Sep 272011
 
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

They come for the parade, the pep rally, the bonfire, the game.

This weekend more than 500 parents and family members –– from siblings to grandmas –– will arrive on campus, attend homecoming events and maybe buy big yellow mum corsages to proclaim their Ram pride alongside students’.

Family Weekend, which invites parents and family members to attend homecoming events with their students, is a tradition that reaches back 10 years, according to Jody Donovan, the Director of Parents and Family Programs at CSU.

“We decided to combine Homecoming and Family weekends because a lot of our alumni are now parents. That way they don’t have to choose,” said Donovan.

Before 2001, Homecoming and Family weekends were separate. Since they’ve been combined, many families choose Homecoming Weekend as a time to reconnect with their CSU student.

The McNeill’s are one such family. Aleigh McNeill is a freshman biomedical science major, and her uncle, father and aunt all attended CSU. They, along with Aleigh’s mother, cousin and three brothers, will be attending Homecoming Weekend.

“I’m excited to see them,” McNeill said, who said she was especially looking forward to attending the football game with her brothers, “My brothers like football, so I know they’ll enjoy it.”
For students with no alumni in the family, the weekend instead becomes about teaching family members about CSU.

Junior biology major Emily Rhodes said her parents may not be able to come this year, but for the past two years she has showed them around campus.

“It’s fun sharing my experiences since neither of [my parents] came to CSU,” Rhodes said. “I get to teach them about CSU’s history and traditions.”

Aside from spending time with their students, families are invited to participate in homecoming events specific to them.

On Saturday, they can attend a special meeting of the RamFam organization where President Tony Frank, Provost Rick Miranda and Vice President of Student Affairs Blanche Hughes will discuss their long-term vision for the university.

So far 250 parents and family members have already registered for the RamFam meeting, which is a huge number since regular meeting attendance ranges from 20-25.

“So many families are coming anyway and getting to hear Dr. Frank is a great opportunity,” said Donovan to explain the large amount of interest in the meeting. “We’re in a unique position. All three are both administrators and parents, so they will be able to address questions from both perspectives.”

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in the East Ballroom of the LSC. All parents and family are automatically members of RamFam and can attend the meeting. Families that won’t be in Fort Collins for homecoming can watch a live webcast or view the archived version at parentsandfamily.colostate.edu.

Collegian reporter Elisabeth Willner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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