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Parent Email–August 7, 2012

  • Find the U at the Fair
  • Parenting 1001, Lesson 3
  • Bikes on Campus
  • Coffee Offer
  • Mental Health at the U of M
  • CAPE
  • The Quiet Student
  • An Anniversary of Note
  • First-Year Students: Sign Ups for Welcome Week
  • Using Strengths at the U of M
  • Miscellaneous

Minnesotans don't much like to boast, but we are pretty proud of all our U of M Olympians. You might almost feel like you're at the Olympics yourself during Parents Weekend when the women's volleyball team, under the guidance of U.S. Olympics Women's Volleyball Coach Hugh McCutcheon, takes on Ohio State at 7 p.m. Friday, September 28, and Penn State at 7 p.m., Saturday, September 29, at the Sports Pavilion. Students can attend women's volleyball games at no charge; general admission tickets for the rest of the family range from $4 to $8. Order volleyball tickets for Parents Weekend (or any other volleyball game) through Gopher Sports. And register for Parents Weekend now!

An important note: If you have a question or comment for the Parent Program, please email parent@umn.edu. Do not reply to the listserv. For security purposes, and to help prevent personal or student information being sent to the entire listserv, we do not open or read messages sent by reply to the listserv.

Find the U at the Fair

Minnesota residents already know this, but the Minnesota State Fair is a deep and abiding, food-on-a-stick tradition that must be seen to be believed. The State Fair is located adjacent to the U of M's St. Paul campus, and it conveniently takes place during the 12 days leading up to the start of fall semester, ending on Labor Day, September 3. If you are planning to go to the fair, you can buy discounted tickets at the University Bookstores, and be sure to look for the U at the Fair. Tell them the Parent Program sent you.

For those of you who are pretty sure you know everything there is to know about the Minnesota State Fair, a brief history of the fair may offer some new insights. To experience the fair in a whole new way, print out the Minnesota State Fair Walking Guide brochure—or use your smart phone to view and listen to the online walking guide while you're there. The online version allows you to listen to audio descriptions as you pass interesting sites.

Parenting 1001, Lesson 3

In our most recent parent email, we invited you to sign up for the free course, "Parenting 1001: A Course for Parents of U of M Students." The course was developed to help families support their student and understand the student experience at the U of M. Each week from now until school begins, we will release a new lesson--this week's lesson highlights Alcohol Use on Campus, which directs you to selected information from an online seminar for parents created in a partnership between the Department of Family Social Science and the University Parent Program.

If you have not yet signed up for the course, please follow the instructions below:

Steps to Self-Enroll in Parenting 1001

  • Step 1: Create a Guest ID
    Fill out this online form: https://www.umn.edu/dirtool/guestportal
    • The email address that you enter will become your U of M Internet ID for the course.
    • The password that you choose on the form will become your Guest ID password for the course.
    • Note: if you don't use your guest account frequently enough, the password will stop working. If this happens, your will need to select a new password.
  • Step 2: Activate Guest ID in Moodle by going to the course site and logging in with your guest ID. (If you go to the course site immediately after creating your guest account, you will not have to log in with this information). Use the enrollment key below to self-enroll in Parenting 1001.

For those who already enrolled, return to the course by going to the course website: Sign in with your guest ID (the email address you used when enrolling) and the guest ID password you created.

If you have any questions about enrollment or about the course, please contact Chelsea Petree at petre025@umn.edu

Bikes on Campus

Some students believe that everyone on campus rides a bike, 365 days a year. Not true. Everyone takes at least one day off from time to time, and some of us prefer to walk. It is true, however, that there are students, staff, and faculty who bike year-round—even when it snows—and the University is making multiple efforts to keep bike riding safe, secure, and comfortable. Check the Parking & Transportation/bike website for just about all the information a biker needs, including bike maps, bike lockers, bike security, and the year-old Bike Center. Students who don't bring a bicycle to campus can use one at a reasonable rate with bike-sharing through NiceRide. And be sure your student knows that bicycle safety means helmets and headlights. Students can purchase a new helmet and bike light through Boynton Health Service's pharmacy for just $20—a very reasonable investment for safe riding.

Coffee Offer

At the recommendation of our group of student advisers, the Minnesota Parents Association is joining with Better World Brands to provide a discount rate for U of M parents to purchase a Keurig® Single Cup Coffee Machine Gift Package for $89.95 for their student. The custom package includes a Keurig® brewer with auto shut-off, assorted coffees, steel travel mug, glass jar with organic chocolates, cookies, and a K-Cup discount coupon. Parents can add a personal note with a free message card. While the normal Association price is $99.95, U of M parents can receive a discounted price of $89.95. To receive the discounted price, please enter the purchase discount code "MNBTS201210" at checkout.

Order directly by going to: http://betterworldbrands.com/backtoschool/ and find the University of Minnesota Parent Program link. A note: While other schools are promoting this offer as a fundraiser, we have opted to provide our parents with an additional discount rate. Parents at other institutions will pay $99.95 (plus shipping) for the package; the U of M rate is $89.95 (plus shipping). Be sure to include the discount code when you check out (MNBTS201210). Members of our student panel, after reviewing the promotional materials, all said, "I want one! I hope my parents get this for me."

Mental Health at the U of M

During your student's time on campus, it is possible that he or she may need to access professional assistance to deal with concerns related to stress, anger, depression, anxiety, and other issues. Some students come to campus with diagnosed mental health conditions that they need to monitor or treat on an on-going basis. The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, offers a number of services to assist students with these and other mental health challenges. Information about campus mental health resources and support is available online, and students are encouraged to talk with professionals—and to their friends and roommates—about their symptoms and condition. For first-year students and their parents, a national website provides information about issues specific to the "transition year."

