Parents Connect at Family Weekend 2012

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On September 21 and 22, the Georgia Tech Parents Program hosted its annual Family Weekend and found it to be just as successful as ever in helping parents connect to the Institute.

Kimberly Sterritt, director of the Parents Program, and the Family Weekend Planning Committee structured this year’s programs based upon their successes in the past. “While we do offer a variety of activities for families to participate in, we find that parents and students enjoy just being together. Family Weekend provides this plus the opportunity to relish in what Tech has to offer. ”

And the formula works. With 37 states and 5 countries represented, Family Weekend 2012 drew in 640 families for a grand total of 2,386 participants. This event consistently attracts around 2,400 participants, making it one of the largest events on campus. And while the event does attract many first year parents, there are quite a few upperclassman parents who participate in Family Weekend.

As one enthusiastic parent wrote, “Hi, I love GT! You all do a great job! This was my fourth Family weekend. My son is actually graduating a semester early, in December, but we would love to come back for Family Weekend.”

“The goal is to keep the weekend as fresh as possible so parents can continue to enjoy themselves year after year. That requires us to use the data from the surveys to improve upon and even revamp the programming where warranted.” says Kim Sterritt.

The year’s itinerary was comprised of a series of presentations and panel discussions, academic receptions, special Friday night programming, and, of course, the tailgate party on Tech Tower Lawn preceding the game against Miami.

Friday’s seminars which included “Talk to a Recruiter,” “Supporting Student Success,” and “Tech History 101” delivered strong turnouts and were well-received by all. As one parent recounts the “Talk to a Recruiter” seminar, “It was very informative and helpful in how to support my student in becoming successful after graduation. I was very impressed with the panelists' experience, knowledge, and advice.”

During the various college and school receptions across campus, faculty and staff were encouraged to attend and facilitate interaction between students, parents, and themselves while providing parents with the opportunity to ask questions about specific programs offered to their students.

Friday night’s programming typically offers something different every year and, this year, the focus was on the arts. The night offered two venues for Family Weekend guests - a reception and open-house at the High Museum of Art and a performance at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

And of course, Family Weekend culminated with Saturday’s tailgate party and football game. While the Parents Program couldn’t plan the outcome of the game, they did an excellent job planning a tailgate party which attracted more than 1,100 people.

“It is a lot of effort but well worth it. We are extremely grateful for all the support we received from the staff in the Division of Student Affairs as well as our campus partners in making this an enjoyable event for our families.” adds Sterritt.

Dates for Family Weekend 2013 will be announced in late February 2013. For more information on Family Weekend, contact Kim Sterritt, director of the Parents Program.


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    Rachael Pocklington
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