More than 2,000 family members from across the U.S. – and some from across the world – are expected to visit WUSTL students Oct. 21-23 for Parent & Family Weekend.
The weekend features 80-plus activities to help family members learn more about the university experience and extended St. Louis community.
For family members of freshmen, this may be the first opportunity to reunite since orientation. During orientation, students and their families often are more concerned about finding their way to a store to pick up bed sheets, towels and other residence-hall room essentials, says Katharine Pei, program manager for First Year Programs.
Parent & Family Weekend is one of the first opportunities for family members to explore St. Louis with their students.
However, the event is not exclusively geared toward new students. “I know many seniors who are just as excited for their families to return and experience Parent & Family Weekend for the second, third and sometimes fourth time,” Pei says. “For upperclass students who are more familiar with the area, it is an opportunity to share their favorite places in St. Louis with their families.”
Pei says that typically all off-campus tours offered during the weekend sell out. This year, there are a number of new off-campus tours, including walking tours of Soulard Market, Lafayette Square and Bellefontaine Historic Cemetery. Also, Trivia Night has been added to the itinerary – at 8 p.m. Saturday in College Hall on the South 40. Proceeds benefit Dance Marathon, Mr. Wash U and Relay for Life.
During the weekend, family members can soak up all things WUSTL – from open houses in many schools and departments to a quick primer on university history to performances by student groups. The Voices & Sounds of Wash U, an a cappella, choir and music concert held from 8-10 p.m. Friday in the 560 Music Center is by far the most popular and well-attended event.
Another can’t-miss event is Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton’s talk on “The Undergraduate Experience” at 10 a.m. Saturday in Room 300 of the Lab Sciences Building. As part of the talk, Wrighton fields questions from the audience.
On campus, family members can explore Olin Library, learn about the Career Center, enjoy a pancake breakfast or an afternoon tea, or even take an introductory jitterbug dance lesson.
The extensive programming takes year-round planning. As soon as Parent & Family Weekend comes to a close, organizers will begin brainstorming about the next one.
Hosting a successful weekend each year takes a campuswide effort. University departments and Student Union groups suggest many of the programs and a number of colleagues volunteer with registration or staffing.
“We are very lucky to have the generous support, time and energy of more than 100 people across campus to make this weekend happen,” Pei says.