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Mac Family: A quarterly newsletter for families of Macalester students


Greetings from the Dean
Macalester College Student Government Update
Family Fest
The Ametrica Project
Join us for the next Old Main Forum Nov. 30
Pakistan Relief at Macalester
Arts Center Project Moves Forward
Annual Fund: Sustaining Excellence
Web Resources for Parents and Families
Fall Sports Highlights
Career Exploreship Program Expands to D.C.
Common Student Issues
Thanksgiving Marks Turning Point in Lives of College Freshman

Greetings from the Dean

jim hoppe

Greetings from St. Paul, where November has come all too quickly. For those who visited campus during Family Fest, you'll be glad to know we've been able to extend that weekend's beautiful fall weather well beyond what's normal.

Campus is active and students are busy with projects and activities in and out of the classroom. Just as quickly it will be winter break, and this is a good time to start thinking about how those five weeks back together with your student will be successful.

Winter break is a good time to begin talking about living arrangements for the 2011-12 academic year. Many juniors and seniors opt for the convenience of living on campus, but some choose to live off campus. If you're engaged in a conversation about living off campus, it's helpful to encourage your student to think carefully about such things as leases, fire codes, renters insurance, etc. These details frequently get dismissed only to resurface as a major hassle (much to the student's surprise) later on. Living off campus requires students to balance a new found freedom with the responsibilities of being part of a neighborhood. We're fortunate to have a great variety of options both on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.

There is always something exciting happening, and you can read about campus activities and issues in the Mac Weekly (one of the oldest college newspapers in the U.S, publishing since 1914). You can check it out online at


—Jim Hoppe

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owenMacalester College Student Government Update

By Owen Truesdell '11, MCSG President

It has been an exciting and productive year to date for the Macalester College Student Government (MCSG). There is an enthusiastic and engaged group of 26 student leaders, elected by their peers, who are pursuing projects ranging from painting a mural promoting civility in the Dupre Hall basement to increasing the availability of study abroad problems to more international students.

Each week, student government meets to discuss campus issues and report on the progress made by individual members on their respective projects. Project ideas were gathered from the all-student survey, which MCSG conducted in late September.

One of the goals MCSG has already had great success with is increasing our outreach and visibility on campus. Vice President Patrick Snyder '13 has started an “Eat Lunch with MCSG” program where MCSG reps make themselves available to all students in Café Mac. Program Board Chair Katie Agnew '11 is busy planning the second annual Winter Ball, to be held at Epic event center in downtown Minneapolis on December 4, while the Academic Affairs Commission, under the leadership of Taren Kingser '11, is focusing on allowing more international students to study abroad. The Student Services and Financial Affairs Commissions, led by Stephanie Vilendrer '13 and Daimon Hardy '13, have been diligently working with our 90-plus student organizations to help them plan strong campus events.

Additionally, MCSG is working with the administration to create a Co-Curricular Transcript (CCT) to record students' activities outside the classroom. Once operational, the CCT will help students by aggregating their numerous activities in one place. It can be then be sent to potential employers or graduate programs along with an academic transcript.

If you want to stay up to date with MCSG, like us on Facebook or visit our website.

family fest postcardFamily Fest

Family Fest 2010 was a wonderful opportunity to strengthen connections with families and welcome parents to campus. Approximately 231 families registered in advance for this year's Family Fest weekend October 8-10, and many more registered over the weekend.

Family members who attended reported that they felt the weekend had a good balance of structured activities and opportunities to spend time with their student off campus. Highlights include the student a cappella group performances and music sampler, the International Roundtable, the research poster session, President Rosenberg's talk, the Twin Cities tour, attending sporting events, and meals in Café Mac.

You can download this year's Family Fest cookbook with recipes from Macalester students' families.

Mark your calendar now and plan to attend Family Fest 2011, October 14-16!


The Ametrica Project

By Aaron Colhapp, Director of International Student Programs

aaron colhappThis fall semester, the Department of International Student Programs (ISP) initiated a new program, the Ametrica Project. Ametrica was formed to help domestic and international students begin to understand the world through cultural lenses different from their own, develop intercultural sensitivity, and enhance integration between U.S. and international students.

