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Parent Email–July 11, 2013

University Parent

July 11, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Room Assignments: The Social Media Perspective
  • Summer: Skill Development Season
  • Parents of Upperclassmen
  • Football Home Opener: Tickets for Parents
  • CFANS Study and Travel in Italy
  • Miscellaneous

Campus might be a bit quieter during the summer, but the quality of events and activities is as high as ever. The first on-campus Farmers Market of the season was yesterday, with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, including onions, peas, potatoes, greens, strawberries, blueberries, squash, radishes, and more. The market returns every Wednesday for the next three months on Church Street, and the selection of produce will expand as the season progresses. Meanwhile, the Northrop Summer Music Festival offers music on Northrop Mall on selected dates through the end of July. See the schedule and catch a concert on campus. If coming to campus this summer is not an option, be sure to check the Events Calendar when you are in the neighborhood.

Parents of First-Year Students

Many of your students—and you—have attended Orientation by this point, and many more of you will be coming soon. Our hope is always that orientation serves as a confirmation to the student that he or she has made the right college choice. If your student seems to have doubts after coming to campus and signing up for classes, please let us know. Your student can contact the Orientation & First-Year Programs office, his/her academic adviser, or feel free to send questions to If it's not a question we can answer directly, we'll find the right person to respond.

Room Assignments: The Social Media Perspective

At the end of this month, students who will be living in a residence hall will receive a housing assignment and the name of any roommate(s). Before they reach out to their roommates, many students will check Facebook or other social media sites to find out about this new person in their life. Sometimes parents are also going online and doing a search for the roommate.

Please remind your student that online information can be misleading, and what you think you're reading might not be an accurate portrayal of the person you're looking up. When people post information on Facebook or Twitter, they often choose photos that show them at their very best or their absolute worst. People rarely portray their everyday look or activities: the events they choose to write about may be the most out-of-character things they've ever done. And they should not be judged by the comments their "friends" make on their pages.

Now might be a good time for your student to take a look at her/his own social media pages to see if what's posted is what they really want new friends to see. The beginning of a new school year is a good time to make a fresh start, and cleaning up their social media image can set the stage for a new beginning.

One of our recent U of M graduates provides social media advice for new students. In addition, the Office for Student Affairs has developed a Users Guide for online communities.

Summer: Skill Development Season

Before students start college—or return to campus for another year—summer is a good time to practice the "life skills" that make a difference between success and failure. Students who don't know how to budget their finances, for example, are more likely to run up credit card debt or overspend their bank accounts. Research has shown that students with financial problems tend to also end up with academic problems--they worry or work more because of the debt they are facing, and their grades suffer.

Parents' expectations related to finance make a difference in student behaviors. Please talk to your student about who is paying for what expenses during college, what happens if a financial emergency arises (and specify what you consider a financial emergency, because it may not be what your student thinks), and what are the consequences of overspending.

Students who will be living in a first apartment should have basic skills in cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, and self-care. Invite your student to prove she or he is ready for an apartment by making meals, cleaning the bathroom, and doing minor repairs around the house. You will feel more confident in your student's ability to live independently, and your student will amaze the roommates.

Just in case there are any students out there saying their time will be completely filled with studying in the fall, and they can't possibly be expected to do their own laundry, please know that most U of M students do their own laundry. According to Parent Orientation Leader Monica, the laundry rooms in the residence halls are even social spots, where students meet new friends or study while their clothes are drying. Students living in the residence halls have access to free washers and dryers, and they can check online to see if machines are available. If Goldy Gopher can do laundry, so can your student.

Parents of Upperclassmen

Student and parent concerns change throughout the college/academic cycle, and what's most important can be affected by all kinds of factors, including the economy; changes in job prospects; social, psychological, and health issues; or transitions within the family. We're looking for input from the parents of sophomores, juniors, and seniors: we would like to know what you are seeing as the major issues your student is struggling with this summer or the biggest problem that he or she has solved in the past few months. For example, students may be struggling to select a major, or they may have finally made a decision on their major. Finding a summer job might not be working out. Maybe a relationship has ended, or perhaps they're celebrating because they received a grant to work on a much-desired research project. Please send your student's year in college and your student's greatest concern or success this summer--email to

Football Home Opener: Tickets for Parents

Gopher Parents are invited to attend the Home Opener for the 2013-14 football season. Purchase a ticket to the August 29th game vs. University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) for just $15 (a savings of 50%). Tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 16. (Note: That link will not work until July 16, and tickets are available at the $15 rate as long as supplies last.)

CFANS Study and Travel in Italy

Parents of U of M students can join a Global Learning Adventures tour to Italy, October 4-13, sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. From Cinque Terre to Chianti, participants will learn about organic winemaking, traditional farming methods, modern enology, and land management practices, while touring the spectacular Mediterranean coast. The itinerary includes visits to an olive grove, a Pecorino cheese producer in Tuscany, and a Chianina cattle farm. The tour will be led by Mike White, a Morse Alumni Distinguished Professor in CFANS and head of the Department of Animal Science. See the brochure for complete tour details.  The registration deadline is July 15.

We recommend that parents "try something different" when your student is in college. If you've been thinking of traveling abroad, this offers an opportunity to travel, learn, taste, and explore, all in the company of an award-winning U of M professor.


Students who are still seeking off-campus housing for fall semester can find options on the off-campus housing website. Before students sign a lease, please encourage them to take the lease to University Student Legal Service. Because students pay a Student Services Fee, they may have their lease reviewed at no charge.

Families from out of town who need to book a hotel near campus can check our "Local Lodging" webpage for hotels that offer discounts to University parents. While we can't verify quality of accommodations, we list hotels that agree to provide a discount when parents identify themselves as parents of U of M students. There may be a limited number of rooms available at discount prices, which means hotels may not have discounted rooms on particularly busy weekends.

On our University Parent website, we ask parents to respond to a monthly online poll, which helps us better understand you, your student, and the issues that families face during the college years. Please check our Question of the Month for July.