March 2015

Helping Your Student Have a Safe Spring Break

The Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education & PIER 21 encourages you to speak with your students about way to have a Safe Spring Break this year. Whatever their plans are, make sure they include these tips:

  • DO set a limit for yourself before going out and having drinks.  You should know, according to your body type and tolerance, how much alcohol you can safely have.
  • DON’T go out with people who make you feel uncomfortable about not drinking. The people worth hanging out with are the ones who will respect you and your choices.
  • DON’T guzzle, play drinking games, or use devices to consume more quickly (funnels, shot slides, tubes, double shot glasses, etc.). Your body can only safely process .5 oz of alcohol (about half the amount in an average drink) an hour. So, have one drink/hour and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • DO take a break from drinking. Show yourself and your friends that you don’t need alcohol to go out and have a good time. If you can’t do that, then that is an indication that you may have a problem with alcohol.
  • DO eat before and during drinking alcohol  - it will slow down the absorption rate of the alcohol into your bloodstream. However, eating after you drink will not change anything - once alcohol is in your bloodstream, nothing can speed the rate of absorption.
  • DO talk to your friends before going out to discuss what to do if: (1) someone is drinking too much, (2) someone gets drunk and starts hooking up with someone they probably wouldn’t want to, (3) someone wants to leave but the others want to stay out. Prepare yourself and your friends to take care of each other and to support each other in making responsible choices.
  • DON’T leave your drinks unattended, let someone else get your drink for you, or drink from a punch bowl - predatory drugs are out there!! They are colorless, odorless, and will leave you completely vulnerable to be taken advantage of.  You are not always in a “safe place” with “safe people”—Get your own drink, watch it being made, and keep it with you where you can see it at all times.
DO get involved when you see someone else putting him/herself in danger. Alcohol poisoning, accidents, sexual assaults, drug overdoses, and drunk driving deaths are all real!  Better to have someone ask you why you tried to keep them from having a good time, then to have his/her parents ask you why you let them leave the party drunk. Care enough to get involved and do the right thing.  Wouldn’t you want someone to do that for you?
Helping Your Student Have a Safe Spring Break

We also encourage all students to attend PIER 21’s Safe Spring Break Week: “Don’t Go Overboard” on Monday, 02.23 through Friday, 02.27 from 12pm-2pm every day at the UC Rock. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events, all designed by PIER21 to get important information out prior to Spring Break on topics such as personal safety, highway safety, alcohol, impaired driving, sleep and sun safety. This week gives PIER21 the opportunity to showcase healthy activities free from harmful behaviors and to combat recklessness during the collegiate spring break activities. Plus there will be great giveaways necessary for a spring break trip and free food!

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education / PIER21 don’t hesitate to contact us at or 305-284-6120.


CGI U 2015 – March 6-8, 2015

The 2014 delegation representing the 
University of Miami at the 
Clinton Global Initiative University
Pictured: The 2014 delegation representing the
University of Miami at the
Clinton Global Initiative University

The University of Miami has been selected to host the eighth annual Clinton Global Initiative University meeting hosted by former President Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation. This is the second time that UM will welcome CGI U to the campus (previously in 2010), as well as 1,200 student leaders from across the world, topic experts, and celebrities to make Commitments to Action in CGI U’s five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.


Student attendees will have the opportunity to attend working sessions, office hours, and other special events covering topics across the five focus areas to assist them in building partnerships, networking with their peers, and build skills to increase the impact of their Commitments to Action. The 2015 meeting will feature sessions on a variety of issues including “The Power of Big Data”, ending the illegal wildlife trade, and the globalization of chronic disease. This year, tickets to the opening plenary session on Friday, March 6, 2015 at 6:30pm will be made available to all UM students on a first come, first serve basis. Tickets are available at the UC Ticket Window through February 27th between 9 AM and 4 PM. This unique opportunity will allow UM students to hear President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton facilitate a discussion on global socioeconomic and political inequity, and how they, as students and future public, private, and civil society leaders can work to address these issues.

