he could continue to pursue his academic goals while playing football.

After a year and a half, it appears that our fears were unfounded. At Southwestern, Paul has flourished! He is excelling on the field and in the classroom, and has expanded his field of interests. He continues to play cello as he did in high school, while participating in STUFU and the Nine Lives improv troupe.

Despite his accomplishments, Paul was a student still in search of a purpose. SC has given him avenues and communities that have directed him to make the choice to major in Leadership in Ministry. This is extremely pleasing to us (yet not surprising, since we knew he was a born leader).

Thinking back, I believe Paul made the right choice. Had he enrolled at his first choice, he would have been another number in the classroom, a bench-warmer on the football team, and perhaps still in search of direction. Southwestern has given him all these things and more.

With the rising costs of college these days, it has become more critical for parents to make a good choice for their sons and daughters. You want your child to be challenged intellectually while being offered as many options as possible. Who knew that a small college in Kansas could be the best choice? We hope more people find out!

--Sounjalynne and Victor Mata, parents of Paul Mata

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 10:31:00 -0600 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Straight Talk]]> President Dick Merriman

The September 17 Newsweek cover asked the question, “Is College a Lousy Investment?”  You might have read other articles, watched television programs, or spoken with people who are questioning the value of a college education.  In addition, you as parents are concerned about tuition costs, financial aid and the value of the education.  You shared those sentiments in an online survey last year.

The college would like to set the record straight and provide you helpful information as you think about tuition costs, college debt and long term benefit of higher education.  We provide these pieces to affirmation of what we have already shared with you and to respond to the myths and misconceptions.

  1. THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:  The Council of Independent College (CIC) has produced a comprehensive fact sheet and press release regarding student debt. CIC is a national organization that represents private colleges like Southwestern College across the country.  The following link breaks down the question and provides help answers regarding the affordability and benefits of a college degree.
  2. THE SOUTHWESTERN PERSPECTIVE: President Dick Merriman wrote an excellent companion piece that provides “straight talk” specifically about the college.  In his analysis, he helps explain why Southwestern is a both worthy and excellent investment in your student’s future.  He splits the article into a short version which highlights the major points. He also provides a longer explanation which breakdowns the concept and provides comparison data.

    Letter to Parents 2012 (PDF)


Tue, 09 Oct 2012 11:12:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[PREP 499]]> Rick Cowlishaw with students

The college is excited about a new commitment we’re making  this year.  Prep 499 is designed for all students, and helps give them direction and assistance as they prepare for life after college.  Not a traditional semester class, this is individualized experience and is designed to give students one-on-one time with their faculty advisor.

PREP 499 begins with your freshman student, who participates in a seminar throughout the year. Taught by a variety of faculty and staff members, this seminar class starts the “life search” process off on the right foot.  Advisors continue to meet with your student throughout their college years as they look into internships, develop resumes, and discuss a life plan. Finally, seniors take dedicated time to focus seeking a job or pursuing graduate school. PREP 499 helps them prepare for the job market, discuss their career plans, consider ways to gain skills and experience, prepare a résumé and cover letter, or ponder the essential components in an interview.

The ultimate purpose of PREP 499 is to prepare students for a successful career after graduation.  As part of this effort, the college provides mock interviews, résumé workshops, and job fairs.  I will keep you posted on upcoming “Backpack to Briefcase” events.


Tue, 09 Oct 2012 11:03:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[What is Homecoming at SC?]]> Homecoming 2012 Banner

It is not just a football or soccer game at Southwestern!  It is the parade with floats and bands down Main Street.  It’s an opportunity to come together and celebrate the people and tradition while create the wonderful Builder community.  It’s the Saturday tailgate in Stewart Field House.  It’s enjoying the wonderful theatre productions.  It’s a chance to hear the A Cappella Choir at the Sunday worship service at Grace United Methodist.

As we do every year, we’d like to extend an invitation for you to join us at SC Homecoming this weekend, Oct. 11-13.   Although Family Weekend was created especially for parents, we would love for you to join us for Homecoming (or any time throughout the year).  Please feel free to bring siblings, grandparents, guardians, extended family and friends to this fun-filled weekend. To check out the schedule, please visit the Homecoming weekend website for a list of activities.

OK…..I admit that the athletic football competition against worthy foe, Friends University, will be a huge part of the excitement!  


Tue, 09 Oct 2012 11:01:07 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Reflections on SC by Melissa Williamson]]> Melissa Williamson

I was with my mom when I visited Southwestern for the first time, in the spring of 2002.  As we were walking around on our campus tour I told her, “I have to come to school here.”  It did not take me long to fall in love with everything that is SC: the Jinx, the Mound, and even the 77 steps!  Little did I know how the next four years would transform my life.  I graduated from SC in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music. 

As a freshman, I did not realize how much I could grow in academia, in leadership and in life, but Southwestern did.  In the classroom, my professors inspired me to gain a deeper understanding of course content.  Outside of the classroom, as an orientation leader, resident Aassistant, and through a work-study position in Student Life I learned about becoming a leader, acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses.  As a leader, the Student Life staff dared me: to be great, to take risks and to trust my instincts.  As a person, I developed lifelong friendships with my peers.  Not only was my time spent earning an education, I became a well-rounded individual through the opportunities SC provided for me.

My parents have been there for me every step of the way.  Being three hours away from home never stopped them from coming to a concert or just visiting for the weekend.  So many times I needed someone to listen to me and my parents were always there.  Along with my parents the faculty and staff at SC were there for me, and took great care of me.  My parents and the Southwestern community challenged me to be the best I could be and encouraged me to reach my goals. 

