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Parent Email–November 27, 2013

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

November 27, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Campus Safety a Top Priority
  • Student Safety Tips
  • Adopt A Family Update
  • Weather Emergencies
  • Student Mental Health
  • CSE Illumination
  • Miscellaneous

Before the Thanksgiving break we wanted to update you with some current efforts to improve your student's safety on and around campus, to say thank you for your generosity, and provide some other timely information. Since Marjorie Savage is out of the office, I am sending this email. My name is Chelsea Petree and I am the Parent Program Assistant Director.

Campus Safety a Top Priority

University Services Vice President Pam Wheelock sent a message Monday to everyone on the Twin Cities campus detailing actions recently taken on campus safety. It remains the top priority for Wheelock's office and for President Kaler, as he's stated on many occasions recently.

The Minnesota Daily published an article about campus safety on November 26. This article addresses many questions that parents and students have regarding the recent spike in crime rates and how these rates compare over time and to other Minneapolis neighborhoods.

The Minnesota Student Association (MSA), the University's student government, is working closely with UMPD, University administration, and the city of Minneapolis to improve safety measures. They are seeking the help of students, and asking others to share the responsibility and pledge to keep our community safe. MSA received 1,000 signatures during the door-knock campaign last week. Your student can also sign the pledge to: 1) never walk home alone at night; 2) never let friends walk home alone at night; and 3) always be aware of surroundings and never be an easy target.

In sending out this safety information, we realize you might have specific questions. While we will be monitoring the Parent email account for emergencies, please understand that due to the holiday, we may not be able to respond to your individual questions until Monday, December 2. Thank you for understanding.

Student Safety Tips

As UMPD and administrators work with the Minneapolis Police Department to develop new safety strategies, it is important that students do their part to keep our community safe. Reinforcing safety messages through conversations with your students helps to keep your student's experience at the University of Minnesota as safe as possible.The University of Minnesota Police Department asks students to remember the following:

  • Walking with someone is the easiest way to ensure your safety late at night and on the weekends. If you can’t find someone to walk with, call the Campus Escort Service at 612-624-WALK for a free security escort, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, call the Gopher Chauffeur at 612-388-6911 for free transportation to and from area destinations.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. When you are distracted you make an easier target.
  • When threatened with a weapon, it's best not to resist. Your personal safety is more important than a lost wallet or cell phone.
  • Carry minimal amounts of valuables.
  • Keep written records of valuables, including model and serial numbers, in a safe place.
  • Call 911 immediately if you are the victim or witness to a crime.
  • Document information about the suspect for police (i.e., clothing descriptions, facial features, piercings or tattoos, speech, etc.).

Visit our webpage for a comprehensive list of Campus Safety and Security Tips.

Adopt-a-Family Update

In our last email newsletter, we asked parents to consider adopting a student-parent family for the holidays. These are the families of U of M students who have children and who are working to complete a college degree while raising a family of their own. All families in the adopt-a-family program are in financial need, as determined by their FAFSA applications.

We are delighted and amazed to report that all 93 families have been adopted. Great thanks to all who agreed to participate in this program! Because of your overwhelming generosity, 169 kids will have a happy holiday season. When the gifts are delivered to student-parents, students and staff alike share tears of gratitude and joy.

For those who may still wish to take part, we hope to give grocery gift cards to each family to help provide a holiday dinner. Please see the "Alternate Sponsorship" information on the Adopt-A-Family webpage or visit the Student-Parent HELP Center website for online donations. Those who have adopted a family: instructions for package delivery are on the same webpage. And again, thank you. Your contributions make an incredible difference to students who work hard at home, at school, and at jobs to provide a better life for their children.

Weather Emergencies

I have heard rumors of storms on the East Coast that may delay students heading that way for Thanksgiving. We know it would be a huge disappointment for students and family members if the student couldn't get home for Thanksgiving dinner. While we hope the weather does not prevent any student from traveling home for the holiday, we want you to know that the residence halls and on-campus apartments are always open during the Thanksgiving break. If students do get delayed or must stay in the Twin Cities due to weather, they can stay in their room/apartment at no cost. However, please note that campus restaurants are not open during the break; students can rely on off-campus dining options. Also, remind students to check their flight status before heading to the airport, as well as the importance of getting there early on a high-traffic travel date.

Student Mental Health: A Message from the Vice Provost

As we approach the end of the semester, students might begin to feel stressed about finals, planning for spring semester, and finding balance in their personal and academic lives. A variety of campus resources for helping reduce stress are available. Students recently received a message from Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita M. Brown Young encouraging them to utilize these resources if they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Additionally, students can take advantage of a Parent Program favorite and visit the therapy pets. On Thursday, December 5 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., University Counseling and Consulting Services is sponsoring therapy dogs in Coffman Union 303. Students can also head to Boynton Health Services every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. for Study PAWS.

CSE Illumination

Some of our College of Science and Engineering wizards have been busy for several months, planning a special wintertime show for the campus community. This year's show, which takes place on the Civil Engineering Building's plaza, is bigger and better than ever, featuring more than 100,000 LED lights set to music composed and performed by University of Minnesota students.The Winter Light Show will premiere at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 6. Following the premiere, shows will be presented multiple times until December 14. See the schedule here. The 15-minute light show is presented by the Tesla Works student group. The show is sponsored by CenterPoint Energy and the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. All events are free and open to the public.

Miscellaneous

Campus might be quiet this weekend, but you can still watch the College of Science & Engineering's webcam on Northrop Mall for first signs of snow drifts.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!