Are You Registered to Vote?

Smart people vote.
Responsible citizens vote.
Wise people know how important voting is.

You must register to vote a month ahead of time. You must also be a resident and at least 18 at the time of election.

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Suicide Prevention Day, September 10

September 10, 2014 is World Suicide Prevention Day. You can find materials to help you plan and implement activities for this important occasion on the International Association for Suicide Prevention website.

Webinar to Discuss Threat Assessment Strategies for Schools and Higher Education

On September 23, 2014, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET, OJJDP, in collaboration with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) will present “Threat Assessment Strategies for Schools and Higher Education.” During this Webinar, presenters will provide an overview of threat assessment programs for both K-12 schools and higher education campus settings, discuss school/campus threat assessment strategies and programs, and provide resources to meet standards of practice in threat assessment. Register for this free Webinar.  Learn more about IACP/OJJDP online school safety training courses

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Educating Nontraditional Students – Free webinar

Inside Higher Education invites you to join in a free webinar on educating nontraditional students. The webinar is September 11 at 1 p.m.

“Insider Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will discuss the issues related to the way colleges recruit and retain non-traditional students in higher education.”

To register, go to

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Want to Pull A Plane?

NOVA Police Department welcomes to to participate in the 2014 Dulles Plan Pull event on September 20, from 11-3.

Last year, NOVA’s team pulled a 164,000 Airbus 12 feet in 8.5 seconds. Join the team or cheer them on.

For more information, contact Office Tony Ong,

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DEA Drug Take Back Day

Many of us have unused and expired prescriptions. Do not flush these down the toilets.

NOVA Police Department is sponsoring a DEA drug-take-back day on Saturday, September 27, from 10-2 at the entrance of the CA building on the Annandale Campus.

For more information, contact Office Tony Ong,

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Active Shooter Response Training

NOVA Police Department is offering an active shooter response briefing to the NOVA community. They will share police responsibilities, resources, and offer tips for protecting yourself and others.

The training at the Annandale Campus is September 16, noon-1 p.m. For more information contact Office Tony Ong,

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We Need to Play

“Free, imaginative play is crucial for normal social, emotional and cognitive development. It makes us better adjusted, smarter and less stressed” writes Melinda Wenner Moyer in Scientific American Mind & Brain

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Science of Happiness

I’m taking a MOOC (massive open online course), The Science of Happiness. There are over 90,000 students enrolled in the course. We are introducing ourselves, posting videos, sharing favorite URLs, mapping ourselves on a world map, and taking a happiness survey. Feel free to enroll with me!

The instructors are UCBerkeley professors Dacher Keltner and Emilaina Simon-Thomas. This course is free and available through edX,


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Starting the New Academic Year

For many of us, the end of August marks a new year and a fresh start. With that in mind, I’d like to make some recommendations for getting off to a good beginning:

1.  Attend your first class session. Like a first date or a first interview, this first meeting sets the tone for all others. Missing this session means that you are missing many of the critical communication elements that make a good relationship among your colleagues.

2. Read your syllabus, textbook, and Blackboard site. Sure, you might be able to fake it, but why do you want to? You’re in college to get a good education and getting one means you’re not faking it.

3. Declare a major and meet with your faculty advisor. You can change these if needed but you need to started in a direction. Make a plan and then work that plan. Your faculty advisor is a professor in the discipline that you want to study who will mentor you.

4. Think of your education as your profession. Develop professional habits  including arriving to class on time, submitting work that you’re proud of, dressing well, and asking questions when you aren’t clear about expectations. Treat yourself as the professional that you are.

5. Get involved on the campus. Even if you work full-time, carve out some time to go to student events, join an honors society, work out, and/or get involved in athletics.

Have a great academic year!


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Adjusting to Culture Shock

College is different from high school and many students experience culture shock after two months. Culture shock includes feelings confused, frustrated, irritated, surprised, and disgusted by the new rules. For some students, culture shock leads to feeling isolated and depressed.

To ensure that you move through shock into acceptance and integration, get involved in your classes and in student activities. Don’t rely upon your high school friends and family to be your sole support. You are opportunities to meet new friends and to learn a lot. Work out in our fitness center. Play sports. Join a student club. Go to class and talk with your professors during their office hours for more assistance. Work with your academic advisor.

I’m giving a talk to international students to prepare them for culture shock here at NOVA this semester. Below are my tips for them:

Cultural Adjustment
Ms. Nan Peck
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
CM 306

Expect and accept that you will experience culture shock (normally 2-4 months after your arrival).

Stage 1: Honeymoon
America is baseball and apple pie. And football, Costco, Walmart, and junk food.

Stage 2: Disillusionment – Culture Shock
Expect and accept that you will experience culture shock (normally 2-4 months after your arrival).

 Culture shock includes feeling of irritation, confusion, frustration, fear, sense of loss, surprise and disgust. This is normal.

America is not like TV or the internet.
Americans love cars but hate traffic and other drivers.
Americans love guns but argue about gun ownership and gun control.
Americans love to argue.

If you don’t have good support systems (family, friends, counselors), you may experience isolation and depression.

Stage 3: Acceptance
Stay in touch with your family and friends. Get involved with student services and your classmates. Get support from your advisors and professors.

This will be one of the hardest and best experiences of your life.

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