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Parent Email–November 13, 2013

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

November 13, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Campus Safety Message from President Kaler
  • Holiday Planning
  • Spring Semester Parking Lottery
  • Student Technology Peer Tutoring
  • Give to the MAX Day
  • Miscellaneous

In our efforts to keep you updated on the University's response to the robbery earlier this week on campus, we are ignoring our general policy of "no more than one parent email per week." We don't want to send so many messages that we overwhelm you, but we want you to see the message President Kaler sent to students yesterday afternoon, as well as the Public Safety Update that was sent this afternoon. And while we're at it, there are a few other bits of news we can share.

For a view of today on Northrop Mall, see the College of Science & Engineering's Walter Library webcam.

Campus Safety Message from President Kaler

Yesterday afternoon, students received a message from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler expressing his commitment to campus safety and defining both short-term and long-term steps to enhance safety and security at the University.  The president's message reminds students to sign up for the University's text alert system. Parents can be included on text messages sent to U of M students, but your student will need to sign you up. Students can add two cell phone numbers, in addition to their own number, by visiting this webpage: http://www1.umn.edu/prepared/txtu/. On that page, they can scroll down to "How do I add numbers to my Txt-U account?" and follow the instructions. Please talk to your student about adding your cell phone number to the system.

Today the University Police sent an update on the crime investigation. Future updates will be posted on the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page.

The Parent Program is compiling a report on the messages we received following the robbery earlier this week. We will pass along parent concerns to the President's Office, Vice President for University Services, University Police, Office for Student Affairs, and the Department of Emergency Management.

Holiday Planning

Parents look forward to having their college student home for Thanksgiving vacation or for the long December break, but the reality of holiday reunions frequently fails to match expectations. It is not easy to slip back into traditional family patterns when students have been gone for a few months. Our Holiday Suggestions webpage gives some tips for communication before students come home to help make the visit more pleasant and less stressful. We also include information for students to consider.

Classes are scheduled Monday through Wednesday during the week of Thanksgiving, including evening classes on Wednesday. Some instructors will cancel classes the day before Thanksgiving, but they are under no obligation to do so. Students can talk to their instructor in advance about the possibility of being excused, but they are responsible for any information, assignments, or tests delivered during their scheduled class times.

Students who live off campus and who are going home for Thanksgiving—and in December going home for winter break—are reminded to safeguard their apartments before leaving. They should close curtains, put lights on timers, move cars from the street, and be sure that valuables are put in a safe place. And double check that all doors are locked. Students can notify a trusted neighbor when they'll be leaving and returning and ask that any suspicious activity be reported.

It's also time for students to take note of snow emergency procedures for Minneapolis and St. Paul. Towing fees are expensive, and students are greatly inconvenienced if their cars are towed. Just because the weather has been decent so far this fall, students should not assume there will be no storms while they're gone.

Spring Semester Parking Lottery

Full-time student parking contracts are available each semester through an online lottery. Students may enter the lottery each semester, but entering does not guarantee a parking contract. Contracts are good for one semester only. Locations vary but always include spaces on each campus. Students can sign up for the lottery for Spring Semester 2013 now through midnight on November 24.

Student Technology Peer Tutoring

Students can receive individual peer tutoring to develop technical skills for completing course assignments in Excel, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and other programs. Tutors provide assistance free of charge in three Tech Stop locations: Coffman Union (East Bank), Blegen Hall (West Bank), and Coffey Hall (St. Paul Campus). For more information, see Student Technology Tutoring.

Give to the MAX Day: Supporting Study Paws

Tomorrow—Thursday, November 14—is Give to the MAX Day, and the Parent Program is seeking support for the University's Study Paws Project, bringing therapy pets to campus on Wednesday afternoons. Our hope is to provide a total of $7,000 to the project to ensure it will be in place throughout the academic year. Mental health, including depression, anxiety, and stress, is the primary public health issue on campuses throughout the country. Experiences at the U and other campuses have demonstrated the stress reduction potential of visits by trained pet therapy teams. The response of students when they see the therapy dogs, bunny, or Woodstock, the therapy chicken, is compelling. Please consider donating even a small amount  to the University Parent Fund on Give to the MAX Day to support this project.

Miscellaneous

With the development of high-end student apartments near campus, the cost of off-campus housing falls into an increasingly large range. Our November Parent Question of the Month raises the issue of how students and families are managing the cost of housing. Please give us your response.