by Stacy Jo

Marie Antoinette and University Dining Services agree on at least one thing:
Let them eat cake.
A new plan created through the Office of Student Development and Athletics allows parents who live miles away from campus to send birthday cakes, bookstore goods or gift certificates for free massages to their children by picking up a telephone or clicking a mouse button.
Marjorie Savage, parent involvement coordinator for the University, said the project will make the school a little bit more like home for students and a lot more accessible to parents.
“It’s to make the change a little less traumatic for the parents and the student,” said Kendra Watsun, catering coordinator supervisor for University Dining Services.
Parents can call and request the delivery of a custom birthday cake for students living in campus residence halls. If the student lives off campus, dining services imposes a delivery charge of $10 on top of the $20 to $65 cake fee.
Dining services makes student cakes in a range of sizes, from one that feeds 24 people to one that feeds 96 — a little larger than the average student’s circle of friends.
“In my experience … you could sure come up with people pretty quickly to help you (eat the cake),” Savage said.
Gayle Hanson, catering director for dining services, said caterers have thus far received only one order for a full sheet cake that feeds 96 people; Watsun said dining services has been averaging four cake orders per week since the beginning of winter quarter, primarily for the smallest size available. She said most parents have requested images of Goldy Gopher to adorn their cakes.
If parents are looking to surprise their children with something a little more lasting, University Bookstores provide a World Wide Web site from which people can order sweat shirts, T-shirts and other bookstore goods to be sent directly to students.
While alumni comprise the largest segment of the bookstores’ virtual audience, parents are a rapidly growing faction of their Web site visitors, said Kari Weidling, marketing manager for University Bookstores.
“The Web has really turned out to be a tremendous resource for parents,” Weidling said.
For parents preferring a more hands-on approach to gift giving, $25 will pay for a half-hour massage at Boynton Health Service; $35 buys a full hour.
Gift certificates for massages are delivered to students, allowing them to take a break from their studies and relax courtesy of their parents, said Sara Pedersen, marketing coordinator for Boynton Health Service.
“We do stress the stress-release aspect of it,” Pedersen said.