Dear Students,

Well, I know the length of my emails is something many of you have advised me to work on. I was reminded of this when The Collegian asked me to write a welcome back column. I submitted my piece and after reading it they wanted to know whether I intended it as a 2 or 3 piece series. Oh well. They ran it on Monday in an abbreviated format, but undaunted, I’m sending you the unabridged version along with a suggestion and my best wishes for a safe and successful semester. The suggestion is this: read The Collegian when you can. This is one of the longest running daily student newspapers in the country, it’s put out by your colleagues as they learn their craft, and they have done a wonderful job of dissecting some very complex topics (for example their multi-part series on higher ed finance last year). I haven’t always agreed with everything The Collegian has said or how they’ve said it, but they are a critically important voice in getting facts about our University out into our community to stimulate debate and discussion. This semester, we’ll face some very tough budget choices — none of which I like. But we must choose from among these unappealing choices, and we need to understand the student voice as we do. The Collegian and other student media outlets, which are completely independent of the administration, offer you a great source of information. Please, educate yourselves and stay involved via your ASCSU representatives. It’s an important semester for CSU, and we hope you have a great one!

Welcome back

— tony

An Official Welcome Message from CSU President Tony Frank

Welcome back to campus! If you’re reading this in class, put it down and pay attention. But for the rest of you, I’m pleased to join with The Collegian staff in welcoming you back for the start of a new semester at Colorado State University.

I hope each of you had a wonderful break. I was able to catch up with my own girls again (home from college) and the experience reminded me of several things. First, it’s true that there has been new music since my generation’s era, but a good share of your “new stuff” is retreaded from the ’60s and ’70s — get a life! The past is for us old people. Make some new music… Second, young people heal faster from sports injuries. And you know how to work the universal remotes better than we do. That combination is TOTALLY unfair. Third, when you’ve just passed a final in a course, you ARE the world’s expert on the subject — even if your dad is a college president. Mine was a farmer, but I bet he found my revelations unimpressive. Finally, there is NO substitute for having people you love around you — don’t ever miss the chance to tell them so.

I recall it was a bit tough for me to get back into the college mindset after a few weeks of break, but for what it is worth, and to help you gear up for the work ahead, here’s my best advice on how to have a successful spring semester:

  • Remember why you’re here.
    College can, and should be, a lot of fun. But, ultimately, you’re here to go to class and earn the best education possible — one that will set you up for a successful career you can enjoy throughout your life. You worked hard to earn this opportunity — stay focused.
  • Be prepared for snow through February.
    And March. And April. And May. This is Colorado; winter isn’t over the first time the thermometer gets above 70 degrees. And keep in mind, I’m from Illinois and have lived in Colorado for 18 years. I’m not going to close campus because of an inch and a half of light powder, no matter how many complaints we get on Facebook. And, yes, I do drive the roads myself before I make that decision.
  • Talk to your professors.
    CSU is a major international university that attracts some of the most talented faculty members in their disciplines. These are people who became professors, in part, because they want to teach people like you. So ask them questions, stop by during office hours, volunteer to help with their research. Your education will only be as rich and challenging as you make it, and students who get to know their professors often are the first to learn of the best opportunities and internships.
  • If you’re stressed out or depressed, talk to someone.
    There are plenty of people here on campus — faculty, the counseling center, residence hall staff, anyone over in the Administration Building (odd as some of you may find that) — who are here for you whenever you need us. Ask!
  • Study hard, but take some time on the weekends to get out and enjoy Colorado.
    You’re going to school in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Don’t miss it.
  • Read my budget e-mails.
    Seriously. I put a lot of work into those. (This proves I wrote this myself…)
  • Break out of your comfort zone.
    Being in college is one of the most extraordinary opportunities you’ll ever have to sample different experiences—interacting with people from other countries, listening to fascinating guest lectures, celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of our campus, going to a theater performance. Commit to take advantage this spring of a campus program or event that you haven’t tried before.
  • Remember, we only admit students to CSU who we know can succeed here.
    If you’re concerned about grades or struggling with a class, talk to your adviser and get help. You do have what it takes to make it at CSU; sometimes even the most gifted student needs some additional help.
  • Sign up for an alternative spring break experience.
    It could change your life, and it beats taking on extra shifts at The Gap (please, if you work for or own stock in The Gap, don’t write me — it was a joke…).
  • Get your vaccine for meningococcal disease.
    Yes, I know you’re tired of hearing it, but it’s a serious illness. We’ve had several cases at CSU in the past year, and we don’t want anyone else on campus to get sick. The vaccine is the best way to prevent infection, and you can get yours over at Hartshorn. Also, get your flu shot if you haven’t already. Get your rest and take vitamins and – oops, started channeling my grandmother for a bit. Sorry. (Wear your coat!)
  • Opening day for the Cubs is April 1 (fittingly).
    Plan accordingly.
  • And on a final, serious note, this is the most important piece of advice I can give you: Watch out for yourself and for each other.
    Every semester, on almost every campus in America, there are students who wind up in the hospital from drinking a lethal dose of alcohol or combining alcohol with other drugs. Some of them will be lucky, but some of them will never make it out of the ER. Contrary to popular mythology, a great many college students choose not to drink at all. But if you are going to drink, use your brain: Don’t get behind the wheel of a car, limit your consumption, don’t mix alcohol with drugs, and if you see someone who is stumbling, blacking out, or barely conscious, don’t laugh it off or assume they’ll be fine in the morning — get help immediately. Call your RA, or call 911. As president of this university, I never, ever want to tell another parent that her child has died of alcohol poisoning.

CSU is an outstanding university in large part because we attract an exceptional group of students who are passionate about what they do, are concerned about our world, and are committed to making a difference. You’re the reason we’re here. We’re glad you’re back, and we look forward to another great semester.


Dr. Tony Frank