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Parent Email–December 5, 2011

  • The End Is Near (End of the Semester, That Is)
  • Care Packages plus Gopher GOLD
  • Adopt A Family Update
  • Holidays
  • Career Development
  • Miscellaneous

Just when students think they are getting used to the rhythms of the University, along comes winter. Life on campus seems to be ever-changing, whether a student is new to the U or an about-to-graduate senior. See the Timely Issues for December for a sort of checklist on what students are facing this month.

The Northrop Mall webcam, courtesy of the College of Science and Engineering, shows campus after the weekend snow. And for those parents who hail from warm weather climates, that orange fence that now crosses Northrop Mall is a snow fence, helping to keep snow from drifting across freshly cleared sidewalks.

The End Is Near (End of the Semester, That Is)

December 14 is the last day of classes for fall semester. December 15 is a study day, and finals begin on Friday, December 16. Exams continue through Thursday, December 22.

To help students prepare for finals, several campus offices are sponsoring Exam Jam this coming weekend. On Saturday, Dec. 10, tutoring will be available for math, science, social science, and selected foreign languages, as well as writing, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 140 Appleby Hall. The morning session, sponsored by the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, requests pre-registration. An afternoon session will be from 1 to 5 p.m. in the SMART Learning Commons, 204 Walter Library.

During finals, Wilson Library on the West Bank and both Walter Library and Bio-Med Library on the East Bank will be open 24 hours a day from Thursday, December 15, and Thursday, December 22. Magrath Library on the Saint Paul Campus will have extended hours.

University Counseling & Consulting Services has posted a library of podcasts to help students prepare for finals, deal with stress, develop strategies for success, and finish the semester strong. If your student is concerned about finals, is worried about time management, or is simply procrastinating, suggest the podcasts under the heading "Achieving End of Semester Success."

The traditional residence halls close on December 22. Students are requested to move out of the residence halls when their finals are finished to provide more quiet time for those who continue to study. Move-out takes place over the entire week of exams, and it is not as hectic as move-in. Consequently, streets near the residence halls are not blocked off. Please be aware that parking restrictions will be enforced, so be sure to feed parking meters and do not park in no parking zones.

Students who are unable to leave the residence hall by the evening of December 22 must contact their residence hall office. Students receive information about move-out, including how to request an extension, through an email from their hall director.

Care Packages plus Gopher GOLD

The end of the semester is a particularly stressful time for students. Cards, texts, and care packages are especially welcome at this time of year. Gopher Express has worked up some special care packages for finals along with their regular selections. Now, for the first time, parents can add Gopher GOLD to care packages ordered through Gopher Express.

Gopher GOLD value may be added onto any care package in $10 increments up to $50. Gopher GOLD is a declining balance account on the student's U Card that allows students to pay for items at Gopher Express, such as beverages, snacks, or pharmacy items. Gopher GOLD can also be used at campus computer print labs, University Bookstores, and the campus Starbucks.  (This cashless way to pay is more secure than using cash; even if a student loses his or her U Card, Gopher GOLD value is safe on the student's online account.)

When ordering a care package through Gopher Express, you can select the Gopher GOLD option at check-out

Adopt A Family Update

In our last email newsletter, we asked parents to consider adopting a student-parent family for the holidays. These are the families of U of M students who have children and who are working to complete a college degree while raising children. All families in the adopt-a-family program are in financial need, as determined by their FAFSA applications.

We are delighted and humbled to report that all 74 families have been adopted. Great thanks to all who agreed to participate in this program. For those who may still wish to contribute, we hope to give grocery gift cards to each family to help provide a holiday dinner. Please see the "Alternate Sponsorship" information on the Adopt-A-Family webpage.  And again, thank you. Your contributions make an incredible difference to students who work hard at home, at school, and at jobs to provide a better life for their children.


Several of the colleges are getting into the spirit of the season. We have posted the following items on the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page, but we'll add them that you know the kind of notices we put on Facebook.

The College of Science and Engineering will be presenting a student-designed light show several times this month. The Civil Engineering Building Plaza will be covered in 75,000 LED lights and 400 individual controllable lights for an immersive 3D outdoor experience set to music. Dates, times, and details are posted online.

The Carlson School of Management, with the help of the School of Music, sends out a holiday greeting that showcases some amazing student talent.

And the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Sciences has a number of offerings for the season. The Forestry Club is selling firs, spruces, and pines; the Entomology Graduate Student Association is having a sale December 7-9, offering honey products, beeswax candles, notecards and calendars, and cochineal insect-dyed silk scarves (I'm not entirely sure what that means). You can also pick up cheeses and dairy products for the holidays at the University's Dairy Salesroom, or a roast for the dinner table at the Meat Science Salesroom.  Dairy and meat products are available only on Wednesday afternoons.

If you want to keep up with notices about the University between email newsletters, "like" the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page.

Career Development

Students who are struggling with choosing a major can participate in a daylong workshop over winter break, sponsored by the Center for Academic Planning and Exploration. The day will include exploration of personal interests, values, and strengths; discussion of possible majors; and information about tools and resources to help with major selection. The program will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, January 11, on the East Bank of campus (location to be decided). A $15 registration fee includes lunch, assessment fees, and all materials. Registration must be made by December 23. Scholarships are available upon request by emailing (Note: Students who cannot attend the workshop on January 11 can receive the same information by visiting the CAPE office at their convenience. It just won't be a one-day intensive workshop, with lunch.)

Student Registration for the annual U of M Job Fair (Thursday, February 23) is now open. Students will find registration information and tips for preparing for the job fair online.  Registration is $10 in advance or $25 at the door on the day of the fair. If students have significant financial hardship which prevents them from paying the $10, they should be directed to the Director of Career Services in their college to discuss a fee waiver.


Please take a minute to respond to our December Parent Question of the Month. Last month we asked you to consider how your student's level of maturity compares to your own at the same age. Most parents reported that their student was either more mature or at about the same high level of maturity as they were at that age. The full results can be seen here.