Date: Feb 23, 2011
To: Parents of U.Va. Undergraduate Students
From: Patricia M. Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
Re: Spring Break Safety and Other Updates for U.Va. Parents
As students enter their fifth full week of classes this semester, we are enjoying a relatively mild winter in Charlottesville – a direct reversal of last winter. With more warm days ahead, thoughts are turning to Spring Break, which begins March 4 and ends with the restart of classes on March 14.
Later in the spring, the University will celebrate the installation of Teresa A. Sullivan as the University’s eighth president. Beginning with an interfaith vigil and concluding with a community-wide 5K/10K walk, multiple events will take place from April 13 through 17. Students are being encouraged to participate in as many aspects of this historic event as possible. A Web site dedicated to Ms. Sullivan’s inauguration gives complete details.
Student safety is always foremost in my mind. As students make plans for Spring Break, I would like to take a few moments to share information that you may find useful in conversations with your sons and daughters. Students travel extensively during Spring Break, often going overseas or on special trips that may not be affiliated with the University. Be sure you have reviewed travel plans with your student as well as discussed pertinent safety issues. If you still have questions about a trip or question its legitimacy, you may write us at email@example.com.
In messages going out to students this week and next, we will be emphasizing the importance of preparing for Spring Break, whether that means taking along the proper documents or packing extra sunscreen. Students traveling overseas will find a wealth of up-to-date information on the Students Abroad Web site, which is hosted by the U.S. Department of State. Emergency guidelines, travel advisories and alerts, and country-specific information all are available through this site. In addition, the State Department encourages travelers to register through its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.
This year, we also are informing students of the increasing risk, especially abroad, of “drink-spiking” to facilitate criminal activity. Individuals intent on committing serious crimes such as sexual assault, robbery and kidnapping use a variety of drugs, often placed into beverages or sometimes food, to induce unconsciousness and amnesia.
When traveling overseas, students are advised to adopt a heightened awareness of the potential for drug-facilitated crimes. The University of Virginia Health System’s Blue Ridge Poison Center recommends these precautions:
More information is available on the poison center’s Web site. Students or parents who have questions may call the center at 800.222.1222.
Review information that student groups are sharing with their fellow students as part of building awareness around Spring Break safety.
Student Council recently launched SafeWalk, a walking escort service staffed Monday through Thursday evenings from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Students who don’t want to walk home alone can call SafeWalk, and a male-female student team will accompany them. A gift from the U.Va. Parents Committee is helping to fund the pilot program, and the U.Va. Police are offering assistance as well. Students call the same number for SafeWalk that they call for SafeRide: 434.242.1122. SafeRide, a van escort service operated through the U.Va. Police, continues to be available in the early morning hours throughout the week. University buses run late Thursday through Saturday evenings (the Thursday night pilot program begun last semester is continuing). Students can find schedules on the P&T Web site.
Transportation is one of the most frequent questions we receive via the Parents Help Line. Here is an update on various ways your daughter or son can find a ride home:
Flu vaccine is still available at Student Health, and it is not too late for students to be immunized. To make an appointment to receive the shot, students should go to the Healthy Hoos Web site.
Whether your student is a first-year, fourth-year, or anywhere in between, UCS offers an extensive range of services. Encourage your student to access expert assistance at UCS for any or all of the following: exploring/clarifying career goals; gaining experience and building skills with internships and other activities; implementing an effective job/internship search; and/or preparation for graduate or professional school.
Recent events and programs hosted by UCS have included the Spring Job and Internship Fair, the Government and Nonprofit Career Expo, and various workshops on major-to-career connection, clarifying career goals, applying for federal jobs and weighing the pros and cons of graduate school. Workshops take place throughout the spring. Encourage your son or daughter to check the UCS calendar online for details.
Two important deadlines will be coming up soon: March 28 for the Parents Committee Internship Grant, which provides stipends to students who have secured (or hope to secure) a public service or nonprofit internship for the summer; and April 4 for the Larry Simpson Internship Scholarship.
Visit the UCS Web site for more details.
Education abroad combines intellectual pursuit with firsthand exposure to different cultural traditions. It helps students gain an international perspective on their chosen academic fields and to acquire important life skills crucial in preparing them for the realities of an interconnected world. As you are talking with your sons and daughters about their plans for the upcoming academic year, please help them to “Think Globally.”
The University offers multiple programs abroad – during the regular semesters, as well as in the summer and during J-Term. Credits earned in these programs do count toward degree programs at U.Va. Financial aid and scholarships are available. To maximize the benefits of education abroad, it is important for students to choose the program that matches their academic and personal goals. Encourage your student to plan ahead and talk as early as possible with a U.Va. education abroad adviser. More information is available on the Education Abroad Web site.
Students who meet certain criteria, including minimum grade point averages, often are invited to join national and international academic honor societies. If requested, the University provides honor societies with non-confidential information regarding eligible students. It is up to you, the parent, in consultation with your son or daughter to decide if membership would be beneficial or desirable. Membership fees nearly always are required. The University recognizes a limited number of honor societies as part of the student’s transcript. Most honor societies recognized by the University belong to the Association of College Honor Societies. To learn more, please see the ACHS Web site. If you have specific questions about honoraries with chapters at U.Va., please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
"From Parent to Parent," a column featured in the U.Va. parent handbook, gives current U.Va. parents a chance to share what they have learned with parents of new students. What advice would you offer the parent of an incoming student? What would have helped you? Feel free to share your best advice – in 75 words or less – about sending a child off to college, accepting your offspring's new-found freedom, navigating the University, and making decisions about money, housing, and a host of other topics. Please include your name, city and state, your student's name and class year. Send by March 25 to Virginia E. Carter, director of external relations for student affairs. If you would like a printed copy of the 2010 handbook, please e-mail Virginia.
March 5-13: Spring Break
April 13-17: Inauguration of President Teresa A. Sullivan.
May 3: Spring classes end
May 4, 8, 11: Reading days
May 5: Spring exams begin
May 13: Spring exams end
May 14: All residence halls close
May 21-22: Finals Weekend (Graduation). Parents of graduating students are encouraged to check the Finals Web site for continuously updated information about the weekend.
With warm regards,
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
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Last Modified: Friday, 25-Feb-2011 12:49:01 EST
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