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mac family quarterly newsletter

From the Dean of Students

jim hoppe

Those who came to Mac hoping to experience the charms of winter are not disappointed right now! The campus is at its snow-covered best, and a beautiful sight. Not to fear, our students quickly adapt to winter and don’t let it get in the way of life.

Campus is active and buzzing and our students are engaged and involved all over the Twin Cities. Macalester’s metropolitan location gives students many opportunities to connect with the surrounding community in unique and powerful ways. If you have a chance, encourage your student to think about how he or she is applying classroom experiences to the world around us. In the past school year, 301 students completed academic internships working with 200 community partners, sponsored through 23 different Macalester College departments. In addition, many more students are involved in short-term projects. We consistently hear from our students how important these opportunities are to their education. Planning ahead is crucial to creating a meaningful experience.

Soon enough the snow will melt and our thoughts will turn to the end of the year and even fall semester. If your student is returning to Macalester, this is a great time to discuss living arrangements for the 2010-11 year. Students are welcome to live off campus after their sophomore year, but they often underestimate the challenges of living on their own. The Residence Life staff offers renters’ education sessions to help students make informed choices about landlords and obligations. A five-block walk feels very different in April than in February—it might be good to check that out now!

Best wishes for a great spring term,

—Jim Hoppe

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john mountain

Finding Summer Employment

Advice from John Mountain, associate director, Career Development Center

With bad economic reports dominating the media, you may think that there are no jobs or internships to be found. While this is a difficult environment, there are things your student can do to increase his or her chances of finding an interesting—and paying—experience this summer.

Get Started—It seems so basic, but this is where many students stumble—the job search process seems daunting, so it is easier not to begin. We encourage students to break the process into small segments (e.g., prepare resume, review websites, read job boards, talk to faculty and interesting organizations, etc.). By moving forward in consistent increments, students can see the progress they have made, which is motivation to continue the effort.

Get Connected—The word “networking” strikes fear in many people, especially college students, but is the way most positions are filled. You can help your student make this process much easier by providing contacts you think might not only be helpful but also approachable. Once a student has a positive networking experience, it will get easier. The Career Development Center has an Alumni Directory that is a resource for students to find alums in their field(s) of interest.

Get Experience—There are many ways to do so. It might be an internship, full-time, part-time work, volunteer experience, or a combination. The main thing is to maximize whatever experience one gets. Many times there are opportunities for students to assume greater responsibilities than they were initially hired to perform. Encourage your student to look for additional ways to improve the organization. Even if their current role does not seem to fully test them, they can demonstrate their potential.

Meet with Career Development Staff—The Career Development Center can help in many ways. Our services include helping students with potential career exploration, connecting with alumni, resume/cover letter assistance, job search strategies, interview prep, grad school selection and applications. Please encourage your student to stop in to our office in Kagin Commons to get started.

Visit the Career Development Center»

Housing Information

Room Draw

Room draw dates are for the 2010-11 academic year are Thursday, March 25, for rising juniors and seniors, and Tuesday, March 30, for rising sophomores. Detailed information may be found at Call Residential Life at 651-696-6215 or e-mail if you have questions.

Spring Break

Spring Break (Saturday, March 13-Sunday, March 21) is fast approaching. Residence halls, on-campus apartments, and on-campus houses will remain open. We encourage students to be more aware of their surroundings during break as fewer students are on campus. Cafe Mac’s last meal before break is dinner on Friday, March 12. Café Mac will remain closed until dinner on Sunday, March 21. The Grille will be open with limited hours during Spring Break. Students may pay with cash, auxiliary dollars, or flex plan dollars

MPIRG Transportation Initiatives

Missing your college student already? Feeling the urge to send them a token of your continuing love and concern? Why not buy them a bus pass?

The bus system in Minneapolis-St. Paul is a great way to get almost anywhere. Students can hop on public transportation to buy groceries, get to the airport, or just enjoy the Twin Cities. From art galleries to parks to museums, there's no shortage of places to go with a bus pass in hand. Local attractions such as the Mall of America, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Como Zoo, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art—not to mention college staples like Target—are just a short ride away.

