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Parent Email—January 25, 2011

  • College Mental Health
  • Spring Activities Fair
  • Career Planning Opportunities
  • Parent Response Requested
  • Miscellaneous

It's still early enough in the semester for students to be enthusiastic about a fresh start to a new semester, and the weather has improved from the hopelessly bitter temperatures last week. With their faces no longer hidden by scarves or hunched down into coat collars, we can better see that students look pretty happy, and we can hear that they're talking about their courses as they walk across campus.

College Mental Health

The recent tragedy in Tucson has raised questions and resulted in media discussions about mental health services for college students. The University of Minnesota provides mental health resources through University Counseling & Consulting Services and Boynton Health Service and support through Disability Services. In addition, on-going discussions on the topic of mental health are conducted by the Behavioral Consultation Team, the Stamp Out Stigma committee, the Active Minds student organization, and the Provost's Committee on Mental Health, which sponsors the University Mental Health website. The parent perspective is represented by the Parent Program Director, who is a member of the Behavioral Consultation Team and the Provost's Committee on Mental Health. There is a web page specifically for parents on the Mental Health website.

It is true that some mental health conditions are likely to first show up between the ages of 18 and 23, coinciding with the college years. Parents know their student best and may be the first to notice changes that are symptomatic of a mental health issue. If you notice any changes that concern you, please take a look at the information for parents provided by University Counseling & Consulting Services director on "How to Raise a Sensitive Issue."

Spring Activities Fair

If your student is looking for ways to be involved on campus, the Spring Activities Fair will provide a chance for students to learn about a variety of student organizations. The fair is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, February 1, in the Great Hall of Coffman Memorial Union.

Career Planning Opportunities

This is the time of year when career planning and job/internship searches hit their peak. A sampling of opportunities coming up in the next few weeks:

  • Minnesota Supreme Court Tour, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Monday, January 31, Supreme Court Building, 25 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. Students interested in a law career are invited to join this tour of the Minnesota Supreme Court led by Associate Justice Paul Anderson. The tour will include the justice's chambers, the courtroom, and just about the entire rest of the building. Justice Anderson will explain the role of the Supreme Court, lead a discussion, and answer questions. The tour is sponsored by University Student Legal Services. There is no charge for participation, but students must arrange their own transportation. For those who drive, there is a parking lot across the street from the courthouse, but payment is by quarters only—no bills, no credit cards.
  • Start Me Up, a program for students interested in starting their own business, 4 p.m., February 9, at the Carlson School of Management. Students will hear from an attorney, certified public accountant, and business owners about the steps to take when starting a new business. No pre-registration is needed, and the program is sponsored by University Student Legal Services.
  • Green Job Revolution, 4 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 15, Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union. Students will hear from professionals in fields from arts to engineering who have incorporated sustainability into their careers. Speakers will describe the shift of the economy towards sustainability, followed by a panel discussing the implications of this shift for job seekers. Afterward, the speakers will be available to discuss and answer questions, addressing the skills needed to be at the forefront of this economic revolution. Information is online, admission is free.
  • University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, February 25, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis. The biggest student career fair in Minnesota will include more than 200 employers recruiting for hundreds of jobs and internships. The Fair is open to all U of M undergraduates, graduate students, and recent alumni. (Note: The Job Fair is not open to parents; even if you're thinking of going along to support your student, please refrain. Employers are not impressed when students show up at career fairs with their parents.)

Attendance is $10 in advance or $25 at the door, and students can sign up online. The website also includes tips for preparing for the job fair and information on free transportation to the Convention Center.

Parent Response Requested

The University of Minnesota's Student Services website, One Stop, is redesigning some of its information related to financial aid. Students and parents will use this website to manage the financial aid process. In order to understand how users think about this information, the One Stop staff would like parents' feedback on the names of some of the pages and the links that lead to those pages. For your participation you will have the option to enter into a drawing for one of four $20 iTunes gift cards. If you don't use iTunes, your student would probably be willing to use the gift card for you.

Go to and complete a ten-minute survey. On this survey, you will be presented with descriptions of potential web pages for the One Stop Financial Aid website. Your task is to "name that description."

The directions are simple:

  1. Read a description of planned website content.
  2. Type a short label or link name that describes that planned content.
  3. Include your name and email address to be entered into the drawing for a $20 iTunes gift card.

The confidentiality of any information you provide in the survey will be protected. If you have any questions, please email for assistance.


Please respond to our January Question of the Month. We would greatly appreciate your input.

In December, our Question of the Month tracked parents' use of the University Parent website, and we discovered that 76 percent of you follow the Northrop Mall webcam at least sometimes. We let the College of Science and Engineering—the sponsor of the webcam—know how much you appreciate the view through their window in Walter Library.

Marjorie Savage
Parent Program Director
University of Minnesota