A photo of the Dean of Students at Binghamton University. Message from the
Dean of Students

Dear Parents/Families,

The countdown has begun and students are wrapping up their classes as they gear up for finals. Binghamton University students are dedicated to succeeding in the classroom, so finishing up their projects and classes plus preparing for finals is their highest priority.

We know what a stressful time it can be for them, so we're doing what we can to help them de-stress their December! Offices across campus are joining with my office by offering study breaks, stress-relieving activities and healthy snacks to help students have a successful end to their semester. Student organizations are also getting in on the act and scheduling events that will help calm and relax their fellow students. There's something happening every day and more activities being added daily. You can check out the entire De-stress December schedule online

We're also aware that most of your students will be home for an extended period of time over the Winter Break. As they mature into adulthood, there's much to navigate. You might want to pay particular attention to the information in this month's newsletter that has tips for how to give your student space while also maintaining close family ties.

We hope your student has a smooth transition from here to home in the next few weeks. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we're here to help. You can always reach us at dos@binghamton.edu.

April Thompson
Dean of Students

Fall 2014 Commencement information

Fall 2014 Commencement will be held at noon Sunday, Dec. 14, in the Events Center on campus. If your student is graduating, we hope you will be able to attend. If you're unable to make it, the ceremony will be broadcast live online. The live feed will begin one hour prior to the ceremony with a photo slide show. 

For additional information about Fall 2014 Commencement, go online

The Bear Necessities Pantry

Many students come to campus with limited resources and little experience managing their needs. Sometimes that means skimping on a meal plan. Hunger makes it difficult to study, sleep or engage in academics and social activities at the same level as peers.The dean of student's mission is to provide opportunities and experiences that support student learning and personal development, as well as to help students with issues affecting their academic and personal life at Binghamton University.

The Bear Necessities Pantry is just one more way to uphold the University's mission and assist our students.

Students who wish to access the Bear Necessities Pantry, which stocks non-perishable food as well as toiletries, are welcome and encouraged to visit the Dean of Students Office in UUW-204 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. They are asked to bring their University ID.

Those who wish to donate to the Bear Necessities Pantry can drop items off between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

Live support after hours – we're here for you! 

Parents: Can't call during business hours? Want a live response instead of waiting for an e-mail? We understand parents and family members have busy lives, which is why we've created the live-chat system just for you. Learn more online!

Welcoming your college student home (excerpted from College Parents of America)

Your college student is coming home for a first real visit since heading off to school. You're excited – but also nervous about what to expect. You know that your student has changed – increased independence and responsibility are goals of the college experience – but you may not be sure how this increased independence will affect your relationship. Your college student is probably nervous, too, about coming home to show off new-found independence, but feeling unsure how this will fit in with the family.

The first step in a successful visit with your student is simply anticipating that things will be different, and possibly awkward. Brushing up on your listening skills and your patience will go a long way. Here are a few suggestions that may help ease the experience for everyone:

  • Let your student know if there are any changes to expect when coming home. Has a younger sibling moved into the student's room? Have you repainted the living room a new color? Help your child to adjust expectations.
  • Try not to over schedule your student's time. Your student will need some time to sleep and rest, some time to simply do nothing and time to connect with friends. It is reasonable to expect your student to be involved with some family activities, but be sure to allow time for self. 
  • Make a time with your student for an open discussion about potential issues that may come up while at home. An honest discussion about curfew and expectations is one thing that many students worry about. It may not be reasonable to expect your student, who has been able to come and go at will while at college, to step back into the high-school curfew mode. On the other hand, it's not unreasonable for you to expect to know when your student will be out and returning home. Talk it out. Be ready to compromise. Talk about your comfort level. Let your student talk about expectations. You may be surprised at how reasonable your student can be when the issue is addressed calmly before it becomes a problem and when you ask for your student's input as an adult.
  • Try to find a balance between independence and family responsibilities. Your student is not a boarder, but is still a member of the family even though away at school much of the year. Negotiate carefully how much you will expect of your student while at home. Will there be some responsibilities? What will you continue to do for your student? How much will you help, or expect your student to help, with laundry? With meals? Clean up in the kitchen? Watching or transporting younger siblings?
  • Take some time over the vacation to get to know the new person that your student is becoming. The changes may be radical or they may be slight. This is an ideal opportunity to learn about your student in a new way. Remember to look for, and acknowledge, the positive changes that you see.

Residential Life update and tips

We hope your student had as much fun this semester as we did! We battled it out in hall competitions during Homecoming weekend; took students, parents and families on tours of our communities during Family Weekend; and shared holiday cheer with local children through another successful Hand-to-Heart gift drive.

