Family Weekend has returned to Binghamton University, and is expected to bring thousands of people to campus on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Although Family Weekend is only a few days away, BU’s Parent and Family Programs has been planning the event since April. The weekend will feature a keynote presentation, student performances, residential community festivals, a Bearcat lunch, a bonfire and more.
Linda Salomons, parent, family and events coordinator for Parent and Family Programs, said she collaborated with various BU organizations on campus for the event, including student groups, campus departments and intercollegiate athletics.
“There are so many partnerships that happen during Family Weekend,” Salomons said. “We work with our Student Association to put on the comedy show, I work with the a cappella groups to do an a cappella performance.”
Kayla Dickinson, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she is looking forward to seeing The Second City, a touring sketch and improvisation comedy theater from Chicago, with her family.
“I’m sure we’ll go to the comedy show because I heard that it was good last year,” Dickinson said.
There are about 72 different programs available for families to partake in, but Salomons said she purposely designated time for students and their families to experience events off campus.
“I really want it to be a campus-community collaboration,” Salomons said. “I don’t do anything around dinnertime because I really want families to go out and go shopping. We really want to share the greater Binghamton community as well.”
Alexa Carleo, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience, said she plans to enjoy several community activities with her family in addition to the ones offered on campus.
“We’re going to go pumpkin picking and probably go out to dinner,” Carleo said.
There are about 1,300 families registered to attend Family Weekend at BU, an estimated 4,800 people — on par with the usual range of 4,500 to 5,000 visitors, according to Salomons. With such a large number of people coming to visit the city of Binghamton this weekend, families may face difficulties when looking for a place to stay.
“We almost don’t even have enough hotels in this community for our families,” Salomons said.
Max Miller, a freshman majoring in biochemistry, said his family was prepared for this issue, and proactively booked ahead of time.
“My mom booked really early because she knows how crazy it could be to find hotels last minute on weekends like this,” Miller said.
Others, like Jenna Ross, a junior double-majoring in environmental studies and biology, don’t have to worry about obtaining hotel rooms for family. Instead of participating in Family Weekend, Ross will be traveling home to see them.
“I’m going to spend time with family and friends at my house in Ellicottville, New York,” Ross said. “It’s a family tradition and it’s something we all do together every year, and it just happens to fall on the same weekend.”
Salomons said she wants families to get as much out of this weekend as possible, especially because they are paying a $40 registration fee to attend.
“We really try and make certain perks available to families who do register because that’s what they’re paying that registration fee for,” Salomons said.
Families will receive a Family Weekend wristband that allows them to attend all of the different events offered over the course of the weekend. Entrance to the Absolutely A cappella performance, which will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m this Saturday in the Osterhout Concert Theater, is free with the Family Weekend wristband.
Additionally, BU T-shirts will be given out in the Events Center for Baxter’s Spirit Celebration from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and families will receive a stadium bag full of coupons and other BU goodies when they check in at Old Union Hall in the University Union.
“I’m really looking forward to showing my mom and brother around campus,” Miller said.