Don’t Pack the Cheez-Its next to the Dryer Sheets:
The fall semester is in full swing and your college student has been away from home for weeks now. They are probably stressing over midterms and dreading class projects. With nearly two months to go until Thanksgiving, October is prime care package season. Now is the perfect time to send a care package that will lift their spirits and give them a little sense of home until their next long break.
Chris Ralphs, director of University Housing and residential education at Southern Utah University, has seen it all; snacks packed next to soaps, cookies turned to dust, melted chocolates, broken mugs and exploded shampoo bottles (just to name a few). After years of witnessing disappointed students taking their dryer sheet tasting Cheez-Its and leaking, crumpled boxes back to the dorms, we asked him for a few tips on how to create the perfect college care package.
- Avoid Crumbly Cookies
Pack cookies in an airtight container and layer them with parchment paper and paper towels along the edges. You don’t want to have room to bounce around in transit. Also, add a slice of bread to the sealed container. This will help keep those baked goods staying fresh.
- Separate the Edibles from the Chemicals
Again, don’t pack the Cheez-It box next to the dryer sheets. Actually, don’t pack any snacks next to soaps, candles or cleaning supplies. The chemicals from those products will permeate into the food. Advice - send two separate boxes.
- Send Staple Items
Students always need toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent, paper towels, garbage bags...all the boring stuff they don’t want to spend money on. By sending them staple household items, they can save their money for a fun night out.
- Gift Cards Are a Good Alternative to Money
Speaking of money, if your student is just asking for cash, but you worry about how they will spend it, gift cards are a great alternative. Think beyond restaurants and get them a gas card or grocery story certificate.
- Buy a Pre-made Gift Boxes
If you don’t have time to put a care package together, there are plenty of services that offer pre-made gift boxes. At Southern Utah University, care packages are offered by Alumni, Chartwells Food Services, and University Housing. These packages range in sizes and themes and are typically centered around large events in your student’s life, such as a birthday or finals week.
No matter the contents of your care package, students will love receiving mail from their family, especially if they are away for the first time. Help relieve some stress and homesickness by sending your student a little piece of home. Share this with your friends who have kids away at school.