The term Ametrica was developed at an ISP student-staff brainstorming session. The ISP student workers were asked to create a term that illustrated a clear difference between the United States and the rest of the world. Shortly into the session, one student said, “Since the United States seems to be the only country that doesn't use the metric system, let's call it Ametrica. Kind of like putting the metric system into America.” The group believed the term fit perfectly.

The 45 Ametrica participants include 18 domestic first-years, 18 international first-years, 3 domestic returning students, and 6 international returning students. The students engaged in 11 weeks of dialogue around topics such as perceptions of the United States, relationships with family and friends, popular gestures, education, religion, values about money, and social class and politics. The participants felt that Ametrica was a great success. Many of them are looking forward to leading the program to bigger and better things next year.

Old Main ForumJoin Us for the Next Old Main Forum Nov. 30

Which college had the best performance of any large endowment last year? (Harvard, Macalester, or Princeton?)

How much of Macalester's annual budget is supported by the endowment? (100 percent, 48 percent, 34 percent, or 10 percent?)

How many students benefit in some way from the endowment each year? (Less than a third, about half, or all students?)

For answers to all these questions and many others about our endowment, President Brian Rosenberg has invited two special guests, Craig Aase '70, Macalester's Chief Investment Officer, and Mansco Perry III, our incoming Chief Investment Officer, to join him for the next Old Main Forum. They will discuss the history, performance and future of Macalester's endowment, and take your questions. Join us online for what promises to be a very interesting discussion.

Tuesday, November 30
Noon-12:45 p.m. CST

To participate, please register here.

This Old Main Forum will be presented via the Web only (no conference call option), so we can share more detailed visual information. We will send instructions to everyone who registers to participate the day before the event.

To prepare for this Old Main Forum, you may wish to learn more about the endowment by reading this Macalester Today article or visiting the Investment Office on Macalester's website.

Pakistan Relief at Macalester

By Chris Fowler '12, Coordinator of Pakistan Relief Effort

During the July and August monsoon season, Pakistan experienced extremely high levels of flooding along the Indus River. More than 2,000 people have died and more than 20 million are directly affected by the flooding. This devastation has resulted in a demand of approximately 50 million meals per day from relief organizations.

The flooding destroyed the most fertile land in Pakistan, killing crops and livestock, and preventing the planting of crops for next year. In the cities, food prices have soared, power supplies have decreased drastically, and the government has been ineffective in helping the people. “The magnitude of the problem; the world has never seen such a disaster,” said UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon when visiting Pakistan earlier this fall.

Here at Macalester there are many students from three primary student organizations— Macalester International Organization, the Macalester Development Group, and the Macalester Association for Subcontinent Ethnic and Cultural Awareness—who are helping to coordinate the relief effort for Pakistan. A movie night with Pakistani film and food, as well as the annual Macalester International Organization Show, will coordinate volunteers to accept donations.

As parents, you can support Macalester's effort by going to and following the Macalester shield to donate. Any amount of money is extremely helpful and your support is greatly appreciated.

Rendering of renovated Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center

Architectural rendering of the renovated and expanded east entrance to the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center
View more renderings

Arts Center Project Moves Forward

At its October meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to move forward with a $33.8 million arts center renovation and expansion. The project will begin in January 2011 and be completed by the start of fall semester 2012. As of Nov. 8, $16.72 million has been raised toward a $24 million fundraising goal for the project. Read more.

Annual Fund: Sustaining Excellence

In a recent letter to parents, Andrea and Jeff Stewart, parents '11, wrote:

Macalester cultivates and enriches individuality. We've witnessed the benefits of that influence firsthand through our daughter Allison, a senior Environmental Studies and Anthropology major... Macalester doesn't pay lip service to internationalism or multiculturalism, core tenets of its mission. Talented students flock to St. Paul from around the world, adding to a dynamic, global educational experience... Our family supports the Annual Fund because we value Macalester's distinct nature and excellence... We hope you'll join us in supporting the Annual Fund today.

Macalester's Annual Fund is critical to providing flexible resources that allow us to invest in teaching excellence, financial aid, and faculty and student support. In fact, every student benefits from the Annual Fund. Last year, parents generously gave $259,674 to the Annual Fund. All gifts are tax deductible. Learn more about the Annual Fund or make a gift.


