Northern Arizona University sits at the foot of the highest peak in the state and receives an average snowfall of 100 inches per year—waking up to a blanket of white on the ground some days is inevitable. When you do, you may find yourself asking the following questions:
There’s snow everywhere. What do I do?
How will I know if NAU has canceled classes and/or postponed operations?
In general, faculty, staff and students should assume that NAU will continue to operate on a regular schedule despite inclement weather.
On those rare occasions when classes are canceled and/or operations are delayed, the NAU Communications Office will provide notifications via:
To sign up to receive NAU Alert text messages, visit nau.edu/alert.
How is the decision to close campus made?
The university’s goal is to remain open when possible to provide the academic experience paid for by student and taxpayer dollars. However, the safety of faculty, staff and students is NAU’s top priority. Therefore, many factors are taken into account before a decision is made to change operations on the Flagstaff campus. In most cases, the decision to cancel classes and/or delay operations follows this formula:
Crews on campus survey and plow the roads beginning at 2 a.m. NAU considers the condition of roads, parking lots and sidewalks on campus, as well as the condition of city and country roads. NAU police, emergency management and facility services team members drive throughout the community and freeways to assess the road conditions and make a recommendation to university leaders.
NAU also coordinates with local stakeholders, including the City of Flagstaff, NAIPTA (bus service), Coconino County, Flagstaff Unified School District, Coconino Community College and the National Weather Service.
NAU takes into consideration classes and events happening on campus while balancing the repercussions of canceling speakers, concerts or athletic events.
Should I stay? Or should I go?
Employees and students who are concerned about trying to get to work or class during inclement weather are encouraged to use their best judgment—your safety is NAU’s primary concern. Students who choose to stay home should contact their professors to make arrangements to turn in assignments later or learn what was missed.
Employees who decide to stay home should call in and let their supervisor know following established department procedures. According to university policy, employees who lose work time due to weather concerns may use vacation time or take the time as leave without pay if vacation time is not available.
NAU’s full snow closure policy for employees is available online at http://hr.nau.edu/apps/policy-manual/10313.
Jan. 31, 2019
Do you want to tap into and grow your leadership potential?
The second annual Student Leadership Conference, which takes place from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 9, provides students and community members the opportunity to boost their resume, get Pathways credits, earn scholarship and volunteer hours and demonstrate or expand their professional competencies and be more prepared for any job.
The conference will include: world-famous Latina mountain climber Karla Wheelock as the keynote speaker; NAU alumna and former Navy Vice Admiral Robin Braun as the featured speaker; seven program tracks that focus on identifying and articulating professional competencies needed to prepare individuals for the workplace; and more than 25 workshops, panels, presentations and roundtable discussions on everything leadership.
The conference is open to the public and costs $5 for NAU- and CCC-affiliated students and community members, and $40 for non-affiliates. The cost includes breakfast, lunch and a 2019 Student Leadership Conference T-shirt.*
Linda Braswell twiddled her thumbs as she anxiously sat at a small table by herself, surrounded by others sitting alone at tables who were as visibly nervous. All were waiting for someone, anyone to be escorted to them.
She could see students enter the large room who were greeted by friendly “librarians” at a welcome desk. Behind the librarians were dozens of book jackets. After the student selected which book they would like to “read,” they were led to the corresponding table where the human “book” sat. One by one, the tables surrounding Braswell filled up, and conversation filled the room. Then, someone was escorted to her.
Her “reader” sat down. After a few awkward moments of silence, Braswell had no other choice but to muster up the courage to begin telling her story.
“The title of my book is ‘2nd Class Girl. Growing up poor: The good, the bad, the ugly,’” she said.
Braswell struggled with poverty her whole life—not the “doesn’t have new clothes” kind of poor, but the “can’t afford food, running water and electricity” kind of poor. She was raised in rural Florida, in a literal shack—no glass in the windows and floorboards far enough apart that dropping her fork often meant it was gone for good—at least until her mother would crawl under the house, fighting the snakes and roosters that lived underneath to gather everything that had fallen through the cracks.
Her parents married young—her mother was 19 by the time her third child was born. Braswell had been working in crop fields, alongside her brother, sister and parents, for as long as she can remember, picking tomatoes, beans, corn, okra and cucumbers for pennies an hour.
