For international students whose parents could not visit for Family Weekend, the International Students Organization offered some comfort: pie, brownies and solidarity.
Students gathered at the ISO’s Saturday evening dessert, called “Who’s Your Daddy?,” and at other residential college and cultural house functions designed to provide international students a way to stay busy while other students spent time with their families. Though the events were well-attended, most students interviewed said they wished their parents could have come.
“I guess we all miss our homes more than usual,” said Wojciech Osowiecki ’14, who is from Poland. “In my case, this feeling motivated me to respond to all kinds of e-mails from my Polish friends and of course, call my family.”
Chandrika Srivastava ’12, head international student peer liaison and an organizer of the “Who’s Your Daddy?” party, said Family Weekend can be “overwhelming” for international students. Srivastava, who is from New Delhi, India, said the Office of International Students and Scholars on Temple St., where she helped host Saturday’s event, has served as a second home to her.
“It’s nice to have somewhere to go,” she said.
At the “Who’s Your Daddy?” event, freshmen were paired with upperclassmen “parents” for conversation over dessert. Vanessa Murphy ’12, president of the International Students Organization and a co-organizer of the party, said she tried to match students who do not know each other so they could make new friends.
La Casa invited students and their families to a family dinner Saturday night, and organizers encouraged students to come even if they were not accompanied by their parents. Diandra Fermin ’12, president of the Dominican Students Association, said she and many other students attended the dinner without their parents. Fermin, who is from Miami, Fla., said she enjoyed socializing with her classmates’ families while sharing food from local Mexican and Puerto Rican restaurants.
“It was kind of like being at home,” she said. “It was nice to eat the food that I am used to.”
Katie Fitzpatrick ’11, a Berkeley freshmen counselor, helped run a Claire’s cake party on Friday night and a grilled cheese party on Saturday night. She said the snacks were for students without parents here as well as for those who wanted to “de-stress” with comfort food. Many students happened to bring their families to the events, Fitzpatrick said, so students without visitors were able to meet the parents of their peers.
Many other students whose families did not visit spent time with their friends’ families. Nick Efstathiou ’14 said he was anticipating a lonely weekend as an “orphan” until his suitemate’s parents “adopted” him. Efstathiou, who is from Athens, Greece, joined the family on a tour of his residential college, Timothy Dwight, and also attended a capella concerts with them.
Some students opted to leave campus altogether. Mehdi Lazrak ’14, who lives in Morocco, said he decided to visit friends in New York this weekend in part because he wanted to avoid the parents swarming the campus.
“I wanted to go to New York City anyway, but I thought it was a good idea [because it was Family Weekend],” he said.
Last fall, administrators formally changed the name of “Parents’ Weekend” to “Family Weekend” because all family members were welcomed to participate in the programming the University offers over the course of the weekend.