UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- More than 9,800 people pre-registered this year for Penn State's Parents & Families Weekend -- nearly twice as many as the estimated 5,000 who attended last year.
“We’re seeing an increasing number of parents and family members interested in engaging with the Penn State community and becoming part of our family,” said Parents Program Director Jennifer Mallen. “This is great for the Parents Program and broader campus community.”
The weekend, held Sept. 16-18 at University Park, included 89 separate events, ranging from formal addresses to college open houses, to Penn State football viewing events to musical entertainment. Several events sold out.
“We tried to schedule an array of family events to accommodate parents, siblings and other family members. We also wanted to provide opportunities for attendees to meet and interact with other Penn State families,” Mallen said.
The Office of the President's Open House served as the traditional kickoff event. Visitors had the opportunity to meet Penn State President Graham Spanier and Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson in their Old Main offices.
Not surprisingly, various football-related events were also popular.
Tours of Beaver Stadium filled up quickly, as did the Alumni Association’s tailgate party for the Penn State at Temple game at the Nittany Lion Inn. Because that event reached capacity, the Parents Program added another viewing opportunity in the HUB Alumni Hall.
The Penn State Welcome for Parents & Families was one of Saturday’s most well attended events. Keynote speakers Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education, and Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, greeted the audience of more than 700 people.
Other popular events included Cirque du Soleil’s QUIDAM, the Great Insect Fair held at the Ag Arena, and a new event, the Student Talent Showcase, featuring dance, music and magic performances.
A traditional favorite, the Lion Ambassadors’ Old Main bell tower tours, was moved to Sunday. That move resulted from parents’ requests to include more Sunday events.
“We strongly considered what parents and families want and need from the weekend,” Mallen said. “All in all, most participants reported how much they enjoyed the new events and improved events.”
The Parents Program continually strives to make Parents & Families Weekend enjoyable and meaningful for all of those who attend, and invites those who attended this year to take ten minutes to complete a survey, accessible through the Penn State Parents Program website, or go to https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cZsaQ9hnbFEyyQQ online.
“We really do rely on the feedback from our survey to inform our planning in future years," said Mallen. "We hope attendees from this year will take the time to provide us with their perspectives."