For many students, the Clinton Global Initiative University meeting is one their most memorable experiences. Ryan Durga, a junior at UM, attended the 2014 meeting and says, “The biggest part of the conference was the networking – after meeting students from all over the world, and it’s great to see that we’re all working towards similar things, regardless of cultural differences and geographic barriers.” Participating in CGI U is much more than attending a conference, it’s joining a global network of young people who aren’t just talking about global issues, and they’re taking real, concrete steps to solve them. As a result of attending CGI U, Guerdiana Thelomar, a senior at UM, acquired the skills necessary to develop and implement a Summer Camp in St. Marc, Haiti. She reflects, “Whether it was through writing and sharing a song of hope or starting up a business, the visions of these young people had simply blew me away. It was my hope to get these youth to start thinking about how they could be change agents in their community”. CGI U is proof that young people have the power to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. This year, 150 students were selected to represent the University of Miami and will have the opportunity to join 1,200 students from around the world as they implement their Commitments to Action.



Tips for Securing an Internship

Internships are a key component in the job-search process for those looking to join the work force immediately after college. The Toppel Career Center is committed to providing students the opportunity to find internships where they will gain and develop skills as well as measure their interest in a particular role or company/organization.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduates applying for a full-time jobs prior to graduation were far more likely to receive a job offer, and to be compensated at a higher level in a full-time position if they had an internship experience (NACE, 2014).

Here are a few tips for parents and students when it comes time to apply for internship opportunities.
  • Plan ahead: Internships (especially competitive ones) can get filled quickly, which is why it is essential to apply early. Not all industries have set timelines, nor do all industries operate on academic calendars, however we encourage students and employers to think a semester ahead, at least. One programming opportunity that the Toppel Career Center offers to help students is the “Exploring Internships” series.
  • Pick an opportunity relevant to desired career: Students should search for opportunities in related to their major to get a sense of whether they can see themselves working in that area long-term. This will help them build up their resume and to develop the skills necessary for their future career.
  • Network: Ask around to find opportunities. A family member or family friend may know of someone who is hiring interns. Encourage your student to seek out networking opportunities on campus.
  • Prepare to apply: Your student will need to create an updated resume and will need a well-written cover letter. The Toppel Career Center offers many opportunities for students to learn to do this, including workshops and individual advising appointments.
  • Prepare to interview: Interviews can be intimidating for students, especially if they’ve never had one before. Toppel offers opportunities for students to engage in practice interviews to help them prepare for this experience. We will tailor the interview to the student’s field/major and provide feedback on performance as well as provide tips on responses, body language, professional dress and more!
  • Maximize the internship experience: The Toppel Career Center wants to ensure that students are making the most of their internship. We encourage students to take ownership of their experience and ask for more responsibility as well as to capitalize on their contacts.  Students can obtain academic credit for their internship experience in the form of a one-credit notation by participating in the Toppel Internship Program.

Please feel free to contact our office at (305) 284-5451 if we can be of any assistance to you or your student(s).


Academic Spotlight: Dean Rodolphe el-Khourey, School of Architecture

Dean Rodolphe el-Khourey, School of Architecture

UM’s newest dean is a distinguished leader in contemporary architecture and urbanism. Rodolphe el-Khoury formerly served as director of urban design at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty and is a partner in the design firm Khoury Levit Fong; he joined UM over the summer of 2014 as the new dean for the School of Architecture.

An academic with more than 26 years of experience in the field, el-Khoury joined the faculty at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design in 2005. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, el-Khoury found his passion early in life. During his stellar career, he has taught at Harvard University, MIT, University of Hong Kong, Princeton University and Columbia University among others.

"I am thrilled to be part of the University of Miami School of Architecture,” said el-Khoury. “The UM School of Architecture has changed the world as the breeding ground for the New Urbanism. I haven’t been here very long, but I feel we are already making important steps to continue that role in the field.”

