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The Blue & Gray Press | August 23, 2019

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Family weekend brings new faces to university


On the weekend of Sept. 20 through the 22, the University of Mary Washington hosted its 40th annual Family Weekend. The three-day event consisted of a variety of tours, showcases and activities that both parents and students alike enjoyed.

Family weekend, initiated in April 1973, was originally titled “Parents Weekend.” The following year, the event was made an annual fall event and remained that way since. Planned by the office of Events and Conferencing, the weekend gives UMW families an opportunity to experience on-campus student life.

“We start planning in January. There is a family weekend committee that has faculty and staff representatives, student affairs and events people on it,” said special projects coordinator at the Events and Conferencing office, Erika Spivey. “So we meet just to talk about the event and to plan the overall direction, and I report to that committee, and that is how I get my direction for planning logistics.”

Of the 41 activities, three hallmark events are held annually and define the family weekend experience: the education abroad fair, the cookout and club showcase and the tour of Brompton, home of the university’s president, Richard Hurley.

The education abroad fair, a three-hour event, allowed parents to listen and speak to faculty-led program directors, representatives from universities abroad and study abroad alumni about education, internship and volunteer opportunities.

The cookout and club showcase was held on Ball Circle, where barbeque food such as salads, pulled pork sandwiches and chicken were served. Various Clubs began performed at noon.

The tour of Brompton, located at 704 Sunken Rd., was the center of the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, and later served as a hospital in 1864. President and Mrs. Rose Hurley greeted parents, students and members of the community at the door.

Parents were given access to residence and dining halls, met their children’s friends and learned about their various extracurricular involvements.

“My son loved the library because they had little games there to play. And now they are having some barbeque,” said Debbie Brey, mother of freshman Kelsey Brey. “Everyone is really friendly. It is a nice, small, pretty campus.”

Families also enjoyed visiting downtown Fredericksburg.

“We really enjoyed taking the trolley into town,” said Beth Winiecki, mother of sophomore Jeff Winiecki. “We went into town and did some shopping and saw all of the artwork in town and now we are back to meet him for his rugby match.”

Despite its popularity amongst the newer students, many older UMW students were nostalgic about the events that took place that weekend.

“I still love it. I really like to see all the freshman. They are so excited about college. It’s very exciting to see, I remember my first family weekend,” said senior Hannah Straton. “I want the new students to see that we are a really close knit community. I just like how we have the small classroom size, which is wonderful. In your classroom, you know all the people, you know their friends.”