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Parent Email–January 21, 2014

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

January 21, 2014

Inside This Issue

  • Message from the President
  • Safety Update
  • Crime Alerts and Public Safety Updates
  • Scholarship Search
  • Honorary Societies
  • Spring Activities Fair
  • Peace Corps Information Session
  • Dining Options for Off-Campus Students
  • Housing for 2014-2015
  • Parent/Student Community Service
  • New Year's Resolutions
  • Miscellaneous

Students are back! It's a very cold day—see how students dress for winter weather by viewing the Northrop Mall webcam provided by the College of Science & Engineering.

As we begin the second semester, a number of parents will want to be removed from the University Parent listserv. To be removed, please do not send a reply to the listserv. For security purposes, we do not open or respond to messages sent to the listserv. The concern is that messages sent to the listserv may inadvertently be sent to the entire list, jeopardizing student and parent privacy. Send removal requests to

Message from the President

Dear Parents,
The return of our students to campus truly warms my heart and even our Minnesota winter! I just love seeing and feeling the students’ energy and enthusiasm, and I thrive on it. I want you to know that during the winter break University leaders have been aggressively focused on many initiatives to promote safety on and around our Twin Cities campus. As the new semester begins, campus safety is a top priority and I assure you we are strategically and vigilantly confronting this challenge. Here’s the message I sent today to all students, faculty and staff. As always, thank you for sharing your student with us.

Happy New Year!

Crime Alerts and Public Safety Updates

Faculty, staff, and students on the Twin Cities campus automatically receive emailed Crime Alerts and Public Safety Updates. Individuals who do not fit within those categories but would like to receive these emails may subscribe to updates.

Support for Students

We all recognize that student safety has been a significant issue this year, and as we welcome students back for spring semester, we are sobered by two tragedies that took place over winter break, one near Rochester, MN, and another in Chicago. Many students are likely to be affected by these losses. Counselors and support will be made available to friends and classmates of these students. In some cases, hearing about these tragedies may affect even students who did not know the victims, but who have experienced losses in the past. If you believe your student could benefit from assistance, please refer her or him to University Counseling & Consulting Services. Additional information is available on the University's mental health website.

Scholarship Search

The University's Undergraduate Scholarship Search program matches University scholarships with a student's profile to provide an individualized list of scholarships.  For scholarship information, One Stop offers a scholarship webpage.

Students planning to study abroad are encouraged to look for learning abroad scholarships. A one-page chart summarizes scholarship eligibility, award amounts, and deadlines.

Honorary Societies

Students who earned good grades for fall semester may find they are receiving invitations to join honorary societies. Some of those societies will mention a membership fee. Before joining any student organization or group, we recommend that students consider why they want to join, how they will participate, and what the benefits of membership might be. A discussion of this topic is posted on our list of Frequently Asked Questions: Academics.

Spring Activities Fair

On Tuesday, February 4, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the 2014 Spring Activities Fair will showcase the many student involvement opportunities available on campus. The event, which will be in the Great Hall of Coffman Memorial Union, is free and all students are welcome to attend.

Peace Corps Information Session

Students considering the Peace Corps after graduation are encouraged to attend an information session from 5 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, January 29, in 214 Heller Hall. The session will describe volunteer experiences, address questions, and provide tips for the application process. For more information about the Peace Corps, the Learning Abroad Center has developed a Peace Corps webpage.

Dining Options for Off-Campus Students

Many students who live in apartments or commute to campus from a distance come to the conclusion that meal preparation or eating every meal alone are not their best options. Around this time of year, they might decide that a Commuter Meal Plan would be a good idea. With a five-meal-per-week plan through University Dining Services, students can eat five times a week at a residential dining center and be assured of getting all the food they want with all the nutritional options they need. The Five-Meal Plan is $738 for a full semester, which includes $50 in FlexDine (with the cost adjusted for students who sign up after the beginning of the semester). Students can also choose a 25-meals-per-semester plan.  Information on meal plans is available online.

Housing for 2014-2015

Students living in residence halls or on-campus apartments soon will receive information on how to reapply for campus housing for the 2014-2015 academic year. Room reapplication will be done online, and students will be given instructions on the process. Renters Workshops will be provided in residence halls in late January and February, with the first program on January 27.

Parent/Student Community Service

On March 16, the Minnesota Parents Association Vision Team will be heading to Guatemala for one week with the nonprofit organization Common Hope. Members of the team will be traveling with suitcases full of supplies, including all the items you donated during the Parents Weekend school supply drive in October. While in Guatemala, the team will support Common Hope's vision of improving the lives of Guatemalan families through education, health care, and housing. Activities will include building a home, working in classrooms with students and teachers, and accompanying a social worker on a home visit.

In preparation for the trip, the team is raising money for Common Hope's children's fund, which provides immediate and continuous service to children who do not yet have permanent sponsors. Please visit the U of M team's Razoo site to learn more about their efforts and to help spread the word. The team is also planning some fundraising events around campus; watch future emails for details.

New Year's Resolutions

Students who set goals of improving their academic achievement this semester have plenty of support on campus. The SMART Learning Commons offers free walk-in tutoring for more than 200 undergraduate courses; support and use of media production software, equipment and facilities; films available for checkout; help writing research papers; group learning sessions for select courses' and exam preparation resources.

Help with writing skills is available through a Student Writing Support consultant, who can help students brainstorm, plan, draft, and revise.

Students can also find help—both in-person and online—on the University Counseling & Consulting Services website focusing on Student Academic Success.


Students can rent lockers on campus by the semester or use a coin-operated locker on a short-term basis.

A quick reminder that the first billing for spring semester will be sent to students this coming weekend. Details on paying tuition, fees, room and board, and other university expenses is available on the One Stop website.

Please respond to this month's Parent Question.