The University will welcome family members of current students to Grounds this upcoming weekend for the annual Family Weekend, during which Orientation and New Student Programs will be hosting a series of events and programs, from a drag show to a Dome dinner, spanning Nov. 3 to Nov. 5.
ONSP is a University office that plans events meant to help students build a sense of community. Class of 2023 alumna Hailey Robbins recently joined the planning team for Family Weekend events in August as the Student Affairs Fellow. Robbins said having the ONSP as the central hub for coordinating Family Weekend events eases the planning process and allows for a wide array of events.
“[The ONSP] allows families to customize their own kind of personalized Family Weekend experience.” Robbins said. “We want to provide all of the resources we have so that families can come and not worry about the weekend and really just enjoy time with their students.”
Robbins described planning these events as a year-long endeavor in which ONSP coordinates with several other on-Grounds organizations. Organizations such as the Athletics Department, the Office of African-American Affairs and the Contemplative Sciences Center plan events in conjunction with the ONSP.
The most popular of the many Family Weekend events are the Dome Room Dinners. This two-night event series invites students and their families for a dinner, faculty lecture and student performance in the Dome Room of the Rotunda.
According to Robbins, over 2,000 family members registered for this event, but only 200 guests are chosen in a random lottery system for the dinner. Registration for this event is now closed, but all other Family Weekend events are accepting sign ups, and some events do not require registration at all.
Another increasingly popular event is the Family Weekend Tailgate, taking place 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 4, located at O’Hill Field. Partially hosted by the Athletics Department, the tailgate offers free food, University gear and a student DJ to get students and families in the Cavalier spirit before the University football team faces Georgia Tech at 2 p.m.
ONSP Program Coordinator Nathan Flyzik said he’s excited to connect students and their families to the fun tailgate atmosphere.
“Our students are excited to show their families around and be in community with them.” Flyzik said. “So as much as they have enjoyed [the weekend], we truly do as well.”
For the Class of 2025, the biggest event is likely The Third-Year Ceremony — a celebration that marks the halfway point in current third years’ college careers. This year, the ceremony will take place at Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall. The event is free and open to third-year students, friends and their families.
Following the ceremony, there will be a Class of 2025 reception outside on the Downtown Mall beginning at 1 p.m.
To overview the schedule, the kick-off Family Weekend event is Nov. 3 at 7 a.m. with the “Strong” full body workout at the Aquatic Fitness Center. Events will continue all day until the 8 p.m. Weekend Choral Showcase featuring performances from student groups such as University Singers, Chamber Singers, Virginia Glee Club and Virginia Women’s Chorus.
The next day will kick off with a cardio bootcamp at the park at 8 a.m.. There will be a total of 13 events throughout the day, ending with the Virginia Gentlemen Family Weekend Concert from 8 to 10 p.m.
The final day features an abbreviated schedule as events start at 9 a.m. with the Hillel Family Weekend Brunch at the Brody Jewish Center.
Family Weekend features dozens of other unique events, including a drag show at Newcomb Theater that’s open to all ages and a cooking class with the University Teaching Kitchen on Friday. There’s also a Whetherman improv performance on Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and a Ballroom Brunch at Alumni Hall on Sunday from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m..
Many events are also specific to students’ areas of studies. Students from each school and major are given the opportunity to inform family members about their programs in events such as the Computer Science Major Night, the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Reception and an Engineering Expo for current and prospective engineering students.
All University families are invited to join and be a part of the Family Weekend fun. Registration for almost all Family Weekend events remains open through the ONSP website.