Colgate University Parent and Family Newsletter
Colgate University Parent & Family Newsletter Summer 2020

Parent & Family Update


Public health

A Message to Campus From Konosioni

Youtube screenshot of Zoom call

Last week, the students of the Konosioni senior honor society sent an uplifting video message to their Colgate peers and University employees.

Icons for face coverings, hand washing, commitment, distancing, and cleaning

Green Boxes — Go, ’Gate

This semester, we keep our eyes trained on the Health Analytics Dashboard, which continuously evaluates public health data related to Colgate’s on-campus operations. As of Monday, all boxes are green. As Vice President for Communications Laura Jack observed in her digest message to the campus community, “The dashboard deals in aggregate data. It doesn’t see individuals. But you and I do. Yesterday, as I drove through the village, I saw a student out for a run. She was keeping an impressive pace while wearing a mask. That’s not easy, but she was doing it. I saw two friends out for a walk together, distanced and wearing their masks. It might have been hard to hear, but it would have been harder if they were home in different cities or states.”

Jack wrapped up with kudos to the students, staff, and faculty working so hard so that we can all be together. “Before we arrived on campus for the fall semester, President Casey made it clear that the Colgate we would experience during these weeks would not be the University we knew. But I can say — with all of that green on the dashboard and so much commitment from our community — that it is still the University we love.”

Student COVID-19 Health Screenings

New York State guidance states that students must periodically complete a health screening while on campus. As of Monday, Oct. 5, students selected for the random weekly testing program are expected to complete the daily health screening Monday–Friday during the week of their test. They will receive a helpful reminder via email at 9 a.m. each morning with a link to the screening questionnaire. If a student answers “yes” to any of the health screening questions, a notification will be sent to Student Health Services.


Updates from Campus

Fitness Facilities Open

The Trudy Fitness Center and Lineberry Natatorium (pool) have reopened for students, faculty, and staff. Masks are required at all times (except while in the pool), and Colgate IDs are required for entry. Students can visit for schedules, policies, and current facility traffic updates.

Study and Work Spaces

A number of classrooms and other spaces have been designated for groups of 10 students or fewer looking for places to study and work together during Gate 2. Students can reserve two-hour blocks between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekend. Additional spaces in the Ho Science Center and Alumni Hall are available for drop-in use during those hours.

National Election Guidance For Students

We have received a number of questions about how parents and family members can help ensure that their student can cast their ballot in the 2020 national election. Please know that the postal service may need additional processing time for this volume of mail. We recommend they move as quickly as possible to request a ballot and mail it in.

If your student has received an absentee ballot at their home address, we recommend forwarding it to them via Fed Ex Express for fastest delivery. That said, Colgate is not experiencing any delays with getting letters sent via U.S. Mail into student CU Boxes, which students can access every day of the week.

If your student wishes to vote but isn’t sure where to start, the Colgate Vote Project strives to create a population of habitual student voters on campus by streamlining the registration and voting process. The project aims to support all students — regardless of party affiliation, understanding of politics, or voting eligibility — in creating an environment that encourages political activism and participation.

The project encourages students to recognize the voice they have when casting their ballot, and to recognize their duty to vote as citizens. Of all age groups, those 18 to 29 have the lowest percentage turn out to vote, and so their interests are disproportionally underrepresented. This is an important moment for them to make their voice heard. The Colgate Vote Project web page connects students to voting resources, including the site where anyone can register to vote, get an absentee ballot, check their voter status, receive election reminders, and more.

Students studying outside in woods

A student in Eddie Watkins’s Biology 181: Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity class leads a discussion on the moss life cycle, near the quarry above the campus. “We redesigned the class as an outdoor experience, and it has actually worked very well.” said Watkins. “We give up some details, but we gain something really important: seeing plants as most students will see them in the wild, not under a microscope on a lab bench. It took a global pandemic to force me to rethink this experience.”



Fall 2020 Parent & Family Programs

Because we cannot safely gather for an in-person 2020 Family Weekend on campus, we are offering virtual programs and events for parents and family members in the coming days and weeks. Here are the first events; stay tuned for more.

Webinar: Student Engagement With Career Services

Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 p.m.

Join Assistant Vice President for Career Initiatives Teresa Olsen for a brief overview of how we recommend that your student engages with Career Services throughout their time at Colgate. We'll cover specific ways that family members can support students in this process, and walk through the core resources that students can leverage to explore, plan, and pursue their career areas of interest.


Off Campus Study Information Sessions

Friday, October 9, 4:00 p.m. EDT — For Parents and Guardians of First-Years and Sophomores

Learn about the programs and opportunities offered by the Office of Off-Campus Study (OCS) at Colgate. Director Joanna Holvey Bowles and other members of the OCS team will cover the application process and deadlines, and how this fits into the degree process and use of financial aid. In addition, we will address the way in which COVID-19 has impacted international and domestic programs.


Friday, October 16, 4:00 p.m. EDT — For Parents and Guardians of Juniors and Seniors

Learn about options available to students later in their degree program. For some, they may be only now exploring this option before they graduate. For others, their plans may have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Joanna Holvey Bowles, director of the Office of Off-Campus study, and other members of the OCS team will present the process and the advice our office can offer your students.


Mental and Emotional Health Panel Discussion

Tuesday, October 20, 4:30 p.m. EDT

As developing adults, college students face a variety of experiences, opportunities, and challenges that can affect, or be affected by, their mental and emotional health. Join our panel of experts — Dawn LaFrance, director of Counseling and Psychological Services; Pilar Mejía Barrera, co-director of Hancock Commons and senior lecturer in Spanish, and Mark Shiner, associate university chaplain, Catholic campus minister, and co-director of Ciccone Commons. We will discuss common concerns and coping strategies, how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting student well-being, the resources available at Colgate, and how parents and family members can support their students. Rebecca Downing, senior director of communications and parent initiatives, will moderate.

Have a question you’d like us to address? Send an email to and put Mental and Emotional Health Panel Discussion in the subject line.



Final Thoughts

Your Input

Colgate University is proud to be part of a national research study to understand the needs and experiences of families during the COVID-19 pandemic. This survey will help us and other programs like ours understand your experience and consider how we can better serve parents and families as they support their college students. We realize you may be dealing with many challenges right now, and we don’t want to add a burden. But if you have a few minutes to share your thoughts and views in this online survey, we’ll be grateful. And you’ll be representing Colgate in the national picture.

The online survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. In order to be included, you’ll need to complete the survey by November 15, 2020. After completing the survey, you can choose to be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 15 $100 gift cards. Your responses will be kept private and will not affect your relationship with your student’s institution.

Click here to get started.

Stress Relief Tip

Is your student feeling stressed? Remind them that exercise helps improve cognitive function, and share this tip: For a great cardio workout that requires little space, try jumping rope. Perform different foot patterns for reps (50–100) or time (30–60 seconds). No jump rope? Use an imaginary one. When building your daily routine, incorporate relaxing breathing techniques — deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth — and total body stretching. Come to think of it, we could probably all use a little extra cardio in our day!!


How to reach us
Rebecca Downing
Senior Director, Communications and Parent Initiatives

Parent and family resources

For urgent concerns
→ Concern about a student’s well-being
→ Campus safety Emergency: 1-315-228-7333

Parents and Family Newsletter

Unsubscribe from Colgate e-newsletters, update your contact Information, and review our privacy policy. View as a web page.