This past weekend was Family Weekend, an annual event the Leadership Development and Student Activities Office put together for a weekend packed full of events for students and their families to enjoy.
This year, the weekend kicked off on Friday with a reception for the students and their parents, the Ursinus faculty, and Parents Leadership Council. During this reception, faculty members gave two-minute speeches about the things that are going on in the classrooms, promoting education at Ursinus College.
After the reception, family members had several options to kick off the weekend, including the opportunity to accompany students on the Student Activities Office trip to Dorney Park’s Fright Night. Families were also encouraged to take the rotating shuttle bus to visit neighboring towns Phoenixville and Skippack and enjoy their shops and restaurants. However, families wanting to spend the night on campus also had their share of available activities, including the volleyball game against McDaniel and the opportunity to try out one of Ursinus’ visiting food trucks, the Love Truck.
On Saturday, more family-centered events began at 8 a.m., with a bundle of outdoor activities that included a walk or run on the Perkiomen Trail.
Later Saturday morning, there was a mini Celebration of Student Achievement [COSA], a sculpture tour, and the President’s conversation, where Brock Blomberg explained upcoming campus initiatives. Modeled after the all-day event that happens in the spring, at the mini COSA students shared their academic findings from research and their experiences studying abroad.
For Saturday’s dining options a Family Picnic was provided on the grass between Wismer and Kaleidoscope. The picnic was accompanied by performances from the B’Naturals and the Bearitones, the student-run female and male acapella groups on campus, showcasing students’ musical talent and providing entertainment for visiting family members.
In spite of these offerings, some students found this year’s Family Day disappointing. Student Nicole Kosar said, “My family could only come down to spend Saturday with me, and I felt like there were barely any activities compared to all the trips on both Friday night and Sunday. We actually ended up leaving campus because we didn’t want to watch a sports game . . . or go to the president’s talk and so there was nothing left to do.”
For senior Morgan Kentsbeer, whose parents came up on Saturday, the weekend paled in comparison to past years. “I think it was better freshman year . . . I’m not sure if it was because it was Family Day or because something got rescheduled, but there were things even little kids could do. There was cotton candy and bounce houses, and it just felt a lot more fun. Now it feels like the only thing my family and I can do is just go to the football game.”
But for other students’ families, the football game was the main draw. According to student Delaney Baker, her family was “very excited for the football game because we are huge football fans, so it [was] really fun to go and watch as a family.” With the 28-21 win on Saturday, the Bears added another victory to their powerful season so far and certainly left families who trekked out to see the game satisfied.
After the game, events like Veteran’s card-making, the Inter-Denominational Chapel service, Catholic Mass, dinner in Collegeville, College Choir Concert, the Great DuBois Live, and a Regal movie trip were offered to keep students and families busy. Late-night pancakes wrapped up the night in Lower Wismer.
On Sunday, scheduled bus trips to Philadelphia provided families the opportunity to spend all day walking the rustic streets of the city of brotherly love. Families had the opportunity to stop by Reading Terminal Market, Chinatown, City Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Mutter Museum, and the Ben Franklin Parkway.
According to Todd McKinney, Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of Student Activities, “We always start out thinking what it is we can do to not only showcase the college but actually present it in a way that students can experience . . . with their families. We also want to make it fun by showcasing the surrounding area, too.”
“It’s just really neat to see all the families on campus because most people come to campus and engage, making it a really lively time,” said McKinney.
Additional reporting by Emily Jolly and Valerie Osborne.