Football game provides the centerpiece for Fall Family Weekend

Emma Strgar, Practicum Contributor

This Saturday at 7 p.m., Oregon State University takes on the University of Southern California Trojans for the Fall Family Weekend football game. The game is one of the biggest attractions for many families that are coming to visit OSU this weekend.  

The Oregon State Program Council takes on the job of planning a number of campus-wide events for students and their parents to participate in throughout the weekend, and in their planning the football game takes first priority.

 “The football game is definitely the centerpiece of Fall Family Weekend,” Maddie White, an OSU Program Council advisor responsible for organizing the events, said. 

In their marketing especially, OSUPC sticks to the football theme by including football ornaments on their print and digital marketing, White said. The group will put on several football-themed events throughout the weekend, which include a Saturday morning brunch, a tailgate held in the Student Experience Center Plaza and a viewing party in the Memorial Union Horizon Room. 

One of the most difficult parts of incorporating the football game into the weekend schedule is the variances in prior scheduling, according to Lizz Duhn, the Community Traditions Coordinator at OSUPC. Planning Fall Family Weekend begins at the start of fall term, and the time of the game remains “to be announced” until about 10 days to two weeks before. The unknown timing is due to details that are worked out between college teams and television providers that are covering the game. To work with this, the times of the OSUPC football-related events are publicized as “two hours before the game.”

Just to be safe, OSUPC doesn’t plan any non-football events on Saturday. 

“If the game was a later game, we run the risk of competing with it and getting lower attendance,” Duhn said. “We wanted to be able to plan the events knowing everything about it.”

While OSUPC schedules their events around the football game, for the OSU Athletics Department the game functions like every other, said Associate Athletic Director Steve Fenk. 

Reser Stadium sees a minor bump in attendance as students are given the opportunity to purchase two guest tickets, at $90 each, instead of one to bring family members to the game. 

“We are prepared to expand the student section based on need if we get to a point where we need extra seating, but even at that, we are prepared to do that in almost every game,” Fenk said via email.

According to Alexandra Luther, the president of the BeaverDam Executive Board, the Fall Family Weekend football game has a different energy than other football games. 

“There is a different feeling for the Fall Family Football Game versus any other home game for the season,” Luther said in an email. “There is an electricity and unity that can’t be mirrored in any other situation. The ability to share this feeling with family members is an incredible opportunity.” 

The Fall Family Weekend football game has averaged as many as 1,662 more fans than the season average, said Fenk in an email. However, Fenk noted that much of the attendance comes from how the team is doing, who the opponent is and so on. 

“Our students and accompanying parents create a great atmosphere that the rest of the fans, and even the team, inside of Reser Stadium feeds off,” Fenk said in an email.