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Parents Newsletter, November 2011

Dear Parents

Dear Parents,

I had an experience with my college student that has me thinking about F&M students. Not long ago, during my visit to her campus, my daughter could not stop talking about the amazing job the college does putting together social events for the students. Between the residence halls, the student-organized social committees and college-organized events, my daughter was excited about all the fun things to do. Yet within moments of that conversation, one of her friends told me "there’s nothing to do here."

It made me consider the variety of feedback I receive from Franklin & Marshall parents about their student’s experiences. I think the experience at any college has so much to do with perspective of the student. Obviously, students who sit back and wait for things to happen are more likely to be disappointed. College is an incredibly interactive experience, and small, close-knit colleges like Franklin & Marshall are especially full of opportunities - for students who are willing to step out of their comfort zones, self-advocate, and take advantage of those opportunities. Positive thinking goes a long way as well!

If you see your student for Thanksgiving break, I encourage you to take the time to discuss with your student his/her perspective on the Franklin & Marshall experience and whether he/she is self-advocating and fully taking advantage the opportunities provided.

I hope you and your family have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. We thank you for sharing your student with us.

All the best,

Maura Condon Umble '83
Director of Parent Relations

Neighborhood SafetyNeighborhood Safety

Franklin & Marshall College is committed to doing all it can to provide your student with a safe environment to live, study, work and play. You recently received an email from Dean of the College Kent Trachte and Director of Public Safety Mike Rossano outlining steps the College is taking in response to recent crime incidents. As parents, please help us reinforce these common-sense safety precautions that Dean Trachte sent to your students this week:

  • Lock all doors and windows to your residences, even if you live in a secure building.

  • Report suspicious activity to Public Safety at 717-291-3939 or to the Lancaster Police at 717-735-3300, or to 911 for emergencies.

  • Be alert to your surroundings as you walk on or off campus. Using a phone or other electronic device in public attracts attention and distracts you.

  • Use the College’s free shuttle service, which operates seven days per week (Sunday through Wednesday, 9 p.m. - 1 a.m., and Thursday through Saturday, 10 p.m. - 3 a.m.). Public Safety will also provide an escort between campus and off-campus buildings. You can request this 24-hour service by calling 717-358-6999.

  • Note the locations of the 76 emergency telephones across campus and in surrounding areas. These phones are connected directly to Public Safety.

  • If you are the victim of a crime, report it immediately. Timely notification is critical for effective investigation of crimes and protection of others.

For more information on a host of measures being taken to protect student, faculty and staff safety, please visit the Office of Public Safety website.

Idea GroupsIdea Groups

During his Common Hour talk, President Porterfield introduced a new initiative to encourage members of the Franklin & Marshall community to engage in dialogue through Idea Groups. Idea Groups are small collections of students, faculty members, professional staff and alumni whose members will canvass the F&M community for promising and innovative ideas that will move the College forward in a collaborative manner. Read more about the key questions the groups are addressing, urge your student to bring forth an idea or two, and feel free to submit an idea yourself!

Course Pre-RegistrationCourse Pre-Registration

The Registrar’s Office Pre-Registration period for spring semester classes ends Friday, November 11. Students should have already met with their advisers and received their advising code to access the pre-registration system. The system closes at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Nov. 11), so students’ choices need to be entered by that time. Then, students can access their preliminary spring semester schedules on Monday, November 22, on MyDiplomat. As many students learned during the "Pre-Reg for Fummers: How to Think Like the Course Scheduler" sessions, they can continue to alter their schedules through the second week of spring semester classes. Students who are dissatisfied with their preliminary schedules or who have "short" schedules (fewer than four courses) are encouraged to watch the open course list as seats often open during the break. During the winter break, they may make schedule changes via email from their F&M email accounts

Dining ImprovementsDining Improvements

The Diplomatic Congress recently announced that there will be some major changes coming in Dining Services. Changes your student should see over the next few months include:

  • A Starbucks coffee vending machine will be installed in Shadek-Fackenthal library in mid-November. The unit will only take credit cards.

  • A vertical salad bar has been added to Pandini’s, giving students the opportunity to hand pick from fresh ingredients to make a salad, paid for by the ounce.

  • The introduction of healthier options is being considered for the Pandini’s space in the student center, including a Tex-Mex option called Salsa Rica and gourmet pizza by the slice from Slice of Life. The facility will need to be renovated first. A development plan is currently under way.

Students are encouraged to email the Diplomatic Congress to suggest further improvements to the student experience.

Student Managed Investment PortfolioThe Student Managed Investment Portfolio

A hallmark of an F&M education is the opportunity to learn by doing. In the world of finance, F&M students have the opportunity to learn with their hands on the keyboard of a Bloomberg terminal.

F&M’s Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP) invests real capital (not simulated funds) from generous donors who wish to foster student interest in the asset-management profession. With seed capital of more than $270,000, the students analyze companies, select stocks, manage risk and communicate their philosophies and results to stakeholders.

Established as a club in 1998, SMIP is now a two-semester course (BOS 363) taught by adjunct instructor Mark McGrath. It has become an integral part of the curriculum, allowing students to add tangible work experience to their résumés. Since its inception, the Student Managed Investment Portfolio has provided more than $100,000 in scholarships to fellow F&M students.

SMIP Annual Report

Question of the MonthQuestion of the Month

"The upcoming Winter Break seems like a really long time for my student to be home. Do you have recommendations on how he/she can make the most of this period?"

Yes! Here are some ideas:

  • Your student might want to consider the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement’s alternative break opportunity in Ghana, December 28 - January 15: 2012 Ghana Alternative Winter Break. (Note that there is an alternative spring break trip to Honduras as well.)

  • Winter Break is a great opportunity for your student to get organized regarding career planning. It takes time and energy to search for summer internships and jobs. Much of this can be accomplished during your student’s time home. Students can access F&MConnect through the Connect tab on MyDiplomat at any time to use FOCUS, a self-assessment tool; explore the Spotlight on Careers site; view lists of alumni and parents who have offered to serve as Career Service Partners and search job and internship postings. You may also find time over break to talk with your student and make a list of your business and personal acquaintances who might serve as a networking resource for him/her. In addition, Career Coaches are available during winter break, in person and via phone for student appointments.

  • If graduate or professional school is in your student’s future, Winter Break is a great time to research these opportunities, too.

Month of ThanksPractice an intentional act of kindness.
Say thank you to someone special at F&M.

While it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in other priorities, F&M’s Month of Thanks provides parents with an opportunity to convey their gratitude to people on campus who are making a difference in the lives of their students.

Saying thank you is a simple, powerful act. November is the month to say thank you to that professor, coach, staff member or mentor who helped motivate and inspire your student.

Consider taking a moment to practice an intentional act of kindness. Send a simple note of thanks to someone on campus and make a gift to honor that person. Your gift shows you stand behind the liberal arts experience these mentors help shape, while you say thanks to the person who made a difference in your student’s college experience.

Participating is easy! You can:

  • Say thanks now on the Month of Thanks website, or

  •  Post a note of thanks on the F&M Facebook page...

  • Then make a gift in his or her honor through our secure online giving page. We’ll notify the honoree that you made a gift in his or her honor (and will not share the amount of the gift).

Upcoming Events

November 13, 2011
A Christmas Story, The Musical!
Hershey, Pa.

November 17, 2011
Happy Hour at SideBAR
New York, N.Y.

November 29, 2011
A Conversation with Presdient Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D.
Philadelphia, Pa.

December 6, 2011
A Conversation with President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D.
Baltimore, Md.

December 13, 2011
A Conversation with President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D.
Houston, Texas