Despite living without, she was happy. Braswell and her family—which consisted of her mother, aunts, grandmother, siblings and cousins—were close. While most families bond over board games and family vacations, the Braswell family bonded over gathering and slaughtering chickens and cleaning out pig intestines that would later be dinner. She was living the normal life of a 13-year-old girl, or so she thought. Then, she and her immediate family moved to a new area of town, away from her extended family that she had grown so close to. She was in for a rude awakening.
“One of my new seventh-grade teachers told the class that if we needed anything, let her know. So, being very naïve, I raised my hand, told her about our lack of water and electricity, and asked if I could use the showers at school. The entire class laughed, pointed, snickered and sneered. That was my awakening to who I was according to the world.”
The bullying and laughing would only get worse from there, Braswell tells her listener, who was wide-eyed and hanging on every word. What she doesn’t tell her listener, however, were stories of her alcoholic father and her child-molesting grandfather. Stories for another day, she said.
Braswell, assistant to the dean in NAU’s Cline Library, shared her struggles with poverty as part of the Human Library—an international effort designed to break down stereotypes and connect people within communities in an effort to exercise a form of radical empathy and acceptance.
The concept is simple: like any library, there is an array of books on topics that range from oppression in modern-day America to the religious practices of Hinduism to living with disabilities to being a woman stuck in a man’s body. The only difference? Instead of being filled with paper- and hard-back books, this library is filled with humans, ready to “read.” Braswell was one of many to volunteer to be a “book” and share her story.
“A Human Library is an event that aims to create dialogue and understanding between people,” said Jonathan Pringle, archivist in the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives and co-chair of the event. “Individuals volunteer as human ‘books’ and participants in the event can ‘read’ the book. Readers have a one-on-one conversation with the book and share in a dialogue about that individual’s experience, providing the opportunity for people to share and understand the experiences of others in their community.”
Braswell first heard about the opportunity to sign up for the event through her co-workers who were putting it on. It wasn’t an easy decision to put herself in such a vulnerable position—the thought of opening up to a bunch of strangers, much younger than she, about something she was sure no one else could relate to, was terrifying.
Flashbacks of being laughed and sneered at replayed over and over again in her head.
But despite her hesitations, she signed up.
“The experience turned out completely different than I thought. Students who listened to me actually cried at times. Some students who were at my table with a friend would look at each other and shake their heads like, ‘Yep, I know what you’re talking about.’ They were all intense listeners, another thing I didn’t expect.”
The best part about being a book? She learned more about herself than she thought possible.
One of the students who came to listen to her story was 19 years old, well-built and attractive—the kind of guy likely to be the proverbial captain of the football team and prom king in high school.
“I was literally intimidated, like I would have been in the seventh grade, and knew that he couldn’t possibly be interested in what I had to say,” Braswell said.
So, she kept her story brief and left out some details, figuring he quickly would move on to the next book.
Instead, he stuck around, asking her in-depth questions and wanting to know more about her struggles.
“I told him I skipped some details, assuming he wouldn’t be interested, to which he responded, ‘When I was in high school, I was too embarrassed to have friends over to my house, I grew up in a shack like yours. And my mother and father were both alcoholics. That’s why I chose your book.’ This was one of the most profound moments of my entire life.”
Braswell realized the advice she so often preached, “never judge a book by its cover,” also applied to herself. She would end every one of her book sessions by reminding her readers that every human being deserves to be treated with respect.
“Telling one’s story is a powerful and meaningful way to connect with others, whether you share experiences with them or not,” said Amanda Meeks, teaching, learning and research services librarian and co-chair of the event. “Last year, our ‘books’ were as eager to learn about their ‘readers’ as the readers were to learn about the books.”
More than 200 readers and 20 volunteer books participated in last year’s event, and Pringle and Meeks hope to have even more this year.
The event will take place from 3-7 p.m. March 6 in the new IMQ center at the University Union. Interested readers will have an opportunity to review a number of book jackets, from which they will select a “book” to read for 20 minutes. The book will generally begin the conversation by sharing their story, after which time the reader and the book can engage in a discussion.
