New Mexico State Launches ‘Crimson Concierge’

Forbes: New Mexico State has introduced Crimson Concierge. Yes, it’s a concierge service for its students, managed by Sodexo, “the food services and facilities management company .. No kidding. New Mexico State’s concierge is believed to be the only one in the country, at least for now. But Sodexo says it’s planning others.”

“The Crimson Concierge program handles everything from travel arrangements to moving and storage, events tickets, auto services and local events … The Crimson Concierge also includes laundry service, doctor referrals, and local support such as running errands. This summer, it even helped students find housing … To improve the way Sodexo delivered the services, it also worked with Ritz-Carlton’s famous Leadership Center to train its concierges … There’s no fee to use the concierge.”

“Colleges are resistant to calling their students ‘customers,’ according to the latest research. The conventional wisdom seems to be that there’s a ‘middle ground’ between considering college students customers versus simply students. But the most forward-looking universities can already see that in order to compete for the top students, you have to at least treat them as customers — otherwise they’ll enroll somewhere else.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Wake Forest Issues “Call to Conversation”

Wake Forest: “Honest, personal engagement has always been at the heart of the Wake Forest experience. That’s why we’ve launched A Call To Conversation, a nationwide – and campus-wide – movement designed to help people see each other as human beings rather than as stances, positions or opinions. As a part of this movement, we reached out to students to hear what they had to say about the value of conversation and civil exchange.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Brandeis: A Culture of Exploration

Brandeis: “Whenever the entrepreneurial spirit arises in Brandeis students and faculty, it often leads to something big: companies that promise to both reap significant financial rewards and transform society … Research by professor emeritus of biology K.C. Hayes and biophysicist Daniel Perlman resulted in the ‘healthy fats’ used in Smart Balance spread. Adam Cheyer ’88 co-founded the company Siri, which developed the digital personal assistant now on hundreds of millions of iPhones around the world.”

“Today, there’s a new crop of startups out there, some still in their infancy, others marketing products and making profits. Though known for their commitment to social justice and altruism, Brandeisians exhibit no shortage of business daring or acumen. ‘Brandeis supports a culture of exploration,’ says Rebecca Menapace, associate provost for innovation.”

Among the Brandeis Startups: “Werk has developed a methodology for helping companies assess the need and desire for flexibility among employees. The consulting firm then suggests policies to implement. It has also developed a training program for human resources executives and others, and runs a job board that helps employees looking for flexible workplaces search for opportunities … Raised $4 million. Featured in The New York Times and Fast Company, and on CNBC.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

University of Delaware: Students Pitch Toy Ideas

University of Delaware: “Engineering students at the University of Delaware recently pitched their own inventions to representatives from a major toy company. A trio of professionals from Melissa and Doug, a toymaker with revenue of more than $350 million per year, visited UD to evaluate toy prototypes made by mechanical engineering students with help from early childhood education students. Companies like Melissa and Doug employ mechanical engineers because they have foundations in product design, mechanics, dynamics and other skills that are useful when making tiny consumer products.”

“The students made toys that were functional, fun and educational, like the Carpet Circuit, which was designed to teach the basics of circuitry … The team created a mat that can be laid on a classroom floor or hung from a chalkboard. The mat is covered with detachable pieces — held on with Velcro — that illustrate the basics of electronics. For example, you can connect a battery-shaped piece to a lightbulb-shaped piece using a rope that represents a wire.”

“Another toy, the Farmyard Friends Puzzle, a 12-piece 3D pig-shaped puzzle, was designed to increase literacy by helping children recognize letters while also developing fine motor skills. Each piece of the wooden puzzle features uppercase and lowercase letters. The team is also interested in making a prototype out of 3D printed polymer. The representatives from Melissa and Doug asked the Farmyard Friends Puzzle team a lot of questions — and asked for more information after the showcase.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Professorial Relationships: Key to College Success

Frank Bruni: “Many students, nervous about a new environment, follow friends from high school or people whose demographic backgrounds match their own into homogeneous cocoons. That can indeed provide solace and support. But it’s also a wasted opportunity — educationally, morally, strategically. Diversity opens you to an array and wealth of ideas, and being comfortable with it is an asset in just about any workplace or career. You can decide to establish that comfort in college.”