As a partner in Khoury Levit Fong (KLF), his award-winning projects include Beirut Martyr’s Square (AIA San Francisco), Stratford Market Square (Boston Society of Architecture), and the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art (AIA Cleveland). Recently, KLF won international competitions for a planning exhibition hall in Changzhi, China and for the revitalization of Copley Square in Boston.

el-Khoury researches architectural applications for information technology aiming for enhanced responsiveness and sustainability in buildings and cities. He spoke at TEDxToronto in September of 2013 about his designs for the "Internet of Things." With the help of RAD-UM, a lab that he is currently establishing at UM he aims to put every brick online and believes that "embedded technology empowers networked environments to better address the environmental and social challenges we face today."

el-Khoury received a doctorate degree in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Architectural History from Princeton University, as well as a Master of Science in Architecture Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design.


A Look at Multicultural Student Affairs

Multicultural Student Affairs

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) provides support, resources and programming for all University of Miami students.  We offer academic enhancement services, co-curricular programs, leadership and personal development workshops.  Throughout the year students have an opportunity to participate in a variety of programs that will enhance their academic experience at the University of Miami.

This year has been one to remember for the University of Miami and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.  In the fall semester, we hosted our annual diversity week which featured programs centered around diversity and American actress, reality television star, television producer, and LGBT advocate Laverne Cox, best known for her portrayal of Sophia Burset on the Netflix television series Orange Is the New Black, for which she became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy in an acting category, and the first to be nominated for an Emmy since composer/musician Angela Morley's last nomination in 1990.

The spring semester promises to provide something for everyone.  MSA started the spring semester with programs celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) and co-sponsored our MLK Day of Service with the Butler Center for Service and Leadership. This annual service day provided an opportunity for students to go into the local Miami community and complete service projects to better serve Brownsville Middle School. In February, students have been participating in Black Awareness Month, taking place February 1st – February 28th.  Black Awareness Month, commonly referred to as BAM by students, is the University’s celebration of Black History Month, which was created as “Negro History Week” in 1926. The creator, Carter G. Woodson, chose February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, two crucial contributors in the progression of Black people in America.

This year’s BAM celebration entitled “Azubuike: Our Past Is Our Strength.”  BAM Opening Ceremonies were on Thursday, February 5th and featured UM Alumnae Nicole Henry, B.S.C. ’00. Her passionate, soulful voice and heart-felt charisma has earned her a 2013 Soul Train Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Performance," three Top-10 U.S. Billboard and HMV Japan jazz albums.  The remainder of the month has included BAM Day of Service, Gospel Explosion, Black Jeopardy Event, and House of Black Culture.  For the complete calendar of events please visit

A Look at Multicultural Student Affairs

March continues with academic support programs, special events, and student organization elections which provide a great opportunity for students to get involved and enhance their leadership skills.  April is also filled with programs that include Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, International Week, awards ceremonies, and Finals Fiesta which celebrates the end of semester.   We end the academic year with our annual Senior Mwambo Ceremony which acknowledges the achievements of our graduating seniors.   Families of graduating students are encouraged to attend the ceremony which takes place on May 7, 2015 at 2 pm in Gusman Hall.

Please visit for additional details on MSA and our calendar of events.  Also encourage your student to take advantage of the opportunity to get involved and diversify their college education.

Rhodes House 37 - A
Phone: (305) 284 - 2855
For more information on MSA visit UM_MSA



Miami Student Health 101

Miami Student Health 101, an interactive online magazine, engages your student in living healthfully and developing skills needed for succeeding in school and beyond. The Student Advocate provides a quick-to-read summary of articles, designed to help you support your student through the growth and challenges he your she faces.

To read the Student Advocate,


Visit our website for more details!


News from UM:

UM Among the Colleges that Pay Students Back

Students Transform Industrial Site into Hialeah’s Own Midtown Miami

College of Arts & Sciences Biology Professor Kathryn Tosney Awarded Outstanding Educator Prize

The University of Miami | Department of Orientation & Commuter Student Involvement
Student Activities Center, Suite 203 | 1330 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146
(305) 284-5646 |