More than 2,300 guests, making up 593 families, traveled from over 35 states to attend Family Weekend, an annual event co-sponsored and staffed by the Alumni Association and the Division of Student Affairs. Held last Friday and Saturday, the overarching theme for the this year’s Family Weekend was “Opening a World of Possibilities.”
The program began with a series of informational sessions that were intended to familiarize parents with Tech and many of the opportunities that it offers.
New sessions this year included a presentation from the Music Technology Group, a Persuasive Games seminar and a tour of the $1 million trading floor in the College of Management.
Afterwards, 19 colleges and schools held receptions, where parents could meet and talk with faculty members and deans.
“[Family Weekend] gives parents, especially freshmen parents, an opportunity to come back to Tech and reconnect,” said Amy Lancaster, manager of Student Engagement at the Alumni Association. “We provide useful information to help the parents build support systems for the students.”
Some of the most popular events at this year’s Family Weekend included new events like RecFest, star-gazing at the Howey Physics Building observatory and the Dive-in Movie.
RecFest, which was co-sponsored by the Campus Recreation Center (CRC), offered such activities as belly-dancing lessons and inner-tube races. Friday night, the observatory on the Howey Physics building was open, and Jim Sowell, graduate recruiter for the School of Physics, showed parents views of the moon and Jupiter. Alternatively, guests could float around on inner tubes at the CRC pool while watching Hancock at the “Dive-In Movie” event.
The weekend showcased performances by the Marching Band, the Salsa Club and the Atlanta Diving Association, but the highlight of the entire weekend was the tailgate party and subsequent football game against Duke, which Tech won 27-0.
The parents immersed themselves in more school spirit as they participated in activities like face painting, cornhole and golf games.
“The innovative initiatives helped to spur parent involvement,” said Kimberly Sterritt, director of the Parents Program. Although this year’s Family Weekend saw about 100 fewer people attend compared to last year, Sterritt was upbeat about attendance. “The turnout, in general and for the individual programs, was great, especially considering the state of the economy.”
The Parents Program is a year-long program focused on keeping the parents of current students engaged in the college experience. Family Weekend and the Parents Program were both previously run by the Alumni Association, but this year, the Parents Program was transferred to the Division of Student Affairs.
In addition, Family Weekend is currently in the process of changing hands, and this year, staff members from both organizations were on hand to help out at the event. “We felt that the programs would be a good fit for Student Affairs to be in charge of,” Sterritt said. “The Alumni Association has always done a fantastic job and we’ll be trying to keep the standard high.”
“The success of the program depended on the colleges, organizations and volunteers involved, and they were extremely cooperative,” Lancaster said. “We were really pleased with how smoothly the program went.”