To buy your student a bus pass, you could put money on their student ID with a credit card on Stored value bus passes can be used until they run out—they never expire—and come in a variety of amounts. Semester passes can be used all semester. Check out the Campus Center information desk website at for more information or call 651-696-6888.

Macalester's chapter of MPIRG (Minnesota Public Interest Research Group) is dedicated to working on issues that make student life more sustainable. The college subsidizes the cost of the bus passes in keeping with our commitment to sustainability

amy fitzgerald natalie pavlatos

Amy Fitzgerald '12

Natalie Pavlatos '12

About the MPIRG Coordinators:

Amy Fitzgerald is an English major from Griffith, Indiana. Natalie Pavlatos is a political science major from Superior, Wisconsin. Together Amy, Natalie, and the rest of their task force have spent this semester promoting green transportation, particularly through advocating for Complete Streets legislation (policy that would ensure safe, accessible roads for all users and all forms of transportation).

commencement2010 Commencement: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15

We are preparing for approximately 470 students to graduate. Commencement activities for families and friends of graduating international seniors begin Thursday, May 13, 2010. Registration for all other events begins on Friday, May 14, at 8:30 a.m. The Baccalaureate service will be held at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, May 15, in the chapel, followed by brunch, and commencement at 1:30 p.m. on the lawn. Live video streaming of commencement will be available. Watch for the details on the commencement website.

A letter will be mailed in March with information on registering for events.

There is a correction on the commencement web page regarding how to purchase airline tickets through Delta Airlines.

Remind your graduate to watch his or her email for announcements of cap and gown measurement and ordering.

Senior Class Gift

The Senior Class Gift is a longstanding tradition that encourages members of the senior class to give a gift to Macalester in celebration of graduation. The gift committee has set a goal to encourage participation by every member of the class. The Class of 2009 set a record with 54 percent of the class contributing just under $33,000. The Class of 2010 hopes to beat last year’s record. Parents may give in their child’s name. Their gift will support the college through the Annual Fund.

The campaign is led by a committee of seniors including Soham Banerji, Sarah Ellerton, Dan Esrig, Dimitri de Gama Rose, Mishal Khan, Livia Martini, Chelsea Park, Josh Paulson, Sarah Prentice-Mott, and Helena Swanson-Nystrom.


Macalester Student Loan Debt Lowest in State and Below National Average

Macalester graduates have the lowest average student loan debt among graduates of any Minnesota college, public or private, according to a recent analysis by the Project on Student Debt, produced by the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success in Berkeley, California. More»

president's day videoPresident’s Day Video Attracts 25,000+ Views

The response to a humorous look at campus life starring President Brian Rosenberg has been extraordinary, said Laurie Hamre, vice president for student affairs. With more than 25,000 views on YouTube in just one week, the video is introducing more people, including prospective students, to Mac. Watch the video»

women's basketballCongrats to Mac Athletes

The Macalester women’s basketball team made it to the MIAC championship tournament for the first time in school history. Mac was defeated by St. Thomas, ending a highly successful season. Congratulations to the team. For more information on athletics at Macalester, go to:

founders dayFounders' Day Celebration March 5

Founders Day' is an annual celebration of those who helped build Macalester into the exceptional place it is today. This year, the theme is the 1970s and a week of activities has been planned, including a conversation with John B. Davis, Macalester's president during that decade. The week culminates in a dance party at the Campus Center on Friday night. Read about our founders, see a schedule of events, and learn more about the college in the 1970s.

Calendar Highlights

Keep up-to-date with campus events by viewing the campus events calendar (you can also add events to your online calendar from here)

Key dates this semester:

  • March 12
    Mid-Term Grades Due
  • March 13-21
    Spring Mid-Term Break
  • April 1
    Last Day to Withdraw From a Class
  • April 2
    Good Friday, No classes
  • April 19-30
    Fall 2010 Registration
  • May 4
    Classes End
  • May 6-10
    Final Examinations
  • May 15

What’s Happening with Your Student:

