Pulling off Fall Family Weekend

Emma Strgar, Practicum Contributor

Since 1934, students of Oregon State University have attended and celebrated the biannual tradition that is Fall Family Weekend. For the first time this year, two campus organizations shared the planning and organization of Fall Family Weekend, The Oregon State Program Council and New Student and Family Outreach of Oregon State.

Jessica Tallant, the parent and family program coordinator for New Student and Family Outreach, said that planning an event like Fall Family Weekend takes a tremendous amount of “(…)work that is put into coordinating these, which comes from a multitude of students, staff, faculty and departments across campus,” Tallant said. 

Three years ago, OSU renamed “Dad’s Weekend” and “Mom’s Weekend” to be more inclusive to the unique makeup of families, said OSUPC Adviser, Maddie White. Since that time, OSUPC has made active efforts to make the events of the weekend, and the weekend itself more inviting to all family members.

“We are very, very intentional about making our programs family-friendly, not mom and dad specific,” White said. “The most noticeable fragments of the past might be the merchandise that’s given out. We still have, for example, a large leftover inventory of OSU mom pins.”

Beyond making efforts to make the weekend more inclusive for all types of families, OSUPC is also taking steps to make the events more financially-accessible, White said. In years past, admission for the Arts and Culture Committee show on Friday nights could get above $35, this year the price is $20. 

Traditionally, a comedy show plays on Friday, but this year OSUPC is switching it up to include a new show by Illusionist, Craig Karges. Karges is also an entertainer who mixes “the science of psychology and the power of intuition,” according to his biography. 

White noted that Fall Family Weekend’s wide range includes the illusionist on Friday, multiple football events, a Saturday morning brunch, a tailgate in the SEC Plaza and a viewing party in the Memorial Union Horizon Room. There will also be a brand new event for this year. A Sunday Brunch will be held at Reser Stadium for families to have the opportunity to spend more time in the stadium. 

Beyond OSU, the Corvallis community also does quite a bit to prepare for Fall Family Weekend. Stores stock up on extra merchandise to prepare. 

“Corvallis is a pretty small, mom-and-pop dependent business community,” Cooper Whitman, the president and CEO of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, said. “Any influx of potential customers is a welcome one. Our restaurants, retails stores, hotels and others are always grateful for these types of OSU-centered events, as their impact can be felt long after families return home.” 

The Community Livability Team is a branch of the Corvallis Police Department that works cooperatively with OSU and Oregon State Police to offer extra protection and service for big events, like Family Weekend and football games. 

Daniel Duncan, a lieutenant with the Corvallis Police Department, noted, “Before (Oregon State) went to the Family Weekend concept, we used to have challenges with increase in crime. With the cooperative effort and whatever additional programming that’s been done to change the event from Mom’s or Dad’s Weekend to Family Weekend, there hasn’t been a noticeable increase in any issues. Clearly there’s more people in town but the impact to livability and crime is no where close to what it used to be.” 

Duncan attributes the lessened activity of crime during Family Weekend to come from a combination of efforts of university programming and improved collaboration between the university and the police department, among other things. Despite the reduced impact, there is still quite a bit that the police department and public safety does to prepare for big events like the football game and Fall Family Weekend as a whole. 

Family weekend actually falls two weeks earlier this year as compared to past years, White said. To move forward two weeks of planning and programming took quite an impressive amount of teamwork that we will surely see reflected in this year’s Fall Family Weekend. 

“We are hopeful that students and family members find an array of activities to partake in that are enjoyable,” Tallant said in an email. “And that students feel a sense of pride when it comes to sharing these moments at Oregon State University with their families.”

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