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Mac Family: A quarterly newsletter for families of Macalester students


Greetings from the Dean
Break Information
Send a Finals Care Package
Health and Wellness
Spring Semester Meal Plans
Civic Engagement
Our Next Old Main Forum is Tuesday, Nov. 29
Janet Wallace Fine Arts Construction
Macalester presents U.S. premiere of "The Inland Sea"
Wesley and Lynn Edens establish endowed professorship in global health
What Higher Education Can Learn From Steve Jobs

Greetings from the Dean

jim hoppe

From The Dean of Students

I love walking around campus on Friday afternoons, and strongly encourage you to do so if you get the chance. As I walked around a few weeks ago at 4:30 pm on a particularly beautiful Fall afternoon, the campus was alive with students anxious to relax from a long week of class and full of anticipation of the weekend ahead. On one corner of the quad the Middle Eastern Students Association was hosting a "chill out"- a large tent was filled with students enjoying music and food from various middle eastern cultures, along with a hookah and very strong (and delicious) Turkish coffee. Students involved with Mac Bike were preparing for a biking scavenger hunt. About thirty students, all on bikes and all dressed as cats, were preparing to let loose on the unsuspecting neighborhood. The middle of the quad had been transformed into a Quidditch Field. Members of Mac Quidditch were having their Fall tournament, complete with flying brooms and a human "golden snitch". All of this just on the walk from my office to the campus center, about 100 yards away. Scattered across the quad were small groups of students studying, playing working and sleeping. As I walked through the crowd I heard conversations flow easily from plans for dinner to a debate on the long term impact of the death of Mohmar Khadafi. An exhausted "chaser" breathlessly compared the dynamics of the bludger to a project he had just completed in physics. Mac students have this great way of blending their social and intellectual lives together. Take a walk around campus and see for yourself.


Jim Hoppe
Dean of Students

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Break Information

Thanksgiving Break (November 24-27)
The Residence Halls are open for Thanksgiving Break. Cafe Mac is open with limited hours. During all breaks, we encourage students to leave their rooms in a safe and secure manner by closing and locking their windows, closing their curtains/blinds, unplugging all electrical items, taking out trash & recycling, leaving their heat on, and locking their doors when they leave. We also remind students to take all important items (e.g., wallets, purses, travel documents/tickets).

Winter Break (December 20-January 21)
All college housing (halls, houses, apartments) close for Winter Break on Tuesday, December 20 at noon. Students must leave 24-hours after their last final or no later than noon on 12/20, whichever comes first. No students are allowed to stay past noon on Tuesday, December 20 so please make sure you work with your student on their travel plans.

Semester II Opening (2012)
Residence Halls open for Spring Semester on Saturday, January 21 at 9 a.m. Meal plans start on Sunday, January 22 with dinner service. Students who qualify and are approved can return earlier to stay on campus starting Tuesday, Jan. 3. Details of this criteria can be found on the Residence Life webpage, The deadline to sign- up for January Break housing is Monday, December 5.

View other important Macalester dates

Send a Finals Care Package

Finals will be coming up soon and students are beginning to feel the academic crunch. For most students, this means a bad case of the munchies, a high stress level and thoughts of home, family and the upcoming winter break.

The Macalester Water Polo teams have come up with a great way to help your favorite student through the rigor of final exams. Not only is this an easy way to help alleviate anxiety for the students, but it is stress free for you as well.

Send a finals care package

Health and Wellness

Helping your student navigate medical care

Figuring out when, how, and if to seek medical care is often a new challenge for college students. As we move into the second half of fall term, we are in a high demand period in the Health & Wellness Center (HWC). Here are some helpful tips for family members to assist students in accessing services in the HWC, and how/where students are referred to off-campus.

We strongly recommend that students call the office to set up an appointment in advance. This will enable them to have a private conversation with the front desk and it might save them a trip. The staff may recommend that the student: 1) schedule an appointment, 2) come in to meet with the triage nurse, 3) engage in self-care and monitor, or 4) access an off-campus provider.

As more Mac students use the strong range of staff (MD’s, NP’s, RN, MA), we are often booked out more than one week. This can be disappointing to the students who walk in expecting to be seen. We do set aside appointment times every day to treat ill students who present during the day but those tend to fill up very quickly.

We are very fortunate to be in a community with outstanding medical providers most within a two-mile radius of campus and on a bus route. If the Macalester HWC is booked up or if they are in need of services that we are unable to provide (e.g. x-rays) we will recommend an off-campus provider. You can look at the resources we most commonly refer to at: The non- specialty resources include “minute clinics”, urgent care, family practice, as well as hospitals/emergency rooms. We encourage them to bring back or release records from those visits so that we can assist with any follow-up care they might need.