Ever since I started my journey in Winfield, my parents, the staff and faculty at SC have continued to support me to in all I do.  After graduation, I went to graduate school at Oklahoma State University and earned a master’s in music performance and pedagogy.  In 2008, I returned to Southwestern to work in the music department and the office of Campus Life.  For the next three years, I was thrilled to be working with the exceptional students at SC and honored to be working for my alma mater.  I left SC again in 2011, to pursue a second master’s degree in arts administration at Boston University.  I currently have two internships in development at two arts organizations in Boston, while taking classes and living in the hustle and bustle of a large city. 

Being at Southwestern changed my life in more ways than one and prepared me for what was to come after graduation.  I was not aware of how Southwestern impacted my life, until I left the “college on the hill.”  Reflecting on the time I spent in Winfield reminds me of the community that is still supporting me, half way across the country.  We are Builders, we are family.  SC is raising and empowering its students to become extraordinary leaders, and changing their lives in the process. 


Mon, 13 Aug 2012 15:04:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Health Services]]> Aaaaah-choo!

Between unpacking their bags, reuniting with old friends and greeting new ones, and preparing for class, students have a tendency to forget about their personal health and wellness.  The college wants to partner with you to insure that your student has thought through how they will respond in the case of an illness. Here are some simple but critical things to consider

Health Services

Communicate at the first signs of an illness

Many students will call home and let you know they don’t feel well.   Others will communicate with the campus community.  Often the Residence Life and Student Life staff are the first line of contact.  Frequently, student athletes will share their concerns with their coaches or athletic trainers.  And a few will tell a friend or member of the college. No matter who the person  they share their concerns with is, that person needs to help them come up with a plan of action.  The Residence life, Student Life, coaches, and athletic training staff are excellent resources to help Moundbuilders think through how to feel better and direct them to the best resources.    The worst thing a student can do is communicate with no one.

Determine who can best treat the illness

Because of the complexity of insurance, students need to work with their parents on how to handle an illness.  If they have any questions, Residence Life, Student Life, coaches or athletic training staff can also be a resource for advice.

In the past, Southwestern provided part-time nursing services over the lunch hours.  The college has discontinued these services, but will work with students on health care options in the community.

Because of this change, we are asking parents to make sure students have THOUGHT about who they would see.  Below is a list of potential providers in the area.  The student will need to contact these providers directly for appointments.  Please understand this list is provided for information purposes only.  You or your student will need to contact the provider directly to determine if they are seeing patients.

Medical History, Insurance Card, and Immunization Records

It is imperative that students carry their insurance card and understand their own medical history.  They will need to be to contact their insurance company for a list of covered providers in the Winfield area.    They may also be asked for a copy of their immunization records and photo identification.

What If…

If your student needs assistance with determining the best course of action, please have them contact the Student Life Office at 620-229-6391.  If they need immediate attention, the hospital and health departments are only a few minutes away.  
Cowley County Health Department
320 E. 9th Suite B
Winfield, KS

William Newton Hospital
1305 East 5th Avenue
(620) 221-290

Winfield Area Health Providers

Winfield Medical Arts
3625 Quail Ridge Road
(620) 221-6100

Westside Clinic
221 West 8th Avenue
Winfield, KS
(620) 221-3350

American Family Practice
1230 E. 6th  Suite 2B
Winfield, KS 67156

Health Professionals Winfield
1230 E 6th Ave # 1B
Winfield, KS
(620) 221-4000

Sunflower OB-Gyn
1230 E 6th Ave Suite 2D
Winfield, KS
(620) 222-6250

Cowley County Mental Health
22214 D St,
Winfield, KS 
(620) 221-9664

Family Care Center
1305 East 19th Avenue
Winfield, KS
(620) 221-9500

Grene Vision Group
117 E 9th Ave.
Winfield, KS
(620) 221-0740

Hillside Medical Group
1700 East 9th Avenue
(620) 221-0110
Brooks Chiropractic Center
1404 Main St,
Winfield, KS 
(620) 221-3630

Renshaw Chiropractic
222 East 9th
Winfield, KS
620- 221-2000

Wilson Chiropractic
805 Main Street
Winfield, KS

Winfield Chiropractic
1913 East 19th Street
Winfield,  KS


Mon, 13 Aug 2012 15:03:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)
<![CDATA[Family Weekend 2012]]> Mark your calendar and get ready for a great time at Family Weekend 2012! This special event is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 7th through Sunday, Sept. 9th.

Family Weekend

Family Weekend is the perfect chance for parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends of Southwestern students to experience what it means to be a Builder.   The whole families are invited to spend a fun weekend with your daughter or son and learn why they love SC. Whether new freshmen or graduating seniors, we’ll have opportunities for you to reconnect with your student and find out what has been happening in their lives. 

We have a variety of exciting activities planned: See their residence hall room, visit classrooms, meet professors and key staff people, and walk around the beautiful campus.   Paint a pumpkin, buy merchandise in the Moundbuilder Market or get your face painted at the football tailgate party.   Attend soccer or the football games, eat lunch in the dining hall, or enjoy the wonder of Winfield.

When you arrive on campus, stop by the Welcome Center on College Street to register at the hospitality table.  Pick up a schedule of events, campus maps, information on area restaurants and things to do, and coupons to local businesses.

September is the perfect time to visit the campus and connect with your student.   Explore all that Family Weekend has to offer.  This is your opportunity to be part of the amazing Builder family. We look forward to seeing you for Family Weekend!

For more information contact Lai-L Clemons at 620-229-6168 or e-mail


Mon, 13 Aug 2012 14:58:00 -0500 (Southwestern College)