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Parent Email–December 10, 2013

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

December 10, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Message from President Kaler
  • Snow Emergencies
  • Campus Bus Route Changes
  • Exam Preparations
  • Finals Care Packages
  • CFANS Tree Sale
  • Gopher Football at Texas Bowl
  • Extreme Makeover: Major Edition!
  • Miscellaneous

It's been a very cold week here in Minnesota, with windchill temperatures well below zero. Check the Northrop Mall webcam to see how students bundle up to stay warm. You also might notice that they walk a little bit more quickly as they rush to get inside.

Message from President Kaler

Tuesday morning, Minnesota Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Terri Bonoff conducted a hearing about public safety on all Twin Cities college campuses, including ours. I'm encouraged that policymakers are focusing on this troubling issue, which has become my Number One priority. I'm the father of two sons who, just a few years ago, lived on and near their own college campuses. So, I completely understand and share your concern and that of your students about safety. We’re working hard every day to ensure a safe and secure campus.

As 2013 comes to a close, let’s take time to remember all of our students’ and faculty’s successes.

Thank you for sharing your students with us. Have a wonderful New Year!

Snow Emergencies

Both St. Paul and Minneapolis have seen their first snow emergencies of the season. If your student parks on the street of either city, make sure they sign up for email and text notifications of snow emergencies to avoid being ticketed or towed. Students can sign up for notifications and find more information online for Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Campus Bus Route Changes

As of Monday, December 9, campus buses returned to to Washington Avenue after a two and half year re-route due to the construction of the Green Line LRT. Both east-bound and west-bound bus stops will be located at Coffman Union and Oak Street. Buses will not stop at LRT stations. All changes to the Campus Connector and East Bank Circulator routes can be found on the Parking and Transportation website. You can also see the new East Bank campus bus map for new bus routes and stops. Washington Avenue will remain closed to general traffic between Pleasant Street and Walnut Street; only transit buses, emergency vehicles, bicycles, and eventually trains will be permitted on Washington Avenue. Students who use Metro Transit should also be aware of changes around campus.

Exam Preparation

Final exams for Fall Semester begin December 13 and continue through December 19. One day, December 12, is set aside as a study day between the end of fall classes and the beginning of exams. Students are feeling the pressure, and they have received information about the kinds of help available to them. These include the following:

  • Review Workshops: For students in 1000-level math and chemistry classes, Review Workshops will be offered Wednesday, December 11 and Thursday, December 12.
  • Occupy the Libraries: The libraries have extended library hours throughout finals week. Walter and Biomed (east bank) are open 24 hours through December 19, Wilson (west bank) is open 24 hours, December 12-19, and Magrath (St. Paul) is open until 2 a.m. The libraries will be hosting animal therapy, cartoons, chair massages, crafts, brain-boosting games, and holiday treats.
  •  Study spaces: Students who find it difficult to study in the residence halls or in their apartments can find plenty of study spaces throughout campus. In addition to the many libraries, General Purpose Study spaces (GPS) are available in buildings on the West Bank, East Bank, and St. Paul campuses.

Finals Care Packages

Apparently, it is all but impossible to study for finals without having snacks close at hand. Students tend to prefer food they can eat with one hand so they can continue to use the laptop keyboard while they munch; and fruit generally is too messy. Caffeine is essential, whether in cold liquid, hot liquid, or straight bean form.

Gopher Express can help your student with their study snack needs with Gopher Care Packages. There is even a care package specific to this time of year—the Finals Finale Care Package. Additional Care Packages are available as well.

CFANS Tree Sale

The Forestry Club in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Sciences (CFANS) has Christmas trees for sale at the Les Bolstad Golf Course near the St. Paul campus from now until sold out. CFANS also offers cheese, meat, and honey for sale. The honey sale, sponsored by Frenatae, the Entomology Graduate Student  Association, includes sales of beeswax candles, calendars, cards, and scarves created with insect dye. See the CFANS website for details on the tree sale and other options.

Gopher Football at Texas Bowl

The University of Minnesota will play Syracuse in the 2013 Texas Bowl on December 27 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. (CST) kickoff and will be televised nationally by ESPN. Fans wishing to cheer on the Gophers in Houston are encouraged to visit Minnesota's Bowl Central page on the Gopher Sports website for ticket information.

Extreme Makeover: Major Edition!

Students have plenty to think about right now, with exams, winter break, and holidays coming up, but it's rather common during the time off between semesters for students to fret about their major. In some cases, they will be considering that their grades indicate they need a new option. For other students, fall semester might have inspired new possibilities or provided evidence that their original major choice is just not what they want to do.

If you learn that your student is thinking about changing majors, or if he or she has not been able to decide on a major, a day-long workshop on Friday, January 10, might be precisely what's needed. The program will include exploration of personal interests, values, and strengths; discussion with advisers and other students about possible U of M majors and careers; and introduction to tools and resources that can help students narrow the options. The cost of the day-long program is $15, which includes lunch, event materials, and the opportunity to take the Strong Interest Inventory and a StrengthsQuest assessment.

Students can register online


Please see the Timely Issues for December for a sort of checklist on what students are facing this month.

In November we asked you, "How much do you contribute or are you willing to contribute to your student's off-campus housing costs?" Parents responded:

  • I would not contribute (8%)
  • Less than $500 (25%)
  • $500-$599 (21%)
  • $600-$699 (9%) $700-$799 (5%)
  • $800 or more (11%) My student live on campus or at home (21%) 

Please take a moment to answer the December Question of the Month.

We at the Parent Program wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a wonderful winter break!