Collin Calvert '13 hits the Macalester "streets" and asks students what they are thankful for while Professor Andrea Cremer gives a historical overview about the life of Pilgrims.

Watch Collin's Video
Listen to Professor Cremer

Web Resources for Parents and Families

Visit Macalester's parents and families web page.

We've added new information about current Parent Council members, links to college news and features, and a new quick link to student accounts. If you have ideas for making this page more useful for parents, please contact Sara Suelflow in Communications & Public Relations at

Fall Sports Highlights

By Andy Johnson, Sports Information Director

Macalester's fall sports teams concluded another successful season, highlighted by a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men's soccer championship and the football team's best record since 1986.

Macalester won its 10th MIAC men's soccer crown-and eighth in 14 years-and was invited to the NCAA Division III playoffs, where they fell in the first round to Wisconsin-Whitewater 2-0. The Scots posted an 8-2 conference record and were 14-5-1 overall. The team was led by MIAC goal-scoring leader Taylor Rasmussen '13, who finished with 11 goals scored. The Scots were listed in the national polls for much of the season. Nate Juergens '11 led one of the league's best defenses.

The football Scots went 6-3, their best record since going 7-2-1 in 1986, and established a school record for most points scored in a season, averaging 33 a game. Jon Elliott '11 caught 51 passes for 711 yards and set a school record with nine touchdown receptions. T. Joe Loiselle '12 ran for 877 yards and nine touchdowns.

Another good season was turned in by the women's soccer team, which went 11-5-2 overall and 6-3-2 in the conference, just missing out on the MIAC playoffs, but going to the NCAA III playoffs, where they fell to Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the first round 4-2. Their final season record is 11-6-2.

The resurgent volleyball team equaled its win total from the previous three seasons combined and finished with a 13-16 record and three conference victories. Majra Mucic '11 was fifth in the league in kills and was named to the All-MIAC squad.

Nick Santrach '11 placed fifth at the MIAC men's golf championships and Grace Caird '12 finished ninth in the women's tourney to close out an excellent fall campaign.

Leading the cross country squads at the conference meet were Tara McCoy '11 on the women's side and Auburn Jimenez '14 on the men's side.

Career Exploreship Program Expands to D.C.

By Mike Porter, Director of Internships

Building upon the success of last year's job shadowing program, the Career Exploreship program for Macalester sophomores expands to include the D.C. and Twin Cities metro areas in January 2011. The Career Exploreship program helps students select a major and consider possible career paths through intentional interactions with Macalester alumni.

Alumni living in these regions have been invited to offer a Macalester sophomore one of the following career experiences: an extended informational interview, a full day of shadowing, two to three days of shadowing, a week-long job shadowing experience, or a three-week formal academic internship.

Interested sophomores can apply in November and will then be matched with an appropriate job shadowing opportunity.

This program is sponsored by the Alumni Board Student Support committee, the Career Development Center, and the Internship Program, and represents one of the many wonderful ways Macalester helps students gain practical, relevant experience that enhances their education and development.

aaron colhappCommencement

For families of graduating seniors, it's not too soon to be thinking about Commencement, Saturday, May 14, 1:30 p.m. Seniors and families will be receiving two mailings about Commencement, one in late November and one in March.

Commencement activities begin Friday morning and end with the Commencement ceremony on Saturday.

As new information becomes available, it will be posted on the Commencement website

If you have questions, please contact Pat Traynor in the Office of Student Affairs, or 651-696-6220.


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.

Editors note: This is a wonderful piece that was published a number of years ago, but is still relevant to families of college students today.

Thanksgiving Marks Turning Point in Lives of College Freshman

By Janet Butler and Lynn Willett, Special to the (Atlanta) Journal-Constitution

It's Thanksgiving weekend, and here they are, your children, home from college. This, however, is no ordinary Thanksgiving. It's the Thanksgiving of their freshman year and, although neither of you knows it yet, it's going to prove to be a milestone for both of you.

What do you do when this exuberant son or daughter of yours arrives on your doorstep with a bizarre haircut (or none at all)?

