More than 1,600 families registered for this year’s Family Weekend at Binghamton University, an increase of around 100 registrants from last year, leaving students and their relatives with fully booked hotel rooms, packed activities and busy restaurants.
According to Linda Salomons, parent, family and events coordinator for the Dean of Students Office, roughly 5,350 people flooded into Broome County for the annual event. The influx of visiting families had an impact on Downtown Binghamton and on campus.
Over the weekend, restaurants across the city saw booked reservations and long waits. According to Maria Carbone, a manager at Citrea on Court Street, local eateries are used to seeing crowds during events at the University, but this year was different, with her restaurant observing an increase of customers in comparison to previous years.
“We love it,” Carbone said. “We love to have the parents in town so they can see the area where their kids are staying. My personal opinion is that it’s great for us.”
Hotels located in the Binghamton area also saw an influx of visitors. The Holiday Inn in Downtown Binghamton, which has 237 rooms, was completely booked for the weekend. Other hotels, including the DoubleTree by Hilton in Downtown, Hampton Inn in Vestal and Courtyard by Marriott in Vestal, also lacked vacancies.
According to Salomons, families have to book early to get a room close to campus, and many end up staying at hotels in nearby towns, like Oswego and Sayre, Pennsylvania.
“I definitely hear about the hotels being an issue,” Salomons wrote in an email. “Many of the new student families book their hotels very early, in the summertime. Some families have had to stay a half hour to 45 minutes away.”
Marisa Camacho, a senior majoring in human development, said her family could only get a hotel room for Friday night and had to leave on Saturday, shortening her visit with her family.
“This definitely affected my family’s plans for the weekend,” Camacho said. “It was really annoying that they could only stay Friday night due to a lack of hotel space.”
On campus, facilities were also busy as events and activities saw large turnouts. In an effort to accommodate families, the annual barbecue lunch was moved from the Peace Quad to the Events Center, which allowed more families to attend in case of inclement weather. Last year, tickets for the barbecue were limited to 1,000 people in case the event had to be moved inside; however, the Events Center can accommodate up to 3,350 folding chairs on the floor of the facility.
“I think families are really excited about this,” Salomons wrote. “We have just about 3,000 tickets sold. University Dining Services is doing a phenomenal job meeting the needs for the lunch.”
The BU men’s soccer match against University of New Hampshire was also booked to capacity, as was the comedy show featuring the Second City Improv Troupe.
Zackary Chaqor contributed reporting to this article.