Family Weekend! The one weekend in the fall when it is perfectly normal to see hundreds of middle aged parents running around campus.
From a communications standpoint, Family Weekend is vital to the university. Syracuse has a weekend to impress parents and make them feel as though their $52,000 a year is $52,000 well spent. All students, even those whose parents did not visit, benefit from the weekend. The University hosts a variety of events to make sure the parents remain occupied and happy.
Syracuse picks the date for Family Weekend a year in advance and sends out a variety of literature urging families to save the date. All of the literature has pictures of loving families wearing orange Syracuse gear. The intent of these post cards is to have families have positive feelings towards the University. In fact, family weekend is so important that Syracuse has an entire office called The Parents Office which is devoted to maintaining positive relationships with the parents of Syracuse students.
This year, parents weekend opened with a football game in the Carrier Dome. I thought that this was a smart move by Syracuse University. In the field of public relations, it’s important to play to one’s organizations strengths. The football game highlighted Syracuse’s rah-rah spirit and highlighted how the school and its students “bleed orange.”
Family Weekend is like an open house and the university has a lot of potential to make money through support and donations over family weekend. Also, if parents have a positive impression of Syracuse, they may influence their younger children to apply to Syracuse.
Also, the food and ambiance in the dining halls were significantly better during parent’s weekend. The school actually put out table clothes and served steak, a much needed improvement. In addition the school offered free breakfasts with the Deans of each college. This gave parents the opportunity to asks questions and potentially embarrass their students.
That being said, my family has our own tradition. My parents always visit me the weekend after the official family weekend. While family weekend is always fun, the University Hill area is filled with families and getting around becomes a hassle.
So while I had a great time meeting all of my friend’s parents, I very much look forward to next weekend when I’ll have my very own version of family weekend.