Tech hosts Family Weekend

Students’ relatives came to campus on Friday, Sept. 24 and Saturday, Sept. 25 to take part in Tech’s highest attended Family Weekend to date. The annual event provides families with a way to connect with their students while learning more about Tech.

This year’s event included activities such as the sold-out Tailgate Party and Breakfast with the Dean of Students, as well as newly created activities like the Traditions Tour.

With 2883 registered participants, composed of 776 families, this year’s Family Weekend was the highest attended in Tech history.

“We have seen an increase over last year, which is terrific,” said Kimberly Sterritt, Director of the Georgia Tech Parents Program. “The way the economy is, we thought we might see a decrease in numbers, but we have not experienced that.”

Family Weekend ticket packages for the standard events and seminars started at $65 for early registrants, before increasing to $75 per family. The standard package included admission to the events held on Friday, Sept. 24.

The newly created Traditions Tour was one of the most popular events during Family Weekend. Led by members of the Student Alumni Association Executive Committee, these tours focused on Tech’s unique history and traditions instead of just providing a general tour pointing out the locations of buildings on campus. Accordingly, a stop at the CRC was used to educate the group about Tech’s formerly infamous drownproofing class.

Tour guides explained the origins of traditions such as the freshman RAT Caps and Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate while traveling from location to location.

The Alumni Association plans to continue the Tradition Tours in the future and to offer customized tour routes that coincide with special events on campus.

“We are super excited about the tradition tours and feel like this could be here 30 years from now. We are looking to establish a tradition,” said Ethan Speir, Chair of the Tradition Tours Initiative.

Other events included Breakfast with the Dean of Students, where families were welcomed by Dean John Stein, and a presentation by Warren St. John on his book, Outcasts United, which is used by current GT 1000 students in those classes

Later that night, students and their families could either take in the film How to Train Your Dragon on Skiles Walkway or stargaze at the Georgia Tech Observatory.

In addition, there were two seminar sessions on the following day. The first session allowed families to choose between three seminars: a panel of recruiters gave students advice on how to stand out, a seminar on sophomore initiatives that are designed to help students continue to succeed during their second year, and a leadership development panel.

Another round of seminars followed later in the afternoon. The session included a panel of Tech students who shared how they spent their school breaks.

“We know Tech students don’t just hang out on a couch and watch television for a whole week,” Sterritt said. “They’re doing community service, they’re studying abroad they’re doing all kinds of amazing things.”

Participants attended separate receptions with faculty members at their individual colleges or schools. Roger and Angie Mercanti, parents of Allen Mercanti, first-year ME major, were among those present.

“We went to the Mechanical Engineering sessions to learn more about our son’s major. It’s been really good so far,” said the Mercantis.

Family Weekend culminated with the Tailgate Party held Saturday morning. Although tickets to the event cost an additional $20 per person, the sold-out event still drew 1400 participants.

Among those attending the tailgate party was Andrew Pace, the father of student Chris Pace, first-year BMED major.

“We enjoyed tailgating the most,” Pace said. “We enjoyed being part of the excitement of Georgia Tech.”