A quick update on housing — students who missed the 2015-16 housing sign-ups or want to change their room assignment for next year can do so online through a self-selection process. Details and the link to the housing system are available on the Residential Life homepage. Most of our communities are full, but spaces are opening up as students cancel. If students are interested in living on campus, they are most likely to find rooms in Hinman, Newing, College-in-the-Woods and the apartment community Hillside. 

Now, on to break! Your students will start to head home soon, and whether this is your first semester with a college student or your seventh, there are bound to be some growing pains as your son or daughter reintegrates into the family structure after living independently for months.

Reiterating the message above about welcoming your student home for the break: To help with the transition, make sure you communicate your expectations for family obligations such as holiday celebrations and rules regarding chores, curfew and the car. It's also important to let them have time to do as they wish, whether that is visiting with friends or simply catching up on sleep. Also, be sensitive if they are coming home to difficulties or change. With the stress and distractions of college life, your student may not have had time — or desire — to deal with issues at home.

Unless students live in break housing they must leave within 24 hours of finishing their last exam. Residence halls will close completely at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. Remind your student to bring valuable items or necessities home because there will be no access until we reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 22. 

A listing of break-housing halls, closing checklists (i.e. blinds lowered, trash emptied, fridge defrosted) and a few travel suggestions can be found under our Residential Life monthly tip.

Health insurance

  • The Decker Student Health Services Center provides most services at no or low cost. Payment for healthcare outside the center is your student's responsibility, which is the reason your student should have health insurance.
  • All domestic undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the University's Student Accident and Sickness Plan. If you don't wish to remain in this plan because you have alternate coverage, submit an online waiver through BU Brain by the sixth week of classes. Instructions on submitting the waiver can be found at the Student Accounts website. If your student waives the University insurance plan, we'll assume the student doesn't need coverage in subsequent semesters unless we're informed otherwise.
  • Inform your health insurance company that your student will be away at college, and inquire about the level of coverage in the Binghamton area. Be sure your student's current health insurance coverage can be used for outpatient services and specialist referrals in the Binghamton community and that your student understands any limitations to this coverage. Local providers in the Binghamton area include Lourdes Hospital and the UHS healthcare network.
  • Provide an insurance card (with policy numbers, billing address and pharmacy information) or a photocopy (front and back) and encourage your student to carry it at all times.
  • Discuss with your student when and how to use health insurance and what limitations (if any) the insurance has.

Study abroad

Winter Break is an ideal time for students and parents to discuss study-abroad options. Applications for some summer programs have already opened and fall 2015 programs will open up soon!

This fall semester we launched our new study-abroad website and online application system where you can search for over 40 Binghamton programs or find information about other SUNY and non-SUNY programs. We also have two new scholarship opportunities for our students, along with the several other institutional and external scholarships which our students consistently win.

You will find a wealth of information so you can chat with your student about the programs' academic credit, costs and health and safety issues.

As always, you can contact the Office of International Programs to receive more information or speak with a study-abroad advisor. Reach us at 607-777-2336 or by e-mail at oip@binghamton.edu.

Campus Rec activities

It has been a fantastic fall for us and your 4,600 children who are Rec Center members!

Intramural and club sports were increasingly popular this fall. Intramurals had more than 1,500 unique players sign up for fall sports including flag and arena flag football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, coed dodgeball, 3-on-3 basketball and the new bubble soccer. Participation in our 39 clubs was even greater, topping nearly 3,200 members. 

The Outdoor Pursuits program also had a full season, taking on a 6-mile trek through Treman State Park to Lucifer Falls in Ithaca, N.Y., as well as stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Activities will continue in the spring along with a myriad of credit classes such as English horsemanship, snowshoeing, canoeing and winter camping. We're also introducing a new independent study course to become certified as a ropes course assistant. Encourage your student to explore all the opportunities to get OUT! 

The semester isn't over yet though! With less than two weeks left, De-stress December events are in full swing. Raising one's heartbeat and taking time to zone out with exercise helps relieve stress, anxiety and tension — so we're encouraging all students, regardless of membership status, to take advantage of our free group fitness classes through Friday, Dec. 19.

This spring we'll have the same great class and program offerings, our regular open rec basketball, badminton, volleyball and swim times, plus the popular specialty wellness classes INSANITY® and Pink Gloves Boxing. Spring semester memberships go on sale Monday, Dec. 8. We hope to see your students back at the Rec Center soon! 

Student Records

  • Final grades and GPAs will be available in BU BRAIN at the close of business Monday, Jan. 5.
  • Diplomas for fall 2014 graduates will be mailed by the end of January 2015.
  • Pre-registration for spring 2015 is currently closed and will reopen at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7.
  • Winter 15 Undergraduate Application for Degree (AFD) will be available in BU BRAIN Self Service from Jan. 5-23.


