Family Weekend returns after COVID

The end of October marked Muhlenberg’s first Family Weekend since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Photo courtesy of the Muhlenberg Office of Communications.

During the weekend of Oct. 29, the Muhlenberg community welcomed people to campus from far and wide for Family Weekend. This is a special time during the semester where students get to show off all of the aspects of their college experiences to their families.

This year was significant for students, as Family Weekend was virtual last year due to the pandemic. 

Dean of Students Allison Williams talked about the way that planning Family Weekend this year differed from other years. “We knew families would be very eager to come to campus for Family Weekend given that last year was virtual due to COVID. So we started early, thinking about what requirements were necessary to ensure a fun and engaging weekend, while also making sure it would be healthy and safe for all attendees.” 

Ellen Lentine, the director of Student Organizations, Leadership, and Engagement added, “Since so many parents missed Family Weekend last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we anticipated hosting more family members this year than ever before—and we were right! Before the pandemic, we would see about 800 to 900 guests and this year we saw well over 1500.”

The College required that everyone visiting campus be vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status. Williams described this important aspect of Family Weekend saying, “This helps to ensure that in these higher risk settings, we are taking significant precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our college community and visitors.” The College emphasized its commitment to making this a wonderful and safe weekend for everyone involved. 

“Since so many parents missed Family Weekend last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we anticipated hosting more family members this year than ever before—and we were right! Before the pandemic, we would see about 800 to 900 guests and this year we saw well over 1500.”

A large adjustment made to the visitor policy was instituted this weekend. Vaccinated, pre-registered family members were allowed access to students’ residential spaces. Visitors needed to wear their family weekend lanyards, and visitors under twelve were not allowed in residential spaces. This was meant to be a trial run for the admittance of non-Muhlenberg individuals into dorms starting on Nov. 5. Future adjustments to the visitor policy have yet to be announced. 

Williams discussed the ways in which Family Weekend can be special, saying, “Families are so incredibly proud when they can come and see the experience their student is having and the ways in which they have made this place their own. It’s a great feeling all around!” 

There were many events throughout the weekend, including a large festival, sporting events, arts showcases and religious services and events. One of these included actress and star of NBC’s “The Office” Kate Flannery making a visit to the College for a talkback with families. 

Rebecca Salkin ‘24 talked about her favorite parts of Family Weekend saying, “I loved being able to show my parents my favorite parts of campus and also going to Shabbat dinner and sharing that with them.”

Among the many events, students really enjoyed the Family Festival in the Life Sports Center field house on Saturday afternoon. This was full of many activities for students and their families. There was a station where students could pick up a bamboo plant, a table for Stuff-A-Plush and pillow making and even a station where people could make their own Halloween-themed socks. Muhlenberg Dining Services also provided a spread of desserts and snacks for students and their families.  

Derek George ‘24 expressed his feelings on the festival saying, “It’s just great to see everyone’s families come out and support the school and support the students. It’s really nice to see the awesome activities the school has set up for us.”

Students found it very special to share aspects of their college lives with their families. Maya Schlesinger ‘24 stated, “My favorite part about [Family] Weekend has been getting together with my family and my friends’ families and just walking around and showing everyone my classrooms and just reminiscing.” 

Jacob Kunsman ‘24 thought the same, saying that, “Being able to show my family everything in my college life and interact with them when I’ve been away from them for a long time is really special to me. It’s cool to be able to introduce them to something that they don’t know much about.”

“My favorite part about [Family] Weekend has been getting together with my family and my friends’ families and just walking around and showing everyone my classrooms and just reminiscing.”

The parents were very excited to be welcomed onto campus. Kristin Harvey-Kunsman, a Muhlenberg parent, talked about her favorite parts of Family Weekend saying, “I would say the festival was my favorite. I really enjoyed the performances by the students, but I think what stands out to me was having the opportunity to meet all of the parents and families of Jacob’s friends. Being able to establish connections and friendships with Muhlenberg parents really made me feel involved and part of the Muhlenberg community.”

Another special event that happened over the course of the weekend was the First Time Dean’s List Recognition Ceremony. This ceremony recognized outstanding academic achievement. Michelle Deegan, dean of academic life, found this event incredibly important. She stated, “I love welcoming families because I get to see how happy and proud they are of their children. I host the First Time Dean’s List event which is a space of smiles and pride. I get to talk to parents who are happy to share stories about their children with me. The Dean’s List event is my favorite, of course!” 

Family Weekend was a hit all around as students enjoyed sharing their Muhlenberg experiences with their families. This special weekend brought the larger Muhlenberg community together in an amazing way.

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