If your student does not have a car or is feeling too ill to use a bus, etc., the College can provide taxicab vouchers (round-trip). The student’s account is billed for the cost of the taxi but the student does not need to worry about having cash, etc. Vouchers are available from HWC, residential life staff, or security – 24/7.

In addition to providing excellent care, our goal is to help your student learn how to navigate the health care system. Help us help them by talking to them (when they are healthy!) about accessing care. It is difficult to try and figure these things out when you aren’t feeling well. Utilizing a resource off campus can be a positive option and is something they will need to know how to do once they graduate. Together we can help your student stay healthy and learn how to get the care they need when they need it.

Contact us if you have any questions.

Spring Semester Meal Plans

At the start of each semester, all regular board meal plans default to Plan A. If your student does not want to be on Plan A, your student should go to the Card Services website ( to select the desired meal plan by Friday, February 3.

Meal plan selection occurs online from January 22-February 3, 2012 for Spring Semester.
Meal plan selections will not take effect until the next morning at breakfast.

Meal plan options for those who are required to be on a regular board plan include:
Plan A – 19 board meals + $0 flex dollars
Plan B – 14 board meals + $125 flex dollars
Plan C – 10 board meals + $200 flex dollars
Plan D - $1200 flex dollars

Meal and flex dollar balances carryover when students change their plan. If a student eats more board meals than the newly selected plan carries, the student may not have enough board meals for the week. For example, if it is Thursday and the student has eaten 15 board meals, the student will not have enough board meals to complete the week if the student selects plan B or C. However, the student would be able to use flex dollars to purchase meals. Please plan accordingly. Plan balances reset on Monday morning.

A student may select a meal plan only once per semester. Therefore, it often makes the most sense for the student to wait until they have confirmed their class schedule before selecting a meal plan.

The Commuter 75 meal plan is an optional meal plan available to students who are not required to be on a regular board meal plan. Since the Commuter 75 is an optional meal plan, if your student was on the Commuter 75 meal plan fall semester, your student will not be automatically put on the Commuter 75 meal plan for spring semester. Your student must sign up for the Commuter 75 meal plan each semester.

photo gallery: into the streetsCivic Engagment

Into the Streets

During New Student Orientation, over 400 first year students participated in “Into the Streets,” a half-day of service projects with 16 community organizations. The event emphasizes the college's commitment to service in a way that is accessible and relevant to students' first experiences at Macalester. Now in its 23rd year, “Into the Streets” has become a Macalester tradition.

into the streets - at a food kitchenWhile service was a main component of the day, students also came away with a greater understanding of their new home of the Twin Cities, while gaining a sense of social issues from a local perspective and how to incorporate service into their time at Macalester. Over 400 students volunteered at 16 sites: Youth Farm(multiple locations), Second Harvest Heartland, West Seventh Community Center, Mississippi River Fund, Minnesota AIDS Project, Mano a Mano, Mac Groveland Seniors, Lyngblomsten, Lutheran Social Services, Great River Greening, Habitat for Humanity, Free Arts MN, Books for Africa, and Concrete Beet Farm.

Students wrote in their evaluations of the day comments such as: “This was an incredible experience; I feel like I belong even more in this community” “The experience jump-started my enthusiasm for all the volunteer programs offered at Mac.”

Community Partner Organizations also had a positive reaction to the day: “Mac students did a massive amount of work for us across all our program sites. It was the most volunteers we've ever had out on a single day!” “I was extremely impressed with the program as well as the students' eagerness to help. They were very task oriented and had a positive attitude towards the work that was being done. I believe that the "Into the Streets" Program is an awesome opportunity for students to get involved in their community.” “They exceeded our expectations. We could not have been happier with them! (Please come again!)”

If your student is still looking for a site in which to contribute, they can visit the Civic Engagement Center in the Institute for Global Citizenship (Markim Hall).

Video: International Roundtable Video: How Would You Describe Macalester Photos: Students celebrate this tradiational Mexican holiday Photos: Fall at Macalester Feature Story: A Day in the Class of Mind and Matter Video: Students talk about study strategies
Addressing Child Welfare Describe Macalester Dia de los Muertos Fall at Macalester One Day in a Class

About Those Midterms

Our Next Old Main Forum is Tuesday, Nov. 29

opening convoWhat are today's Macalester students really like? How are they similar or different from past Mac students? To discuss these and other questions, alumni and parents are invited to join President Brian Rosenberg and Vice President for Student Affairs Laurie Hamre online for our next Old Main Forum at noon (CST) on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Sign up for Old Main Forum
Forum details

janet wallace renderingJanet Wallace Fine Arts Construction

The shape of the building emerged over the summer, and inside the building’s shell, construction crews are shaping the internal structure and adding walls to create classrooms and offices. The steel that will hold the concert hall’s curved acoustic walls is also in place. Outside, crews installed brick on the music building’s east wall, and the center core’s roof is complete. The next step involves installing windows and window frames. Over the next several weeks, crews will make a push to enclose the building for winter, when work will continue inside.