February & March

  • Students may be depressed as the cold weather and lack of sunshine continues. This causes some students to become anxious, tense, distracted, or frustrated with people around them—especially roommates.
  • They’ll start taking midterms, and some papers or projects may be due.
  • Many students neglect their health and exercise plans.
  • Student organizations demand a lot of time from students. As a result, students who have trouble with time management may feel overcommitted and overwhelmed.
  • Students make plans for Spring Break. This may lead to financial concerns for some. Others may feel envious of their friends who are going to warm places. This may also lead to disagreements with family over different expectations for how and where this vacation will be spent.
  • Most will wrap up housing plans for the following year by March. This may be a relief for some and a stressor for those who haven’t found housing.
  • Some students may demonstrate irresponsible behavior at parties over Spring Break and may suffer the consequences of that behavior.
  • They’ll begin planning and registering for fall courses.
  • First- and second-year students feel pressure to declare a major.
  • Students begin to think about summer plans including jobs or internships. Students may also be concerned about how they will fit into the family and the family’s expectations if they return home to live with their parents for the entire summer.
  • Financial Aid documents for following year are due.

What Parents Can Do:

  • Encourage your student to actively enjoy the winter. Playing in the snow, going sledding, or ice skating could be a great study break. Students who learn to enjoy the winter, instead of dreading it, are better able to deal the winter blues.
  • Support your student as he or she tries to balance academics and extracurricular activities.
  • Encourage your student to seek assistance from on-campus resources, including faculty. Advise him or her to go to office hours to discuss questions and get clarification.
  • Listen and support his/her relationship or roommate concerns. Refer your student to his/her Resident Advisor if roommate conflicts cannot be resolved, and to the Health and Wellness Center if relationship concerns are severe and interfere with academics.
  • Discuss your student’s plans and expectations for Spring Break. Talk about who’s paying for the events planned, whether or not it will be spent with the family or friends, and about making responsible choices.
  • As your student begins to prepare for summer and for the upcoming fall term, she or he may seek your guidance and advice, or may want to make decisions without your help. Recognize that either way, these decisions are part of growing up, and trust that in the end, your student will make good decisions. Encourage your student to see her/his academic advisor before registering for courses.
  • Send care packages. Gift certificates for local restaurants, goodies from home, a plant or flowers, and pictures of loved ones are welcome surprises.
  • Refer him/her to the Career Development Center for information about summer jobs and internships.

April & May

  • Students get “Spring Fever” as weather warms up, and they’ll find concentrating on academics harder than ever. There are also more distractions, as students go outside to play Frisbee, go bike riding, or enjoy a stroll around campus.
  • Stress levels are high as papers and projects are due, and students take final exams and secure summer plans.
  • Many students will return home for the summer. Others will stay on campus and stay involved in employment, research, or internships. Those staying on campus may have the opportunity to stay in a residence hall or choose to sublet an apartment or room near campus.
  • They must plan for moving out of their current residence halls or possibly their apartments.
  • For some, leaving their college friends for the summer will be the biggest concern of all.
  • Students who return home may have anxiety about losing their independence, and be concerned about adjusting to life under their parents’ roofs again.

What Parents Can Do:

  • Be supportive through stressful times, and send care packages to help your student get through final exams.
  • Remind him/her to take care with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and enough sleep.
  • Communicate with her/him about end-of-term plans for moving out of the residence hall or apartment
  • Discuss with your student what your expectations are for her/his behavior, roles, and responsibilities during the summer months if she/he will be moving home. Students may not be expecting to take on household-related tasks, especially if they have job and social commitments for the summer. This is a time to renegotiate the responsibilities as one grown up to another. Will you expect her/him to eat at family meals? Be home by a certain time? Call if coming home late? Or something else? These are all restrictions that she/he has not had for nine months. Be sure to talk about what you expect, and be willing to compromise, before problems occur.
  • Respect and appreciate the independent, self-reliant, mature person who has returned home, even if he seems nothing like the student you dropped off at Macalester last fall.
  • Use this summer to communicate openly with your student as an grown up, and to discover and appreciate the intellectual growth that she/he has developed in the past few months.

This update to parents of current Macalester students was sent to %%emailaddr%% by the %%Member_Busname%% Office of Student Affairs, %%Member_Addr%%, %%Member_City%%, %%Member_State%% %%Member_PostalCode%%, %%Member_Country%%

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