Name changed, Family Weekend begins

Though students’ relatives will flock to campus this weekend, filling Union League Café, the Omni Hotel and the Yale Bowl as usual, campus visitors will not be treated to the “Parents’ Weekend” of years past. This time, it’s officially called “Family Weekend.”

The name change has been a long time coming, and this year Yale finally made the switch, according to Saveena Dhall, assistant dean of Yale College and the director of the event. Although its designation has changed, “Family Weekend” is virtually the same.

A particularly enthusiastic Yale parent has parked her car, replete with the vanity plate shown here, at the Courtyard Marriott. She said she welcomes gawkers, lollygaggers and photographers.
Wanwan Lu
A particularly enthusiastic Yale parent has parked her car, replete with the vanity plate shown here, at the Courtyard Marriott. She said she welcomes gawkers, lollygaggers and photographers.

“Most of our students invite their families to join in on the programs sponsored during the weekend,” Dhall said. “The programs have always been open to family members — receptions, talks, dean’s panel discussions, museum and cultural programs — and the name change now reflects this.”

There are very few changes in the schedule of events, although the online calendar for the weekend includes updated names for activities like the “Family Weekend Gala Concert” and the “Family Weekend Brunch.” Still, the Masters’ receptions in the residential colleges Saturday evening are “for parents.”

Many campus groups, though, have left the phrase “Family Weekend” out of their scheduled events. Improv comedy and a cappella groups such as the Purple Crayon, Viola Question, Exit Players, Red Hot & Blue, Shades, The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, and Tangled Up In Blue have kept “Parents’ Weekend” in the titles of their performances this weekend.

Nell Klugman ’12, a member of the Viola Question, said the group was aware of the weekend’s name change but decided to keep “Parents’ Weekend” in the title of their show.

“A ‘Family Weekend’ show sounds weird,” Klugman said. “We all know that it’s mostly parents coming anyway, plus I prefer dumb puns about parents to ones about families.”

As potential puns, Klugman posited: “parents weakened … by laughter” and “jokes apPARENT.”

Groups that made the switch to “Family Weekend” include Mixed Company, the Duke’s Men, The Spizzwinks(?) and Something Extra. Sketch comedy group Red Hot Poker is holding a performance titled the “Von Trapp Family Weekend Show.”

Students interviewed said the name change has had little effect on whether they will have visitors this weekend, in part because they were largely unaware a change had occurred.

“I didn’t know about it,” Genevieve Bates ’12 said. “But it doesn’t seem like this is that big of a deal.”

Other students said they always assumed all relatives were welcome for the weekend, even though the old title officially stipulated that it was geared toward parents.

Names aside, the presence of parents on campus will not necessarily dampen the mood this weekend for students still hoping to party.

“We’re hosting a cocktail hour for kids and their parents Saturday,” said John Lassonde ’10, a member of Branford’s God Quad. “And we’re still raging Friday and Saturday night.”

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