Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life

April 20, 2016

Greetings from the Office of Parent Services!
April is one of the busiest times of the year for UMass Amherst students. As the end of the semester draws near, there are a variety of activities and events on and off campus. Students are working on papers, preparing for finals, and hopefully planning for summer. This email includes information on hall closing, May graduation, key summer "to dos," tips for returning students, and as always, important deadlines.

Reminders from Financial Aid Services
Financial Aid Services will begin emailing award notifications to continuing students in mid-June. Remind your student to check the SPIRE Student Center to be sure all required documentation has been submitted to complete their financial aid file. Financial Aid Services must receive and review all requested paperwork before awarding any funding. Incomplete and late paperwork may delay or jeopardize your student’s eligibility for financial aid. For more information, your student should contact Financial Aid Services at (413) 545-0801.

Hall closing information
Residence halls close May 5 at 8 p.m.! We encourage students who are planning to go home over the upcoming weekends to bring with them any items they will not need through the end of the semester. You can find more information about move-out, including bin sign-out, donation locations, and traffic patterns, at the Move-Out website.

Graduating seniors and Commencement volunteers will automatically receive permission to stay in the residence halls through May 8 at 10 a.m. Students with a legitimate need to stay beyond May 5 can request permission to stay through the Living at UMass website, as of April 19. The site includes a list of circumstances that will be approved.

Mail delivery will end on May 4 for all halls. Remind your student to update their mailing address to their summer address for subscriptions and regular mail, or if they are making new online purchases. Mail received after May 4 will not be forwarded during the summer.

Final exams tips
Over the next two weeks, students will begin preparing for final exams. While some will feel just fine about exams, others may experience additional stress. Here are some tips to help your student stay energized and excel when exam day arrives:

  • Send an E-postcard or a care package. Visit UMass Dining’s Gifts from Home for more information; make sure your gifts arrive before May 4.
  • Make time to listen to your student when they are feeling stressed.
  • Remind them to exercise, eat three healthy meals per day, and get enough sleep to retain information and stay focused on important tasks.
  • Encourage them to find quiet places to study, like the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, and to take breaks to improve their focus and productivity.
  • Help them concentrate on studying: if you don’t have a need to call, refrain from calling. Let them call you.
  • Encourage them to attend the Paws Program, to hang out and de-stress with visiting therapy dogs: April 25, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Student Union ballroom and W.E.B. Du Bois Library.
  • Remind them that you care no matter what.

The services below are always available for stress management, healthy living, and academic enhancement/tutoring.

Final Commencement announcements
May Graduation is around the corner – be sure to check the Commencement website for updates. We look forward to seeing our senior graduate families and friends at Commencement Weekend 2016.

  • Graduating veterans are eligible for a free stole from the Student Veterans Resource Center. They can reserve their stole by calling (413) 545-0939 or coming to the center, 19 Dickinson Hall.
  • International students can sign up to carry their country's flag during the Commencement processional parade. They should email by Friday, April 22.
  • Encourage your graduating senior to attend the Commencement Fair (Wednesday, April 27, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Student Union ballroom) to get a cap and gown, purchase grad gear, have a portrait taken, and more.
  • Graduates can pick up caps, gowns, and tassels in the Campus Center, room 165-69 on the following dates and times: May 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and May 3 through 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students can arrange to have their regalia shipped; delivery charges apply.
  • On Commencement day, Friday, May 6, graduates should arrive at McGuirk Stadium, lot 11, by 3:30 p.m. Ceremonies begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at approximately 6 p.m. On Saturday, May 7, schools and colleges host individual celebrations; students should contact their school/college for specific information.

Fall 2016 course registration reminder
Your student should have already registered for Fall 2016 courses if they plan to return to campus for the fall semester. Students can make changes to their fall schedules during the summer months and through the end of the Add/Drop period on September 19. To be a full-time student, your student must register for at least 12 credit hours per semester.

Summer internships and community service
After nine solid months of new experiences, new knowledge, new perceptions, new people and new environments, your college student likely wants to take a break and enjoy the summer months. While you should encourage them to take a break, they also need to stay mentally active by having a summer job, internship, or volunteer opportunity. Summer is the perfect time for them to test the waters, explore options for possible careers, and distinguish themselves from their peers. If they don't have a summer job or internship in place, it's not too late to contact Career Services and attend one of the many events they hold each month. Students can also learn more about finding, applying for, and earning credit for internships through the Career Services website. One-on-one appointments are also available to aid in their search.

