January 2018

Dear Parents,

We are eager to have students back at F&M next week, knowing they will warm up our frigid campus! Spring semester classes, which begin Tuesday, Jan. 16, bring the opportunity for a fresh new start for everyone -- students and faculty. A new semester provides the opportunity for updated plans, goals and dreams. Here’s to a successful spring for all.

All the best,

Maura Condon Umble '83
Director of Parent Relations and Campaign Initiatives 


Senior Boot Camp Reminder

Senior parents: The deadline for your student to RSVP for Senior Boot Camp is tomorrow, Jan. 12. On Monday, Jan. 15, the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development, in collaboration with the Senior Class Caucus, will host a Senior Boot Camp composed of intensive workshops on, among other things, clarifying post-graduate options, articulating the curricular and extracurricular aspects of the liberal arts experience and making valuable connections and contacts. I strongly encourage all seniors to take part in this wonderful opportunity. Students should use this link to RSVP.  


Join Us for the Creativity & Innovation Symposium at F&M
Jan. 27

Our college was founded by one of American history’s most creative innovators, Benjamin Franklin. Join us on campus Saturday, Jan. 27, for a compelling daylong conversation about how and why F&M seeks to create a sustainable culture of creativity and innovation, propelling students and alumni with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and courage to face a rapidly changing, uncertain future. Use this opportunity to channel your inner Ben and take part in this exciting initiative!

The details:

Sustaining a Culture of Creativity & Innovation: A Franklin & Marshall College Symposium
Saturday, Jan. 27
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., (lunch will be provided); followed by a reception for all participants
Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building

More information and registration can be found here (attendance is free, but registration is required).

Seating is limited so please register no later than Jan. 23. 


Sophomores Preparing to Declare a Major

Parents of sophomores may have had some discussions with their students over the winter break about important major declaration decisions they will soon make. Whether your student is considering a single major, a double or joint major, a major and minor, or a special studies major, that choice will have a significant impact on his or her remaining experience on campus.

At a liberal arts college like F&M, we encourage students to choose a major in a discipline about which they are passionate. We recommend that students seek counsel with their academic advisers or that they connect with professors teaching in their areas of interest. After choosing their majors, students may be assigned one of these professors as their major adviser. If a student has a particular connection with a faculty member, he or she can ask that professor to serve as a major adviser.

Parents sometimes wonder how various majors translate into productive and successful careers after graduation. The staff at the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) stands ready to assist students as they build professional acumen through their academic and experiential activities and prepare to meet their post-college goals. Please explore the OSPGD website to learn about the many programs and services offered to our students. Of particular interest may be OSPGD’s listing of how our graduates from specific majors have thrived across industries and professions.  


Heading To or Returning From Study Abroad

Choosing to study abroad can be one of the biggest and most positive steps most students make in their college careers. We recently spoke with Sue Mennicke, associate dean for International Programs, about how parents can best support their students as they take off for foreign lands and as they re-enter F&M. The challenges that those studying abroad may face and overcome will, no doubt, provide key growth experiences that will serve them long into the future.

Before departure:

  • Discuss your and your student’s goals for the abroad experience and how to monitor and keep track of his or her achievement toward those goals.
  • Help your student set realistic expectations. Unlike a vacation, not every day will be awesome; there will be ups and downs.
  • Taking some dramatic time differences into account, communication with home can be challenging. Set reasonable expectations for how and how often your student will be in touch, cognizant that your expectations may need to remain flexible.
  • Talk about some “What ifs?” related to potential challenges that may arise during your student's time abroad.

While abroad:

  • Recognize that, for many students, this is the first time that they have truly struck out on their own, and help them think through strategies for adjusting to their new home away from home.
  • If the transition is not going smoothly, or worse, if your student wants to come home early, try to resist the temptation to make everything better for him or her. Instead, calmly talk through the obstacles he or she is facing and brainstorm ideas together for overcoming them. Parental overreaction can fuel the fire of discontent.
  • F&M partners with study-abroad programs that provide strong onsite resources. Instead of contacting F&M to try to solve challenges that their child is facing abroad, parents should encourage their student to utilize the resources available at his or her program.
  • When parents serve as objective coaches or partners to their children from afar, students can learn lessons of resiliency and perseverance that will serve them well as they become independent adults.

