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Parent Email–July 16, 2014

Office for Student Affairs

July 16, 2014

Inside This Issue

  • Parents of First-Year Students
  • Parents of Commuters
  • Boynton Closed July 30–August 4
  • Major Network
  • Fall 2014 UPass
  • Fall Student Contract Parking Lottery
  • Social Media for Parents
  • Minnesota Parents Association
  • Miscellaneous

Lots of things are going on at the University this summer. Classes continue on a summer schedule, and sometimes instructors even take the classroom outdoors—that rarely happens in winter. Farmers Market stalls are set up on Church Street every Wednesday from now into fall semester, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The light rail is now running through campus, which brings more of a "big city" feel than ever before—with some 200 trains passing through every day. Safety is a priority! First-year students and their parents have been on campus for orientation, adding a sense of excitement and energy. And we've been watching the Mississippi River rising and now going back to more normal levels after the early summer rains. Never a dull moment, even if you're just watching the river.

Parents of First-Year Students

At the end of July, students who will be living in residence halls will receive their room and roommate assignments. When they know the name of their roommate, students typically go online immediately to see what they can learn about this person they will be living with. Please encourage your student to avoid making judgments based on Facebook or other social media postings. Students tend to post information about the rare or extreme events in their lives, not the everyday activities. A former student provides advice for becoming acquainted with roommates.

Parents of Commuters

Please encourage your student to practice his/her route to campus more than once--and at different times of the day—before school starts. It's helpful to know how bus routes and traffic congestion might change at different times. It's also useful to have a Transportation Plan B, in case of unexpected situations. If your student plans to drive to campus, but the car won't start, what's the backup plan? If the bus doesn't come or if there's a problem with the light rail, what other routes might be nearby? The first days of Welcome Week or classes can feel stressful; avoiding any transportation surprises will make for an easier introduction to campus life. For more information about supporting your commuter student, see the Commuter Parent webpage.

Boynton Closed July 30-August 4

Both the East Bank and St. Paul Boynton Health Service buildings will close at noon Wednesday, July 30, for a health system upgrade that will improve patient services. The clinics will re-open at 10 a.m., Monday, August 4. To refill a prescription or schedule an appointment, visit Boynton's website.

Major Network

The Major Network is a University of Minnesota cross-college network that connects upper level students who are passionate about their majors, with students who are exploring different major options. Exploring students are paired with an upper level mentor in a low-key and time-commitment-friendly environment where students can receive a firsthand look at what it is like to be a student in a particular major. Exploring students and mentors collaborate to ask questions and share information about their major(s) of interest in a variety of ways:

  • Attending an upper division class together
  • Meeting for coffee or corresponding via email to ask and answer questions
  • Attending a meeting or event hosted by a related student group together

While pairing of students will not be done until September, students can sign up now.

Fall 2014 UPass

Sales of the University's Student UPass will open on Saturday, July 26. The UPass provides rides on all regular route city bus lines and the Light Rail. Information is available online.

Fall Student Contract Parking Lottery

Students who plan to park on campus during fall semester can enter the parking contract lottery for a chance to buy a guaranteed space in a specific campus location. The deadline for the lottery is July 22.

Social Media for Parents

Sign up for the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page for updates on campus life, photos of the University (and of Goldy Gopher), and fun facts about Minnesota. If you're a Pinterest fan, see the Parent Program's Pinterest page for Golden Gopher DIY ideas, student-friendly Golden Gopher Recipes, and plenty of other U of M pins.

Minnesota Parents Association

All parents of U of M students receive a print newsletter from the Parent Program three times a year and are encouraged to sign up for the email listserv and contact Parent Program staff with questions and concerns. Those who want additional information and opportunities can join the Minnesota Parents Association and receive a joint membership to the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. For details and information on benefits available with this joint membership, see the Minnesota Parents Association webpage.


The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus is now smoke- and tobacco-free.

Students who are still seeking off-campus housing for fall semester can find options on the off-campus housing website. Before students sign a lease, please encourage them to take the lease to University Student Legal Service. Because students pay a Student Services Fee, they may have their lease reviewed at no charge.

Families from out of town who need to book a hotel near campus can check our "Local Lodging" webpage for hotels that offer discounts to University parents. While we can't verify quality of accommodations, we list hotels that agree to provide a discount when parents identify themselves as parents of U of M students. There may be a limited number of rooms available at discount prices, which means hotels may not have discounted rooms on particularly busy weekends.

It's still a little early for students to secure an on-campus job for fall semester, but this is a good time to start becoming familiar with the student employment website. It is important for students to treat campus job applications as they would any other application—a well-written letter of application should express interest in the job and identify the qualifications the student has for the position. While there are many jobs available on campus, employers might receive dozens of applications for each position, and they will interview the students who stand out in the pool of applicants.

On our University Parent website, we ask parents to respond to a monthly online poll, which helps us better understand you, your student, and the issues that families face during the college years. Please check our Question of the Month for July.