Family weekend gives parents a taste of Quinnipiac experience

Mark Dipaola

Chairs filled the quad on Saturday afternoon, as students and parents united for Quinnipiac University’s annual family weekend.

The event, which began on Friday with academic seminars, followed by Midnight Madness pep rally at the TD Banknorth Center, allowed students the opportunity to spend some quality time with their parents.

According to Dianna Pategas, the Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs, planning for the event began in January. The process, she said, was a collaborative effort, in that Development and Alumni Affairs, Residential Life, Admissions, Facilities, Security, Athletics, Chartwells, and each of the academic apartments, all had a hand in it.

“It really is an all campus event that couldn’t happen without everybody’s participation,” Pategas said.

A large tent housed a buffet of food and beverages. More than 4500 visitors, Pategas said, registered for the luncheon. According to Secretary of Alumni Affairs Elizabeth Demayo, encouraging parents to preregister allowed the university to better contend with the large number of attendees. The weekend, she said, was designed to be completely family oriented, and this year’s Midnight Madness was the first in which parents were invited to join in the festivities.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for the parents of our students to visit Quinnipiac,” Pategas said. “It gives parents a flavor of what life is like at Quinnipiac.”

The event received positive feedback from students and parents alike.

“I’m enjoying the weekend very much,” said Linda Mullally, a mother visiting a freshman student. “There’s no other way I’d like to spend my weekend. After lunch I’d like to go to the Schweitzer open house.”

For Jared Lombardo, a junior, the best part of the weekend was, “just getting to see my family”.

“My grandparents came as well,” he said. “The barbecue’s always fun.”

The weekend also gave various on campus organizations the opportunity to showcase themselves to the parents. Among these was Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Supporter,(GLASS) and SHADES, a student diversity club.

According to Chris Westcott, who works as an assistant for the director of multicultural affairs, the goal is to inform parents of the campus’ commitment to diversity, so that they may educate the students.

“I feel like sometimes on this campus people don’t know we’re here, and we want them to know that we’re here,” Westcott said.

Representing Greek Life organizations was the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma. Starting on Friday, members held their annual 24-hour Rock-a-thon outside the student center. Members sat in rocking chairs and sold raffle and game tickets, while speakers blasted music that could be heard across the quad.

“It’s a good way to get people to come out and ask questions,” said senior Lauren Manning, a member and former philanthropy community service co-chair.

The event was designed as a fundraiser for the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation, which benefits the National Kidney Foundation, and a scholarship program in the name of Katie Vashon, a sorority member who passed away two years ago from Leukemia.

“She was a great person so we do this in memory of her,” said Manning.