Upon returning home and to F&M:

  • Recognize that your student may have undergone life-changing experiences while abroad and give them space as they re-enter American and home life.
  • Be interested in your student's stories -- there will be a lot of them.
  • While “reverse culture shock” may not be as severe these days as a result of access to the internet and social media, be aware that students may struggle with re-entering into American and campus culture.
  • Push back against some students’ feeling that they are alone with their re-entry challenges. Remind your student that he or she has plenty of company at F&M with fellow returning students.
  • Be aware that returning students may have developed new perspectives about the world and about their own identities and may need some assistance and time to put it all into context. Encourage them to seek counseling at F&M to talk these issues through.
  • Know that F&M’s International Programs staff works hard to help students returning from abroad find beneficial ways to utilize their new perspective and skills, such as assisting with study abroad promotional efforts, presenting at local schools, participating in community service with refugees, and enjoying study-abroad photo contests. 


Welcome, Spring Admit and Spring Transfer Families!

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to our newest students and their families. Whether they have been working, interning, studying abroad, or attending other colleges and universities, our incoming students, arriving on campus tomorrow, will enrich our campus. New parents may find it helpful to consult the Parents and Families section of F&M’s website as well as the Academic Calendar. Welcome to the F&Mily! 


Positive Changes in Dining Services

When the spring semester begins Jan. 16, students will return to some great changes from Dining Services.

This spring, there will be more vegan options on menus in Steinman College Center, and Dining Services is looking for ways to “veganize” existing options there as well. Feedback from your students is appreciated, so tell them they can let Dining Services know what vegan options they’d like to see. Students can email their suggestions to Erik Kessler at erik.kessler@sodexo.com.

Over in the dining hall, there is also work underway to create more vegan-friendly options. The pasta station will now include specialty dishes, additional pastas and more sauces, including vegan options. Students also have asked to see additional international selections, so each Thursday, the Mongolian Grill will highlight an international dish for students to enjoy.

"Meatless Mondays" and "Taco Tuesdays" will remain staple meals at the dining hall. While Meatless Mondays offer delicious vegan and vegetarian options, they also highlight local providers whose products are used every day of the week. This fall, Dining Services installed a board to inform students of local providers featured each week, the "mindful" (healthy choices) menu options available, and other available menu items. Dining Services is looking forward to using this board moving forward to emphasize local efforts.

"Hot Spot" events are scheduled for students to enjoy at lunch each Wednesday in January. And the first Kosher Fest of the year is scheduled for Jan. 25 with pizza during dinner at KIVO.

Sue Hurd, our dietitian who visits the campus twice a month, will make her first visit of the semester Jan. 18. She will have a sample lunch of our new Thursday offerings, and will answer any questions students might have about their dietary needs.

Check out Dining Services’ social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for further details on all of its upcoming events and to learn more about the “Did You Know” campaign where topics involving health knowledge, local efforts and sustainability initiatives are discussed. 


Thank You for Your Generosity

Thanks so much to those of you who helped us finish 2017 on a high note by making a year-end gift to the Franklin & Marshall Fund. Giving to the fund ensures excellent opportunities every day for all of our students. Your annual support for the College, combined with that of thousands of other parents, friends and alumni, makes a huge difference in the lives of our students. It's never too late to make a difference at F&M. Please consider giving today.


Upcoming Regional Chapter Events for Parents and Alumni

Jan. 17
Ben's 312th Birthday Bash at The Franklin Bar

Jan. 17
Ben's 312th Birthday Bash at Kinsale

Jan. 18
Ben's 312th Birthday Bash at Public House
New York City

Jan. 24
Second Annual F&M Night with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Allentown, Pa.

Jan. 27
Celebrating Innovation on Ben Franklin's 312th Birthday
Princeton, N.J.

See even more events here!


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