Summer "to do" preview
Just as in fall and spring semesters, there are a number of "to do" items students and families should complete over the summer.

  • Students should regularly log in to their SPIRE account to check for important messages from the university.
  • Students should also take the necessary steps to complete the financial aid process, accept or decline their financial aid awards, and take care of other business throughout summer.
  • Bills for the fall semester will post to SPIRE accounts July 15 and will be due August 10.
  • Once bills have posted, eligible students who already have health insurance and want to waive the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) should complete the waiver through their SPIRE account. Students who do not wish to purchase SHBP must complete the waiver every year. Visit the University Health Services website for more information on SHBP and the insurance waiver.

Summer expectations and tips
The majority of our students will return home for summer to work, take summer classes, and enjoy family time. As you’re getting ready to welcome your student, it’s important to acknowledge the possible differences in your lifestyles after living apart for some months. Here are some insights:

  • Establish clear expectations about house rules, curfews if you have one, etc. and be willing to compromise.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Take some time to get reacquainted. Engage in conversation over the dinner table, while driving in the car, or while taking a walk, to allow for uninterrupted time.
  • Use the summer to reflect on the past school year, its successes and challenges, and establish realistic goals for the fall.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the summer with each other.

Start planning now for Family Weekend 2016
The Office of Parent Services invites your family to experience Family Weekend, October 21 – 23, 2016. We welcome parents, guardians, families, caregivers, siblings, and grandparents to experience UMass Amherst through the eyes of your student. The weekend allows you to create a customized experience based on your family’s interests.

Plan to arrive Friday afternoon so that you can enjoy the full weekend, and stay for the Jazz brunch on Sunday. Although registration is not open until the end of summer, be sure to book your hotel soon, as they fill up quickly. Check out our hotel room blocks and places to stay for more information.

Be part of UMass Dining’s 9th edition Taste of Home cookbook
The award winning UMass Dining Services would love to include your family's favorite recipe in the "Taste of Home" special next fall. Your recipe will be featured in all dining commons for a particular meal and will be published in the ninth edition Taste of Home cookbook. UMass Dining will send you a UMass baseball cap or tee shirt (limited to two caps or tee shirts per family, per year) when they receive your recipe. Email your special recipe to Ken Toong, Executive Director, at or mail to:

UMass Dining, Worcester Dining Commons
University of Massachusetts
669 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9301

Please include a short text detailing why your recipe is special, your complete mailing address, and the name of your student. The deadline for submissions is September 6, 2016.

Families of the Class of 2016: congratulations and thank you!
Congratulations on your student's upcoming graduation! You have reasons to celebrate: your student reached a major milestone in their life and accomplished a very important goal. We hope your graduate will stay connected to fellow alumni and their school/college by becoming involved with the UMass Amherst Alumni Association.

It has been a pleasure working with you during your student's time at UMass Amherst, and we appreciate your participation and dedication. We wish you and your student the best of luck going forward. As students transition to life away from campus, many families like to stay connected to the university. One way to stay in touch is to follow our News Office website or subscribe to the RSS feed. If you wish to remain on our mailing list, you are welcome to do so. On the other hand, if you'd like to be removed from our listserv, simply click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this message. Families of graduates are not automatically removed.

May Poll Question
Aside from move-in/ move-out, pick up/drop off, for what reasons have you visited campus? Participate in the poll and view last month’s results here.

Important dates

  • April 25: Paws Program, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Student Union ballroom and W.E.B. Du Bois Library
  • April 27: Last day of classes
  • April 29: Finals begin
  • May 5: Last day of finals
  • May 5: Residence halls close
  • May 6-7: Commencement Weekend
  • May 10: Final grades due
  • May 16: First day of classes, Summer Session I

Helpful links
Commencement 2016
Financial Aid Services
Residential Life Student Services
UMass Amherst Alumni Association
University Health Services

Enjoy your summer!
This will be our last scheduled e-newsletter of the spring semester. We hope you and your student have a wonderful summer break. We will resume our e-newsletter in August to help you get ready for the fall semester.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Office of Parent Services, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. We're more than happy to assist you.

In case of a campus emergency, always follow the university's main web page at The website will display a distinctly colored stripe at the top containing pertinent status updates and information related to ongoing emergencies.

Jeanne Horrigan, Director
Office of Parent Services

Treating Our Parents as Partners

Knowlton Hall
691 North Pleasant Street OFC
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts 01003-9399

Phone: 413-577-4444 • Fax: 413-545-9631

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