University welcomes students’ parents to campus

Although the weather forecasts predicted potential rain flooding in New Haven, meteorologists failed to mention the deluge of parents that descended upon Yale this weekend.

From Friday to Sunday, Yale hosted its annual Parents’ Weekend, which offered visiting parents a chance to get a taste of the Yale through a medley of University-sponsored panels, musical performances and sample class lectures. Weekend highlights included a Yale football victory over Dartmouth and an evening concert that was briefly interrupted by a false fire alarm.

The weekend went well despite the inclement weather, which drove some parents indoors, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said.

“I think it’s important to create communication,” Salovey said. “Feedback from parents helps us think about our priorities. I would like them to get a deep understanding of the multi-dimensionality of Yale, so they can help both us and the students.”

At the Saturday evening Gala Concert — which featured the Yale Glee Club, the Yale Concert Band and the Yale Symphony Orchestra — an unexpected fire alarm in the building forced musicians and attendees to evacuate the building for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, the concert continued without a hitch.

Still, these issues did little to deter the spirit of the weekend, Salovey and parents alike said.

Mark Wilson ’09 said he and his parents found the faculty lectures “electrifying.”

Some students and parents chose to bypass the more formal events and explore other aspects of Yale and New Haven — dining halls, pricey restaurants and museums were packed with families this weekend.

“We ended up doing a lot of things that were recommended but not official like the Peabody,” said Chip Bruce, who was visiting his freshman son. “We saw the same things, but on our own schedule.”

Other families chose to forgo university affiliated activities altogether.

“[My parents] weren’t interested, and they think that kind of stuff is boring,” said Alex Grint ’06, whose parents attended Parents’ Weekend her freshman and sophomore years.

Despite all of the hype behind the occasion, students whose parents did not visit this weekend — primarily upperclassmen and freshmen with parents who live too far away to make the trip easily or have conflicting work schedules — said their weekend was relatively ordinary. While some of these students said they felt homesick, most said they did not feel especially left out because they could partake in other campus activities or spend time with their friends’ parents.

“My parents weren’t here, so I had to live vicariously through my friends,” Christopher Palencia ’09 said.

To the relief of many students with upcoming midterms, Yale also arranged activities specifically for parents, such as discussion panels on topics like religious life, student life, academics and study abroad. But some students said they still felt overwhelmed by their workloads.

“Professors just don’t care about Parents’ Weekend,” Wladimir Maracaba ’09 said. “They assign just as much work as usual.”

Wilson said he would have liked it if the event was scheduled for later in the month after midterms.

“I think it was terrible timing,” said Wilson. “I had a Math 230 exam on Friday and have a problem set due on Monday.”

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