In the three months or so since you last saw them, they've been telling their new friends about the home they came from, about the successes they enjoyed in high school. Uneasy in the new leveling environment of college, they've been pointing backward in order to present an identity—star quarterback, editor of the paper, counselor at a drug center.

By the time they leave home again at the end of Thanksgiving weekend, the pointing backward will have changed to a pointing forward. Now they will be almost eager to get back to the dorm and hear how their friends' weekends went, and in the next four weeks they will be anguishing their way through their first college final exams and term papers.

In the few short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas—as any professor or dean can tell you—they will finally settle into their new lives.

Parents don't usually realize, however, that although their children's perceptions of home will necessarily change during the weekend, the quality of this change is pretty much up to the parents. In her book Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst points to parents who are change-resisters, who "defy the realities of time by hanging on to their power and to their non-negotiable ways of doing things. Thanksgiving weekend presents an opportunity for the final stage of parenting: the blessing, the letting-go as grown children are cheered on with affection and respect toward full autonomy. So now it's Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. Your child has arrived—unexpectedly thin (or pudgy), sprouting facial "zits" from too much midnight junk food and lugging a duffel bag full of books for a term paper. What now?

We offer nine pointers that, admittedly, emphasize verbal restraint. ("Bite your tongue," "Grit your teeth.")

1. Say positive things. Comment six times in five days, "You look wonderful!" or "It's wonderful to see you!" The corollary is that you make no remark on the weight gain, the miserable hair, the ragged nails.

2. Get information gently. "Tell me about your friends" is a good opener to help your children see their new acquaintances somewhat objectively as they describe them.

3. Use your third ear. Listen, listen, and listen some more. Behind the extra pounds and the overly loud voice lurks more self-doubt than you've experienced in a long time. Your son or daughter's unexpressed but overriding anxiety this first semester is, "Can I make it? Will people like me? Should I even be in this hard school?" You can help by listening and reassuring.

4. Don't ask. Drugs and sex are very much a part of your worries, but don't pry. Your children already know your wishes, and grilling them now may force them into lying. Restating your opinions may make you—and even them—feel better; but outright probing and threatening will be counterproductive.

5. Keep calm. Despite your valiant efforts, flare-ups may erupt during the long weekend. Your freshman has had some difficulty learning how to deal with emotions this semester (the creepy roommate, the "stupid" professor) and the sudden temper loss may be due to college stress or to outright irritation with you. Hear it out, calmly filing away for future reference any apparently irrelevant accusations ("And you were really horrible to Aunt Martha at high school graduation!"). These may be important keys to another issue, and a day or so later you can invite conversation on this concern.

6. Ignore unopened book bags. As Friday turns into Saturday and these supposed college students still have not touched the book bag, they continue to mention "I have this chemistry test next week." Bite your tongue. You want them to succeed academically, but they have to want it before anything can happen. And truthfully, it may not happen until second semester—if then.

7. Limit yourself to one (good-natured) comment on their appalling loss of table manners. One day these will return.

8. Respect their new status. On the matter of curfew: Three months ago, you sent your nearly grown child to a community where students are respected as full adults by faculty and staff alike. Your daughter has been deciding for herself when (or even if) to quit socializing and go to bed. Your son has had to discipline himself—without your help—to hit the books. She is old enough to vote, and he is old enough to enter the military and be killed. But you are entitled to demand consideration, which is the trait your freshman has been practicing in dormitory life. The issue, you can explain, is worry about their safety, just as you would worry for that of any guest under your roof. "Call us if you'll be later than 2 a.m." is a reasonable request, and when they call in at 1:59, ask that they call again at 4:30, "so we won't worry you were in an accident." Fair is fair.

9. Give. Hug them hard when they leave at the end of the weekend. And give them something to take away, like cookies. Or a little extra cash. No other species on the planet Earth has the difficulty humans do in releasing their young. No other species tries to hang on for so long. Thanksgiving weekend provides a specific four-day period in which parents can, with forbearance, courtesy and goodwill, practice treating their own children as the adults they are becoming.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November, 1989

Used by permission of authors: Dr. Janet Butler Haugaard is executive editor and writer at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Dr. Lynn Willett, is Vice President for Student Affairs at Coastal Carolina University.

Copyright 1988 Words by Wire

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