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Parent Email–April 19, 2013

University Parent

April 19, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Message from President Kaler
  • Parent Input Requested on Dining Services
  • Spring Jam
  • Summer School Housing
  • Information for Student Entrepreneurs
  • Note to Parents of Incoming Students
  • Note to Parents of Soon-to-Be Graduates
  • End of the Semester
  • Miscellaneous

The events occurring in Boston are on the minds of students, staff, and faculty, and the topic is being discussed in appropriate classes. News events like those that have happened this week sometimes bring up memories of past traumas or experiences that can affect a student emotionally. Those who have close friends or family members near Boston are likely to be deeply concerned. If you have a sense that your son or daughter is significantly troubled by these news reports, please encourage him or her to visit University Counseling & Consulting Services (UCCS). Although demand for counseling services is typically high at this time of year, UCCS provides walk-in appointments.

Message from President Kaler

Earlier this week, President Kaler sent an email to students with information about mental health resources on campus. We thought parents would also be interested in the message.

We know that parents are often the gatekeepers when it comes to student mental health. We want you to know the resources available to your student, and we sincerely hope you will feel comfortable talking with your student about any changes you may notice in behavior or outlook. The University's webpage on mental health includes information for parents.

Parent Input Requested on Dining Services

University Dining Services at the University of Minnesota is surveying parents of enrolled students regarding current on-campus dining services and meal plans. They would like feedback from all parents, whether or not your student lives on campus. The information you provide will be used in strategic planning. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. There will be a drawing for $25 FlexDine value as a grand prize for participating in the survey. FlexDine can be used for dining options on campus, for you or for your student.

You can take the survey and enter the drawing at

Spring Jam

The University's spring semester celebration, Spring Jam, takes place over three days, April 25-27. The event includes philanthropic activities as well as a wide range of music, dance, visual arts, and competitions. Students are receiving messages notifying them that the Minneapolis Police and University of Minnesota Police will have additional patrols during Spring Jam. In the past, spring celebrations on our campus and at other colleges and universities have occasionally resulted in heavy drinking and disruptive behaviors. We ask parents to remind their students that the University has zero tolerance for illegal activities or property damage. The University's Student Conduct Code, as well as city ordinances, apply to students on and off campus, and the Conduct Code specifically prohibits destructive behavior in connection with a University event.

Summer School Housing

Students who need a place to live this summer can apply for housing at Comstock Hall from May 25 to August 23 and at University Village, Wilkins, and Yudof halls from June 15 to August 9. Application information is available at the Housing website.

Information for Student Entrepreneurs

Students who want to put their great ideas to work are invited to attend the Start Me Up! program, 4 to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, at 145 Blegen Hall. The program will include information about patents, intellectual property, and starting a business. The event is sponsored by University Student Legal Service.

Note to Parents of Incoming Students

We are noticing that parents of next fall's incoming students are now signing up for the University Parent listserv. Welcome! As you read through our parent messages, you will notice that this listserv is addressed to all parents, not just those who have first-year students. We do this intentionally and for several reasons:

  1. Many of our incoming students have taken post-secondary coursework, and their parents need at least some of the information that affects upperclassmen;
  2. Students who have attended the University for a year or longer frequently need to step back and rethink issues or processes from the typical first-year experience;
  3. It's helpful for parents of first-year students to know what is normal and what to expect as their student progresses year by year through the University;
  4. It's sometimes refreshing for parents of upperclassmen to reflect on what their students have experienced and see how they have changed and matured over time;
  5. The majority of information we provide is useful for parents whose students are at all levels.

Notes to Parents of Soon-to-Be Graduates

Congratulations to graduating seniors and their families! Each college within the University holds its own commencement ceremony. Commencement dates/times/locations are listed on the Events calendar. For ticket information, or further details, please have your student contact his/her college's student services office.

A reminder: U of M President Eric Kaler and Mrs. Karen Kaler are inviting graduating seniors and their families to an undergraduate reception from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 5, at Eastcliff, the home of U of M presidents. Graduating seniors will receive an invitation, and RSVPs are requested by April 29.

We recommend that parents stay on the University Parent listserv until at least a few weeks after graduation. If there should be any changes to graduation ceremonies or any campus emergencies, we will address them through the listserv. (Your student, of course, will hear directly about these kinds of situations.) There also may be some messages for parents of graduates that come through shortly after the end of the semester. When you are ready to leave the listserv, please send your email address with a heading or message saying "remove" to We do not connect parent email addresses with students, so we don't know when your student is graduating. You will need to let us know.

As a special favor, we would GREATLY appreciate if you could tell us in that removal message how long it took your student to graduate. If your student has a job or internship, is headed to graduate school, or is still seeking employment, we would like to hear that as well. We appreciate knowing what's next for our graduates.

A suggestion: By now, every senior has been asked many, many times, "What will you do after you graduate?" We're going to ask that you spread the word to family, friends and well-meaning neighbors to please try to avoid that wording. We've found that students respond more favorably to questions like, "Will you be staying in the Twin Cities this summer?" or "What's the job market for graduates with your major?"  If they have a job, internship, or travel plans lined up, they will tell you. For students who don't have firm plans, it's much easier for them to respond—and it feels less like failure—when they can couch their reply in relation to their living situation or the job market.

It's actually true that the living situation and employment market are legitimate reasons for not yet having a job, and it's true that the summer after graduation is a good time to work on the job search. Right now, seniors are heavily involved with writing final papers, handing over leadership responsibilities in student groups, and just plain studying. Those who have an apartment lease that runs through the summer may be obligated to stay for the next several months and can't yet accept work somewhere else. And while a job in a coffee shop or painting houses may not be the optimal work situation for a college graduate, the flexibility of part-time or service jobs can be helpful when scheduling interviews. Jobs open up throughout the year, and the right opportunity may not present itself until July or August.

In the meantime, students can get assistance and support by visiting the career center affiliated with their college within the University.

End of the Semester

As the end of the semester approaches, most students will be feeling exceptional stress. A few suggestions for parents:

  • Care packages help! Students appreciate that their family understands that finals can take their toll. Cards, packages, and encouraging text messages help students know that their family is thinking of them and that you value the effort they are putting into their education. Gopher Express has a number of options for care packages if you don't have time to make up your own. Note: if you ever sent your student a care package during exams in the past, she or he may expect one this time. For college students, traditions are any good things that happened at least once.
  • Students who live in on-campus housing will be receiving information from their hall directors with instructions for move-out. The messages include announcements about quiet hours during final exams, room cleaning instructions for move-out, and instructions for checking out of the halls when students leave after finals. Information about residence hall move-out is posted on our Spring Update page; scroll down to "On-Campus Housing Move-out."
  • Please note that because students move out of the residence halls over a period of about 10 days, parking restrictions are not lifted near the halls during move-out. Leaving your car in a no-parking area or failing to feed a parking meter may result in a ticket and fine.
  • When students go home for the summer, the whole family undergoes a transition. For the student, it's an identity issue: they are now full-fledged college students, but they are not IN college for the next few months. We have some suggestions for parents about summer re-entry.


Each month, we post a question on our University Parent website. We use the information to help us better understand parents and students and to guide our parent/family communications and programming. Please respond to our April Question of the Month.

Is the snow melting? Has the sun come out? What's happening today on Northrop Mall? You can find the answers to these questions at the College of Science & Engineering's webcam.