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News from the Nest

Photo of Melissa Shivers, Vice President for Student Life

Melissa Shivers, Vice President for Student Life

My thoughts about the month of March all swirl around a sense of hope. I hope spring will come soon to shine more warmth and brighter light, all among the flurry of basketball tournaments and your student’s mid-term exams. Coming out of a long winter, we start to see an opportunity for renewed enthusiasm. When we experience difficult stretches, we appreciate the good moments ahead even more.

Spring break is almost in front of us and commencement, for some students, is just around the corner. March’s agenda has us all setting plans, anticipating celebrations, and hoping our students are safe and happy.

Spring break can cause parental worry

Your student is ready for a relaxing break – and a bit of fun – but we understand how much worry is associated with spring break. Here are some tips to share with your student.

Safety first and always

  • Be careful about what you share on social media regarding your travel and location.
  • Limit how much cash you carry and keep your credit and debit cards in a safe place to deter theft and identity theft.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Look out for each other. Walk in groups in well-lit areas.
  • Drive safely - switch drivers as needed in order to stay alert if driving a long distance.
  • Remember that people who are impaired are at greater risk for harm to person and property. Be the friend you would want to have when your peers need help.
  • Call the local police immediately if an incident occurs, or you become concerned about your safety.
  • If you have an emergency (accident, illness, injury, etc.) while you're away from campus, please let us know by calling Student Care & Assistance in the Office of the Dean of Students at 319-335-1162. 

Leaving your off-campus apartment

  • Close your blinds and curtains and lock all your doors and windows.
  • Leave an inside light on or set a timer.
  • Take valuables and electronics with you.
  • Clean out your refrigerator and dispose of perishable foods.
  • Take out your trash.
  • Move your vehicle to a safe and secure location due to parking regulations. This video provides more information about the importance of moving your vehicle.
  • Be sure to shovel your sidewalks to avoid fees -- sidewalks should be shoveled within 24 hours.

Travel outside of the United States

  • Check for safety warnings at the State Department's website before you travel. 
  • Make sure you know how to use the local phone system.
  • Know the emergency numbers and locations for local police, military police, government agencies, fire, ambulance, hospitals, U. S. Embassy, and other safe locations where you can find assistance.

Be safe, take good care of yourself, and be a good friend to your fellow students. 

Have a student graduating in May?

A student and parent hug at graduation

A student and parent hug at graduation 

If you are anticipating the big day filled with ceremonies, graduation tassels, and photo taking, you’ll want to check out the UI commencement site to make sure you’ve got all your checklists, times, locations, and purchases lined up. 

It’s not too soon to think about summer

Just beyond the glory of spring is the expanse of summer and the opportunity for your student to use the time wisely. To plan for a productive summer, check out this article.

Can we tap into your parental expertise?

As a reminder, the Division of Student Life is launching a Parent and Family Council and we are excited to be hosting the inaugural meeting April 11th and 12th. Parents and families have a huge influence on our students and we are excited to provide you with additional opportunities to engage and support their experiences.

Participation will include two yearly meetings hosted by the Division of Student Life that focus on showcasing the great work taking place in the division, engaging with administrators across campus, and sharing feedback about ways we can continue to strengthen the student experience. There will be opportunities to engage in your home communities and around the country to continue telling the UI story. Council participants will also be asked to help identify other families with an interest in deepening their connection to student life at Iowa.

If you have an interest in joining this group, please send an email to my assistant, Pam Krogmeier, at We would be happy to provide you with more information.

I hope you enjoy the onset of spring!

Together for UI, 

an image of the signature for Melissa S. Shivers, VP for Student Life

Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Vice President for Student Life
Interim Chief Diversity Officer

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