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Parent Email–August 21, 2012

  • Data Privacy
  • Before Students Move to Campus
  • Residence Hall Move-In
  • Impact of State Fair on Campus Traffic and Parking
  • Parent Volunteers Wanted
  • Security Suggestions
  • Health Insurance Coverage for Students
  • Parenting 1001
  • Parents of Juniors and Seniors
  • Miscellaneous

Two weeks from today is the first day of class! Lots of cleaning and polishing work is underway this week as we prepare campus for the start of the 2012-13 academic year. Not all of the University's major construction projects will be done before students arrive, but we will be ready to welcome, house, and teach them. Some of the Active Projects still underway may affect motor and foot traffic, and Central Corridor light rail construction means roadways and detours continue to be redirected on a frequent basis. Before coming to campus, please be sure to confirm your route by checking the Central Corridor webpage and linking to the weekly construction maps. If your student is moving into a residence hall or campus apartment, follow the instructions your student has received.

Data Privacy

There are several facets to data privacy for college students. In this email, we're going to talk about the kinds of student information that are considered "public data."

As a public institution, the University of Minnesota is required to maintain directory information about our students. That includes the following:

  • Name, address, phone number
  • U of MN e-mail address
  • Dates of enrollment
  • Enrollment status
  • College, major, adviser
  • Class (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Academic awards and honors
  • Degree received

Under state law, public information must be released upon request, which means that individuals or businesses can access directory information on a specific student, or they can ask for a mailing list of all students or students that fit within a certain category. For example, they could request the mailing address of all first-year students or all seniors. The University does not have the right to refuse to give out this information unless students specify that they want their directory information suppressed.

With that information, it is possible for a business to send a mailing to your student--or for that matter to you as "the parent of (your student's name)" to promote their product or service. They are not allowed to include the University of Minnesota wordmark or a University return address in their mailing, but it is possible that they will make their promotional pieces look very much like an official publication without using our registered marks.

Students can make a request to suppress their personal information, either by suppressing all information or identifying categories they don't want released. Some students choose to suppress their address and phone number, knowing they can provide that information to friends and classmates as needed. To suppress any directory information, they can go to the One Stop website and link to "Personal information" in the right-hand column.

Additional information about data privacy is available in a guide for parents, "The Parent Connection: Understanding Student Records Privacy."

Before Students Move to Campus

Every year, during the first few days after students move into residence halls and apartments, the Parent Program receives phone calls from parents saying, "I forgot to ask my student to write down her address. I want to send her a card (or cookies, or a gift--hint to parents: students actually love to get mail). How do I address it?" Please ask your student to write down the mailing address, which can be found on the student's Move In page, and it is printed in their Move In Guide.

Typically, the mailing address is

Student Name
Building Name and Room Number
Street Address,
City, State, Zip

The street address should always be included. Housing & Residential Life's General Information page includes links for all eleven residence halls and on-campus apartments with the street address for each building near the top of each page.

If your student is living off campus, please also be sure you have the mailing address.

In addition, we find that there are some predictable items that students tend to forget when they move to campus. While students don't really want their parents reminding them of everything little thing or double-checking their packing, you might mention that you understand that a lot of students forget items they typically keep beside their bed or in the bathroom. And it's amazing how many students forget their U of M ID card, probably because they haven't needed it all summer. The most-commonly-forgotten list:

  • U of M ID
  • Contact lens solution
  • Prescription glasses or sunglasses
  • Medications
  • Various chargers for electronics

Residence Hall Move-In

First-year students will be moving into the halls next week. When you move your student to campus, take some time to attend our Parents Move-In Receptions. We can answer your last-minute questions, offer you some light refreshments, and introduce you to helpful resources. Please come find us!

For parents moving students to campus Monday, August 27
7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with a presentation at 7:30
Territorial Hall TV Lounge

For parents moving students to campus morning or early afternoon, Tuesday, August 28
Noon to 3:00 p.m. with presentations at 12:30 and 2:00
Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union

For parents moving students to campus late afternoon or evening, Tuesday, August 28
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a presentation at 7:30
Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union

For parents moving students to campus Wednesday, August 29
Noon to 3:00 p.m. with a presentation at 2:00
Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union

A couple of tips to help the move run more smoothly: First, if you have a handcart (aka "dolly") that will fit into your car, bring it along. Although the residence halls have laundry carts available for hauling items from the car to the room, there can be a wait for the carts. Second--and this is information that comes from students themselves--don't try to turn the trip to school into a family vacation. Few students are good company for relatives or family friends when they are on their way to campus; most will not want to go for a long hike or sit through a baseball game; and rarely will students pose patiently in front of tourist attractions while all of their treasured belongings are smoldering in the back of a hot car. They really just want to get to the University and see how things are going to work out. The recommendation is to plan the quickest, shortest route to campus, then take time for sightseeing or family visits on your way home, or save them for a trip later in the year.

Impact of State Fair on Campus Traffic and Parking

The Minnesota State Fair is a Great State Fair, and the U of M is a big part of that greatness. We even have our own U of M Day at the Fair, Sunday, August 26. For those who are planning to be there on the 26th, be sure to schedule your visit around the daily parade at 2 p.m. to watch the U of M Marching Band.