  • Winter Session begins Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.
  • The Confirmation of Enrollment deadline is 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014.
  • The add/drop deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 6.
  • For more information about Winter Session, including additional dates/deadlines, go online

Financial aid

Graduating seniors were sent an e-mail notification about the EXIT Counseling requirement and student loan repayment information, if they borrowed federal loans as an undergraduate student. To view their federal loan history and complete required EXIT Counseling, students can log in, using their federal PIN, to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

To learn more about federal repayment information and options, check out the Department of Education's loan repayment, loan consolidation and loan forgiveness web pages. Repaying loans successfully will help students avoid going into default, which is important for ensuring their positive financial standing.

Note: If your student will be continuing education in graduate school, loan repayment may be delayed based on the type and terms of the loan(s). Students should contact their loan servicer and/or private lender for more detailed information and to keep them informed of enrollment plans.

Winter NYC events focus on student career development and success

During the week of Jan. 12-16 over winter break, Binghamton University will host a number of career programs and events in New York City. These events will be helpful to students with career and professional development. Encourage your student to participate in these events, as they are great opportunities for students of all majors to network with alumni and employers who can offer valuable career opportunities and advice. The "Bearcats in the City" website provides more information about the specific programs and events taking place. 

Metro Career Night (Wednesday, Jan. 14, at Fashion Institute of Technology)

This free event is a special opportunity for students to network, explore and receive career advice from successful Binghamton University alumni working in a wide range of careers in the Metro-NY area. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with an alumni panel discussion – "Powerful Career Tips from Alumni" – followed by networking with alumni from 7-9 p.m. Student dress should be business casual.

For more information, to view a list of participating alumni and to register for this event, visit the Metro Career Night 2015 webpage. Pre-registration is strongly recommended and students who do pre-register and attend will be entered into a drawing to win special Binghamton University prizes. 

Binghamton Bearcat Family Association-Facebook just for parents!

Are you a parent who is social media savvy and wants daily updates just for you? Then "The Binghamton Bearcat Family Association" Facebook page is what you're looking for. This page has timely University updates, information about how to get involved as a parent, advice from faculty and staff with children in college, prize giveaways and more so "like" it today!

Binghamton University Dining Services by Sodexo

Though it's close to the end of the semester, we still have a lot to look forward to in December − Culinary Salon, BBQ Blues, Q&A with Alexa, Cram Jam and lots more! For Culinary Salon during the week of Dec. 8, resident dining will transform into a holiday treat extravaganza where students can taste amazing holiday inspired desserts, enjoy a chocolate fountain, build their own gingerbread person and more! Stay tuned to our website for all things dining!

Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Binghamton University Bookstore

All sales are available in-store and online. If shopping online, choose in-store pickup and your student can pick up your order at the Bookstore and bring it home or have it shipped directly. From Dec 8-19 get 25 percent off Champion brand clothing: hoodies, pants, tees, performance merchandise, etc.

Textbook rental returns

Did your student rent textbooks this semester? Remind your student to return them to the Bookstore by Friday, Dec. 19. Not on campus? Their reminder e-mails include a link to a free shipping label.

Save on spring semester books

It's never too early to start saving! Now is the time to order for spring. Be the first for rentals and used textbooks. Visit our website for more information.

Happy holidays from the Binghamton Fund

The end of the semester is drawing to a close and your child is looking forward to spending a few weeks unwinding with loved ones. Before this year ends and a new year begins, we hope you will consider making a gift to the Binghamton Fund to help keep extraordinary experiences accessible to all students. Give today online.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the Binghamton Fund at 607-777-6209 or via e-mail.

Check out Binghamton University on Facebook

Want to know more about what's going on at Binghamton University beyond the parent Facebook page? Check the Binghamton University main page out on Facebook.

Visiting Binghamton?

If you're planning a trip to Binghamton, visit the Visiting Binghamton section on our website or the Greater Binghamton Convention and Visitors Bureau for information on what to see, where to stay and where to eat while you're here.

Update Parent Information

Keep your contact information updated in our parent database. If your address, phone or e-mail has changed, send a note to kellis@binghamton.edu to let us know. And if you're looking for more from us, check out some of our pages targeted directly to parents and guardians:

Calendar of events

  • University's Academic Calendar
  • Dec. 12: Last day of classes
  • Dec. 14: Fall Commencement
  • Dec. 15-19: Final exams
  • Dec. 20: Residence halls close at 11 a.m. for Winter Break
  • Jan. 5-23: Winter Session
  • Jan. 22: Residence halls open at 9 a.m.
  • Jan. 23: Pre-semester registration for spring 2015
  • Jan. 26: Classes begin

How to unsubscribe

If you no longer have a need to receive this newsletter, you can unsubscribe by sending a message to kellis@binghamton.edu.

Last Updated: 12/10/14