CAPE

This is a time of year when sophomores, as well as some juniors, might be rethinking their academic and career goals. As they prepare to return to campus, students may recognize that the grades they received in key classes last year will not qualify them for the major of their choice, or they just don't have an interest in that major any longer. Students considering a change can receive information and guidance from the Center for Academic Planning and Exploration. They can even contact the office before classes begin and set up a Skype interview to start that career exploration process.

The Quiet Student

We often get phone calls or emails from parents who believe their student is in a challenging situation related to a roommate or instructor, and the parents indicate they're calling because "My student would never say anything. He's afraid he'll upset his roommate if he complains," or "She's really shy and would never be able to go to the instructor about this."

While we understand that parents want to assist their "quiet student," an important part of the college experience is finding ways to empower students to address their concerns or discuss their problems directly. The University is a safe place for students to learn those personal skills before they go out into the Real World.

If your son or daughter is quiet, shy, introverted, or reserved, please read our University Parent information, "A Portrait of the Quiet Student." We value the contributions and characteristics of our less outgoing students, and we often find that they are independently making their own quiet strides to address concerns and solve problems in ways that are comfortable to them. While they may not handle situations in ways that their parents would prefer, they are usually developing strategies that will work for them now and will give them confidence for greater change over time. If they need assistance in beginning to address a problem, a Community Adviser in the residence hall can help roommates and friends negotiate conflict; academic advisers will have suggestions for addressing a faculty member; and the University's Student Conflict Resolution Center can work with students on strategies or serve as an advocate for complex issues.

An Anniversary Worth Noting

The University's student-run radio station, Radio K, turns 100 this year. Radio K's history is described as evolving from the earliest transmissions at the university, when a professor named F.W. Springer began experimenting with broadcasts in 1912. In 1915, Minnesota football games were broadcast in Morse code, and in 1920, the University of Minnesota received a license for experimental radio station 9XI. Radiotelephone broadcasts began that fall with agricultural market reports, weather forecasts, and concerts among the regularly scheduled programs. Two years later, the University received the first radio broadcasting license in the State of Minnesota on January 13, 1922, for the call sign WLB. The station is the 10th oldest station still on the air in the U.S., and Radio K is the oldest licensed non-commercial broadcast station in the country. Anniversary events will kick off with a concert on August 24 and continue under the banner of "A Century of Cool: Real College Radio Since 1912.

First-Year Students: Sign Up for Welcome Week

First-year students received an email in July explaining how to complete the Welcome Week Event Selection and StrengthsFinder. Both of these activities are completed online.  Within the Welcome Week Event Selection students are able to choose some Welcome Week events that are interesting to them. These selections will populate the personal schedule they will receive when they check in for Welcome Week on August 29. After completing Event Selection, students will be instructed to take StrengthsFinder to identify their Top 5 talents. They will refer to these talent themes during Welcome Week and throughout their first year at the U.  For more details on what your student can do to prepare for his or her arrival on campus, encourage your student to review the New Student Checklist by logging into myu.umn.edu.

Using Strengths at the U of M

Last fall was the first time that an entire entering class of students was asked to take the StrengthsFinder assessment, and this year's class continues that opportunity. StrengthsFinder focuses on and measures the 34 themes found to be most prevalent in individuals considered to be the "best of the best." The online assessment identifies an individual's top five talents, and the StrengthQuest program provides resources for setting goals that put those talents into meaningful action. The U of M uses a Strengths approach on campus to enhance student engagement and well-being, which leads to improvements in student retention, graduation, and life success. 

In addition to being given to students in the Classes of 2015 and 2016, the assessment is also used in many areas on campus, including residence halls, career and academic counseling, student employment positions, classroom experiences, and student organizations and leadership development. Upperclassmen can talk to their adviser about taking the assessment. 

Parents whose students have taken the StrengthsFinder assessment can help their son or daughter by talking to them about the results. Ask your student such questions as: "What one strength do you think best describes you? Why?" or "What about your StrengthsFinder results surprised you?" Parents are often in the best position to provide examples of how their student puts their strengths into action. Talk to your students about how you have seen them exhibit their strengths. For more information about StrengthsFinder, please visit the U of M's strengths website.

Miscellaneous

Here's something to do with your student: University staff, students, and faculty now have access to the Paley Center for Media, iCollection!

The iCollection provides access to over 18,000 digitized, streaming television and radio programs and commercials curated from the Paley Center's archive of over 140,000 titles spanning several decades to present. The collection spans nearly 100 years and documents much of modern life, featuring many of the past century's world leaders, artists, performers, writers, and philosophers. Examples include an inā€depth interview with Dr. Martin Luther King on David Susskind's Open Mind; Jackie Gleason's first Honeymooners sketch for the DuMont series Cavalcade of Stars; radio coverage of Don Larsen's Perfect game in the 1956 World Series; and much, much more. This is a collection that is restricted to the U of M community, which means it's available to your student but not to parents. You will need to watch with your student. 

Please take a minute to respond to our Parent Question of the Month! Last month we asked "If your student expressed an interest in joining a fraternity or sorority, would you be supportive? Why or why not?" The No. 1 answer was yes, because of networking and career opportunities available through fraternity/sorority relationships (18%). The No. 2 answer was no, because of concerns about hazing (16%). For the full report of responses, see the Question of the Month results; for more information about fraternities and sororities at the U of M see begreek.org and Frequently Asked Questions about fraternities and sororities on the University Parent website. 

What's happening on campus today? Here is the Northrop Mall webcam.