Primarily focused on the university community, most volunteer books will be students, faculty and staff, but some will come from outside NAU. Readers of any age are welcome to attend the event. Books are available to readers on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Those interested in volunteering their time as a book should attend the open information session from 1-2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, in the NAU Faculty Professional Development Program offices (Cline Library, room 169).
As for Braswell, she jumped at the chance to volunteer as a book again this year.
“Being a book was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. It helped me deal with and move past old emotions and pain that had not been uncovered for many years. Plus, if what I have to say helps another human being be happy with who they are, I want to be a part of it.”
This time, she said, she won’t be nearly as nervous to share.
Carly Banks | NAU Communications
(928) 523-5582 | firstname.lastname@example.org
To kick off Black History Month, professor Kevin Willmott will lecture and host a Q&A session following the re-screening of his film “BlacKkKlansman.”
The Oscar-nominated film, which won the 2018 Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival, tells the true story of a black undercover cop who infiltrated the KKK during the 1970s. Many of Willmott’s works forces viewers to rethink their own notions of what they know about history, culture and themselves. Often accused of being provocative, his films challenge students to push their own boundaries of how they see themselves and others.
“All my films deal with the complexities of African-American identity and the lies that have broken down to arrive at a more secure self-definition of who we are,” Willmott said.
The re-screening of the film will take place Feb. 1 at Prochnow Auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m., the film introduction and history will start at 6:30 p.m. and the film screening will begin at 7 p.m. The Q&A session with Willmott will take place directly after the screening.
Tickets are free to the public, but space is limited. Seats can be reserved at nau.edu/cto or by calling (928) 523-5661.
The event is sponsored by the Commission on the Status of Women, SUN Entertainment, NAU Ethnic Studies, NAU Theatre Department, Commission on Ethnic Diversity and the Office of Inclusion.
From most read stories to notable NAU events to editor’s picks, here’s a look back at the top 15 NAU News stories published in 2018.
Graduate Bryan Javier Reyna always wanted to go to college, but accepted at a young age that it wasn’t in his cards. His family couldn’t afford it, and even if they could, he didn’t think he was college material.
But in his mid-20s, about the age when most people who enter college fresh out of high school have graduated, he decided he wanted to give higher education a try, thanks to the encouragement of his mother,
And try he did.
He earned his associate’s degree in emergency management. Then he earned a second associate’s in emergency response and operations, then one in general education, one in arts and finally, a degree in nursing.
It may have taken five associate’s degrees to garner the courage to pursue a bachelor’s, but he finally felt he was ready. After the birth of his daughter in 2016, it was important to him to ensure financial security and stability with the help of a bachelor’s degree. Growing up in Chandler, he knew he wanted to stay in state. He chose NAU for its reputable RN-to-BSN program.
“NAU also ensured the majority of my credits from my multiple associate’s degrees would transfer,” Reyna said. “Plus, I wanted to be a Lumberjack… not a Sun Devil.”
The road to earning a bachelor’s degree wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. Working as a full-time nurse while going to school full-time is hard enough. Then, add being a full-time parent to the mix. And, shortly after starting classes at NAU, things got even harder—his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and he became her full-time caretaker, often studying and completing class assignments by her bedside. She received her bachelor’s degree in her home country of Peru, and seeing her son working toward completing his degree was a dream come true.
He worked hard, somehow managing to balance his school, work and home life, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. During his final semester at NAU, with graduation in sight, his mother lost her battle with cancer. She died Oct. 15.
“I don’t know when or if I’ll ever move past the death of my mother, but I know she wanted me to finish my education, even in her last year of life.”
On Dec. 14, less than two months after the passing of his mother, he will earn his bachelor’s degree in nursing. Even though she isn’t here to see him walk across the stage, he knows she’ll be with him.
After graduation, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in leadership management, but first hopes to join the Air Force reserves as an officer with the help of his bachelor’s degree.
“I want to utilize my education and real-life nursing skills to help the women and men who protect our country. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself, and I want to give back for all the blessings and opportunities that have allowed me to be where I am today.”
Carly Banks | NAU Communications
(928) 523-5582 | email@example.com