Jessie Cheung, Staff Photographer

Families will be wandering Cross Campus and college courtyards in the coming days as Family Weekend makes its return to in-person programming for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Per tradition, Family Weekend features a slate of faculty lectures, tours, panels and student performances running from Friday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 9. This year’s event will coincide with the Yale vs. Dartmouth Bowl on Oct. 8. Visiting parents are invited to a complimentary brunch beforehand as well as to the game itself for the price of discounted admission tickets

“We’re so thrilled to be laughing alongside our [own] families and audiences’ families this year,” Chesed Chap ’25, a member of the sketch comedy group Red Hot Poker, told the News. “I’m so excited our first show of the year gets to be shared with the people the Yale community loves the most.” 

Friday’s events feature six open faculty lectures, including English professor Stephanie Newell’s lecture on the voices of women in Nigerian popular literature. Woo-kyoung Ahn, a professor of psychology, will be lecturing on confirmation bias and improving the way we think in order to live happier lives. 

The weekend will also feature a range of cultural, performance and sporting events.

In addition to the football game against Dartmouth, the women’s ice hockey team will play against McGill University this weekend.

On Saturday, La Casa Cultural House will be hosting the LatinXcellence showcase in conjunction with the Schwarzman Center, featuring visual art, written pieces and performances from Latinx groups. The event commemorates Latinx Heritage Month. 

Within the greater New Haven community, Governor Ned Lamont is hosting Businesses of Color United, an event to celebrate local artists, music and business owners at 50 Orange St. at 6 p.m. on Friday. 

Josh Vogel ’23, a member of the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, one of Yale’s 17 a cappella groups, described Family Weekend as an engaging experience for both the parents watching and the newly tapped members performing for the first time.

Vogel told the News that every a cappella group is putting on a Family Weekend concert and that some groups will even be hosting joint performances. He added that the SOBs will be holding a family brunch on the day of the concert to foster a more intimate atmosphere for the visiting families and immerse them in a cappella culture and history. 

A cappella groups are not the only performing arts organizations looking forward to the first unmasked, in-person Family Weekend performances since COVID-19.

All family and friends are welcome (though no enemies please)!” Mary Ben Apatoff ’24, the director of musical improv group Just Add Water, wrote to the News. “Excited to share laughs, fun, and games — from songs made up on the spot to a full-length improvised musical — with the Yale community and beyond. Most looking forward to my parents laughing at my jokes. Thanks, mom! Thanks, dad!”

Yale Concert Band is having a concert Friday Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m., and they will also perform with Yale Glee Club and Yale Symphony Orchestra in the Annual Family Weekend Gala Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Woolsey Hall. 

The Yale Dramatic Association began the Government Inspector, its first show of the semester, this week. Its run will continue until Sunday. Directed by Leo Egger ’24, the play is a political satire and is being staged at the Iseman Theater. Although it is currently sold out, additional seating will be available just before doors open each night.

Strictly Platonic, a student band, is putting on a Family Weekend concert in the Grace Hopper courtyard on Saturday Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. 

William Min ’25, a bass player in Strictly Platonic, said the band is excited to perform this weekend as they have not had the chance to play for their parents live before. The band, he said, is excited to build on the “momentum” from their previous performances — and revealed that it has been learning “throwback songs” for more senior members of the audience. 

James Licato ’25, a guitarist in the band, added that he looks forward to performing in the Hopper Courtyard, as it is his residential college. Audrey Hempel ’25, the lead singer, told the News she is feeling “a bit more nervous” because her mom is attending the performance, though she is excited for her to see them perform. 

In an email to the News, Assistant Dean of Yale College Joliana Yee explained that Family Weekend offers an important and accurate glimpse into Yale College life for parents, with their student standing beside them as their “guide.” 

According to Yee, the events offered this year will not differ significantly from those of pre-COVID-19 years, but the goal is to give families the chance to experience Yale firsthand in a way that virtual programs cannot replicate. She added that there will be livestream options for all of the key speaker events for those who are unable to attend in person. 

“Even though a majority of our audience members will be attending in-person, it is my goal to continue making Family Weekend events accessible to those who might not be able to travel to New Haven for the weekend or face challenges with navigating the ongoing pandemic safely,” Yee wrote in an email to the News. 

Head of Morse College Catherine Panter-Brick told the News the family events are her “favorite events,” and she said she is “absolutely thrilled” to have Family Weekend back in person this year. 

Panter-Brick, who is the chair of the Council of Heads, said that each residential college has a reception on Saturday or Sunday morning. 

“It was really important for us to have on the schedule a family reception so that we have the presence of the residential colleges,” Panter-Brick said. “It’s like the college being home within Yale. So I think it’s just a matter of opening the house and being very welcoming.” 

Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis wrote to the News that he is excited to expose families to the rich overlapping of academics and social life at the University. 

Parents can register online for Family Weekend here, and the full schedule is available via the event’s designated website.

Sarah Cook is one of the University editors. She previously covered student policy and affairs, along with President Salovey's cabinet. From Nashville, Tennessee, she is a junior in Grace Hopper majoring in Neuroscience.
Brian Zhang is Arts editor of the Yale Daily News and the third-year class president at Yale. Previously, he covered student life for the University desk. His writing can also be found in Insider Magazine, The Sacramento Bee, BrainPOP, New York Family and uInterview. Follow @briansnotebook on Instagram for more!