family of snow people

December  — Welcoming your student home again...

Life on a college campus moves fast in December; students are finishing up papers and projects for the last week of classes, studying for exams and saying goodbye to their friends for the month-long break. 

The last day of classes for the fall will be Friday, Dec. 13, and exams will run through Friday, Dec. 20. 

If your son or daughter does not reside in break housing (see a listing of break communities and halls below) s/he is expected to leave within 24 hours after completing their last exam. Students with finals on Friday must be out of the residence halls by 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Closing checklist

Students who plan to reside in the same room for the spring semester may keep their belongings in their room over the winter break. However, we strongly encourage students to bring any items of value and/or importance (medications, passports, eyeglasses, etc) with them, as they will not have access to their room until we reopen at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23.

Students are asked to prepare their room for the break, and Residential Life staff will be entering their room after the halls have closed to do health and safety inspections. 

"Preparing" the room includes:

  • windows closed and locked
  • blinds 3/4 closed
  • trash emptied
  • all items unplugged
  • all refrigerators emptied, defrosted and clean
  • door closed and locked.

It's important to note that the heat will be substantially reduced to conserve energy costs, so any plants, fish or other items that may be negatively affected by reduced temperatures should be taken home. Students with vehicles on campus are encouraged to take their car home with them, but if it must remain on campus, it should be relocated to posted lots for safety and snow removal purposes (M1, F, ZZ or H; parking map pdf).

Break housing

  • Hillside and Susquehanna apartment communities
  • Champlain and Whitney halls in Dickinson
  • Mohawk hall in College in the Woods
  • Lehman hall in Hinman, and
  • Windham hall in Mountainview

If your student lives in one of the break housing options listed, he/she may continue to reside in his/her on-campus housing for some, or all, of the winter break.  All break housing residents must meet the following expectations:

  • If all residents of the room/suite/apartment leave for the break, the above closing list must be completed
  • They must register by the assigned deadline. This enables us to know who is present in case of an emergency and to ensure building card access is not de-activated.
  • Students should recognize that while there is emergency coverage, staffing is limited. If for example, a student becomes locked out of his/her room, the wait to be keyed in could be lengthy. Students should keep their keys with them at all times.
  • There is not regular maintenance service, so students should be sure to clean up after themselves in the bathrooms and common areas.
  • Guests are not permitted in the building at any time.
  • Residential Life staff will be entering student rooms during the break to conduct health and safety inspections.
  • All University Housing License and Rules of Student Conduct are in effect during the break periods.

Has your son or daughter made his/her travel plans?

Not sure how your student is getting home? If your student doesn't have a car, and you're not coming to get him/her, encourage him/her to finalize travel plans now. Some students carpool with friends and/or classmates. ESCAPE buses, which have special discounted tickets to New York City and Long Island leave from campus. There is also the Shortline bus program through CoachUSA

A smooth transition back home

Once your student gets home, some things you may want to consider as you re-integrate him/her into the family structure are:

  • Make sure your expectations are clear regarding family obligations, especially for holiday celebrations. Communicate with your son/daughter ahead of time so your student can work his/her plans accordingly.
  • Allow "open time" for your student to do as he/she wishes — remember, students are used to setting their own schedule now.  Catching up on sleep, visiting friends and applying for internships may fill their "free" time.
  • Be sensitive if your student is returning home to difficulties: divorce, sick family member, financial constraints, etc. College can be a good avoidance technique, allowing your student to focus on tests and papers instead of issues at home.  Without the distraction of classes, students can become overwhelmed.
  • Set and communicate the rules. Discuss with your student your expectations regarding chores, curfew, borrowing the car, etc. 
Despite the challenges, college break can be a valued and enjoyable experience for everyone. A bit of planning and awareness can make this a rewarding and comfortable time for you and your family.

Last Updated: 12/17/13