Aug. 14, 2005 – About 125 young adults and 150 parents came together on St. Croix's University of Virgin Islands campus on Sunday to celebrate separation.
Claude Steele, an advisor on student affairs, told parents, "Once they are here we treat them as adults."
He warned parents that even though "you are paying the bill," the university cannot release information about student grades unless the student has signed a form allowing that release to parents.
While parents were inside the cafetorium getting information about costs, health insurance and withdrawing from classes, the students were outside hearing about what opportunities they were being offered and also getting to know their fellow students.
Steele asked parents to help their children become adults.
Carolyn Cook-Roberts, director of enrollment, told parents, "They are not there yet, don't let them go yet."
She said parents needed to help their children understand their new responsibilities. She said they needed to know how to manage their university accounts, take responsibility for keeping track of their own class assignments and agendas. She said to tell them, "Take care of your business, mind your business."
She also told parents they had made an "excellent decision" by sending their children to UVI. She said students at UVI had the opportunity to get a quality undergraduate education.
Steele said that parents should have a good relationship with their children about to attend college, "If you don't have it now, develop it with the next 24 hours."
Student orientation at UVI campuses on St. Croix and St. Thomas will continue through Tuesday.
Deborah Fontana, a university executive, said that as orientation continues, the number of new students may grow from the 125 at the event Sunday to 200. She said students on Monday and Tuesday will be taking tests to see where they are placed in the math and English curriculums.
Classes at the university begin on Thursday. Fontana said enrollment at UVI was still very "affordable" although a 10 percent tuition increase went into effect this term.
The university has room for 90 students to live on the St. Croix campus, and according to Fontana, the school was only at half capacity.
Many students who attend UVI continue to live at home. According to Fontana, students can get a better experience of what college life is about if they chose to live on campus.
When a show of hands was called for, it appeared that about 25 percent of the parents were alumni of UVI and about 5 percent were sending a family member to college for the first time.
Grant Gould, a student who arrived from Washington state two days previously, listened to the orientation, outside under the tents. He said it might have been "a little too thorough."
What might have been good news for the students, but bad news for the parents, was the announcement that an ATM machine was being installed on campus this fall.
At the end of the afternoon, the two groups came together for dinner.
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