As much as we love the Fair, it has an impact on campus parking. (In fact, if you're going to the Fair, you can park on the East Bank and take a shuttle to the fairgrounds.) If you need to come to campus between August 23 and September 3, please be aware of traffic congestion and parking restrictions, especially on the Saint Paul campus. Again, those who are moving students into residence halls or on-campus apartments during that time, follow the instructions on your student's move-in information.

Parent Volunteers Wanted

We posted this information in early July, but volunteers are still needed and we have a lot of new listserv subscribers since July. Over the past year, the Minnesota Parents Association has been working with the University's career services offices to develop mentoring opportunities for parents. Parents are now invited to network with and help prepare U of M students for their future careers.

If you would like to serve as a mentor, please register on the University of Minnesota Professional Networking database through GoldPASS. Mentors may be assigned to interact with students and alumni from the College of Biological Sciences, College of Education and Human Development, College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Science and Engineering. As a mentor, students and alumni may seek your advice and answers to their questions. Your career or professional background does not need to be within the boundaries of the colleges listed. Students in any of those colleges may benefit from your expertise or from your career preparation history, your networks, or simply your interest in their plans.

Mentors will have opportunities to:

  • Connect and engage with students in their career exploration. This may include informational interviewing, job shadowing, or other activities
  • Build awareness of your organization
  • Get involved on campus
  • Share your own career story

Register now at goldpass.umn.edu by clicking the 'Mentor' login button.

If you have questions, please contact a career services office at the U of M.

Security Suggestions

Whether students will be living in a residence hall, near campus in a house or apartment, or at home, there are a few suggestions related to security that we'd like to pass along. A task for parents: Check your homeowner's insurance to find out if your student's belongings are covered when they live in a residence hall or campus-area apartment. Some insurance policies cover those items, or a rider may be available through your homeowner's policy at low cost. Otherwise, you might want to obtain a renter's policy.

It's important to have a record of the serial numbers of valuable items, including computers and laptops, printers, bicycles, TVs, cell phones, iPads, digital cameras, and mp3 players. When items are replaced, record the new serial numbers.

Additional suggestions for campus safety and security are on the U of M Police Department website.

Health Insurance Coverage for Students

All U of M students are required to have health insurance. The University provides a health insurance plan, but students who are covered by their parent's health coverage or another approved insurance plan may waive the University coverage. The deadline for waiving the U of M health insurance coverage is September 17. Students who do not apply to waive coverage by the stated deadline, or cannot demonstrate that they have other eligible coverage, will automatically be enrolled in the plan for the semester, and non-refundable charges for the Student Health Benefit Plan will remain on their tuition bill. Steps for waiving the University plan are explained online.

Note: International students are only eligible to waive the Student Health Benefit Plan if enrolled in the University-sponsored Graduate Assistant Health Plan or a United States-based employer-sponsored group health plan.

Parenting 1001

The topic this week in the Parenting 1001 course is one that parents frequently name as a top concern: Career Planning. In this lesson, parents will learn how to support their student's career exploration. You will also be able to browse information about Strengths Quest and discuss different strategies for guiding your student in career planning.

Parenting 1001 is a free, non-credit course for parents of U of M Twin Cities students.

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: www.umn.edu/dirtools/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

Parents of Juniors and Seniors

The Josten's Junior-Senior Dinner during Parents Weekend is an evening dedicated to career building and is limited to juniors, seniors, and their parents. Dinner will be served in the Weisman Art Museum at 6 p.m., Friday, September 28. Following the meal, a panel presentation by campus and community professionals will present information on the Job Search in the 21st Century. Students and their parents will hear from career advisers and employers about career preparation, the skills and characteristics employers are looking for, and tips for networking and applying for jobs and graduate programs. The cost of the dinner is $18 per person. Parents attending just the Josten's Junior-Senior Dinner during Parents Weekend do not need to register for the full Parents Weekend, but each person attending the dinner, including your student, must be pre-registered and pay the $18 cost of the dinner. Attendance is limited.

Register by September 10; questions may be directed to pweekend@umn.edu.

Miscellaneous

We will post more information in the next few weeks about student voting processes, but for those students who want to make decisions now about where they will vote on November 6, refer your student to the Elections 101 link on this webpage. Students who are taking part in an international study program may reference either 1) www.fvap.gov/ or 2) www.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/home.htm.

We have developed a lot of information for parents and family members for our Parent Program webpage. Please take a few minutes to look through the site, and when you have questions, do a search on the Parent page. If you can't find what you're looking for, feel free to contact us.

On our webpage, there is a Parent Question of the Month. We appreciate and use your feedback to our questions, so please take a moment to respond to the August question. 

Northrop Mall may look rather quiet today, but if you check the Walter Library webcam tomorrow (Wednesday) between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., you will see a lot of activity for Employee Celebrate U Day. That's the day when those of us who work here take a bit of time to acknowledge our colleagues, learn a bit more about this amazing university, and take a long, deep breath before students return in full force. 

We really are excited to see students on campus for the start of the school year, and we welcome their families to the University community.