The Collegian
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Family Weekend activities range from ropes course to panel discussion

This weekend, Sept. 27-29, University of Richmond will host its annual Family Weekend: three days of community activities, department lectures and social receptions for undergraduate students and their families.

The weekend is an opportunity for parents to share their children's college experiences and explore some of the activities they love as Richmond students, said Steve Bisese, vice president for student development.

Bisese is part of a committee that works with various departments and faculty members to plan Family Weekend. The process is a yearlong collaboration among members of the advancement office, athletics, student development and school deans, he said.

This year, families will have the opportunity to attend panel discussions on topics ranging from careers, housing, study abroad and choosing a major. Deans and professors from all of Richmond's academic schools will host receptions, as well.

"We don't like to overload first-year parents with this information during orientation," Bisese said. "Family Weekend is a great time for parents to learn more about long-term opportunities at Richmond."

In addition to academics-based lectures, Family Weekend centers on a variety of interactive activities and outings, Bisese said. This year's itinerary offers a golf tournament at The Crossings Golf Club, "Fearless Friday" at Richmond's high ropes course, a concert provided by the Department of Music and a cocktail reception toasting the Class of 2014.

One of the most popular weekend events is Saturday evening's student a cappella concert at the Greek Theatre, Bisese said. This will be the first concert of the year for Choeur du Roi, The Octaves, Off the Cuff and The Sirens.

"The Family Weekend concert is one of the biggest a cappella concerts of the year, and there is such a huge hype on it," said senior Susan Uygur, president of Off the Cuff.

Uygur said that the most thrilling aspect of this concert was performing in the Greek Theatre in front of a large audience. Family Weekend is also a time of tradition: Every year, Off the Cuff sings its alumni song, "Insomniac," with the new group members and alumni that come to visit, she said.

"The tradition made me feel like a part of the Off the Cuff family when I joined my freshman year," Uygur said. "Not only is it the first song I learned, but I got to sing it with alumni in front of a huge crowd of students and parents."

The Saturday football game is another longstanding Family Weekend tradition, Bisese said. Although home games are not always guaranteed, the committee tends to plan the weekend's activities around football, he said.

For senior Patrick Heilman, attending the Family Weekend game has been part of his Richmond experience since childhood. Heilman's father, four of his aunts and eight of his cousins graduated from Richmond, so he has been around campus his whole life, he said.

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"My dad played football for Richmond in the 1980s, and ever since I was little, he and my grandfather would take me to football games to watch the Spiders play," Heilman said.

Each year, Heilman and his family celebrate Family Weekend by going to the game and having lunch at the Heilman Dining Center, he said.

In addition to the activities being offered on campus, Family Weekend is a great time for students to explore the city of Richmond, Bisese said. It's hard to run out of things to do and places to see, he said.

The full Family Weekend brochure and schedule is available online on Richmond's website.

Contact reporter Gaby Calabrese at gaby.calabrese@richmond.edu

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