Parents Council Meeting Minutes for May 17, 2003
Maureen Coleman, director of Annual Fund, Mari Frohn, Don and Cathy Koehler, Sue and Jerry Stone, co-chairs
The Stones called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. and welcomed all attendees. The minutes from the 2/8/03 meeting were approved without revision.
Jerry Stone reviewed the goals for Parents Council involvement at Orientation. As in the past, Parents Council members plan to have a booth at the Information Fair in the Ram's Den for six dates in June. An e-mail reminder will be sent to encourage additional parent volunteers. The Information Fair allows new parents to connect with Parents Council members who have "been there." The Parents Council will conduct daily tee-shirt raffle drawings to encourage new member sign-ups. The booth will offer maps and resource guides for parents new to the area. Parent volunteers will remind new parents that local banks will be closed on the Sunday of Move-In weekend. Jerry noted that the format for Orientation is new this year, so parents should be encouraged to give feedback.
The group discussed Parents Council promotional materials and agreed to a larger poster that outlines the council's mission and value to parents. When the Parents Council brochures are next ordered, the mission statement will be included in full. Parents Council members are willing to call new members in their local area to welcome them. The group also discussed creating a hand-out (or magnet) for new URI parents, with emergency contact numbers for hospitals, pharmacies, campus police, etc.
Career Services Update
Mari Frohn provided an update on parent involvement with URI Career Services, following a recent Career Advisory council meeting. Bobbi Koppel, director of Career Services, will be invited to the October Parents Council meeting to give an update for 2003-2004. Current Career Services initiatives include:
• Encouraging freshmen and sophomores to take advantage of Career Services
• Enhancing collection of exit (placement) data for seniors
• Conducting one large, aggregated Career Fair in the Ryan Center in the fall
• Introducing a web-based e-Career Fair (more than 22 companies, and 200 students have already signed up) online
• Initiating GoalQuest, an electronic communication to parents of freshmen, through University College, in the fall
Maureen Coleman noted that she had met with Bobbi Koppel recently, and Bobbi passed along her thanks for Parents Council input and support for Career Services.
Cathy Koehler mentioned her local high school's service of providing a referral list of alumni at various colleges who have volunteered to support new freshmen. The group discussed a similar program offered by URI Career Services. The Web-based program for career mentoring, which is available to all URI students, is available at http://www.MonsterTRAK.com (by clicking Career Contact & Alumni Network). Parents agreed that this was a helpful alumni resource and should be promoted to students and their parents.
New Student Welcome Days
Parents Council volunteers participated in the information fair at both the general Welcome Day and the special Centennial Scholar welcome day. Jerry noted that these days offered a great opportunity to connect and talk with potential new URI families, and these welcome days are one of the strengths of the Parents Council. The opportunity for parent-to-parent questions make new parents more comfortable about leaving their children at URI, and Admissions appreciates the unique perspective that current parents bring to the college decision-making process.
The Parents Council looks forward to participating in Move-In Day, Sunday August 31. Parents will have a booth in Memorial Union, but if enough volunteers are available, some parents can be available in the dorms as well. The booth will offer free coffee and some light snacks as well as Parents Council membership information and resource guides for the local area. Parents will wear "Experienced Parent" name tags.
The group discussed whether the Move-In process could benefit from a "bequest" system or recycling center, where graduating seniors leave furniture for incoming freshmen. Maureen Coleman will pass this suggestion on to the new-student program team.
Parents Fund/ Annual Fund Update
As of May 9, 2003, the URI Parents Fund had raised $42,000 toward a $55,000 goal for June 30th. Revenue has been tracking about 11percent behind last year but still remains strong given an economic climate that is very challenging for annual giving. The Parents Fund provides valuable unrestricted funding which has been used this year to support Student Life programs, Family Weekend, University College and renovations to the Green Hall student services center.
Family Weekend 2003, October 24-26
The group continued discussion about scheduling the Parents Council meeting for Friday afternoon or Saturday. More parents are able to be on campus on Saturday, but it is a very busy day for most families. More URI administration staff would be available to present to the Council on Friday. The group agreed to schedule for Friday afternoon this year.
A parent-to-parent reception will be held after the football game on Saturday October 25, so Parents Council members are encouraged to attend and welcome other URI parents. The location will be determined by Family Weekend planners, but the Parents Council has suggested a location close to the football field. The Parents Council will again conduct a tuition scholarship raffle to support the URI Parents Fund.
Parking and Security
Maureen Coleman provided updates and handouts on parking and security at URI. Bob Drapeau, Director of Security, will continue to head URI's parking department for the next year. He sent along updates including:
- New security phones have been installed throughout campus.
- Students can now register online for parking permits.
- There is a bill in the Rhode Island legislature to allocate some of the parking ticket revenue to URI, to fund more parking enhancements (all revenues currently go to the state of Rhode Island).
- Parking Services has instituted a motorist assistance program--Call MA.
- All parking maps will be updated for next semester, incorporating student feedback.
- Parking Services has expanded its Web site (to include student surveys) and is encouraging students to check the site frequently for updates.
The Student Sentate, and new student employees, have been an excellent resource for advice on parking changes.
The Parents Council appreciated the presentation from Bob Drapeau, director of Security, and would like to invite him back to the Family Weekend meeting on October 24. Parent concerns include the expense of the new parking fees, difficulty in finding visitor parking, potential break-ins of parked vehicles, and possible options for commuter students to store valuables while their cars are parked. Jerry noted that all universities struggle with parking as more and more students have cars, and the new parking lot and increased shuttle bus service seem like steps in the right direction.
The URI Library
Maureen Coleman provided an update on previous discussions about Library resources. In past meetings, parents had expressed concerns over budget limitations impacting periodical subscriptions and hours of operations. Paul Gandel, dean of the Library and vice provost for Information, indicated that hours of operation were extended on the Saturday night before exams the previous year, but in recent years the budget has not be available to stay open extra hours. A 24-hour study room is available for students who need a quiet place to study after hours, but it obviously does not offer access to all Library resources. Paul noted that the Library, like many departments at URI and other state universities, could use additional funding. He would increase the Library budget by $300,000 if the funding were available. Mari Frohn suggested that parents could use more information on Library resources, so the subject should be included in October meeting agenda. The group also noted that there were fewer reading days before exams in 2002-2003