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Mac Family: A quarterly newsletter for families of Macalester students

FALL 2011

Greetings from the Dean
Online Resources
Career Development Center
Health and Wellness
Family Fest
Christopher MacDonald-Dennis Named Dean of Macalester's Multicultural Life Department
Opening Convocation
International Roundtable
Janet Wallace Fine Arts Construction

Greetings from the Dean

jim hoppe

From The Dean of Students


There are many different rhythms to a year on a college campus, but the fall is one of my favorites. This is a time of new beginnings, new reflections, and new opportunities.  New students joining our community excited to discover what the next few years have in store for them mix with students returning from a variety of summer adventures, many who are a bit wiser and thoughtful than when they left in May. Events like the last week’s involvement fair (which filled the main lawn) or last evenings opening convocation (where close to 1400 people packed into the gymnasium) are large expressions of our community.  The wide variety of student organizations and initiatives that come together each evening are just as strong.  All too soon the reality of October and midterms will be upon us, but not before we have this opportunity to get excited for the year ahead.

We’ll look forward to seeing those you who are able to join us for Family Fest October 14-16th.  If travel to St. Paul isn’t in your plans, you can keep up with life on campus via our ever improving website, and it’s collections of videos, pictures and stories of student life.  Wherever you may be, please know there are many of us on campus working hard to ensure student have a great experience.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can answer questions or be helpful.


Jim Hoppe 
Dean of Students

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Online Resources

Parents and Families Website
Provides up-to-date information and resources for parents and families of Macalester students with specific tips for success to support students through their four years

First 6 Weeks Newsletters
Helps new students transition to Macalester by providing information on campus resources, helpful advice from returning students, and timely information on different topics

Residence Life Guide Information for parents and family members who have students living on campus

Career Development Center (CDC) website
Provides career and job-related information for students--follow the CDC’s Facebook page at MacCDC.  You can follow activities, selected recruiting events, and tips/suggestions simply by “liking” the page.

Academic Calendar
Review dates of midterms, finals, breaks and other important deadlines.

Career Development Center

We encourage parents and family members to share employment/career opportunities that you might hear about with the Career Development Center. Simply email us at If you would like to volunteer to be a career resource, let us know by filling out an online form. You can be instrumental in connecting Macalester students to career opportunities.

Health and Wellness

Influenza vaccinations will be available by appointment in the Health & Wellness Center (HWC) at the end of September.  Several clinics will also be held around campus so that students may drop – in to get vaccinated.  These opportunities will be advertised to students.

Vaccinations will cost under $25; with the exact price and clinic times will be posted soon on the Health & Wellness Center web site

Students can pay with cash or check or have the cost billed to their account. 

A third option is to purchase a “flu shot gift certificate” for your student.  Once we have posted the price on the HWC web page, send a check, along with your student’s name, to the Health & Wellness Center.  We will send your student a gift certificate that can be redeemed for a flu shot on campus. The HWC can provide an itemized receipt for the purposes of submitting for insurance reimbursement.

Please encourage your student to stay healthy by getting a flu shot this fall.  If you have questions, contact Denise Ward, Associate Dean of Student Services,

family festYou’re Invited to Family Fest, October 14-16, 2011 

All families are invited back to campus Oct. 14-16, 2011 for Family Fest

  • Reconnect with your student,
  • experience a bit of campus life, and
  • enjoy the surrounding community.

Activities include lectures, an update from President Brian Rosenberg, musical performances and an off-campus art tour.

There is no charge to attend Family Fest, but some activities do have a small fee.

Review the website to see a full schedule, hotel information, Twin Cities recommended events, or to register for the art tour and dinner or 5K run/walk.

Even if you can’t come, please submit a family recipe for our Family Fest Cookbook.

Christopher MacDonald-Dennis Named Dean of Macalester's Multicultural Life Department

Throughout his career, Christopher MacDonald-Dennis has been a strong advocate for equity and inclusion in higher education. He has created numerous programs to help all students learn across difference as well as programs to help marginalized students thrive on college campuses.

“What Chris MacDonald-Dennis brings to Macalester is a wealth of experience not only from his previous positions but also as a long time scholar-activist involved with social change,” said Laurie Hamre, Vice President of Student Affairs.  "His enthusiasm for and understanding of Macalester will greatly benefit not only the college but the entire college community.”

Video: Science Research Video: Sustainability and Students Photos: Students moving in to Macalester Photos: Emily Loberg Feature Story: Two Students at National Geographic Feature Story: Inventions at Mayo
Body of Knowledge Students and Sustainability Mac Move-In Summer Internships Geographers Go National

Most Exciting Class

Opening Convocation


opening convoFormer Vice President Walter Mondale ’50 and A Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor spoke at Macalester's opening convocation. Their talk, “A conversation about life and politics,” featured remarks from Keillor and Mondale about the state of the nation followed by a Q & A session moderated by President Rosenberg.

