December 2020
Dear Team,

Well, we thought things were serious in the spring, but fall 2020 Covid has already been an eye-opener! Truly, it’s hard to think about anything else. I pulled up to the drive-through window at my bank one morning, and the cheerful clerk taking care of me asked, “Are you out doing holiday shopping?” I actually sat there with my mouth open for a few seconds, trying to come up with a coherent response because, in an instant, graphs with alarming Covid indicators, bare shelves in stores’ bathroom tissue aisle (yes, we’re back to that), and the CDC bulletins imploring people not to gather for the holidays exploded in front of my mind’s eye. Shopping? I miss my annual stress about the fact that I have only X shopping days left and the mayhem of Black Friday shopping with my daughters. Added to that, Mike and I are still trying to figure out if we can, safely, bring our Midwest daughter to celebrate the holidays in the West. I realized, after a moment or so, that the clerk was waiting very politely for my response...and that I probably shouldn’t share any of the I mumbled something about errands and drove off, thinking, “Maybe I need to lighten up a bit.” 

Things are serious, and we need to keep doing everything we can to protect ourselves, one another, our students, our families, and our communities this fall and winter. But we also need to keep celebrating all of the things--the interactions, the people, the planning and the sharing--that give us joy at this time of the year. 

We know that the holidays will look very different this year, so I thought we might want to share some of the traditions we would normally participate in during this season. I know that, as I have been contemplating my own family’s traditions, I have found myself smiling, sometimes chuckling, thinking warmly of the small things we do as a family to celebrate not just the season, but our love. Would you like to join me in those contemplations? Our Communications Team has created a Favorite Tradition of the Season link you can just click into from this newsletter. 

In the meantime, some of my favorites?

  • Serving appetizers instead of meals because everyone would rather spend time together than cook
  • Volunteering en masse with our neighbors at the local food bank or shoveling snow from driveways
  • Watching It’s a Wonderful Life and Polar Express yet again!

How about you? What traditions do you love at this season?

Celebrating us,

December Spotlight:
Dean of Students

Housed within the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Care and Assistance works with students in the successful navigation of challenges, personal life issues, critical incidents, hardships, and emergencies that may impede student success at ISU. We provide resources during times of distress, need, or emergency. Our goal is to help students resolve serious fundamental difficulties so that they can achieve academic and personal success.

Services offered include the following:
  • Conflict resolution
  • Navigating campus and community resources
  • Referrals for mental health concerns
  • Support during an illness or injury
  • Financial hardship assistance
  • Benny’s Pantry
  • Bengal Meal Share

At this point in the 2019-2020 academic year, Benny's Pantry has served 1,156 students and their families, distributing 12,231 pounds of food to students. Also, $8,488 of emergency funds have been distributed to students so far this year (2020). This funding helped with rent, utilities, internet, transportation, and more. 
Know a student thinking about applying to medical or dental school? 

Do you know a student who is thinking about applying to medical or dental school?

The Pre-Health Professions Advising Office has a committee that can evaluate students' medical or dental application materials. The committee also provides a mock interview and feedback on how to strengthen the application. Materials will be accepted from December 1, 2020, to February 1, 2021.

If a student is a junior or senior and a pre-medical or pre-dental student, they should visit the Health Professions Advisory Committee’s webpage at to learn how they can participate in this process. For questions, email
Idaho AgFest 

The Idaho AgFest Scholarship has awarded five $1,000 scholarships to TRIO SSS (Trio Student Support Services) students, which is over 20% of the total awarded scholarships!
Health Exemption Form

The Health Exemption form for any group seeking to conduct in-person activities has been revised (as of November 16, 2020). Please ensure that all Student Affairs and Enrollment Management units navigate to the correct In-person Campus Activity Approvals link and observe the protocols.
Make a Difference Today
Every fall, the United Way State Employee Giving Campaign offers ISU faculty and staff a way to help our community in very tangible ways. This partnership reflects our investment in the same goal: to build a stronger community through
  • Mental Health and Healthcare
  • Housing Stability
  • Food Insecurity
  • Cradle to Career

During this especially tough time, we know that many of our colleagues, friends, and neighbors are struggling to meet fundamental needs. Some of you reading this may be experiencing this struggle personally, finding yourself in need of help in this extremely difficult year. As individuals, we can only help so many. By channeling our efforts through our United Way donations, we can have a real impact on the way our community experiences this moment in time. 

If you choose to donate to United Way, you have complete discretion as to where your dollars are invested. You can designate your donation for a charity of your choice, an ISU department (through the ISU Foundation), or the impact areas selected for focus by the United Way and its partners. You can also find satisfaction in knowing that a year-round investment is helping ALL year, not just during this holiday season.
The United Way campaign runs through the month of November. However, pledges can be processed and set up for payroll deduction up to the end of December. 

How Can You Give to the United Way?
The easiest way to donate is to complete a payroll deduction form through DocuSign. Enter your name and email, then click Begin Signing, and then populate the form with your donation amount. Upon completion, a copy will be sent to HR, Payroll, United Way, and you (the donor). 
Cash or Check: If you wish to donate by cash or check, please download and print the United Way Donation form. Please do not send cash or checks through campus mail, but deliver the form and your donation in person at one of the following sites.
  • Pocatello, Human Resources department, Administration Building, Room 31
  • Idaho Falls, Karen Larsen in the Bennion Student Union
  • Meridian, Front Office   

ISU 2020 Calendar Sale: ISU Facilities is selling their famous ISU Calendars, one for $10, or two or more for $9 each. For more information about the calendars, contact Kim Wright at 208-282-3570 or You can pre-order before November 20 using the ISU United Way 2021 Calendar Order form

Want to Know More?
Student Affairs |