To date, the college has raised $21.6 million of the $24 million in gifts needed to complete the project. For more information, visit

two student actorsMacalester presents U.S. premiere of "The Inland Sea"

"The Inland Sea," written by MacArthur award-winning playwright Naomi Wallace, may be set in 1760s rural England, but its themes of power and class struggle resonate with the news headlines about Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring we see today. Macalester's production, directed by Professor Beth Cleary, is the U.S. premiere. Remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 18, and Sunday, Nov. 19.
Read news release
View sneak peek video

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

Wesley and Lynn Edens establish endowed professorship in global health

Wesley and Lynn Edens of New York have established a $2 million endowed professorship. It will be named the Edens Professorship in Global Health.

The Edens Chair’s first appointment will be in health and medical geography, a field that includes topics ranging from infectious diseases to health care delivery systems to environmental health hazards. The professor will teach in the geography department.

The Edens Professorship represents Macalester’s latest step in developing a curriculum that infuses a traditional liberal arts education with a unique focus on addressing global challenges. It comes on the heels of rapid growth in Macalester programs such as community and global health, international development, and environmental studies. It also marks the eighth professorship created during the college’s comprehensive Step Forward campaign and is part of more than $20 million raised for faculty support during the campaign.

president rosenbergWhat Higher Education Can Learn From Steve Jobs

President Brian Rosenberg writes in his ongoing blog for the Huffington Post that, "There are lessons in [Steve] Jobs' success that are I believe directly relevant to higher education, though they may not be the most obvious ones. Whether or not the tablet computer will replace the traditional textbook or distance learning will increasingly displace the traditional classroom I cannot say."

Read the complete blog at Huffington Post


What’s Happening with Your Student:

November and December

  • They may get sick as the change in Minnesota's weather brings on cold and flu season.
  • Stress levels are high as many papers and projects are due. They also begin to realize that the semester is almost over. Procrastinators may panic as they face the consequences of falling behind in coursework. Students may pull "all-nighters" to get work done.
  • First-year students will begin course planning for registration in December.
  • They may continue to struggle with time management and balancing social activities with academics.
  • Some students may have concerns about going home for Thanksgiving, especially if the student has changed dramatically since the last time they saw their parents.
  • After Thanksgiving, there is very little time until finals. Papers and projects are due, and they may be the longest papers or projects that students have ever done. Students will continue to be stressed.
  • Students may get very little sleep, and neglect proper nutrition or exercise.
  • Many students may be concerned about the pressures of upcoming holidays, or returning home to live with the family after a semester of independence.
  • They'll be stressed about finals. For first year students, this will be their first college finals, and they'll have the added fear of the unknown.
  • Some students will have financial concerns, as the money they budgeted for the semester runs out earlier than planned. They may turn to credit cards to help them in their budget crunch.
  • They'll probably sleep a lot over the winter break, as they try to 'catch up' on four months' worth of lost sleep!

What Parents Can Do:

  • Be available to listen to concerns when they contact you, but don't worry if your student doesn't call/write/e-mail as often as you would like. Be supportive and encouraging.
  • Refer them to college resources such as the Health and Wellness Center if they are sick or in need of counseling services.
  • Encourage healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise habits to help reduce the stress of college exam time. Healthy habits will also help your student to prevent illness as the winter sets in.
  • Send care packages. Remember to include cold/flu medications, tissues, cough drops, and anything needed to keep them warm and dry as winter approaches.
  • Be supportive of academic progress without focusing on grades. Ask open-ended questions about what they're learning, or why certain topics interest them, instead of asking about grades on tests or papers.
  • Encourage your student to see their academic advisors before registering for classes, and to make appointments early to avoid complications.
  • Prepare yourself for changes when they return home for Thanksgiving. The first year of college is a period of tremendous change and growth, and students demonstrate this change in different ways—new haircut, new piercings, tattoos, changes in religious or political beliefs, etc. They will appreciate your support, rather than criticism, through this changing time. Recognize that while they may be going through many changes, in the long run, she/he will probably maintain many of the core values that you instilled in her/him.
  • Be knowledgeable about campus resources and refer them to the college's support services and resources for personal and academic help.
  • Encourage participation in study break activities offered on campus. These are great ways for students to relax.
  • Discuss home 'rules' and expectations for winter break as soon as they return home, or preferably, before! Don't wait for a conflict to arise before communicating. Students who have been making their own decisions for four months may find it difficult to suddenly succumb to their parents' control again. Many parents have expectations about time spent with the family, which conflicts with student expectations to spend time with old friends.

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