Shorter break doesn’t slow plan makers
December 7, 2009 —
With visions of winter break dancing in their heads, many SVSU students eagerly anticipate the comforts of home.
But students will have a shorter time off this year than last: this year’s break is three weeks instead of four.
“It all has to do with the way the calendar falls,” said Kris Gregory, assistant to the vice president of academic affairs. “This year, Labor Day was later than usual, so that dictates the rest of the break schedules. Last year was unusual in that we had a full month off, but three weeks is typically the way it works out.”
Winter break is many things for many people. It provides some much-needed time for for administration to prepare for the upcoming semester. It also offers students opportunities to travel, especially those who come from abroad.
When classes finish, the University doesn’t immediately shut down.
“During break, grades need to be processed and finalized for over 10,000 students,” said Don Bachand, vice president of academic affairs. The classrooms are refurbished and new equipment is installed. It also is an energy saving opportunity to turn down the lights and heat. Administration and the registrar’s office come back to get things started a week after Christmas because there is so much to do.”
Some students are saddened about the shorter break.
“The full month last year gave me more time to work,” said Emily Daubert, a social work sophomore. “That extra week helped me pay for the following semester and I will miss that this year.”
Some 450 international students attend SVSU, and their plans for winter break range from staying right here in Saginaw to traveling abroad.
Pine Grove Apartments and University Village will remain open during the three-week break, but international students housed in the Living Centers are required to move to apartments during this time.
Pat Shelley, adviser to international students, said housing is usually very accommodating with this situation and tries to ensure that all students have a place to go.
A few students spend time with American friends or stay with host families during the break. Many remain in the Saginaw area and try to find jobs.
“I am not sure where I will go this break,” said Daehyuk Lim, an MBA student from China who lives in Living Center South. “I will probably look for a house and try to get a job. I am used to not seeing my family over break time since I have been overseas for the past 10 years.”
International students may also use the time off as opportunity to return to their homelands or to see what else the U.S. has to offer.
“The most popular travel destination for international students is New York,” Shelley said. “Florida and California are popular as well since the warm climate is a nice break from Michigan.”
Some students will visit family in the United States. Chen Zhang, computer information systems graduate student from China, plans to visit his uncle in Texas. He says he looks forward to being able to travel.
Most campus facilities will either close or have limited hours during the break. All dining operations will close from Saturday, Dec. 19, through Saturday, Jan. 9, with the exception of Starbucks. The Ryder Center will close from Thursday, Dec. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 3, but is open with special holiday hours. The Melvin J. Zahnow Library will close from Saturday, Dec. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 3 but is open limited hours Monday, Dec. 21, to Wednesday, Dec. 23.