Kenisha Mahajan, Contributing Photographer

From Friday, Oct. 6 to Sunday, Oct. 8, Yale’s annual family weekend drew loved ones from all over the world to New Haven. 

This weekend, Yale’s annual tradition returned for the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a two-year hiatus in 2020 and 2021. The weekend featured events — from faculty lectures to brunches to sports games — giving families a window into the lives of Yale students. 

Several events were livestreamed for those who were unable to attend in person.

“My first two years, there actually wasn’t a family weekend because of COVID,” Josh Guo ’24 said. “It’s a really special way for parents to get a glimpse into our lives here on campus and the types of work that we do. You can try and describe the different parts of Yale as much as you want to your parents, but nothing compares to seeing it firsthand.”

Friday’s events included several faculty lectures, including biology professor John Carlson’s lecture on microorganisms and the human body and history professor Marci Shore’s lecture on the war in Ukraine. The day also featured a panel on teaching moderated by Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis as well as events hosted by Trans@Yale and the Office of LGBTQ Resources. 

Yale’s various performing arts organizations also demonstrated their work to parents and loved ones on Friday. Events included a student-run show by the Yale Dramatic Association, a spoken word performance by WORD and a show by Three’s Company, a collaboration between three of Yale’s dance groups. 

“We’re super proud and blessed that our new members are buying in and feeling homogenized with the group,” said Prentiss Patrick-Carter ’26, producer of the sketch comedy group Red Hot Poker. “We’re grateful for everybody who came out to our show, especially the people that brought their parents to listen to jokes on Friday night.”

In addition to Red Hot Poker’s Friday show, student comedy groups 5H Sketch Comedy, Just Add Water and Purple Crayon all held productions over the weekend.

Comedy groups largely focused their performances on welcoming new taps, celebrating their newest additions alongside family and friends.

“It being our first performance, especially with parents and your friends’ parents in the audience, performing felt very fun and enjoyable,” Purple Crayon member Miles Kirkpatrick ’27 told the News. 

Ranging from a Gala Concert at Woolsey Hall featuring three undergraduate performing groups to the Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm show, several of Yale’s a cappella groups and orchestras put on concerts from Friday to Sunday, many of whom made their season debuts this Family Weekend. 

While bigger events showcased large organizations on campus, several events also provided places for smaller Yale clubs to connect with families.  

“The [planning process] is a little bit different for Family Weekend because there’s this question of, ‘How do we reach the right audience?’” said Yale Dhvani founder Maanasa Nandigam ’25. 

The weekend also included events for families and students to gain exposure to Yale’s various resources and communities, including receptions with Heads of College, dinners and showcases at cultural centers and events with alumni groups. On Saturday, the Native American Cultural Center, the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, the Afro-American Cultural Center and 1stGenYale planned events specifically for families to get to know the organizations. 

Sofia Jacobson ’26, a part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Yale, emphasized that Family Weekend is a “great opportunity” for clubs to show and celebrate their work. On Sunday, the Women’s Leadership Initiative kicked off its mentorship program in partnership with YaleWomen, an alumni association. 

Kirkpatrick mentioned that while the sheer number of events taking place this weekend can be hectic, Family Weekend offers a unique chance for students to show families an aspect of their lives that they do not have much access to otherwise.

Above all, students articulated that Family Weekend serves as many students’ first opportunity to see and reconnect with relatives. Guo, Jacobson and Kirkpatrick mentioned that for first-years making the move to Yale, Family Weekend is especially important. 

“Yale is a very special world and a very special community. It feels really awesome that I’m able to share it even just for a weekend,” said Jacobson. 

Yale’s first-year class hails from 68 different countries and represents students from 53 U.S. states and territories.

Kenisha Mahajan covers Cops & Courts for the City desk. She is a first-year in Benjamin Franklin College from Queens, New York majoring in ethics, politics and economics.