Live streaming of this event will be made available on TPT's website

international flagsInternational Roundtable

The International Roundtable is a community-wide intellectual forum that explores crucial global issues. The roundtable includes prominent international scholars who are commissioned to write a paper that is presented at the forum and is subsequently published in the Macalester International Journal. The theme of the 2011 Macalester International Roundtable is “Children of the World: The Dialectic of Promise and Vulnerability.”

Roundtable discussions will revolve around these questions:

  • What are the main circumstances facing children worldwide?
  • What are the primary sources/causes responsible for these contexts, and why?
  • In what specific ways might these conditions be transformed? In other words, what types of individuals, organizations, ideas, and policies must come to the fore to tackle these conditions?

All are welcome to attend.

View speakers

janet wallace renderingJanet Wallace Fine Arts Construction

coming from Rebecca

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


What’s Happening with Your Student:

What’s Happening with Your Student:

  • They are questioning their identity, pushing boundaries, and experimenting with new things. Experimenting may include challenging previous beliefs about religion or politics, experimenting with alcohol/drugs or sexual activity, and challenging social norms.
  • They may be having trouble managing their time. In September, it’s common for student to have a false sense of comfort because papers and projects aren’t due until October, which may lead to procrastination.
  • They’re learning about opportunities to get involved with campus groups.
  • They’re starting to understand that what worked for high school academics won’t necessarily work for college, and that a new level of work is expected. This may result in feelings of inadequacy. They may ask themselves, “Can I really make it here?”
  • Some may be experiencing roommate conflicts.
  • They may remain dependent on high school friends, which enables them to avoid getting involved with new people and the Macalester community. Cell phones, email, and instant messaging now make it easier than ever to keep in touch with old friends, and it can result in a feeling of not fitting in at college.

What Parents/Family Members Can Do:

  • Listen to your student’s concerns and be reassuring. Don’t tell students that these are the best years of their lives. Be prepared for the crisis phone call late at night. Students need to vent their frustrations and fears, and you will be the dumping ground. Recognize their feelings are normal, as is the tendency to vent the feelings to a parent. In most cases, they will feel much better after having talked to you, but you are left feeling terrible and worried.
  • Encourage your student to get involved with campus groups. It’s easy to meet new people at college, but students must make the effort. Those who stay in their rooms and sit at the computer instant messaging old friend may have a hard time connecting, and may soon feel that they don’t‘fit in here.
  • Provide your student with time management techniques or encourage them to visit to the MAX Center or the Health and Wellness Center for time management and stress-reduction information.
  • Continue conversations about alcohol use. In the first six weeks first year students are vulnerable to pressure to ‘fit in,’ and sometimes they perceive this to mean drinking. Discuss the consequences of making poor choices when it comes to alcohol, including trouble with classes, increased risk of sexual assault and violence, trouble with the law, possible negative impacts on professional school or employment opportunities, and even death.
  • Encourage your student to become involved in the numerous alcohol-free social events on campus, and to avoid risky drinking behaviors. Keep the lines of communication open on an adult-to-adult level, and avoid being judgmental.
  • Help them keep disappointments (such as not being selected for a particular activity or not becoming best friends with a roommate) in perspective. Make referrals to support services on campus if additional support is needed.


What’s Happening with Your Student:

  • They’re stressed out about tests and midterms. They may have fallen behind in September because they weren’t accustomed to the time management skills required for college.
  • They may receive their first grades on papers and projects. Many students realize that they are no longer top of the class, and some who once got all As now get Bs and Cs. Students may feel like a failure or lose self-esteem because they are unaccustomed to receiving lower grades.
  • They’re facing competing social demands. Students who got involved in too many campus organizations may have trouble balancing those demands with the demands of coursework.
  • They’ll begin to work on papers and must learn to navigate a college library system. The library system is an important campus resource, but because it is different from libraries the've used in the past, it may be intimidating.
  • They are learning to manage their own money, and may have trouble sticking to a budget. College presents many opportunities to spend money—pizza, movies, clothes, etc.—and they may
    run out sooner than expected.

What Parents/Family Members Can Do:

  • Be sympathetic, but try not to fix problems for your student. Allowing students the space to fix their own problems demonstrates that you have confidence in them, and helps them to have confidence in themselves.
  • Help your student set realistic expectations about academic achievement in college.
  • Direct your student to college resources for assistance with papers and assignments. Suggesting that they visit professors and preceptors during office hours, or seeking help from librarians or the MAX Center is good advice.
  • Visit during Family Fest Weekend, October 14-16, 2011, but understand that your student will still have to do homework and attend to their new commitments. Plan to attend some events alone.
  • Help your student to establish a budget and provide advice about how to stick to it. Most high school students have a limited understanding of money management, and this lack of knowledge and experience continues in college. Educate your student on financial responsibility before the lack of responsibility becomes a problem.


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