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Parent Email–November 4, 2013

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

November 4, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Housing Workshop Online
  • Study Paws
  • Libraries: More than Books
  • Veterans Appreciation Day
  • Strengths Workshops
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Investigate CSI
  • Planning for Spring Semester
  • Learning Abroad
  • Miscellaneous

Everyone seems to be walking a little slower and speaking a little softer today. It's November, and more than halfway through the semester. After the change from Daylight Savings Time, the sun is now setting before 5 p.m., and with this week's prediction of gray skies and rain/snow mix, students could use a bit of bright cheer. Please consider sending a photo, a care package, a note of encouragement, or a box of cookies. Here's your link to the Northrop Mall webcam.

Housing Workshop Online

The Housing Workshop offered during Parents Weekend presented a tremendous amount of information for students and parents about options for living on or off campus next year. We have posted the slides from the presentation online, along with a link to the University Student Legal Services' Renters Forum video, which provides details about what students should consider before signing a lease.

Students who currently live on campus will be receiving information about reapplying for on-campus living for the 2014-15 academic year. The room reapplication process is scheduled to begin in January; students who currently live in on-campus housing will have the opportunity to sign up for their preferred room, based on a priority queue. They can receive details about the process by talking to hall staff in their building. Students also will have multiple options during the next few months to attend workshops on living off campus. Please encourage your son or daughter to look for announcements about this information.

Also, please remind your student: Before signing a lease for an off-campus apartment or house, students should take the paperwork to University Student Legal Services to have the contract reviewed by an attorney or paralegal. By paying the student services fee, students receive a number of services from USLS at no charge.

Study Paws

Those who attended Parents Weekend may have met the Therapy Pet teams that were on hand. Through a program called Study Paws, the University is initiating a program to bring Therapy Pet teams to campus each week to draw attention to mental health issues on campus and to help students reduce stress. Student response to the animals is compelling. Since nearly two-thirds of U.S. households have pets, it is not surprising that students miss their pets and appreciate the therapeutic benefit of spending time with animals.

Bringing the teams to campus comes at a cost. Therapy pet teams must be trained for the campus setting to help the pets and their handlers become familiar with the University of Minnesota, address cultural diversity, learn therapeutic communication techniques, and attend to concerns specific to college students.

The University Parent Fund is seeking donations to support this project and is asking families to consider donating to support Pet Therapy on campus as part of Minnesota's Give to the MAX Day, November 14. You don't have to wait until November 14—donations received by the University Parent Fund from now through November 14 are credited to Give to the MAX Day.

Libraries: More than Books

Despite the wealth of information available online, libraries have not become obsolete. In fact, University Libraries provide a treasury of information and support, along with much-valued study space. Students who are trying to find tools for research and learning will find help on the Libraries website. Assistance on properly citing resources is available online. A web tool from the Libraries can help students plan the steps for timely completion of a complex assignment or project. Tutoring and academic assistance is available at the Libraries' SMART Learning Commons.

The Libraries are also a place to find opportunities for learning combined with entertainment. A current exhibit in the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine highlights the medical storyline of Downton Abbey: Behind the Scenes of Health and Illness. For a list of other exhibits currently offered at U of M Libraries, see the Exhibits website.

Veterans Appreciation Day

The 7th annual Student Veterans Appreciation Day will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., November 12, 2013, at Coffman Memorial Union. The event recognizes the contributions of University student veterans, military members, and their families to our country and will include a chili luncheon for guests. For more information, click here.

Strengths Workshops

Students can learn to apply their strengths to the job search during three Strengths & Career events that will take place during National Career Development Week (November 11-15): Employer Panel-Using Strengths on the Job, Major/Career Exploration workshop, and Job Searching workshops. A list of Strengths-related events are posted online; students should register for the events.

Nutrition Counseling

If we are what we eat, we need to know how to eat healthfully. Nutrition services are free to fees-paying students through Boynton Health Service. Registered dietitians can meet with students to discuss a variety of health and nutrition topics at both the East Bank and St. Paul clinics. For tips on how to select the right foods in the residence halls, weight loss suggestions, shopping for healthy foods on a limited budget, or meal planning for apartment dwellers, students can make an appointment with a Boynton nutritionist.

Investigate CSI

National TV stars David Berman and Jon Wellner are coming to the U of M to share the behind-the-scenes stories about the show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Berman and Wellner will use clips from the series to detail the process of how each episode is created, from the story's conception to the post-production process. They will discuss science vs. entertainment theory and the so-called "CSI effect."  The event is free (2 admitted per U of M student U Card) at 7:30 p.m., November 9, at the St. Paul Student Center, North Star Ballroom. Learn more...

Planning for Spring Semester

Registration for spring semester courses begins November 12. Students are assigned a registration time based on their class standing (semester/year in college). Students—especially first-year students—should make an appointment to talk with an academic adviser before registering for spring semester. Online tools help students understand and plan for registration and develop an academic path to graduation.

Learning Abroad

As students prepare for spring semester (and beyond), they also should be planning ahead for a learning abroad experience. In addition to working with their academic adviser to ensure that going abroad will support their on-time graduation, students should look at the online "First Step Module" for study abroad.

First-year students have options for special learning abroad opportunities designed especially for them. Freshman Seminars Abroad are taught on campus during spring semester 2014 with a short-term study abroad component over spring break. These seminars allow students to get to know a professor, meet other students, and gain an introduction to studying abroad. Students can enroll in one of six seminars: Design in Scotland & England; Discovery & Conflict in Italy: Galileo on Trial; Doing the Impossible in Dublin; Environmental Communication in England; Impressionism in Paris & Southern France; or Sport Culture in Italy. For more information, visit http://www.UMabroad.umn.edu/programs/fsa.php, and students are invited to contact Lindsey Lahr at lahr0039@umn.edu.

Parents wondering if they can participate in an international program are in luck. Students and parents...or just parents...or parents and other family members...can join the Minnesota Parents Association service learning trip to Guatemala during Spring Break 2014. Contact Chelsea at cpetree@umn.edu as soon as possible to ensure a spot on the team.

Miscellaneous

Each month we ask parents to respond to the Question of the Month on the University Parent webpage. Last month we asked how parents would respond if their student expressed an interest in Learning Abroad. More than two-thirds of respondents said they would be supportive of their student's interest in Learning Abroad; about 12% said their support would depend on the location their student selected; 9% said they would be supportive if the experience didn't interfere with a timely graduation; 7% said they could not afford it; and 2% said they would try to dissuade their student.

Parents with concerns about safety, cost, or timely graduation can find information for parents from the Learning Abroad Center that may answer your questions.

Please respond to November's Parent Question of the Month