“But perhaps the most important relationships to invest in are those with members of the school’s faculty. Most students don’t fully get that. They’re not very good at identifying the professors worth knowing — the ones who aren’t such academic rock stars that they’re inaccessible, the ones with a track record of serious mentoring — and then getting to know them well.”

“The Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey “questioned about 100,000 American college graduates of all ages about their college experiences, looking for connections between how they spent their time in college and how fulfilled they say they are now … The study has not found that attending a private college or a highly selective one foretells greater satisfaction. Instead, the game changers include establishing a deep connection with a mentor, taking on a sustained academic project and playing a significant part in a campus organization. What all of these reflect are engagement and commitment … They’re part of an assertive rather than a passive disposition, and they’re key to professional success.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

An Alexa in Every Dorm Room?

C|NET: “A US college is bringing Amazon’s Alexa onto its campus and in force. Saint Louis University will put 2,300 Amazon Echo Dots in dorm rooms by the start of classes later this month, according to the Missouri university’s blog post. The Alexa-enabled devices will answer more than 100 questions regarding the university, such as ‘Where is the registrar’s office?’ and ‘What time does the library open today?'”

“When students come back to school, Alexa can also give information about athletic events, concerts, student events and organizations, service opportunities and more … SLU experimented with Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices in dorms last spring, and students responded to the concept positively, according to the blog post.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

‘Sleep Hygiene’ Improves Academic Performance

The New York Times: “College students who fail to adopt more wholesome sleep habits are more likely to find themselves unable to handle their chosen course load and less likely to reach their academic potential, according to a national study of more than 55,000 college students. The study, by Monica E. Hartmann and Dr. J. Roxanne Prichard of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., found that for each additional day of sleep disturbance a college student experienced each week, the likelihood of dropping a course rose by 10 percent and grade point average fell by 0.02, even when most other factors known to influence academic success were taken into account.”

Dr. Prichard recommends “practicing good ‘sleep hygiene’ — the behavioral measures that can help to assure a full and restful night’s sleep. She and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine offer these suggestions: Go to bed and get up every day at approximately the same time, weekends included. Create a relaxing bedroom setting and follow a consistent bedtime routine. Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine and any medication with stimulant effects at least three hours before bedtime. Don’t stay up late to cram for an exam or finish homework. If your outside activities are too time-consuming, try to cut back on those that are expendable.”

Also: “If possible, keep all electronics — computer, TV, cellphone, etc. — outside the bedroom, and avoid using them just before bedtime. Don’t go to bed hungry, but avoid eating a big meal before bed. Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime. Instead, do a calming activity like light reading or meditation.Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool for sleeping. If outside light or noise is disturbing, consider using light-blocking shades or a white noise machine.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Finding ‘Fit’ Can Be a Stretch

The New York Times: “Last fall, when John DiGravio arrived as a freshman at Williams College — a private, liberal arts institution in the Berkshires — the conservative from Central Texas expected to be in the political minority. He did not expect to be ridiculed … At first Mr. DiGravio was taken aback. Then he took his outsider status as a calling. A few months earlier he had started a small, conservative club. He decided to make it bigger. He invited a speaker to give an evening talk on ‘What It Means to Be a Conservative.’ Dozens of students showed up.”

“These days, elite students like Mr. DiGravio, who can financially and/or academically choose from an array of colleges, are often obsessed with ‘finding the right fit.’ Surveys like ones conducted by EAB, an education consulting firm in Washington, routinely indicate that for this group, ‘fitting in’ is one of the top factors when deciding where to go to school. But some students, like Mr. DiGravio, 19, are discovering the pros and cons of being an outsider.”

“’If you have support, that shock can be translated into an advantage,’ he said. That was the case for Jonah Shainberg, a fencer from Rye, N.Y., who is Jewish. When he was accepted to Notre Dame, a football-heavy Catholic university in Indiana, his mother balked at the idea … But once he was there, Mr. Shainberg, who graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, discovered something about himself he had not totally understood before: His faith was central to his identity. ‘I think Notre Dame made me more Jewish,’ he said.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail