August 2009

Welcome

Dear Parents and Friends of WPI,

Welcome to our first edition of The Fountain for the 2009-10 academic year!

Universities are usually pretty quiet in the summertime, but this has been one of the busiest summers we've ever experienced at WPI. New classrooms and new labs have been added in Fuller and Goddard Labs. Gordon Library is undergoing extensive renovations, including a new café and home to the Academic Technology Center. More than 20 professors will be joining the faculty this year. A new fitness center, along with new furniture in all rooms, have been added in Morgan Hall. Much of this work is in preparation for the Class of 2013, the largest (and possibly the smartest) class that has ever enrolled at WPI.

As we start the academic year, please know that the faculty and staff are here to help your son or daughter succeed, both academically and socially. These do go together. All students will meet with their faculty advisors and two peer advisors during New Student Orientation-their introduction to the resources in place to help them succeed. I emphasize that the resources are there, but the students need to take the initiative to use the resources.

I advised a student project for the National Science Foundation a few years ago and the sponsor told me that she was most impressed by WPI students because "they were never afraid to ask a question." This step is sometimes difficult for the brightest students, students who believe they should always have the answers and may never have had to ask for help.

Please encourage your son or daughter to use the many resources we have on campus to enhance their personal growth and academic achievement. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I may not have all of the answers, but I do know who to ask!

Sincerely,

Arthur C. Heinricher
Dean of Undergraduate Studies
heinrich@wpi.edu

H1N1 Flu Virus Campus Up-Date

Dear Parents of WPI Students,

WPI has been monitoring the H1N1 pandemic closely since last spring. As we begin the new academic year, we want to provide a status report on the pandemic, let you know how WPI will manage the situation in the coming months, and provide guidelines for good health and virus containment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define H1N1 flu as a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza viruses that is contagious and is spread from person to person. It is clear from organizations as varied as World Health Organization and the City of Worcester's Division of Public Health that the spread of H1N1 will almost certainly continue, and perhaps at a high rate. However, reports from the CDC indicate that the impact of the virus may not be as threatening as it once appeared. New state and federal policies mandate that, unless individuals are considered high risk (people in this category include children, pregnant women, new mothers, adults 65 years or older, HIV-infected individuals, and people who have chronic health conditions, etc.), they will not be tested for H1N1. Instead, most people with a fever of more than 100 degrees and a cough or sore throat will be diagnosed as having influenza-like illness (ILI). This is an important distinction because it indicates that the severity of H1N1 is on par with that of seasonal flu.

With that said, the flu is not an illness to take lightly. It is likely that this year's flu season will be pronounced. There is a very good chance that we could see an emergence of the influenza virus during the coming fall and winter seasons. Therefore WPI remains vigilant and is working to help keep our students, faculty, and staff stay safe and healthy through proper prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The university is following the guidance of the CDC, the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Boston Public Health Commission for management of influenza and ILI.

Prevention:

The CDC is recommending that all people receive the seasonal flu vaccine earlier than most years; those who are considered high risk are being encouraged to get the vaccine as early as this month. (If you are high risk, please contact your primary care physician for a consult.) For everyone else the timing is less urgent; WPI is making arrangements for an on-campus clinic in early October so that students, faculty, and staff will have easy access to the vaccine. We are awaiting a shipment from the Department of Public Health and will announce a date for the clinic as soon as we possibly can, as well as cost information.

At present the H1N1 vaccine is undergoing clinical trials and is not yet available; medical experts are estimating that the vaccine will be available to targeted groups of high risk individuals- which in this scenario includes pregnant women, household and caregiver contacts of children younger than 6 months of age, health care workers, emergency medical services personnel, children from 6 months to 18 years, persons age 19-24 and people aged 25-64 who have preexisting medical issues-in either November or December of this year. We are keeping close tabs on the CDCs recommendations for this vaccine, and if appropriate, WPI will bring an H1N1 vaccine clinic to campus, too.

  • Encourage your son or daughter not to attend classes if they are sick.
  • When packing in preparation for college, include some simple basics such as a thermometer, fever reducer, and tissues.
  • Tell your student to avail him/herself of the college health services on campus by calling to schedule an appointment. You do not need to purchase the student health insurance plan to utilize the service. There are no co-pays for visits and any charges for additional tests would generally be covered by your insurance carrier.
  • Encourage your son or daughter to obtain seasonal vaccine.


WPI would also like to share the CDC's tips for helping to reduce germ spread and the risk of infection, and asks all members of the campus community to engage these tactics.

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  5. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  6. If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Earlier in the year it was common practice to cancel events and close schools because of reported cases. However, the management of this outbreak has been constantly evolving. Going forward into the fall and winter months, WPI will take our guidance from the DPH regarding cancellations and closings. We are asking that students, faculty, and staff afflicted with H1N1 or ILI to contact Health Services by phone at 508-831-5220 or email at healthcenter@wpi.edu to report their illness so that we can track the attack rate here on campus and take appropriate next steps. We will provide alerts and notification pertaining to changes or interruptions in WPI's academic programs, daily operations, residential and campus life, and scheduled activities as soon as possible. Students who are unable to return home during a shutdown should consider a backup plan in the event the university must be evacuated on short notice.

Diagnosis:

WPI is encouraging people who are experiencing ILI symptoms (fever of more than 100 degrees coupled with a cough or sore throat) to stay home and also contact their health care providers-or the WPI Health Services-by phone at 508-831-5220 at the onset of symptoms; it is important to call rather than visit because it could serve as a preventative measure for uninfected individuals. Patients should also communicate directly with their health care providers if they have questions and concerns about their illness, or if they are experiencing more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest, sudden dizziness, confusion, or severe or persistent vomiting.

Treatment:

In accordance with state, national, and international guidelines, WPI is asking that anyone-staff, faculty, or students-exhibiting the fever and symptoms self isolate themselves at the onset of ILI symptoms to a full 24-hours after their fever breaks. Professors will ask students exhibiting ILI symptoms to leave class and follow isolation guidelines. The Academic Affairs office is working with academic departments and faculty to permit students to make up missed work wherever possible.

Afflicted students who wish to go home for isolation must arrange for private transportation; no one with symptoms should ride on public transportation where there is a likelihood of further spreading the disease.

WPI has arranged for the care and feeding of students who either need or wish to stay on campus.

All members of the community are encouraged to visit the WPI Health Services website for more information, or to contact them with any questions or concerns. They can be reached at x5520 or healthcenter@wpi.edu.

Janet Begin Richardson,
Vice President, Student Affairs & Campus Life

Parents - Take The Alcohol-Wise Course

Gregory Snoddy, Associate Dean of Students

As one part of our Healthy Alternatives alcohol education, prevention, and intervention program, WPI is using the online alcohol education course Alcohol-Wise. Student Government Association (SGA) members who have completed this course indicate that it provides interesting and interactive information regarding alcohol use and abuse. They fully support and endorse this program as one part of our education and prevention effort.

We invite parents to take this 75-minute course so you can see what your sons or daughters are experiencing. To do so:

  1. Go to 3rd Millennium Classrooms website.
  2. Click on "Course Enrollment-Parent" on the left side menu.
  3. When you are directed to enter the "Control Number", enter WPI-PNT
  4. Create your account as a U.S. student.
  5. You’ll receive an email with your password, and a link to 3rd Millennium Classrooms website.
  6. Proceed with the Pre-Test and associated lessons.

Please enroll as yourself (not as your son or daughter) as we do want your student to complete this course. You will not need a credit or debit card to enroll. You will receive a password immediately on the screen and by email. It takes about 1 hour to complete the course and you can log in and out as needed.

There is considerable evidence that parents play a critical role in the success of their teens in college, particularly related to their choices about alcohol use. In fact, 2001 and 2002 studies discovered a significant decrease in students’ tendencies toward drunkenness and drinking-related consequences within a group of freshman who experienced a parent-based intervention the summer prior to the start of the college career. Research shows the following about parent involvement as it relates to student alcohol use:

  • Parents are best able to tailor the content and timing of communication based on their personal knowledge of their sons or daughters strengths, weaknesses and maturity level.
  • The more parents communicate about the risks of alcohol abuse, the less positive their children are about drinking.
  • Important communication components include reinforcement of non-drinking alternatives, clarification about risks and negative consequences of drinking, strategies to support assertiveness and resistance to influences that encourage heavy drinking, and ensuring that communication lines remain open throughout the first year of college.
  • Timing is important. The weeks and months just prior to the start of school are the best times to have these conversations.

So while it is true that your son or daughter is becoming more independent with each passing day, it is never too late to have important conversations about their future and the decisions that will face them. We encourage you to help make our alcohol abuse prevention efforts as effective as possible by reinforcing your son’s or daughter’s ability to make healthy choices.

WPI Home To 'Happiest Students'

Students at WPI are some of the happiest in the country, according to The Princeton Review,   which recently ranked the school in the top 20 of national colleges and universities where students feel the "happiest." The Princeton Review also named WPI a "Best Northeastern College." Read more.

Check Out The Beloit College Mindset List

As parents, it's always interesting to look back at what has been happening in the world over the past 18 years. The Beloit College Mindset List is especially interesting, as it provides a wonderful and reminiscent reminder of the major events, famous names (that we recognize….although our students may not) that have helped shape the lives, attitudes, and behavioral norms of the Class of 2013, most of whom were born in 1991. 

Come To Parents Weekend At WPI!

Friday, September 25, to Sunday, September 27, 2009

See all that WPI has to offer. Experience a taste of life on our campus. Spend time with your student. Participate in exciting activities: presentations, musical and theatre performances, sporting events, and more.

For a full schedule of events and to register, go to Parents Weekend website. If you would like a printed schedule, please contact us at +1-508-831-5291 or pw@wpi.edu.

Dining Services

Top 10 Reasons to Have a Meal Plan

  1. All commuter meal plan "Meals" and "Commuter Bonus Points"are valid until they are used by you - (or you graduate) No lost meals 100% value.
  2. Why bother cooking and cleanup when we can do it for you.
  3. No roommates eating your food.
  4. Dine in our various meal plan locations from 7:00 am - 12:00 am. (11 pm Sunday - Thursday)
  5. Shopping for food can be a drag after a long day of classes - use your 190 meal plan in the Goat's Head Restaurant.
  6. Incredible theme dinners in Morgan Hall - End your semester with Surf and Turf.
  7. Can't make a meal in Morgan Hall - Use our customized online bag lunch order form and take your meal back to your class or room.
  8. Our Grab n Go option at Morgan Hall allows any number of combinations of food for take out if you want to eat on the run.
  9. All commuter meal plans can use the Meal Plan equivalency in the Campus Center Food Court
  10. Purchase the 190 Commuter meal plan online now through August 31, 2009 and receive an additional 10 meals FREE!

Choose from the Standing Reservations

Chartwells

The 190 - Our Most Popular and Flexible Plan
ANY 190 all you care to eat meals at Morgan Hall, dine with friends at the Goat's Head Restaurant or use meals at the Outtakes Convenience Store -
No other commuter meal plan allows meals in our new Goat's Head Restaurant! Price $2,200.00

The 40
ANY 40 all you care to eat meals at Morgan Hall.
Price $480.00

75 Luncheon Plus
75 ALL you care to eat LUNCH meals at Morgan Hall and $35 in bonus points.
Price $575.00

50 Luncheon Plus
50 ALL you care to eat LUNCH meals at Morgan Hall and $25 in bonus points.
Price $415.00

25 Luncheon Plus
25 ALL you care to eat LUNCH meals at Morgan Hall and $15 in bonus points.
Price $225.00

Hurry! Limited time offer! Order a 2009 commuter meal plan at 2008 prices!  (Does not apply to students living in on-campus housing)

Purchase your meal plan NOW at the secure Chartwells website.

If you have any questions contact Joe Kraskouskas at 508-831-5685

Career Development Center Update

Jeanette Doyle, Director, Career Development Center

Welcome back to another exciting academic year. The Career Development Center is an important resource for your son or daughter. We work with students on everything related to their future career such as selecting a major, resume writing, interviewing skills, job search strategies, graduate school advice and opportunities to connect with employers for a summer internship or full-time position. The month of September is Resume Critique Month as we help students get prepared for the Fall Career Fair on September 23. Encourage your son or daughter to stop in our office today!

Workshops For Undecided Majors

The Career Development Center will lead the three-part Major Exploration Series, which will help first year students identify the various majors that WPI has to offer by helping them assess their own interests. Seminar 1: Think About Your Major will cover assessing interests, values, and skills. Seminar 2: The Difference Between a Major and a Career will discuss how to research careers and the difference between a major, minor, and career-along with facilitating industry exposure. Seminar 3: Why Experiences Are Valuable will review internship and co-op experiences and discuss how to obtain an internship-along with resume and other services. The Major Exploration Series will be offered in B, C, and D Terms.

Walk-In Meetings With A Counselor

If students have a quick question or want a resume critiqued, they may meet with a counselor for a short 15-minute appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

Career Development Center Upcoming Events:

September Is Resume Critique Month

9/1, CDC New Year’s Kickoff, 10am-2pm, outside CDC (rain date Sept 2) – Learn about CDC’s services and upcoming programs

9/10, Resume Writing Workshop, 5pm, SL 407

9/16, How to Work a Career Fair by EMC, 6pm, HL 116

9/17, Resumazing, Last Chance Critiques before Career Fair, 1-7pm, Odeum

Sunday, 9/20, Resume Writing Workshop, 4pm, Chairman’s Room

9/22, Corporate Interview Panel, 5pm, OH 107

9/23, Fall Career Fair, 1-5pm, Harrington

9/29, Cover Letter Writing Tips, 5pm, SL 105

Greetings From The Wpi Parents Fund!

The Parents Fund provides parents with opportunities to participate in and support their students’ experience at WPI. The Fund is a special part of the WPI Annual Fund and is vital to maintaining WPI as a world-class university whose dedication to both undergraduate and graduate education has placed it as a top institution of higher learning in science and technology. Gifts to the Parents Fund are used to support the current operations of the Institute, and supporting the Parents Fund has an immediate impact on the day-to-day life and academic experience of today's students. This past year, over 600 current and past parents gave over $83,000 to help support the WPI mission.

For more information about the Parents Fund at WPI, please visit our Giving to WPI website at or contact Patrick T. Maloney, Associate Director of Annual Giving at ptmaloney@wpi.edu or 1-877-WPI-FUND.

Parents’ Reception

During Parents Weekend, you are invited to attend a reception in Higgins House hosted by the Parents Fund. It will be held from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. on September 26. The reception will give parents an opportunity to talk with others about their experiences, as well as to experience a unique and beautiful space on campus. Keep an eye out for an upcoming invitation in the mail!

WPI Parents Council

The WPI Parents Council provides parents with opportunities to participate in and support their students’ experience at WPI. The WPI Parents Council also facilitates opportunities for parents to become involved in the life of the university and preserve, enhance and improve the quality of the WPI experience for their children and their children’s classmates. The Parents Council Executive Committee includes; Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Black, Parent ’05, ’11, & ’13, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Decker, Jr., Parent ’12, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Scaviola, Parent ’04.

For more information about the WPI Parents Council, please contact Patrick T. Maloney, Associate Director of Annual Giving at ptmaloney@wpi.edu or 1-877-WPI-FUND.

Get informed about WPI

As parents or guardians of WPI students, you are in the midst of very exciting times in your lives. While at WPI, students will put their classroom learning to work in real-world situations and our faculty will prepare them to be leaders and innovators. We know that much of your children’s past success is because of the support and guidance that you have given them, beginning in their early years and continuing today, and we are honored that you are now entrusting them to us for the next steps. While our students have contact with us on a daily basis, their parents and guardians have direct contact with us only sporadically. So that we may keep you connected about WPI news, regional events, and parent activities, we ask you to fill out the family information form if you have not already done so. 

We are confident that these years will be rewarding for your entire family and we look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

Athletics Up-Date

Tryouts

If your son or daughter is interested in trying out for a varsity team, please have them contact the coach directly. All students are required to have a physical completed six months prior to their trying out for a sport in addition to the required medical forms. Please go to Athletics website for coaches’ and varsity sport medical information.

First Contest Dates

Tuesday, September 1st

  • Regis at Field Hockey - 4:30pm
  • Men’s Soccer at Worcester State - 5pm
  • Salve Regina at Women’s Soccer - 7pm
  • Volleyball at Simmons - 7pm

Saturday, September 5th

  • Salve Regina at Football - 7pm

Saturday, September 12th

  • Men’s and Women’s Cross Country at Engineers Cup (hosted by Rensselaer) - 12:30pm

Save the Date

  • Parents Weekend

Saturday, September 26th

  • MIT at Field Hockey - 11am
  • Rensselaer at Football - 2pm
  • Springfield at Men’s Soccer - 6pm
 
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