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Parent Email–September 9, 2013

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

September 9, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Financial Update
  • Online Classes for Student Success
  • Getting Students Involved
  • International Service Learning Trip for Families
  • School Supply Drive for Parents Weekend
  • Learn and Earn: Upcoming UROP Deadline
  • UM-TCF Partnership: News Stories
  • Miscellaneous

The University community is deeply saddened by the death of a young woman who visited the Twin Cities campus Saturday and fell from a window on an upper floor of a residence hall. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with her friends and family. Residence hall staff members are working with students who have been affected by this tragic accident, and University Police are continuing to look into the circumstances surrounding this situation.

An accident such as this is heartbreaking as we begin the second week of classes. We are asking students to remember to be protective and caring of their friends and classmates. We know that parents will be concerned about their own student's well-being, and we encourage you to continue your family messages about safety and good decision-making.

For some students, this news may trigger memories and emotions from past tragedies, and they may be deeply affected even if they did not know the woman. If you have a sense that your student is responding strongly to this event, please encourage her or him to contact University Counseling & Consulting Services (UCCS). A student who is experiencing depression or feels unable to cope is encouraged to call or schedule an appointment online with UCCS or walk in and ask to see a counselor. These counseling services should not be considered a substitute for a situation requiring immediate intervention.

Financial Update

Students received an email over the weekend with their first billing statement. The first installment is due October 2. Information on billing, due dates, and payment methods is available on the One Stop website.

Online Classes for Student Success

Students can learn practical skills that contribute to success, while earning credit toward graduation. The University offers several online classes that promote financial, health, and wellness skills.

A one-credit, online class, Cash or Credit: You Need to Know (FSOS 1301) helps students weigh the impact of basic money management. Registration is through the University's registration system.

The University's Rothenberger Institute offers a series of classes on such topics as Alcohol and College Life; Sleep, Eat, and Exercise; Success Over Stress; and Sexuality Matters. Students can contact the Rothenberger Institute for information on getting started with these classes.

Getting Students Involved

When students are busy and engaged, they have less time to be homesick or bored. The University will host Activities Fairs that showcase the many student involvement opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. The fairs will be held September 11 at Coffman Memorial Union and September 17 at the St. Paul Student Center from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A Community Involvement Fair will give students a chance to learn about Twin Cities volunteer and internship opportunities. Students can talk to representatives from more than 90 local organizations to find a position that matches their major or interests.The Community Involvement Fair will be on Wednesday, September 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Great Hall of Coffman Union.

International Service Learning Trip for Families

You and your student, as well as other family members who are 16 or over, are invited to participate in a Service Learning Trip to Guatemala. The Minnesota Parents Association (MPA) is sponsoring our third international service learning trip to Guatemala during Spring Break, March 15-22, 2014. This program is a collaboration between the MPA, the University's Learning Abroad Center, and Common Hope, a nonprofit organization that supports families and education in Guatemala.

Participants will volunteer in a variety of activities based on the interests and skills of the team members, as well as on the needs of the local community. Opportunities include building a house for a family; working in medical clinics or a pharmacy; leading activities in schools, library, and daycare; and visiting families in their homes with a social worker. Participants not only help families in need, but also experience and celebrate many aspects of Guatemalan culture hidden to tourists.

Space for the Vision Team is limited, and the priority deadline is November 1. For more information, see the following:
What past participants have said about the experience
Photos from the 2012 Trip
Application information

If you have questions, please contact Chelsea Petree at cpetree@umn.edu or call 612-626-8770.

School Supply Drive for Parents Weekend

As part of this year's Parents Weekend, and as a tie-in to our Service Learning Trip, we will be sponsoring a School Supply Drive for Common Hope. (Parents Weekend is October 18-20.) Common Hope centers on the belief that education is the key to ending poverty, and their focus is on helping Guatemalan children receive an education. Your donations will be used in educational programming in Guatemala. Common Hope provides a list of suggested donations. We are especially looking for school and office supplies, which can include children's books in Spanish, pencils, pens, crayons, glue sticks, three-ring binders, paper, stickers, and backpacks. Hair accessories are also popular with children. Bring supplies to Parents Weekend check-in or to Appleby Hall 109 before Parents Weekend. You can also help by volunteering to help collect and sort donated items during Parents Weekend.

In addition, please remember that we will have a drawing for a U of M Mom or U of M Dad t-shirt, selecting a name from among those who are registered for Parents Weekend before 4 p.m., Monday, September 16. Register for Parents Weekend online. The registration deadline is October 1.

Learn and Earn: Upcoming UROP Deadline

The next deadline for students to apply for an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant of up to $1700 is October 7. This funding round is for spring semester 2014 projects. Visit the web: www.research.umn.edu/undergraduate. Students can find the answers to their questions as well as all forms and the links to submit an application.

UM-TCF Partnership: News Stories

Recently, national and Twin Cities area media outlets have reported on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities’ U Card relationship with TCF Bank. The U Card is the official University of Minnesota photo ID card, and it links to multiple student-related accounts (e.g., Gopher Gold Value, FlexDine, meal plans, and the Student Account), as well as provides access to the libraries, Rec Center, and other facilities on the Twin Cities campus. Students who choose to open a TCF Bank checking account may also elect to link the account to the U Card. While some universities across the country may have business arrangements that negatively affect students, the U of M’s relationship with TCF Bank is not among them. Our arrangement provides students convenience and abides by state and federal laws that protect student consumers.

Specifically, our agreement ensures:

  • Students have the choice of where to bank
  • Students’ best interests are protected
  • Aggressive marketing is prohibited
  • The program reinvests in students

We encourage you to take a look at the University’s statement to media, as well as an FAQ document for more information.

Miscellaneous

It's still early in the semester, but some students are already recognizing that they could benefit from academic assistance. The SMART Learning Commons provides free tutoring, workshops, and study skills support. Additional help is available in the University's Writing Center, University Counseling & Consulting Services, University Libraries, and, of course, from faculty. One Stop provides a guide to academic and support resources.

What's happening on campus today? Here's a view of Northrop Mall.

For occasional updates between Parent email messages, including photos and videos of campus life, be sure to "like" our University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page. Please respond to the Parent Question of the Month for September.