William & Mary

Family fun: Weekend gives students' families a chance to experience W&M

  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  Families enjoy a picnic lunch in the Wren Yard on Saturday as part of Family Weekend.  Photo by Sydney MaHan '16
  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  Families enjoy some time on Lake Matoaka together Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  People pose for a photo at the Muscarelle Museum of Art on Friday night.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  Members of the Black Student Organization host a cookout Friday on Jamestown Field.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  Families enjoy lantern tours of the Historic Campus on Friday night.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  Students perform as part of the Harvest Moon Festival on Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  Families sign a guest book during a tour of the President's House on Saturday.  Photo by Sydney MaHan '16
  • Family Weekend
    Family Weekend  Students and their families attend a study-abroad fair in Trinkle Hall on Saturday.  Photo by Sydney MaHan '16
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Cheryl Modlin and her husband knew that traveling 10 hours from Ohio to see their daughter for a weekend would be a long trip -- but well worth it.

"The most important thing for us was seeing her perform," Cheryl Modlin said. "We won't get the chance to go to a lot of her performances."

The Modlins traveled from Ohio to Williamsburg this past weekend to see their daughter Sarah, a freshman, play in the William & Mary Wind Ensemble and participate in the many activities William & Mary's annual Family Weekend had to offer.

Although slightly humid, Family Weekend 2014 saw hundreds of parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and other relatives of William & Mary students convene for a weekend of fun and entertainment. A record 4,960 pre-registered for the event, which offered activites ranging from classes and lantern tours to sports and cultural events highlighting the diversity on campus.

Like many parents, the Modlins looked forward to being able to see the different aspects of their daughter's college experience thus far.

"We've already attended the concert,” Cheryl said. “She's in wind ensemble, and we really enjoyed that quite a lot. We're looking forward to having lunch with her. I loved the organ concert they have in Wren Chapel, and we sat in on a couple of classes."

The festivities began Sept. 19, with check-in beginning at 8 a.m. for visiting families. Parents had the opportunity to sit in on classes, allowing them to know more about the university’s academics all while being able to spend time with their children.

Other highlights from the weekend included a picnic held on the Wren lawn, tours of the Wren Chapel and President’s House and a Tribe football game against Lafayette, which W&M won 33-19 after a 10-point deficit at halftime. The weekend also offered multiple concerts, a street fair with a petting zoo and the Global Education Office study-abroad fair.

At the study-abroad fair, students and their parents had the opportunity to talk to past program participants as well as past and current program directors. By doing so, they gained insider perspectives on the various programs and financial aid opportunities available to William & Mary students.

Many students not only volunteered at the booths but welcomed parents and students at the door, assisting them in understanding the layout of the expo. One such volunteer was Rachel Daley '15.

"I wanted to give back to such an incredible program," Daley said. “I went to the Rome and Pompeii this past summer, and it was the best three weeks of my life. I learned so much not only about what we we're studying but also about myself and my friendships. So being here is such a great way to give back and encourage other students to do a study-abroad program."

Originally organized by the Office of Student Affairs, the Dean of Students Office took on the responsibility of putting together the events of Family Weekend this year.

From reaching out to student groups to coordinating room locations for the myriad of events, Graduate Assistant for Parent and Family Programs Samantha Silberstein knows how much coordination and work went on behind the scenes to make the weekend run as smoothly as possible.

When asked what she enjoyed most about planning Family Weekend, Silberstein noted the enthusiasm and involvement of William & Mary student volunteers and groups.

"The college students at William & Mary have been absolutely phenomenal so far. They are so involved and so enthusiastic,” Silberstein said.

One of those enthusiastic students, Sivan Yair '16, said that she volunteered for the event because she wanted to be able to give back to the university.

"I really like to get out there and see all the excited parents and help out with the College,” she said. “It makes me feel that school spirit and Tribe Pride that everyone loves so much."