Having a son or daughter in college is an experience filled with excitement and joy for families. Seeing their loved ones grow and fulfill their promise, and begin building bright futures for themselves, rightly gives family members a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Of course, life as a university student—and as a parent—comes with stressful times and challenges, too. For many students, starting college means being truly out on their own for the first time. They must navigate being in a new home away from home; develop and maintain the work habits that will enable them to succeed at the college level; find the right balance of work, academics and social activities, and more. Family members—moms and dads, siblings, grandparents and friends—are there to help, but may experience times when they are unsure how to help, as well as times when they feel a bit disconnected from their student’s day-to-day experiences and challenges.
Helping build a stronger community, and helping families support their students, is the mission of the Indiana Tech Warrior Family Association.
First conceived by Indiana Tech’s “First Mom,” Maria Einolf, the Warrior Family Association was established in August 2018. Through the work of Mrs. Einolf and Indiana Tech’s Office of Student Life, notably associate director of student involvement Bethany Ballard, the Warrior Family Association has been working to connect Indiana Tech families with news and information about life on campus, in and out of the classroom. At the same time, the Warrior Family Association offers parents and other family members tips and resources for how to help their students succeed at Indiana Tech.
“As a parent of two current college students myself, I’ve been experiencing all of the ups and downs of life as a college parent that our Indiana Tech families do,” Mrs. Einolf said. “Here at Indiana Tech, we have such a welcoming and supportive community for our students, that it got me thinking about ways to better connect our families to all that is happening here with their sons and daughters.”
“From the beginning, Indiana Tech has attracted large numbers of first-generation college students—the first in their families to attend college,” Ballard said. “Many families want to be a part of the university community and help their students succeed, but aren’t always sure how. Even family members who have attended college or had other family members attend are looking for ways to better connect with their son or daughter’s experience. The Warrior Family Association was created to help.”
During its first year, the Warrior Family Association began its work by creating and publishing a monthly e-newsletter delivered to parents and family members of current and incoming Indiana Tech students. It is also distributed to all Indiana Tech faculty and staff members. The newsletter gives updates on events on campus, news about student accomplishments, upcoming noteworthy dates (such as mid-terms, final exams and class projects), and information on how students and families can get involved with life on campus overall.
Just as important, the e-newsletter incorporates tips and resources for families to help them support their students in their studies and in all the other aspects of their lives at Tech. Each issue includes topics such as articles and links to health and wellness activities and support services, tips for how to help students manage the stress of exam time, ideas for how to help students recharge during breaks and more.
Looking ahead, the Warrior Family Association is seeking to develop more events, programs and services to help further its mission of supporting students and their families.
“We want all Warrior families to know that they and their students are part of a caring and supportive community here at Indiana Tech,” said Mrs. Einolf. “We celebrate the successes of every member of our Warrior family. Just as important, we support each other and work to boost each other when we need an assist in the classroom or in life in general.”
Alumni and friends of Indiana Tech are welcome and encouraged to take part in the Warrior Family Association, too. To learn more and to subscribe to the monthly Warrior Family Association e-newsletter, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.