First Fall Family Weekend a Success
Redeveloped with a new name and new format, the 2019 Fall Family Weekend welcomed Sooner families to Norman in September for activities across campus.
This fall marked a rebranding of the event, which was previously Dad’s Day in fall and Mom’s Day in the spring. Tracy Carlson, director of OU’s Parent and Family programs, shares that this change was an effort to be more inclusive to varying family structures as well as students who have lost parents.
“We had great feedback from families about the name change,” Carlson says. “We were getting stories after stories that just reminded us that it feels a little more inclusive.”
Additionally, in the past, the event was held in early November. However, Carlson received feedback that the timing was difficult for many families with Thanksgiving so close.
Through research and her own experiences with her office, Carlson found that homesickness starts to increase for students about six weeks into the fall semester. Thanks to a combined effort between Parent and Family Programs and event host Campus Activities Council, the event was moved to the last weekend in September.
“The response to Fall Family Weekend was great,” says Kaley Neal, CAC Chair for Fall Family Weekend. “We were very nervous to see how campus would adapt to the name change and event restructuring, and overall we think that it was received well. I am excited to watch the weekend grow and open up further opportunities for more students to get involved and feel comfortable bringing their families and loved ones to campus.”
Activities for 2019 Fall Family Weekend included a carnival, trivia night, a tailgate before OU’s football game against Texas Tech, brunch, and more.
Preston and Karina Pruitt visited their freshman daughter over Fall Family Weekend, returning to campus for the first time since August move-in.
“We’re excited to spend time with our girl!” Karina Pruitt shared. “And, we wanted to just enjoy the football game and all the festivities that are happening this weekend. I think there’s a sense of family and community in bringing students and families closer together.”
Neal explained that Family Weekends are a great way for families to experience the university from their student’s perspective.
“The weekend gives them an opportunity to see what OU is really like,” Neal said. “There is a lot of movement on campus throughout the Family Weekend, and that allows for students and their families to really get a feel for the culture and atmosphere that OU has to offer. The weekend is also a great opportunity for not only students to meet other people, but for their families to make relationships with other families on campus as well.”
Bryce and Anna Osborn have been attending family weekends for the past three years. Traveling from Iowa each year, the Osborns have found a unique community at the university.
“I like that it’s dedicated time for families on campus,” Anna Osborn shared. “We like all of the events to do, so we feel like we can see her in her natural space.
“Because we’re from Iowa, we’re not the typical Sooner parents,” Anna Osborn continued. “We were unsure how it was going to go, but we feel very welcomed and like a part of the community.”
Bryce Osborn added, “We almost feel like this is our second home. We feel a part of the college as much as our daughter does at times.”
Families interested in learning more can visit the Parent and Family Programs website and the Campus Activities Council Website.