Family weekend: A time to grow and reconnect

One of the most exciting weekends of the academic year is upon us—Union’s annual Family Weekend.

New and returning students are an integral part of the University, according to Ken Litscher, director of residence life, and they should all work to develop community on campus. He said Family Weekend presents a major part of a student’s growing experience, and it is an opportunity for the students and their families to take part in a lot of great activities.

“It is an opportunity for families of Union students, as well as people who are a part of the Union family, to come to campus and reconnect with one another, the University and to touch base with old friends,” Litscher said.

Families will arrive on Friday and can go to classes and chapel with their students. The weekend kicks off with the Chi Omega Make-a-Wish barbecue fundraiser at 6 p.m. Following the barbecue, at 8 p.m., Student Activities Council (SAC) will show Inside Out for Movie on the Lawn in the Watters Quad.

After a fun-filled Friday, Saturday begins with a President’s breakfast in the Grant Center, followed by the Zeta Tau Alpha Think Pink shrimp boil fundraiser at lunch. At 3 p.m., there will be a cornhole tournament open for anyone who wants to participate. The weekend will also feature multiple athletic events including soccer, volleyball and softball games.

Family weekend concludes Saturday evening on the Great Lawn with Union Night, featuring different food vendors, lights, hot air balloon rides and a fireworks show. Heritage Residence Director Erin Slater said she has been a part of two different university’s family weekends, and the atmosphere at Union Night is spectacular.

“What you walk into feels special,” she said. “You are being cared for and [everyone is] excited you are there…I was blown away.”

Slater also said Family Weekend is a great way for families to see a different, bigger picture of Union and what we do.

Last year Family Weekend saw more people than ever, and this year is on pace to match or surpass those numbers.

“[Preparation begins] in early summer to get registration information up,” Litscher said. “We have to serve tables, chairs, tents, a fireworks display, a hot air balloon and lighting. [It] all needs to be worked on ahead of time.”

After registration the team is in contact with dining services, student organizations, campus media and facilities. The main difference at Union Night this year is the addition of food trucks.

From friends and family to food and fun, Family Weekend presents many opportunities for growth and connection for parents, siblings and students while they hang out and see a new side of Union.

About Gabe Hilliard 18 Articles
Gabe Hilliard, class of 2017, is a Public Relations major and Speech minor from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He loves many sports, especially baseball and ultimate Frisbee. Dancing and singing are his favorite passions and he will never turn down an opportunity to play pick-up sticks. Twitter and Instagram: gabehilliard_