By Hayden Choate
On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Springfield College campus was filled under sunny skies with parents, grandparents, relatives, siblings and others as the annual Family Weekend commenced.
The weekend consisted of food, music, dancing and fun-filled events and activities for the whole family. It was one of the college’s first big events since the COVID-19 pandemic began and was a very large success.
After not being able to have a Family Weekend last year, Annie Warchol, the College’s Director of Student Activities, was ecstatic that the weekend was able to happen and go well.
“I think it went seamlessly,” Warchol said. “Families were just so happy to be here, I didn’t hear any complaints.”
The beautiful weather, clouds absent from the sky, outside made it easier to have so many people on campus.
“When planning this we really knew we needed to do as much as we can outside, and make sure families have a ton of different things to do,” Warchol said.
This included different inflatables on Naismith Green such as an obstacle course, a corn maze and a UFO to play laser tag in.
“I had a lot more inflatables this year, and I like that we spread it out,” Warchol said.
Rather than having most of the events exclusively on Naismith Green, events were spread out to Reed Green under the tent.
“One of the biggest surprises was we had over 100 families playing trivia in the middle of the day under the tent but then it was packed up here (in front of the Union),” Warchol said. “We tried to create a mini-Big E experience.”
Originally, the date of the weekend was chosen so there would be athletics competitions for families to attend but because teams scheduled changed due to COVID there was only one game.
“We only had one athletic competition which was field hockey,” Warchol said. “We lost a lot of the athletic families because they were traveling with their teams to watch their kids play.”
Since there was no Family Weekend last year, Warchol knew that there would be a lot of sophomore families on campus this year.
“We knew there would be a ton of sophomore families that wanted to come this year because they couldn’t come last year and then we had a ton of first-year families,” Warchol said.
Warchol says one of the reasons she loves Springfield College is because in addition to the underclassmen families, a lot of junior and senior families attended the weekend as well.
“I love this place because you still have some junior and senior families that come every year, that’s not always the case at other institutions,” Warchol said.
The weekend kicked off Friday night with Latin dancing in Judd Gymnasium and family bingo under the tent on the Reed Green. Saturday began with a breakfast at the home of President Mary-Beth Cooper, then a DJ and band played on Reed Green with a family BBQ before family trivia. The weekend was then capped off with a show by Derek Hughes, a comedian/magician who performed in front of a full audience in the Fuller Arts Center.
Having Family Weekend early in the year is important not just because of the weather but it is a good opportunity for students to see their family.
“I like to have Family Weekend within the first six weeks,” Warchol said. “It’s really a great checking point for families to check in on their students and if students are struggling to see their families.”
One of the best parts of the weekend for Warchol was meeting families, some of whom may have been on campus for the first time since their student has gone here.
“It was so nice for the families to say to me ‘Oh, I saw you on a zoom during orientation two summers ago and now it’s nice to be here, this is great to see you in person,’” Warchol said.
Family Weekend 2021 is just one of the long list of events happening this fall on campus with Homecoming and the Class of 2020 commencement being next on Oct. 2.