Humboldt State University
Letter from Humboldt
September 2009

Hello Humboldt families! Welcome to the first issue of a newsletter designed to keep you involved with your student's experience at Humboldt State.

Letting go—and staying in touch

by Dorothyann Guido

DottieAbout the editor – Dorothyann Guido is from Dana Point, Calif., and is a Journalism major with a concentration in Public Relations. She is completing her degree in three and a half years and is currently an intern with HSU Marketing & Communications. Her hobbies are writing short stories and living life to the fullest.

The big moment has finally arrived. Your college student has left the nest, and you may wonder, "When can I see them again?" It may not be soon. Your student has tasted freedom and may not like you taking the reins again.

But as a senior at HSU, I'm here to tell you what students would be horrified to reveal: They still need you. Yes, despite their moaning and groaning, they are secretly glad to have you involved. But before you plan a surprise visit, a warning: Students want your involvement, but they need their independence. I can't tell you how thankful I was as a new student when my grandparents allowed me privacy and time to explore my new world.

There were no unexpected visits, no barrage of calls, only informative voicemails and cards filled with encouraging words. Enough arrived that I began a collection. The cards cover an entire wall now, four years later, giving off the glow of family support.

Visiting in person can also be an amazing act of love. It gives students time to show you the world they have created, show off new friends and spend time with you. In particular, Homecoming and Family Weekend, October 16-18 – with football games, BBQs, receptions and other activities – is the perfect time to visit.

Families have said over the years that the weekend is a must for freshman families if at all possible. As one parent commented, "Just wait until you see the funny gait your child has acquired at Hills & Stairs University. They've had a few months of Jolly Giant food and are ready for a dinner out and some grocery shopping."

I spoke with Nathaniel Meyer, a third-year HSU student and former HSU housing employee, about specific tips for parent visits:

Tip 1: Let them lead. Allow your student to plan things to do with you. They might want to show you a special spot in Humboldt County rather than a place you suggest.

Tip 2: Tell your student your travel plans and expectations for time together. This may seem obvious, but good communication will give students time to rearrange their schedule. They might have midterms to finish early or social plans to reschedule.

Tip 3: Looking to bring a present? Try gift cards to local restaurants or stores. General gift cards like ones from Visa or American Express that can be used on gas are also a great idea.

Tip 4: Don't be afraid to ask about your student's life here at school. You may finally connect faces with names you've heard only on the phone. Sometimes asking how they're really doing is easier in person and you can read their body language for more insight.

Tip 5: Finally, relax and don't stress! Your student has enough responsibilities, as do you, so getting upset over little things isn't worth it. Don't be in a hurry to fill every minute – sometimes simply sitting and talking is the thing to do.

For more information on Homecoming and Family Weekend and the schedule of events, visit

Your phone is about to ring

We don't really expect you to sit by the phone—but we do want you to know that a student from HSU will be calling soon to ask for your support for the Humboldt Parents & Family Fund. This call is important. Gifts by parents and family members make a real difference to the students at Humboldt State. Learn more about the Humboldt Parents & Family Fund.

Overheard this month on the family network

"Skype is wonderful. Our daughter at home talks to her sister at HSU all hours of the night… when we are online with her, friends we have heard about pop their heads into the camera and say "Hi Mom and Dad" and this gives us a chance to "meet" her new friends or neighbors. It makes us feel better when we are missing her to see the great group of students she has found."

Take a look. Or, if you're not part of the network yet, sign up now.

Latest News from HSU

National Geographic Spotlights Tall Trees Professor»
HSU Professor Stephen Sillett, who has pioneered tree-climbing techniques and led groundbreaking research into the redwood canopy, is featured in National Geographic's October cover story on redwoods.

New Library Café Unveiled»
When students feel the need to recharge they can head to the library's new wireless café, where they can enjoy refreshments and socialize, while taking advantage of wireless Internet access, diner-style booths, and multiple electrical outlets to power laptops and other devices. A portion of the project was supported by the Parents & Family Fund.

Parents and family admire trees in the Community Forest during Humboldt Orientation Program.
» More Humboldt photos on flickr

Stay connected

Important Dates

HSU BookstoreVisit the HSU Bookstore during Homecoming and pick up a free "Jacks Fan" button with your purchase.

Parents & Family Fund

Donations to the Parents & Family Fund are immediately put to use on campus, for things like the new wireless Library café, science labs, student support programs, instructional technology, the library, and much more…
» Learn More


Humboldt State University
1 Harpst Street Arcata, CA 95521