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Parent Email–August 27, 2012

  • Move-In Events for Parents
  • New Student Convocation: You Can Watch!
  • Parents Weekend 2012: Registration Deadline Is September 10
  • Off-Campus Housing
  • Safety Messages
  • Health and Dental
  • Miscellaneous

We are asking a favor of all parents who are Facebook users: Please "like" our Parents Weekend 2012 photo. The University Bookstore has announced a photo contest for National College Colors Day, and several members of our Parents Weekend student staff posed for a photo this morning. Link to the Bookstore Facebook site, scroll down to find "Parents Weekend 2012," and "like" our picture. Last fall, we won a $50 Bookstore prize in this contest, and the gift card became one of the giveaways for Parents Weekend. We would love to do the same this year. And you can also post your own photo to Celebrate Maroon and Gold if you'd prefer to compete with us for the prize.

While you're at it, if you have not joined the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page, please do. We would really, really like to have 2,013 Facebookers "like" us by January 1, 2013.

Move-In Events for Parents

Parents who are moving their students into the residence halls this week are urged to come to our Parents Move-In Events. We need you there. We have a lot of University volunteers who have offered to help staff the receptions, and they are looking forward to meeting parents and other family members, so we want to be sure they have plenty of people to talk to. You will learn more than you ever imagined from these staff members. We'll also have some light refreshments for you.

As further incentive, we just received two very impressive Care Packages from Gopher Express, and we will be raffling them off to Move-In Event attendees. Sign up for the raffle at any of the receptions by providing your student's name and residence hall room number, and we will draw winners at the end of the Wednesday reception. We will deliver the Care Packages to the two winners, in their parents' names.

And since we're going to hold a raffle anyway, we will also draw names for three Bookstore gift certificates at $20 each. Your chances of winning are excellent.

Here are the times and locations for the move-in receptions:

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

New Student Convocation: You Can Watch!

New Student Convocation is the University of Minnesota’s official welcome to the Class of 2016. Convocation is a celebration of University tradition and the spirit of academic excellence and community. All first-year students will attend, and faculty and administrators will be dressed in their academic robes. If you would like to view the Convocation program, go online at 9:45 a.m., Thursday, August 30. You can check in advance to ensure that your computer will support the live streaming video of the Convocation program. Just go to the above link at any time and click on any of the University videos currently playing. If you are able to view the current videos, you will be able to view the Convocation program. New link for Convocation program.

Parents Weekend 2012: Registration Deadline Is September 10

Register online or mail in your registration to beat the September 10 Parents Weekend deadline. The events begin Friday, September 28, and continue through Sunday, September 30. Friday activities focus on academics and college programs; Saturday is about campus life and activities; Sunday connects you with the community. If you play it right, you won't go home empty-handed--the Parents Weekend Carnival will include chances to win dozens of prizes from the University Bookstore, Days Inn Hotel, CorePower Yoga, Punch Pizza, and many more.

Off-Campus Housing

Moving into a first apartment is exciting and fun, but it also means new responsibilities. Students will be living next door to or near families and working adults, and it's important that they recognize the impact they can have on their neighborhood. A good first step is to introduce themselves to near neighbors and learn who lives next door. Good relationships, started early, reduce problems and complaints later on.

Personal safety is a greater concern when students are living off campus. Students should consider the best lit and most populated routes to and from campus, in case they are walking home late at night. Locks on doors and windows should be checked to ensure they are secure. Leaving bikes unsecured outdoors is an invitation to theft, and students should never leave valuables in their car.

As you're thinking of things your student will need for an apartment, please put "fire extinguisher" on the shopping list. When your student moves in, ask him or her to check for working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Maybe most important, students should talk about fire safety with their roommates and identify at least two exits from every room in their new home. They also should identify a meeting place a safe distance from the building in case of emergency. And a note: among the most significant factors in fires near college campuses are alcohol use, along with smoking on sofas or stuffed chairs on porches. Students smoking on the porch and dropping hot ashes on cushions can lead to smoldering burns that ignite later, when students are sleeping. More information about campus fire safety is posted online.

Safety Messages

The University of Minnesota works hard to keep students safe. The entire infrastructure of campus--including our grounds, parking structures, classrooms, and walkways--is designed for safety. We have many safety resources and staff, and we deliver safety messages in various formats throughout the year. As you can imagine, however, students don't always heed the messages of the University, discounting them as "institutional."  It helps if they hear similar messages, not only from multiple offices at the University, but also from their families and friends. We would appreciate your help in reinforcing our messages.

A critical message, and where parents might be among the best monitors, is our recommendation that students should avoid talking on a cell phone (or listening to music) while walking...especially while walking alone. It's not unusual for a student who is walking home in the evening to use that time to call parents. If you learn that your student is talking to you while crossing campus or walking in a nearby neighborhood, please remind them to pay attention to their surroundings and call you when they get home. As one student suggested to the police, "It would be important to point out to students that talking on a cell phone makes you less aware of your surroundings and can attract the wrong kind of attention."

You can also remind your student that he or she does not ever need to walk alone. The Security Monitor escort service is available on campus and in the nearby neighborhoods at any time, any day, and at no charge.

Health and Dental

U of M students can purchase dental coverage through Boynton Health Service's Voluntary Student Dental Plan for less than a dollar a day. Preventive care services are covered at 100 percent. The deadline for enrollment in the dental plan is September 17.

Students also can purchase health care coverage through the University. All students are required to have health care coverage. Those who have health insurance through a family plan, an employer, or who are self-insured can waive University health care if they apply for the waiver by September 17.

Miscellaneous

There are several items in this email that seem to promote competition--photo contests, drawings, beating registration deadlines--but the University of Minnesota is really a very supportive environment with plenty of resources available to help all of our students. Please check out the Parent Program website to learn more about those resources.

While you're there, be sure to respond to our August Parent Question of the Month.

Finally, take a look at the increasing activity this week on Northrop Mall. We are getting more excited by the hour about students moving back to campus and the start of classes!